Female Woodworkers Bring Business Owners’ Dreams To Life

By Rachel Lord The Albany Herald, Ga.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Jen Gordon and Kristin Smith  started woodworking on their own, both creating pieces and operating under their own businesses, but they teamed up in 2014 because, as they both say, only half-joking, Kristin made too much of a mess in her garage and her husband told her she had to find somewhere else to work.

ALBANY

Off Palmyra Road in Lee County, in what looks and feels like a very large storage unit, you can find two master woodworkers.

Now before you picture two buff men in flannel shirts and blue jeans, you should know that these two woodworkers and owners of PD & Product are women -- Jen Gordon and Kristin Smith.

The door to the shop may be open, letting some air circulate through the building. Jen may be playing rap music as she works on one of their pieces.

You might get to meet Kristin's friendly gray pit bull. You might even see Kristin's painted nails and jewelry and think, just for a second, that she is a "girly girl," that she couldn't possibly be one of the woodworkers in the shop.

But, ultimately, you will be impressed at the level of craftsmanship of the pieces this duo has created, pieces that could be put up against work from any other great woodworker -- male or female.

And if you don't know their names, you probably still know their work.

They were behind the transformation of The Cookie Shoppe on North Jackson Street in Albany. They did everything from dressing rooms to checkout counters to earring holders (and more) at Bandit and the Babe located on the first floor of the Flats at 249 on Pine Avenue.

They also helped remodel Cannon Financial in Albany. And more recently, they helped the Singfield family turn their dream of a restaurant in downtown Albany into a reality, creating the exterior sign for the restaurant, sliding doors in the VIP room, VIP room tables, a large focal wall, another sign on the interior, and they're still hard at work on a giant wine rack for the restaurant as well.

The duo originally started out on their own, both creating pieces and operating under their own businesses, but they teamed up in 2014 because, as they both say, only half-joking, Kristin made too much of a mess in her garage and her husband told her she had to find somewhere else to work.

"We opened in August of 2014, and we opened in a 1,500-square-foot church social hall," Jen says. "We had no business being a woodshop ... and then what," she looks at Kristin," four days later you were building a bedroom suite?"

Kristin nods, and they both laugh a little.

"It's not stopped since then," Jen says.

They also laugh as they talk about expanding in that space in Sasser and telling the church they were renting it from that they would need to blow through a wall and take over their storage room, too.

And while Kristin still works as a financial consultant and they're not always in the shop at the same time, they still agree that they work better as a team rather than working on their own.

"When we co-mingled our businesses, at that point each of us was looking for that other piece that we lacked," Jennifer says.

"I'm crap with money and all things businesswise, mostly just because I don't care. I'm more interested in making things and making them pretty, where she's got a head for business that I don't have."

Before I even have a chance to ask about them being women in a male-dominated profession, Jen brings it up.

"She needed a shop, and I needed a shop and neither of us really wanted to work with a man because then he's in charge," she says.

I nod, Jen finishes her thought, and I bring the subject up again.

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