“In 2011 I took the leap and started working for myself as Old North Designs making furniture and millwork. I fumbled around for several years trying to make the business work, not knowing all the challenges that would come along with being self employed. Working by myself became depressing and after 5 years I was ready to give up.

Around that time I heard about The Maker City and started going to some of the Maker Meep-ups. At one of the first ones I was introduced to Dan. He was an older cabinetmaker who had been a one man shop for 35 years and raised a family doing it, even more so he seemed really happy! He asked me to give him a hand on a large job and I learned everything I could from him in the following months. Up to this point I had developed a good sized wood shop and since I was working with Dan I opened it up to The Maker City community and brought in a couple guys. Shortly after that I landed a large job that was more than I could handle by myself, fortunately I already had a strong talent base working out of my shop and everyone hopped on board to give me a hand.

Through the Maker City I have gained great mentors to guide me in my craft and in business as well as several great friends who support me as I do them. There are currently 5 of us working out of my shop, each working for themselves, and we have plans to expand the shared shop to many more sometime next year. Thanks to the community The Maker City formed around people like me, I can say I again enjoy doing what I do.”

- Spencer Ratliff, Old North Designs