Jeremy and Garit meet again after a memorable time at Makers Camp in New York. Garit is a craft woodworker who makes custom pieces. Starting out just selling to friends and the product quickly picking up popularity Garit soon realized this could be a career. So he jumped at the opportunity and hasn’t looked back since. In today’s podcast we talk about building businesses, house hopping along the journey, maintaining family life and much more.
Eric Girouard 0:00
This is bucket top, a weekly podcast where people who work in the trades and construction that aren't just trying to survive but have the ambition and desire to thrive. The opportunity to trade and construction is absolutely ridiculous right now. So if you're hungry, it's time to eat. We discuss what it takes to rise from the bottom to the top with people who are well on their way and roll up their sleeves every single day.
Jeremy Perkins 0:28
All right, today we're here with Garrett Sullivan of CW underscore woodworking. Welcome, Garrett. Hey, buddy, how are you? Good. Fancy meeting you again, after makers camp. That was wonderful.
Garit Sullivan 0:41
New York was a blast. That was I told my wife basically gonna go hang out with 500 of my closest friends. But she called me every day she'd be like, how was your day with your friends? But it was good. It was awesome. Ya know, that
Jeremy Perkins 0:57
was my first experience. You know, I mentioned it in the ROB Rojas podcast, but like, and it was it was it was mind blowing. It was a blast. I learned a lot of things. The team got introduced to a lot of new things. So definitely was definitely was a good place to be. And we'll be up there next year. So I'm super pumped for that. But yeah, I wanted to get a you know, we met in person got a little history on you. But I'd like to share with our audience. Kind of Dodger, everything that's behind you.
Garit Sullivan 1:28
Yeah, that's a that's a lot. So this shop is actually shot number two in this location. So about two years ago, we had an EF three tornado come through here. And it basically ripped the shop apart, picked up a Grizzly 15 inch, chucked it. So basically, everything in here is either new ish or new. Well, new to me or new. Well, though,
Jeremy Perkins 1:54
let's go back to shop one, like, what was the what was the kind of thesis for all of this? How do you want to jump in and do this? Where do you learn all the skills by all the tools like?
Garit Sullivan 2:04
So this all got started when I got sober. So I got sober about a little over seven years ago, and had to find something to keep my hands busy and tinkered with woodworking. You know, all my life. My dad was a tinkerer. My grandfather taught me a lot. He built me my first skateboard ramp when I was a kid. And when he passed away, all his tools came into my dad. And when I started asking him questions, he was like, hey, we'll just take this one, and he'd start giving me you know, let me use tools for his. And so we, you know, I've built my first Roland workbench to house to house.
Jeremy Perkins 2:49
Nice. Nice. That's, that's good. That's awesome. So then, how did you all of a sudden decide you wanted to open up a shop and do all all the fun stuff that you do? I mean, you got a stack of cutting boards ready for Christmas behind you? Like what?
Garit Sullivan 3:04
Yeah, so I made a cutting board just on the way out and gave it to a buddy of mine as a gift. And his friend wanted one. And his buddy wanted one, you know, word of mouth. And my wife said, Why don't you try to sell them. And they were nothing like they are now a lot of trial and error in these. But back then I was like, nobody's gonna buy these are just sticks of wood stuck together. And so I put out on Facebook, you know, it's just my personal page. I said, Hey, I'm gonna make a batch of these cutting boards who would like one, and that I ended up the first order was for 30 people. And so we did that. And about two weeks later, my wife said, try it again. See what happened. So try it again. And the second order was 45 people. And she was like, I think you got some Yeah. Well, we'll see what happens. So we my wife decided she wanted to buy a radio station. So we moved into the middle of nowhere in Americus, Georgia. So
Jeremy Perkins 4:07
that's not like, that's not like a small thing that kind of breezed.
Garit Sullivan 4:12
Yeah, my life is nothing but it's definitely not normal. My wife and I have been married for a little over six years together for a little over seven grand. And we've lived in seven different houses in that timeframe. So she used to work in radio when she was younger. And she got a call from an old friend of hers that had this little radio station on the middle of nowhere. And he was like, Hey, do you want to you want to come do this with me and buy into it? She was like, Screw it. Why not? You know, it's one of those things. If you don't do it, it's always gonna nag at you. Right? Like what if? So, we did it. It was not what we imagined. But I We stuck. She stuck with it. And while I was down there, CW woodworking really got born. We bought a house that had a 20 by 30 foot outbuilding, okay, so that was my shop. I wired it, you know, 220 and all that stuff. And I started doing I started traveling and doing markets. I travelled back to Chattanooga back to here a lot. And I was doing this little market out in front of this hotel called the Westin. Yeah. So we were out, I was out front of there for. I did that for about a year. And there's another market here in town. It's called the Chattanooga market. And it's a staple in the community, over 200 vendors. That's an old looks like an old warehouse. That was turned into a huge pavilion. And my wife was like, just try. I was like, No, there's, there's a guy that's been there since it. I think at that time, it was 17 years. They knew him as the board, man. I was like, they're not gonna let me and yeah. Because you have to apply. You have to show him your shot. You have to show him your process. Everything's handmade at that place. So I put my paper into apply. I was like, Screw it. I'll do it. And come to find out. The board man had put in his retirement paper that day. So we slid right in. We've been down there. This is our fourth year down there. And it's amazing. It really is. We're there from April through the end of November, and then December we move inside for a week, three weeks. So yeah, and the best part is, this is my side job.
Jeremy Perkins 6:43
That's awesome. I mean, that's awesome. That's people that's, um, you know, like to touch on on people's main hustles? A little bit but like, is it related to what you do? Or is this completely different from what you do? Are there any carryover
Garit Sullivan 6:57
completely different? Wow, absolutely different. I am in the tech world, I am what you would call a scrum master layman's terms. I'm a project manager. I am a contractor. I actually work for a company called Tech system. But I'm at Whirlpool right now. It will be I think I just I think they're almost about to sign my contract for 2023. So yeah, so we've been very blessed in that aspect. A lot of hard work. Especially with this. I now have an apprentice. He may show up at some point. He doesn't know I'm doing this. So he may just walk in and look dumbfounded. That's all right. And I've got a salesperson that works for me sometimes. That's cool. That's cool. It's grown and I love it.
