We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandon Craig and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brandon, what role has risk played in your life or career?
One of my favorite jobs I have ever worked was a Power Line Clearance Tree Trimmer, talk about dangerous risk. Now that I’m a little older (30 on the 14th of march) let’s get the idea of a dangerous risk off the table. I am a father, therefore I need to take calculated risks. With that said, you’ll never grow if you’re always in your comfort zone, and I find it incredibly important to believe in yourself and what you do. Take the wildfire fundraiser that I started “Cutting Boards For a Cause” as a perfect example of risk. It’s early September 2020 and the Holiday Farm Fire in Oregon is destroying the area surrounding my parents home. My girlfriends family cabin is turned to ash and the entire highway for 20 miles forever changed. Homes, cars, neighborhoods, churches, all destroyed in the flames. My woodshop was focused on producing guitar pedal boards, with the occasional cutting board. I decide to stop all production on pedal boards and switch entirely to Cutting Boards with the idea of a fundraiser. I set a small goal of $1000 or until the end of September, whichever comes last. You have to understand that my pedal board “business” had produced maybe 20 boards at this time, but I had recently been featured by two very large creators online and had hoped that things would really get started. So, Risk 1, losing the momentum from this new exposure. Risk 2, I’d be making cutting boards that might not sell. I was planning on taking 10-20 to every Sunday market event and hopeful we could hit that $1000 goal. The pedal boards were put on hold indefinitely. The first week we hit just shy of the goal and by the end of September, we were over twice that. I decided to keep going as week after week, people were asking if I was still selling. At the end of October the fundraiser had raised $4500 to help the victims of the fire. I had donated 75+% of every dollar I took in, not of my profits, but of the sale price. The fundraiser was a massive success, I was worn thin trying to meet the demand while working my day job. But the risk I took of losing the pedal board sales and momentum was worth it. I found that my passion was in helping, and the cutting boards are a great way to do just that. Currently I still make and sell cutting boards, the ocassional pedal board, and other small handmade wooden items. My woodshop is busier now than it ever has been, and I’m finally at a spot where I am doing risk analysis to decide if the woodshop is enough to be My main source of income. Scary, exciting times. I’ve been in talks with an organization that helps bring awareness and research for Sensory Processing Disorder, and will be working on a way to donate to them through my business. The Avett Brothers have a quote “Decide what to be and go be it” and I live by those words. Risk, to me, is not just being reckless and wishing for the best. It’s taking methodical steps towards a best outcome and knowing when to go for something, even if it might fail. Because growth and success both come from failure, if you know how to make them.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Along my journey as an artist (musician, woodworker, creative type) I’ve learned so much about myself. How to handle criticism was the biggest lesson. We, as artists, put so much of ourselves into our work and when you have someone not like it, it’s very easy to feel that deeply within your soul. I had to learn that my art was an expression of me and that I needed it for me, not for anyone else. Of course, we all love it when someone loves our art, it’s magical, but I don’t need that. I appreciate the feeling of someone connecting with my work, but I do it for me. I’ve carried that same mindset from singer songwriter, over to woodworker. I am allowed the freedom to design and create, and I so enjoy that. Obviously when creating my work, I do make it pleasing to the eye enough that people will buy, but I always make sure to enjoy the process. If I lose the love of the art, I would be devastated. I am not a woodworker first, I am an artist first. I could never work in a production shop, making on thing, or doing one task. I need the creative outlet of this trade. If there was one thing I could leave the world with, it would be to inspire people to use their powers for good. If you have the ability to create, use them to help. I donate when I can, and I am always down to help a good cause. I think we all need to focus a little more on those around us.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A year ago I would have said that we would go out to a bar and watch/play some live music. That answer still holds true, when the world gets back there! After a few nights of music and beers with friends, I’d say we have to do some hiking. Oregon is beautiful, and the hiking spots are abundant. Then, we would absolutely have to spend some time just relaxing in the woodshop. My woodshop is my space. We can grab a few guitars, a good bottle of whisky, and just be in the shop. Im a pretty basic person 🙂
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
If I were going to give anyone else credit for my success, It would have to be my girlfriend, Myranda. She has stood by my side on those long nights in the shop and taken care of the house. Without her helping me with my 3 children, and giving me the support I need to keep going, I don’t know where I’d be. Also, my children, to them, thank you for spending time in the shop with me, thank you for understanding that all of this time spent in the shop is not to be away from you. It’s to one day make it so I can be with you more, and give you a better life. If the shop becomes my primary job, I’ll be spending more time inside at night and less time out there “after work”
Other: Tiktok @1915woodworks