Our guest host for Episode Five is Jo Ellis, the Founder and Director of Make.Do. Graduating from Harding with a degree in interior design and her MBA, Jo wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted to do after her time at Harding was over. While spending three years in Ireland as a missionary, Jo was a camp counselor during the summer. After being a counselor for a group of girls who challenged her, she offered to let the girls visit her in Dublin, not really believing they’d accept. They did. With three teenage girls in her house and unsure of what to do to keep them occupied, Jo set the girls on a task that has forever changed her own life: make pillowcases.
Jo watched the girls create something that was uniquely theirs, their struggle with the creative process, and the impact the affirmation they received had on the girls. Believing that creativity is a fundamental aspect of who God is and how it is a restorative process where we find our identity, integrity, and value, Jo realized this mission could become something truly incredible. At times, Jo faced immense challenges and self-doubt, and started actually running a variation of Make.Do. out of the back of her car, loading and unloading ten sewing machines at whatever venue she was in that night.
In this episode of the Build Guild Podcast, Mark Bates, a local carpenter who has spent the last thirteen years operating his own business. Mark’s clientele comes from a mix of referrals from Lowe’s™ and word-of-mouth around the community. Mark began working in the contracting industry working as an installer for Lowe’s™, and then became an installer himself. New to social media, Mark is learning how to advertise his business by showcasing his projects for both his business and his own home.
Similar to Coty’s family, Mark’s family is involved in the foster care system. Recognizing the juggernaut of emotions surrounding a foster child’s first day in his or her new home, Mark constructed a castle at the front of his house to make that difficult first day a little easier. The second floor of his home contains a hidden passage, spiral staircase and hidden room to add a whimsical touch to his children’s childhood.
Mark’s perspective is completely unique from the other makers of the Build Guild podcast. Most notably, Mark’s tools differ from the fine woodworking tools the other Build Guild makers utilize in their daily business. As a general contractor, Mark’s tool investments occur often and are focused on transportation and durability, whereas Ben, Brian, and Coty all see their tools as lasting investments that can (hopefully) last for years before being passed on to novice makers.
Mark is an incredible example of how making isn’t limited to fine woodworking but is an all-encompassing field with room for anyone with an idea or just a little bit of whimsy. His 9-5 work is impeccable, but after hours he’s created an environment where his children have a place to make their daydreams a reality.
Episode 4 brings us up to speed with Coty’s journey in the Small Business Revolution™, Brian’s current (secret) projects he’s spending the summer on, and Ben’s hair-brained YouTube ideas for Mark’s house.
It’s all about family for Peter Romano. Growing up in Delaware, Peter’s father and mother operated a successful masonry business. Peter’s father ran the business ends and contracts, and his mother kept the books. At its peak, Romano’s Masonry had around sixty employees. Today, the business has shifted its business model to include subcontracting but manages to maintain its identity.
Peter left Delaware to attend Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. After meeting his wife at Harding, Peter and his wife moved to Colorado for a few years before Peter returned to the family business. Working at Romano’s Masonry for a few years expanded the knowledge Peter had gained through his childhood. However, after returning to Delaware, Peter felt God calling him to raise a family elsewhere. Peter and his family left Delaware to move back to Searcy with little planning and a whole lotta faith. He had no job secured, no leads on any open positions, and eventually he and his family were able to move into an old family home. The home had been in his wife’s family since the 1940s and was in desperate need of renovations. Determined to make the best of life in Searcy, Peter began teaching high school history, became a volunteer fireman, attending graduate school for his master’s degree in counseling, and renovating the family home. When Peter was unsure about how to properly renovate his home, he often turned to YouTube to help guide him along.
This week’s guest host talks shop with The Build Guild about being raised by parents who owned a successful business, how YouTube has evolved the world of making, and even how each of the guys asked their girlfriend’s dad for permission to marry his daughter.
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Episode One: Meeting the Makers
From social media, the Small Business Revolution™, and side hustles, three makers from different backgrounds have all settled into a small central Arkansas town. Driven by their love for making, community, and connection, Ben, Brian, and Coty invite you to take
I started a podcast!
We're so glad you found us! We're excited to share this new endeavor for us. When Brian and I (Ben) got to talking in the shop we realized we had an abundance of makers in our small community. We thought it would be fun to get together in person and talk about the maker life. We think it adds to the conversation to be able to talk to someone in the same room. We know there are many different types of makers in this world, and we wanted to included them all in our conversations.
We knew that just two guys talking to each other wasn't as exciting as a group so we went on the hunt for a third host. That's when we approached Coty. We know Coty through a friend of a friend type situation. He's a full time woodworker and around our age. We all quickly became fast friends. Coty jumped on board to co-host with us. He may be absent for some episodes when we have guest co-hosts join in. He's got a full time job and family to take care of so we'll give him a pass.
We hope you enjoy the podcast. We know we're new and starting out so growing pains are part of the deal. We're no pros at this stuff. Our mics may sound fuzzy, our conversations may take an odd turn, but the intent to entertain and occasionally inform will always be our goal.
Welcome to the Build Guild!
-Ben, Brian, and Coty.