Jeremy Perkins 7:46
Is there any carryover traits or anything that you do in your normal job that helped you out here? With the business aspect of it with fulfilling orders keeping everything all together? Or? Or just nope, no carryover whatsoever.
Garit Sullivan 8:02
There's really no carryover. I keep this I keep this separate. This is my therapy, if you will. Some Some people ask me that, like, you know, how is this relaxing to you? So well, basically every machine in the shop in some form or fashion can kill it. Yeah. So you got to cut your you know, you got to block everything out and just kind of put it aside for you know, I'm in here a couple hours every day. And it's nice. It's It's stressful right now because it's the holiday but most times, it's it's just relaxing.
Jeremy Perkins 8:34
I mean, there is kind of some excitement to the fact that you're one of the one of the few people that bring it up is you know how dangerous some of the equipment that we work with is. And I mean, I wouldn't say there's, there's, there's it's thrilling in like a thrill seekers way but to know, it is you harness in your craft, something that a lot of people would consider dangerous or using stuff. I mean, I've had metal removed from my eye, I've had like, all sorts of all sorts of mishaps in my, in my time. And, you know, when you do tell those stories that you do talk to people, they're like, really, that happened to you and it kind of I mean, not to not to make it sound like it's a small part of the day, but it is it is funny to to, to see have that go on behind you and and around those tools and and it's pretty cool.
Garit Sullivan 9:31
Yeah, absolutely. And you know, the one thing I tell everybody and if you've ever been there, you know what I'm talking about as soon as it happens, you freak out and you step away for a minute. Right? And but it's like that, that everything in life pauses and you've just replayed your entire life. But you got to get right back into it.
Jeremy Perkins 9:50
Yeah, yeah, either that or the blood just doesn't start flowing yet. And then you're sitting there looking at it going this thing is gonna bleed like no other but not happening. Right now
Garit Sullivan 10:02
like I had I had a table saw kicked back on me it was my first table saw was an old craftsman built in like the 60s. And I was cutting up some heart pine and it pinched and came back at me as a piece about, you know, inch and a half by inch and a half. It was long as grazed off my ribcage, knocked the wind out of me and then literally stuck in the middle building wall. It kicked it back so fast. And I was terrified. But the next day I had to get back, you know, I had to get back and cut the same thing. Otherwise, I would probably never do it again. Yeah. So,
Jeremy Perkins 10:37
I mean, we used to, I used to cut some pretty big pieces of metal and, and we had this big Hilty will make or have a sawn. I'm just, it's blocking on us. I'm gonna die. I'm gonna die. Yeah. And like, he's been doing it for years, like this is this is what it is. And, yeah, I mean, I've had this break apart and slam into the wall and what have you, and they're just like, Oh, geez.
Garit Sullivan 11:10
We, my apprentice, and I've been talking, he's like, I want to get on the table saw and do some thin cuts. And that's where you can really start splitting and blowing stuff off there. And, like, I mean, if you're, it's fun to teach, that's been a fun part, that's a whole different aspect is I never thought I'd have an apprentice. I just needed help in the shop. He's actually my child's partner. And he is amazing, good work. But I never thought I'd be that guy that would be teaching somebody else and I really enjoyed it. So we're gonna look at we just found out there's a high school here that has a woodshop class. And I'm gonna try to see if I can get involved in next year. A lot of them show up at the market and ask me questions. Yeah, like, Hey, I'm making a cutting board. Can you help me with this? And that's, that's been fun. That's a whole separate piece I'm trying to think about doing because you and I, we live in this world, right? We live around these tools. We know these tools. But there are people that don't know how to use a drill. There's just because they've never been, they've never been around it. Right. Like, I used to laugh at people like that. But in all seriousness, they've just never, you know, it's like a sewing machine. I've never been around it, I would have no idea how to use it. My mom would laugh at me. She'd be like, no, no, you just do that?
Jeremy Perkins 12:28
Well, I mean, it's cool. Because, you know, first off, there's the scary portion. People don't people don't realize it. But as a new manager and new foreman, just anybody, you know, you're in business for yourself, and you're taking that next step and, and having somebody work with you. It is kind of scary, because there's not not only the admin side of things, like, you know, how am I gonna pay this guy? When am I going to pay this guy, you know, sick time, all that? All that stuff? But yeah, the passing on the knowledge, like, Am I doing it the right way to be able to tell this guy like, I'm getting the job done? Right, but am I actually doing the right way? I mean, and, and so yeah, I agree, though, the whole empowerment aspect is is is interesting, but you're right. I've handed kids a screwdriver, and they didn't know what to send to us. Or couldn't even tell you what it was. But I mean, that's a fulfilling side of things, too, is being able to help them through that perfect knowledge. Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. From and, and, you know, us, us that are in the trades. Take a lot of things for granted when, when it comes to taking something apart or building that when you actually go to you know, you find somebody that hasn't been able to do it. And they're like, Hey, I'm hanging this toilet paper holder on my, in my bathroom, and they got the template out, and they're drilling the holes. And it's just, you know, I had a buddy like, and I went in and I showed him he's like, I can't believe he can do that. And it was so small for me like something like mind blowing for Have you would have paid a contractor to do it.
Garit Sullivan 13:59
Yeah, you know, my wife will say that she was like, you know, are friends of mine. They'll say we can just hire somebody to do this and just building some floating shelves. And I was like, why would you? Why would you pay somebody? Like you don't think about it just because we're rounding what will we talk about a minute ago? Oh, the radio station. How we got off on to teaching people? Yeah, so she, my wife came to me and she was like, hey, I want to I want to do it. Yeah. And me I'm just sure why not let's go. So we moved down there we were down there about two years. And then it was just it was we were done with it. It wasn't what she wanted after some time and so you know, we sold out of it and move back here.
Jeremy Perkins 14:50
So first shop you got it all set up. You obviously have you know, tools that you've acquired over your, your life from various people from buy And yourself, then it all goes to shit. You get?
