For Darryl Jones, Founder of Dread Knot Woodshop, his love for art and creating things with his hands started at a young age. Beginning in middle school and going through high school, he was influenced by his grandfather and shop teachers. When Jones, who now works full-time as a User Support Analyst for Volusia County Public Schools, started making furniture for friends and family, he knew it would eventually become much more than just a hobby.
“I enjoyed making things out of wood, but I really enjoyed the teaching component and sharing information with people,” Jones said. “As I learned the craft and got better at wood working and wood turning, I started doing tutorials and teaching classes. I set up my own YouTube channel and found some other avenues where I could make money.”
Jones continued, “I eventually became a representative with Nova, a global manufacturer of wood working equipment, after emailing them about an issue I had with some equipment. I saw them at a trade show and discussed ways that we could work together to improve their customer service experience. They liked what they heard and set me up as a product tester. I started making videos for them and others.”
As a brand ambassador for several other companies in the wood turning industry, Jones participates in trade shows, teaches classes and also does wood turning demonstrations for various American Association of Woodturners clubs. As a National Demonstrator for Robert Sorby, a producer of wood turning tools, Jones’ reputation continues to grow.
“The companies I represent like that I’m really personable and easy to talk to,” Jones said. “People can relate to me and I’m not pushy. They pay for me to travel and to represent their companies and products.”
Jones’ business is certainly unique. He doesn’t necessarily sell anything. Instead, his revenue streams are centered on brand ambassadorship, content creation, developing video tutorials and education. In addition to representing national companies, Jones also teaches classes for Rockler Woodworking and Hardware, located in Altamonte Springs.
“I don’t want to work for anyone – I want to work with companies,” Jones said. “I’m setting up multiple streams to make sure I’m not too reliant on any one thing. I’m developing a new segment right now geared towards doing demos for the wood turning clubs. I also have my own social media presence where I’ve developed a good following.”
For Jones, the joy of teaching and exposing others to wood working and wood turning is complemented by the happiness he brings to others.
“The motto of my business is, ‘Dread Knot and Make Something’,” he said. “I love helping other people experience the feeling of creating something with their own hands. There’s so much pride in building something yourself and seeing a final product that could easily be on the shelf of a store. We’ve gotten away from that in America, but it’s part of our spirit. Our country was built on craftsmanship and people building things with their hands. I want to bring people back to that.”
Looking ahead, Jones’ goal is to go full-time on his business in one to two years. In the meantime, he’s financially preparing himself for the inevitable expenses that come with self-employment.
What advice does Jones have for aspiring entrepreneurs? First of all, “It’s never too late to follow your dreams,” he said. “If things don’t go as planned, there are always jobs out there. At the end of your time, you want to be able to lay your head to rest knowing you tried. People are so afraid to strike out. Sometimes that happens, but it’s important to never give up. When you have a vision of what you want, you have to go after it like a bulldog.”