It’s all about family for Peter Romano. Growing up in Delaware, Peter’s father and mother operated a successful masonry business. Peter’s father ran the business ends and contracts, and his mother kept the books. At its peak, Romano’s Masonry had around sixty employees. Today, the business has shifted its business model to include subcontracting but manages to maintain its identity.
Peter left Delaware to attend Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. After meeting his wife at Harding, Peter and his wife moved to Colorado for a few years before Peter returned to the family business. Working at Romano’s Masonry for a few years expanded the knowledge Peter had gained through his childhood. However, after returning to Delaware, Peter felt God calling him to raise a family elsewhere. Peter and his family left Delaware to move back to Searcy with little planning and a whole lotta faith. He had no job secured, no leads on any open positions, and eventually he and his family were able to move into an old family home. The home had been in his wife’s family since the 1940s and was in desperate need of renovations. Determined to make the best of life in Searcy, Peter began teaching high school history, became a volunteer fireman, attending graduate school for his master’s degree in counseling, and renovating the family home. When Peter was unsure about how to properly renovate his home, he often turned to YouTube to help guide him along.
This week’s guest host talks shop with The Build Guild about being raised by parents who owned a successful business, how YouTube has evolved the world of making, and even how each of the guys asked their girlfriend’s dad for permission to marry his daughter.
5 HP Sawstop
1.75 HP Sawstop
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Episode Two: Look Ma, I’m on TV
What is winning $75,000 and being featured on a reality television series like? For Coty Skinner, that dream became a reality in March of 2019 when his company, ARganic Woodworking, LLC, was chosen as one of the six contestants for the Hulu series, “Small Business Revolution,” sponsored by the highly respected marketing firm, Deluxe.
Coty hadn’t always dreamed of being a maker, though. Upon graduation from a high school in central Arkansas, Coty enlisted with the United States Army. After serving in the Army for ten years, Coty pursued a career in HVAC, and then felt God calling him into ministry. After having two daughters of their own, ages 5 and 13, Coty and his wife began a new challenging and impactful ministry of their own: fostering.
Being a foster parent is full of challenges and hurdles, and very quickly Coty realized a glaring obstacle: the family dining table was too small. Remembering his own teenage years and the impact conversations made at the family table had on him, he realized he needed to build a table with enough room for his family and the children they fostered. Driven by a passion for ministering to others and making sure everyone has a seat at the table, ARganic Woodworking was born. Working out of his garage, for every three tables Coty made, he donated one to a foster family in need of a bigger table. As his business has grown, Coty wants to move from making tables to creating livelihoods for teens aging out of the foster system by teaching them a trade.
“The more you do, the more you learn it.”
ARganic Woodworking became Coty’s full-time business this year, and several of his projects garnered local attention, specifically tables he made for a local coffee shop and creperie, Savor + Sip. His wife encouraged him to apply for the Small Business Revolution, a Hulu series sponsored by Deluxe with hosts Amanda Brinkman and Ty Pennington. Applying on the last day, with very little optimism that his company would be chosen, ARganic Woodworking was selected as one of six winners on the show.
Coty’s story and business are inspiring, humbling, and reminds us that no matter where you are in your making journey, in this community, you always have a seat at the table.
Thank you for listening to Week 2! If you enjoyed the podcast, please leave a rating and review!
Make sure to follow us on Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/thebuildguildpodcast/
Also, check out Coty’s Wish List items from the Small Business Revolution show, and any other tools we mentioned today!
The Saw Stop Product Link: Commercial 5HP Saw Stop
Powermatic Drum Sander:
Grizzly 17 Band Saw
Bosch Miter Saw Glide and Rolling Stand
KPEX from Festool
Dewalt Flex-Volt Miter Saw
Festool CT-36 Auto-Clean
Episode One: Meeting the Makers
From social media, the Small Business Revolution™, and side hustles, three makers from different backgrounds have all settled into a small central Arkansas town. Driven by their love for making, community, and connection, Ben, Brian, and Coty invite you to take an inside look into the making world: from stealing Wal-Mart Wi-Fi to for Instagram posts to selling pencil bowls to grandma.
Each of these makers bring a variety of skills into their niche of the market into the making community. The Build Guild is just evidence that everyone brings something to the table, and if you’re Coty, you just might bring the table itself.
Who are the Makers?
Brian Hickey is a native Arkansan who teaches art at a local elementary school. Making is his side hustle, and he devotes most of his summer breaks to it. Brian’s specialties are wood signs, art prints, and paintings. Brian currently has his shop set up in his garage and is breaking even in his business as he amasses tools and other necessities. Brian’s social media presence and content is a direct reflection of the intentionality he exemplifies in his career and craft, with him walking to Wal-Mart each day to make a post to Instagram.
Coty Skinner is a native Arkansan who, after serving in the United States military, decided to return home and put down roots. He was one of six contestants chosen for season four of Hulu and Deluxe’s Small Business Revolution and hopes to put the expert advice and consultations he received from the show into practice in his business. Coty is the only full-time maker on the podcast, and he is currently working out of his own garage. Being featured on the show will provide Coty with incredible opportunities for growth, enhancement, and business savvy tactics to turn profits.
Ben Myers decided to leave Pennsylvania to come to college and never looked back. Ben is a hybrid of classic woodworking in the modern era. From woodturning to turning profits on digital CNC files, Ben has cornered his market, and brings insight on the delights and downfalls of social media, viral videos, and how that translates into business.
The Build Guild was created to demonstrate how three normal, average, and everyday dads are cornering their market while balancing family, fatherhood, and making. The show addresses a variety of topics from where customers come from, when your side hustle finally starts to feel like a business, to the hardships of pricing, and everything in between.
If you’ve listened already, feel free to leave a review and comment!
We hope you liked the first episode! Thanks for listening!
-The Build Guild
We're so glad you found us! We're excited to share this new endeavor for us. When Brian and I (Ben) got to talking in the shop we realized we had an abundance of makers in our small community. We thought it would be fun to get together in person and talk about the maker life. We think it adds to the conversation to be able to talk to someone in the same room. We know there are many different types of makers in this world, and we wanted to included them all in our conversations.
We knew that just two guys talking to each other wasn't as exciting as a group so we went on the hunt for a third host. That's when we approached Coty. We know Coty through a friend of a friend type situation. He's a full time woodworker and around our age. We all quickly became fast friends. Coty jumped on board to co-host with us. He may be absent for some episodes when we have guest co-hosts join in. He's got a full time job and family to take care of so we'll give him a pass.
We hope you enjoy the podcast. We know we're new and starting out so growing pains are part of the deal. We're no pros at this stuff. Our mics may sound fuzzy, our conversations may take an odd turn, but the intent to entertain and occasionally inform will always be our goal.
Welcome to the Build Guild!
-Ben, Brian, and Coty.