Garit Sullivan 15:05
Yeah, so we, you know, when we move back here, that was the part I was gonna get into where we moved back here. You know, I moved out of the shop I had, I was used to a 30 by 20 foot building, we moved back, my wife and I have a goal. And I think that goal is going to start next year, finally, pretty excited. But we had to rent a house. So you can't put a shop in a rental. Right? So talk to my mom or my pop, and we put the shop at their house. My father has arthritis in his spine. He's about you know, he's a big boy. And so movement is hard for him. Yeah. Well, what we noticed, and what we figured out is, when I came over here, he would come out and tinker and play his workbench and just mess around. And so couple Saturdays mom would call and she'd be like, Hey, are you coming to your shop today? Tonight and planned on it? Why? So Well, Dad was asking he was, you know, seeing if you were going to be? I'll be there in a minute. You know, because it's cool to hang out with my old man. You never know how long you get. So it's yeah, it's to the point now that we bought another house and I could have a shop there. But I don't want to move it from here. Yeah. Because of him. Yeah. And so we're here until you know, well, well, at some point, move it into the new property. But for right now we're hanging out here. So yeah, everything got destroyed. This whole house we're in right now. There used to be walls everywhere. And there just aren't anymore. Because they redid the entire the roof was completely ripped off. And so they basically redid everything in this house. What was going on? So oh, well, we were at our house. This is my mom and dad. Were here. Oh, this is there? Yeah. So we were at our house. Our house got destroyed to our house shifted about five degrees on the foundation. That's rough. We were in it. My wife froze. Thank goodness, she doesn't remember much because I threw it on a flight of stairs. My daughter, you know, it was one of those things where one thing had been different. It would have been a completely different story. Everybody we talked to there were the base of this tornado was over a half a mile wide. And everybody had that one moment that I talked to there were only four deaths in that. That was it. And it looks like a war zone around there after. But yeah, we it was terrifying. You You know the fight or flight things real? Yeah. I was making sure about my child and my my wife were okay. And her golden retriever, Gary, that you know, anything happens to that dog. We're all in trouble. So yeah, so that we know we had people come over here help clean up trees. You know, we had a ton of trees down everywhere. We didn't have to worry about our place too much because it was a rental. But we had to find a place to live. So we did that for a little while. And then we started dealing with insurance which was a blast let me tell you. I went through and looked at all my tools, wrote down everything that was wrong. And we sent it to the insurance person and they said you know because my dad has helped a lot of these tools or his tools and the insurance person was like we'll have an electrician come out and look at him. And I'm thinking cool if you could have a pool guy come out and look at the cars that'd be about as helpful he didn't find that
so yeah, so went to went by Woodcraft, because I knew those guys, we got one here loads. Yeah, they I didn't know this. But this one for fire, flood, any kind of disaster like that. They'll send somebody out to assess the damage of your tools.
Jeremy Perkins 19:23
That's, that's, that's actually pretty neat. We talked about this because that's like, that's like my worst nightmare is is. I mean, theft, any of that stuff. We've talked about it, we've kicked it around in the shop. Like you really got to ask those questions, especially if you bring in tools somewhere else or even even property because they'll cover so much even if you document everything and stuff. Insurance companies. I actually had to take out insurance, additional insurance on my toolbox because it was worth so much because my company's policy wouldn't cover it and I'm like, this thing walks out the shop I'm screwed Like, my likelihood is gone.
Garit Sullivan 20:01
You're done. You can't add there was no way I could have come back from everything I had acquired over the last six years. Yeah. Because everything we made profit wise went back into the shop, new tools, new, you know, things that make it easier. And, you know, we went from I went from a little grizzly six inch benchtop jointer to now it's a, you know, eight inch wide 72 inch bed, you know, there's no way you could have come back.
Jeremy Perkins 20:28
Yeah, well, it's crazy, too. Because, you know, a lot of people just assume that insurance is gonna cover it. What it's a plethora of things like hail damage, you know, flooding doesn't matter, right? People assume that the policy will take care of it, they might take a hit on it for depreciation or what have you. But that's not the case like you, you might not get any of it covered. Right? How do they know that you had that screwdriver in that spot, and they're gonna fight you tooth and nail over it? You know what I mean? So just documenting everything. Make sure that you understand your policy. Take out extra insurance, if that's your livelihood, and renters
Garit Sullivan 21:02
one thing? Yeah, renter's insurance is huge. One thing we've started doing now that we never did before was will take random like every about three months, we'll take a video, walk around the house and just take a video of every every room open up every door cabinet, because that's one thing my parents, they lost a lot. They had to go through every now. And I'm almost like there's no way I could document she's been in this house for 30 something years. Yeah, I don't even remember. Right. So yeah, anybody I recommend taking a video of your house, your shop everything. Just it doesn't have to be a long one. Because you can pause on everything if you want. But yeah, I recommend that. So the tornado happened. So we started rebuilding, and we kept the shop here. And then then we really started doing big things. I now work with several hotels in town, doing pieces for them. I have a realtor that's on contract with me. They get so many a month
Jeremy Perkins 22:19
pause that thought once I get the words
that's a one. That's the one thing that's the one person you can't tell you have a podcast and that's your dog. I don't give a crap.
Garit Sullivan 22:38
So, speaking of dog, we have three dogs, two cats, two turtles and a mother in law. Now she's alright. You know, I gave her hell at the beginning. But now I mean, I'm literally will openly make fun of her and she openly makes fun of me. She laughs at my dad jokes. It's amazing. She walked down the stairs one day and she goes, I have a problem. I said you're old.
Jeremy Perkins 23:08
I feel bad. I feel bad for my wife. I mean, it's bad for me, but not as bad for my wife. My My parents moved back in the farm. So they've been they've been held helping out and it's like, a blessing and a curse. I know she's gonna be watching and swearing in the comment section. But it's it's, I mean, one day, they're your best friend and everything's flown. And the next day, you're just tripping over each other. And you're like, you know, why can't you give another house like go away?
Garit Sullivan 23:39
Yeah, I'm not. I'm not I'm not the butler. Figure it out. People were grown here. So
Jeremy Perkins 23:47
you'll know you're working with people in town, the realtor.
Garit Sullivan 23:51
We got the realtor. We've got the two hotels that we've worked with. One we still continuously work with. We just did some charger plates for their Chef's Table. That like it's only 12 people and the chef does this big customizable dinner. It's pretty cool.
Jeremy Perkins 24:11
So what is that charger? Plate? You mean?
