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Meet Debbie and Ben Conroy of Conderosa Creations in Riverside

Today we’d like to introduce you to Debbie and Ben Conroy.

Debbie and Ben, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
We started our company out of pure desperation. I unexpectedly lost my job last fall and after being employed for 25 years, our family all of a sudden had to survive on one part-time salary. A couple of days after being sad, angry, confused, and all the other emotions that go with losing a job, my husband said “let’s make something.” Instead of focusing on the negative, we decided to change focus to our creative side. We got some inspiration online and started working. It was still several weeks away from Christmas, so we agreed that we should make a Santa sign. We worked all night and finished the sign the next day. We were happy, the sign came out super cute. That night, our friend came over and saw our Santa and immediately told us we need to start selling them, and that she wanted to buy three. We laughed, but she was serious and that was when we decided to put our dream of being makers to the test.

I have always been creative. I love to draw, paint, and to make things. I took ceramics in high school, learned to sew, and how to cross-stitch. But I ended up going into accounting and loving it, so my creative side was put on the back burner.

Ben and I met in 2001 and we have been together ever since. Ben is a man of many, many hats. He is a multi-talented Drummer, Sound Engineer, Carpenter, and Woodworker. He loves the whole process of picking out the perfect piece of wood, then cutting, sanding, and finishing our next creation.

The biggest inspiration and influence has been my dad Alan Nichols. When I was growing up, he had a 9-5 corporate job but he was a woodworker at heart. He wore a tie Monday thru Friday but then would come home and carve for hours. He would spend hours at the lumber store sorting through their entire stock to get excited over finding the perfect piece of straight, gorgeous grained basswood to carve. He collected a ton of it and would drive hours to get it. He would even use his Limited-Edition Camaro to haul his latest find.

He would occasionally try to make his side-hustle into a real business, but it never came together. Ben worked with him many times on different projects throughout the years. My dad was carving and working with his hands up until he died in April 2015. Ben and I were lucky enough to inherit many of my dad’s tools and some of the wood he collected has gotten us off to a great start.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
We have just started this journey as small-business makers and it’s a bumpy ride and it’s a daily struggle. We are still learning how to start and run a business while trying to get noticed in a space that has so many talented makers. We are definitely thankful that we started this journey before the massive impact of COVID-19. At least we can still be hustling and working in our shop together at home.

Please tell us about Conderosa Creations.
Conderosa Creations is a family-run business out of Riverside, California. We pride ourselves in handcrafting all pieces we make in our shop. We make custom wood signs, cutting boards, and essential oil holders using high-quality solid wood. All pieces are hand cut, hand sanded, hand painted, to become one-of-a-kind creations. We also make custom vinyl cutout stickers and heat transfer vinyl shirts (customer provides shirts).

What sets us apart from others is the dedication to creating custom pieces for our customers. We will work with you until we get a design that you love. We love it when you love it!

We keep adding more types of creations to our shop as we grow. Who knows, next week we could have something entirely new!

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
We are really new to being a business and are just starting out. But, I would say if we had to start over, we would be more prepared and informed on how to start a business and everything that entails. Also, it would help if we actually had money. Haha. We are trying to learn and grow, so that one day we may be successful ourselves, doing what we love, without having to go back to corporate life.

Pricing:

  • Solid Wood Signs from $10 and up
  • Custom Cutting Boards from $125 and up
  • Essential Oil Holders from $10 and up
  • Custom HTV Shirts from $5 and up
  • Custom Vinyl Stickers from $2 and up

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kent Nichols

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