I had the opportunity to photograph the opening of a friend's shop, Sons of Sawdust Supply. This is the brick-and-mortar retail space that, in addition to offering a carefully curated selection of goods, also showcases the work of their business Sons of Sawdust. Matt and Shayna Hobbs, along with Matt's brother Ben, started this business shortly after our families met. They build furniture, design and install structural renovations, and salvage their materials, all crafted or gleaned from wood they reclaim from old and dilapidated buildings. It has been good to watch them build this business from the ground up, and have seen their hard work and innovation take form as a growing enterprise. Here is how they narrate their purpose and growth:
"Sons of Sawdust ™ is a woodworking business located in Athens, Ga that specializes in building custom farm tables, furniture and transforming entire spaces with reclaimed wood. Here is the story of how Sons of Sawdust ™ came to be:
The Hobbs brothers started Sons of Sawdust ™ after a series of unfortunate events that lead them to desperation and brokenness. A few years ago Matt and his wife, Shayna, lost their once successful photography business during the recession. In early 2014 Ben was working in construction and had a knee injury which left him unemployed and broke.
“In our deepest, darkest moments financially, there were thoughts of suicide,” Matt says. “There were thoughts that we could never rise out of this. I definitely had thoughts of ending my life—the utter despair I felt when we were going through all that.”
Shortly after Ben’s knee injury, he recalls, “I got really depressed, because that was my only source of income. And Matt, being the good brother he is, sits down with me and says, ‘How can we make some money for you? You don’t have to despair, there is a solution out there.'”
Matt had recently built Shayna (his wife) a homemade farm table as a gift. While building the table, Matt had the idea that Ben could build tables and sell the tables on Craigslist to make money until he could get back to his construction job. Matt shared this idea with Ben while sitting on his back porch just feet away from the freshly built farm table. This idea was the catalyst of the Hobbs brothers venture into woodworking as a profession.
Within a few days Ben got a call from a guy who was tearing down an old house and wanted to get rid of the wood, so the brothers jumped on what looked like a good opportunity. ”We just put two and two together and got the load of wood, built a table or two, put them on Craigslist and orders just started flying in. It didn't really start slowing down, so we figured we were on to something,” Ben says. And thus, Sons of Sawdust ™ was born.
The business may have originated from a stroke of luck in a desperate situation, but the Hobbs brothers' story as woodworkers has been much longer in the making. Sons of Sawdust ™ started in May of 2014, but Matt and Ben started working with wood as children with their grandfather, who they credit, their primary influence when it comes to craftsmanship as well as character."
In addition to the links above, you can find the Instagram account for Sons of Sawdust here (explore the archives to find their epic dance parties, thank me later) and the Instagram account for Sons of Sawdust Supply here.