Garit Sullivan 24:15
So charger plate if you ever go to or you see like a decorative table like somebody's decorated a big table. You'll see the dinner plate like a bigger plate on Yeah. That's a charge. Okay. Yeah, I didn't know. A lot of this. To be honest. A lot of this I learned from my mom. She was a wedding planner forever. Okay. So I learned a lot of that kind of stuff. So one thing we did do after the tornado is and it's a mess, and she's gonna murder me if she ever sees this. But I want to show you this real quick.
Jeremy Perkins 24:49
Well, my wife doesn't watch the podcast. So
Garit Sullivan 24:53
this is my mother. So let me show you this guy.
Jeremy Perkins 25:00
Garit Sullivan 25:03
That is solid eight quarter white oak trestle table that I made, took five of us to get the top end.
Jeremy Perkins 25:10
Wow. I was more admiring the placemats who did those? I'm kidding. I'm kidding me that the tables?
Garit Sullivan 25:19
Well, what's really bad is I have to look because it could be somewhere around here, I mean, the cabinet's my friend you know, there's, there's literally there's a lot of handmade stuff around here because, you know, we I like, I like supporting small businesses mainly. I learned a lot from having Yeah. Right. So we I got a sales guy to work part of December because my wife's favorite holiday is Chris. Yeah. And so one of the one of the Sundays, I'm not there, she and I go down, you know, if somebody wants to go with the school, but me, she and I go down, and we just we do a lot of Christmas shopping from all the vendors that are local. But yeah, so big things coming up. I'm actually my wife was today 30. So in eight days, that's my wife's last day at her job. She has been off and on at this company for over 15 years. She started then when she was like 19. And between my day job and how well the woodworking is going, I'm going to retire my wife. And she's going to be the admin. So the website, we've been working on that, and the website will kick off hopefully in February, well, yeah, she's gonna handle, she's gonna handle the admin for that. And we're gonna start pushing to be in a lot of these local shops. My goal one day is to take on booze blocks.
Jeremy Perkins 26:59
It's a go. So so obviously, you're looking to expand or is this kind of where like your comfort zone you want to be? Or you're looking for, like, you know, a place to set up shop and sell, you know, out of are you just looking to distribute with?
Garit Sullivan 27:16
Oh, I won't ever have a brick and mortar? Yeah. Because there's just not enough business for that. I don't want to get, you know, can I make other stuff? Yes. Do I want to know, I fallen into a niche. You know, when we were down in Georgia, my wife would go up to sell stuff. And they'd be like, Oh, your husband's the cutting board guy. She's like, we've been here for three days. How do they know? I'm sorry. I talk a lot. Never met a stranger. I don't. She gets she. She actually told me one day she said don't be mad at scarecrows don't talk back to you. Because I just I don't have I've never met a stranger in my life. Wherever we go. I've made a friend. Yeah, why not? Life's too short. So yeah, so she's gonna do the admin of that. And we're just gonna see where it goes. With her doing the admin side, the shipping side, the business side. All I have to do is make stuff. That's amazing.
Jeremy Perkins 28:20
So that so that leads me to another question is is like you, you don't work under anybody, you work for yourself. And now I know where I became stagnant in my career was I became the shop foreman quickly. And then I realized there were no other inputs into my life, right? It was whatever you learned on YouTube, whatever you learn from a school that you happen to sign up for, or whatever, where do you get your, your expanded knowledge? So is it like, obviously, makers camp was one of them, but like, you know, how often are you learning new things? Where are you? Where are you consuming this knowledge from?
Garit Sullivan 28:58
So I have a lot of friends locally that do different things that I like to hang out, I try to hang out as much as possible. I don't have a lot of free time these days. But as far as the cutting boards, people, you know, people have asked me like, where did you because like I said, the first ones are way different than now. I said a lot of it's trial and error. You know, and then see in Instagram. A lot of my best friends now are from Instagram. There's a guy out in Colorado, actually, he just ordered a pair of boots the other day. We were talking about that. And he said, you know, he goes you know, we've been friends for almost five years. He stayed at my house and when we were in Georgia, but I learned a lot from him. You know a good mutual friend of ours Lucas, I bounce ideas off him all the time.
Jeremy Perkins 29:48
Yeah, that's that's cool to work with, with people nationally because you know, there's a lot of regional secrets that that have been passed on from generation to generation from you You know, woodworking techniques to metal craft to what have you that somebody in the Pacific Northwest and somebody from northern Maine do things completely different. And once they jive, you're like, oh shit, like we just came up with something. And yeah, you're awesome. So
Garit Sullivan 30:17
we, man, I call him Kansas guy. He's actually from he lives in Colorado now, but he originally is in Kansas. And my wife, you know, she tells me all the time she goes, I can't keep up with all your friends you got to so we've started making like monikers like y'all will be rolling what you know, I was talking to one of the brunt guys, I know your name, but she's never going to remember it. That's what you are. Just deal with Kansas guys, Kansas. But we'll talk and like what sells in my market. He's never thought about ever right? And what's in his market I've never thought about. And so that's where this collaboration with all these trays came from. Yeah. And, you know, it's just like, I'll read, I guess some my best friendships and the best people I learned from are random strangers. I know it sounds weird. I've got a good friend of mine. He makes guitars and he makes some of the most beautiful acoustic guitars you've ever seen in your life. And I met him in Georgia, he had a little shop in that town we lived in and I literally do you can ask him to this day he laughed. We laugh about it. I literally walked into his shop is like hey, I'm a woodworker. You're a woodworker. We're gonna be friends. Like legit just basically said that he's one of my best friends in the world.
Jeremy Perkins 31:36
Well, you know, I mean, it's, it's, it's really kind of that like showstopper, like what's what's gonna grab somebody's attention? You're obviously engaged in what they do. You know? So did I just pique your interest? Or did we just cut through all the bullshit, and we're not going to be friends. So there was no point in having that 30 minute reaction that nobody actually gave a crap about.
Garit Sullivan 31:57
Right? Like he. One thing I do now with my cutting boards is I call them pinstriping. So it's almost as thin as like veneer. And I run it between two dark pieces. And it literally looks like a pinstripe. And I got that from his inlays on his acoustic Yeah, like he runs a real thin line around certain places. And so that was a very odd collaboration there. And I was up in Toronto, but you know, I guess I'll get away from your question. A lot of it is I like the personal interaction. And so I'll seek out people that do what I'm looking for. I will use YouTube I don't I don't do YouTube a lot. I just don't Yeah, I don't know why I just never have unless I want to do something specific. It's usually something that's way outside of my comfort zone like electrical work or you know, plumbing. I'll go there. But I really like if I know somebody that that does it because I was a bartender forever here in town. And so I've met a lot of people and so if somebody does something I want to know about I'll literally just call up and say hey, I want to pick your brain for a little while it's good shit. Oh, no, no, I
Jeremy Perkins 33:23
mean it is it is amazing is is it takes a certain class of person to you know, having that outgoing personality being able to talk obviously helps with the customer service aspect and all the the sales aspect that you do, but it also helps you get information that you want out of somebody whether it's you know, hey what do you do show me what you do a lot of people shy away from it and then you know on their ride home gone shit I should I should have asked them about this right and it's always having those regrets that that you know if you can cap you can see them and capitalize on them before you actually have that long car ride home going well I wish I talked and I that happened to me and makers camp there was a few folks that I wanted to talk to it and makers camp and I just you know one I couldn't find but you know, it was it was a lot it was a lot so yeah, definitely capitalize on it next. Next go around but yeah, oh, I just like ride home was like shit. I wish I got 15 minutes with that person.
Garit Sullivan 34:26
You know, you asked me earlier if my day job leaked into this, this life this. So when I was at Maker Camp, and Lucas was making fun of me until about day two. I had taken the schedule and literally made a cat my cat on my calendar put down you know, like meetings but they were the classes that I wanted to do. And so my calendar and I was showing it to Lucas he was like, You're not going to about day two. He was like okay, I can see how that was smart. The healer After me for having that I was like, Hey, this is how I my brain. Yeah, I set alarms for I forget everything I asked my wife, it's so bad. So I literally will just say, hey Siri, set an alarm for this. And all of a sudden I'll be out in public and alarm would go off and be like, pick up dry cleaning. You have to set an alarm for that. I won't get yelled at later. So
Jeremy Perkins 35:27
I'm laughing because my wife does the same thing. So there's no, there's no label to it. So an alarm will go off and she has no idea what she said it for.
Garit Sullivan 35:35
Say I learned from that mistake very early on, because I'd be like, Oh, okay. No idea. No clue. Didn't you set an alarm? I sure did.
Jeremy Perkins 35:50
So, so. Get this thing back back on the rails here. One of the one of the things I like I like to ask is so obviously, you know, one of the biggest challenge you had was was rebuilding the shop and, and going through the whole insurance process and all that. But what is one of the current challenges that you're facing that you want to kind of overcome or you're dealing with now?
Garit Sullivan 36:18
Burnout really? Yeah, yeah, burnout. So I've been doing this for it'll be my sixth year, my fourth year at this market. Let's be honest, cutting boards are not rocket science. Yeah. They're just not I do things that are specific that are special. I've got something really cool in the works but I've been basically been making the same thing for six years. And there's not a lot that I don't do customize you know, I'll do a little bit of customized you know, inlay work. But with the market nobody wants to nobody comes out to a farmers market right to spend $300 on the cutting board. Yeah. Right. So I keep it simple edge green boards, and I was talking to my wife about it so we're gonna start doing something pretty cool and I've put out some prototypes almost brought it up to make a camp as my maker gift but it wouldn't fit in the suitcase. Yeah. We've been making these customized these custom birdhouses I found one my grandfather made he was using steam bending and attaining metal just fun stuff with just junk. Yeah, so I've been playing with that but yeah, burnouts a big thing I've been dealing with lately. And
Jeremy Perkins 37:33
now if you don't win Don't mind me ask a personal question because I know of tricks guys in the trades. A lot but burnouts dangerous for your sobriety. Correct.
Garit Sullivan 37:44
Yeah. Yeah. I don't know. I'm, I'm a very rare, odd bird, like my sobriety. Was it easy, but it wasn't hard either. I was given a choice one day, my bosses who happened to be two of my best friends, they were in my way, pulled me aside and said, Listen, you to get sober, you're fired. And I came home. My wife was she was my girlfriend at the time. And I came home. And I told her what happened? Just Well, I don't disagree with him. Either. get sober. I'm leaving. Yeah, I quit drinking that day. But what I find when I when I do burnout, and a lot of people that deal with you know, mental issues of some kind, you'll, you'll notice. They're always doing a project. Yeah. That's me, I always am doing the project. But I've started focusing more on good stuff. Like we have a garden now. I've learned how to compost, which is fun. I'm just now and my wife at literally told me the day I said, You're not Superman, if you showed her everything that I've made. And she said, if you don't think that's enough, that's on you. Because I never think I'm never where I want to be. So burnout, I think is because I push myself so hard all the time. And I'm doing the same. Yeah.
Jeremy Perkins 39:17
So so it's kind of, I mean, adding another variety or adding a new skill, a new product, that's, that's really going to liven it up a little bit and make things better.
Garit Sullivan 39:31
Well, that and you know, I always say I'd never have enough made for markets. I always sell exactly what I need to always have. But I never think it so one thing I've really actively started doing is setting aside 30 minutes, 45 minutes when I'm in the shop, to do something new,
to try something different. You know, that's how the birdhouses started. That's how The tray started. That's also how I started. Have you ever heard of a noodle board?
Jeremy Perkins 40:07
I have, but I
Garit Sullivan 40:09
stovetop. Basically a board that you put over your stuff. I started making some really high scale ones. Not just you know a lot of them, you see you have somebody's name on them and they just have little iron handles. Mine are basically really big cutting boards. And I use a lot of exotics, a lot of Peruvian walnut, a lot of black limbo,
Jeremy Perkins 40:39
where do you get it all from?
Garit Sullivan 40:42
I've got a couple of vendors around me, I just found one that's down in Kennesaw, Georgia, which is about an hour and a half south of me. That literally delivers it to my doorstep. Game Changer. Do I pay a little bit more? Absolutely. Do I care? None? Yeah, I just didn't. Time is my biggest. Yeah, I
Jeremy Perkins 41:01
didn't know if you were importing it yourself. Or if you went through?
Garit Sullivan 41:05
I'm not on that scale yet. I'd like to be, but not yet. We, we have a I guess my goal. What's really I'm putting my effort towards now is what's going to happen in 15 years? Yeah. What am I going to be doing? I'm 43. What am I going to be doing in 20 years? Am I still gonna be making cutting boards?
Jeremy Perkins 41:28
You got to prepare for it?
Garit Sullivan 41:31
Probably. Because it's I mean, the this business is very lucrative. We've done very well. So it's a great retirement plan. It's just getting over that hump of the burnout right now. And I think after the offseason, because I don't step foot in my shop from January till the middle of March after the holidays. But one thing we're looking at doing is Airbnb experiences at the new place. You want to come work in the woodshop can we're going to build some little tiny houses on the property, you want to come work in the woodshop come stay a
Jeremy Perkins 42:08
week, it was gonna be a hell of an insurance policy.
Garit Sullivan 42:12
I've already looked into that one trust
Jeremy Perkins 42:15
waiver. So anyway,
Garit Sullivan 42:17
yeah. Oh, that we've got a friend. That's a lawyer. He's like, dude, that waiver is gonna have to be like, that's like, that's why I'm paying. I'm gonna pay you we are
Jeremy Perkins 42:25
we are horse farm. We did the same. We had to. I mean, it was our boarding agreement. And our our waiver was just like, it was probably one of the most expensive documents that we've paid for.
Garit Sullivan 42:39
Yep. And worth everything. Right, hopefully. Yeah, right. I mean, you don't want you don't want to have, but I'm saying if you you know, it's like a condom on prom night. It's better to have it not needed to need it. Not at my wife you know, but my wife is second generation Italian who was raised in the chicken. So she said she can't cook for two people. When she cooks, it's like a meal for 10. But it's a family style of it. Yeah. I don't know. It's fun to see where you're at now. And the people you meet that was one of the things that brought me to you guys. I started seeing how your y'all handled the community around you and I got tired of I'm tired of supporting companies that have no idea who you are. Or care. Right. And so that's what I want to do in my business is get more involved in the community. I do a lot more charity work now. I'll donate to certain things. But I donate to what I want to donate for I donate. don't donate to just people that ask because most of the people just ask. They just want some Yeah. Free. Yep. So we started doing that. I don't know. I literally my brain goes all over the place it just stop me when
Jeremy Perkins 44:13
there's one hell of a podcast. It is it is. We're branching out in all directions. Love.
Garit Sullivan 44:21
I was I was very excited. Am I Am I childish? When I say I was extremely excited to do this. Absolutely not most people you know most. It's funny, especially as males, right? We're taught to be like stoked. Yeah. Right, just by gender. Like, dude, I was excited. Like, I was getting like a school kid. And it's for different reasons. It's because somebody wants to hear what I have to say. Somebody wants to talk to me because and I'm getting off here in about 1520 minutes and I'm going to We talk to a group of parents about sobriety and they asked me to do that. So I don't know. I guess I'm trying to break the stigmatism of. You can't be you know, you can still be excited like a kid about Yeah.
Jeremy Perkins 45:17
Yeah, no, I mean, Life's worth living, right. Might as well get excited share in the emotions. I mean, I agree there's, there's days that I feel emotionless if you will, and, and no, no, I should feel some emotion. And it's like, you know, certain things don't bother me, or I'm like, it should bother me. Like, I should be, I should be upset or I should be happy or what? Whatever the feeling is, and, and you're right. I mean, I guess I guess you get numb to it. You know,
Garit Sullivan 45:49
you push it aside so much that it's repressed. That's your, that's your go to? Right. That's how you handle things. That's your immediate reaction is something bothers you? Yeah. I'll just focus on something else. You know, skin, your knees walking. Not feeling good taken. But I don't know, that's one thing we've been talking about with my in my group of friends is really pushing uncomfortable communication. Admitting when you're overwhelmed, mentally, you know, because we've all been there small business. I mean, there's been days that you literally don't know what to do. Because you're so overwhelmed. Whether you agree, you know, whether you admit it or not, you've been there everybody has. And so we try to, you know, we try to talk to people about that. Anybody I come in contact with, I'll bring that conversation. And that's where your true company, you know, your your true relationships in this line of work?
Jeremy Perkins 46:51
Well, in having that open line of communication to? I don't know, there's, there's been people that have that until you've had an experience, right. And I use this one. Me and my wife were trying early on, and we had a miscarriage. Right. And, you know, then we found out from the doctor that, you know, essentially it's like one in three, right. And then so now I'm starting to now I'm starting to, then I started to talk to people, and they've had miscarriages, and they, and it was crushing for me. But on on the flip side, right? Nobody would volunteer that information prior to the event. So nope, here I am feeling like I've done something wrong, like her body has done something wrong, like we've done something wrong here. And then come to find out once you started talking to people you're like, I mean, it doesn't make it any. It doesn't make it
Garit Sullivan 47:48
this, it doesn't make it any easier. But it makes it better knowing that somebody else has gone
Jeremy Perkins 47:52
100% And it's like, it's like, Damn, if I had known this, like, you now you're now all of a sudden you're getting better support. People are telling you, you know, because then there's the healing process. And, and that's what helps with healing. And I feel like, a lot of people are just so guarded and closed that. They won't tell you like, Hey, man, I've been sober for 15 years. What? Like, how do you like, and then you can start asking those questions. You know, I don't know.
Garit Sullivan 48:21
Yeah. You know, people. It really makes people. You know, one thing I learned, it really makes people uncomfortable telling them you're an alcoholic. Most people do not have they don't know what to do. People be like, Hey, do you want to be here? No, I'm good. Why not? I've been sober for seven years. And all of a sudden people's demeanor changes. But I like to do that because I you know, it's okay. Take that stigma away from it. Yeah, but
Jeremy Perkins 48:51
I've been guilty of those, those. Those put off moments, right, where I often the beer, and they're like, No, I'm sober. And now you're sitting there like, what? You're exactly. And it's like, no,
Garit Sullivan 49:07
anybody else wants to Well,
Jeremy Perkins 49:08
I mean, as I get older, too, I realized that, you know, I've, I've, we've all struggled with something I've struggled with, with that line, if you will, and yep, you know, I've been fortunate enough, I guess to dial it back to where I haven't had to lose it. But I've been aware of that line many times. And you know, especially going through the military tough times, work stress all that stuff. So I know where that line is. And, and yeah, it's, it's, you know, the older I get, the more I realized that that they're just just as normal as you are just because they don't want to be here doesn't mean they've
Garit Sullivan 49:51
got I'm still this My pants are on the same as yours right now. You know, but Wait, what's real?
Yeah. Well, this one thing I'd also like you were talking about with the miscarriage stuff when I talk about the reason I am open about being an alcoholic is, I've helped a lot of people that you never would have thought about or never would have helped. Because people, it's a stigma. They're like something like you said, like, something's wrong with me. There's nothing wrong with you, you're just going through it. But woodworking has it really has changed my life for the better all the way. You know, I've worked in I was one of those people that I never worried about not having a job, like nothing was beneath Yeah, pressure washed a football stadium. One summer, I've logged cypress trees out of swamp, you know, swamp land and Middle Georgia. That was a horrible day. You know, it's, it's getting past, you know, learning all those traits, trying to do a little bit of everything. And as you get older, I don't remember the moment when it happened. But as I got older, and my wife has a lot to do with me, my wife has made me a better man, for sure is having those conversations, and being open about what you are what you're going through. And I try to be more that way too. And it's almost too much. Like people like, Oh, you're trying too hard. No, I'm not trying too hard at all. This is, this is my life. If it's not you, I'll still be your friend, all day, every day. But I'm not gonna dial it back in an hour. on what's happening, what I want to do what you know, and I don't think anybody should. So it's fun to have conversations, especially you're right, like the mindset of makers. Like when we said, you know, you're going to New York to hang out with 500 of your closest friends. Literally, I would turn around and talk to a stranger, and we were best friends and like, 10 men,
Jeremy Perkins 52:16
and that's, and that was the best part about that place, too. Is is it, you know, there's some, there's some guys that are way up there. And there's some guys that are just starting off. And that was one of the very few places that not that there's seniority within the maker community, but there was, whatever, whatever titles or, or seniority or hierarchy or whatever you had, there was gone. And it was, yeah, it was, you know, Mr. This guy would miss this Miss Miss this girl. And it was it was, it was fluid. It was it was amazing, you know, and there was just a free flow of information knowledge. You know, obviously, a whole bunch of fun. But yeah, it was dropping all those barriers, and just like really getting down to everybody being passionate about their craft, and learning about others crafts, and how, how they could help, or how somebody else could contribute to their, to their life. And it was amazing. It was it was awesome. Yeah, yeah, it really,
Garit Sullivan 53:17
you know, let's be honest, there is a starstruck feeling when you get to a creator, that's, you know, million followers, stuff like that. They're just there. And you're, you're exactly right, if you didn't see those people's faces, right. If you didn't know who they were beforehand, you would have never known they were like that. Well, the people that were there,
Jeremy Perkins 53:39
I mean, not not to take them go. But like, it also gave me more confidence, because now you're seeing them as a human right, like you're standing in front of them. And you're sitting there go, it's not so big and scary as as you would assume it would be like going to meet this. You know, fuck Jimmy duresta. Let's just put it that way. Or, or I'll try it. Yeah, but these bigger names, right? They realize that they have dad, once again, they put their pants on just like you.
Garit Sullivan 54:09
Yep, they deal with the same mental problem, whether it may not be the same, but they do they deal with the same anguish they deal with the same. You know, they have found a way to make it work. Yeah. I would love to focus more on social media next year. You know, I'm a small creator. But the fun thing about being a small creator is the relationships you still get to have like, when you get up to that level. I've talked to some people that are 20,000 30,000 They're like, you know, I have to turn off my notifications sometimes. was like, I would know what that's like.
Jeremy Perkins 54:43
Somebody call me today.
Garit Sullivan 54:45
Yeah, right. Like if my wife calls me, I'm good. Did she? You gotta meet her one day. She's my biggest Yeah, she's like, you know, like we were talking about the other day. I am not the wanting to ask if I should do something or if you should do something or not, I'm not that person. Because I'm always gonna say always I don't care what it is if you want to do it and makes you happy, do it. And my wife's the same way she was like, you know screw what people think if it makes you happy, do it.
Jeremy Perkins 55:18
So that's a southern hospitality you come up here. We're a little bit meaner
Garit Sullivan 55:25
I don't know. She's
Jeremy Perkins 55:27
awesome. Awesome. So all right outside of the woodworking outside of you know your job with whirlpool. What is like your like you go hiking, fishing. How do you unwind?
Garit Sullivan 55:42
Yeah, so I'm big outdoors, but I'm backpacking outdoors, not hunting outdoors. I have hunted in the past, but I really enjoy backpacking. I enjoy everything being on me, that I need, will go for several days. And we'll try to get a trip together in January with somebody
Jeremy Perkins 55:59
like minimally survival or like more like,
Garit Sullivan 56:02
no, no, I mean, I've spent some time building up my gear. I like to be comfortable, but it is. It is kind of minimalist. But you know if it can't fit my backpack, it doesn't go. Right now. Do I have a 65 litre backpack? Absolutely. You know, but I love to my wife and I started going hiking last year with the dog. It was awesome. We're gonna we've started traveling we've, we've started. We we played a new game this year. We put three places each we wrote on a little piece of paper. We watered it up. One was within six hours. One was in North America, either Canada, Mexico are us. And one was international. We wrote them on this. We put them in a cup, shook it up and had our mother her mother pick. And the last one in the cup is well this year. I think we're going to DC this year. She's never been I've been since I was a kid. But we're starting to travel more I love to travel.
Jeremy Perkins 57:09
Go source that Peruvian wood
Garit Sullivan 57:15
true story. True story. I was in Toronto. I went by a shop rustic designs by rich makes river cables. Him and his son. And he sent me while I was up there for my day job he sent me he said hey, you need to go see my lumberyard. So he sent me the address I went down there. I'm not kidding you. They had put duck trees, not little slabs. I'm talking these. This is where they import from overseas. This is the first stop. These trees were the slabs were wider than my reach. And I've got a six foot three, six foot four wingspan. And about the size of the school bus. The sections of
Jeremy Perkins 58:01
I mean I see what that's that's crazy because my wife was in the hardwood flooring industry and just just the quality you know how to keep a lot of that wood climate control and all that stuff. I couldn't imagine seeing something like Datsun on a container ship for, you know, for like, how did they get shipped? Like what is it? That's got to be a process in its own right.
Garit Sullivan 58:23
And I just think to myself, that's one of those things that like it can go bad real fast. Like that's just my thought like, like, oh, like you're like, did you leave the stove on? Like, did you did you wax the end of the tree or paint the you know, I can go back to that. But yeah, I love to hike. I love my wife, that's we have started in the last few years really taking time for ourselves. We can sit on the couch one night on a Friday night and just not spam. But because we're by you know, trying to slow down a little bit more as we get older. Just enjoy it. Because it does go by quick. You know, our son's 26 Yesterday was like daughter's 20. That flies Yeah, real fast.
Jeremy Perkins 59:18
Yeah, I'm starting to see that. I mean, I don't I don't want to be that old, old guy. That's, that's like, Oh, you're joining us. Well last but it's true. I mean, I just I had I had one infant, two infants. Now I got. I mean, they're six and eight, but they might as well be 14. You know, I mean, pretty soon they'll be out of the house. Do you have a daughter? I do. She's eight.
Garit Sullivan 59:40
Okay, when she's 15 Don't call me. I got nothing for you. I dealt with a bad hair day with the 15 year old like she decided she wanted to pick like the short. I was so bad. And I was in news at the time new stepdad coming into it like within a week. Less than a year in and this happened. I have no idea what to do. It's so bad. But yeah, that's another thing is family. We have family dinner night every Sunday. Yeah,
Jeremy Perkins 1:00:12
that's I mean, that's the kids. That's big. Yeah,
Garit Sullivan 1:00:16
the kids come over we do you know, big meals? I don't know, I never really thought about I don't do much. I'm kind of boring.
Jeremy Perkins 1:00:24
No, I mean, this, like I said, I mean, we're getting to the end of the, the end of the show, but I mean, yeah, it's, you're not boring by any means. I do think that a lot of people look at consistency as potentially being boring. You know, with my, with my life in the automotive industry, and my hyperactivity, and all winter, you put a label on it, but I'm not going to anyway. So it was just one of those things that like, I was constantly doing something different and had my hands involved in other things. And but when I looked at the person that, you know, had the routine, did the same thing over and over again, was really happy and really content with what they did. I'm like, they're boring. No, that's just a completely different way of living.
Garit Sullivan 1:01:10
It is. And, you know, we're we're starting now to have a little bit more fun. You know, I want to go back to where we honeymoon down in Belize. That was fun. It was an amazing trip. But I also want to, like we were talking about the big the woodworking, I want to figure out what to do I want to add another CNC or do I want to I think after talking with one of the guys from Green Street joinery up in New York, a white belt sander. The you know, just because at this point, with what I do, time is where I make my money. My Woods locked in a price. I mean, it varies, it fluctuates, but not much. Machines are all paid for. So where I make more money is time. So well, how can I do it?
Jeremy Perkins 1:02:10
more efficiently, quickly, but
Garit Sullivan 1:02:13
profitably properly? I guess we use that's a new term. There you go.
Jeremy Perkins 1:02:19
Yeah, I mean, next challenge the carrots facing. Well, we're at the end of the podcast, and I'm sure we can go on and on and on and on. But I do want to take this time for you to be able to plug where we could find you where we could purchase a cutting board from you where we could learn more about Garrett ask him questions. So the floor is yours for websites handles. Books long. Yeah, whatever.
Garit Sullivan 1:02:45
So CW underscore woodworking on Instagram, CW wood, one word on Tik Tok, which I never thought I'd be doing. But somehow we're at almost 1000 Facebook is CW woodworking. Be careful when you look because, you know, I didn't think about this when I started CW as my grandfather's initials because of his tools. That's where the name came from. There was a guy in it, that makes furniture out in the middle of nowhere, that won't come up off his URL. So when the website starts up, it'll be CW woodworking.net. And that should be in February. So look for that. But Instagram is where we do a lot of our communication. You can order from there if you see something you like, I haven't been posting because I've been so heads down in the holidays. But if you've got an idea, you want something you see something you like, shoot me a message I've shipped all across the country to some pretty cool people and you know, still friends with a lot of them, which is really cool. But yeah, CW would on tick tock CW underscore woodworking on Instagram. CW woodworking.net Come February and I'll be posting a lot about that coming soon. You know, an email is Garrett, GA R it at CW woodworking.net Shoot me an email. Whatever you need. Awesome. So there you go. Thanks, dude. I appreciate I really I really do appreciate you having me on I enjoy stuff.
Jeremy Perkins 1:04:23
Well, I was glad to dive deeper actually, we didn't get to talk about much. And this was this was even better. So obviously have you on again and and you know, we'll have you on when you're 60. And we'll really figure out if you drew out that
Garit Sullivan 1:04:38
if we if we did it. You know, I want to I want to talk in three years and see if my apprentices that now run it. That's what that's my goal is for everybody around me to do better than There
Jeremy Perkins 1:04:51
you go. So awesome. And as a special thanks to our loyal listeners. We're giving $10 off your next purchase of six dollars or more at brunch workwear.com Use Discount Code bucket talk that's bucket talk 10
Garit Sullivan is a custom woodworker who has his own business crafting custom pieces and selling them. Along with being a woodworker by trade Garit works in the tech world and as a project manager with a few employees working under him for all of his endeavors. True entrepreneurial mindset mixed in with the trades.
Some of Garit’s most popular pieces include anything from tables to cutting boards being in high demand around the holidays; he stays busy with the plethora of occupations. Garit and Jeremy talk about the dangers of working in the shop and the rewarding experience surrounding teaching someone under you and having an apprentice, passing on knowledge.
Garit gives us a fresh perspective on how amateur some people may be starting out a job and the growing pains of having young struggling employees. Being a boss and learning yourself is a process and everyone learns at their own speed; some words Garit goes by.