Studio 300 / Kentucky Knows
Tell us about your business.Prior to the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky I had a vision of horses & KY bourbon while sitting at a stop light. The stop light had a time clock ticker just above the stop light, the time clock was counting the days down to the World Equestrian Games of 2010. I wanted to put a twist on things to symbolize our majestic thoroughbreds & iconic KY bourbons. Booth rental during the games ranged from 10 - $20,000. which I did not have. I toured Lexington in my work truck & sold Kentucky's first Bourbon barrel cutting board during the World Equestrian Games. My process starts by purchasing used barrels from some of the Kentucky distilleries. Inside the retired James Pepper Distillery, located in the Distillery District of Lexington, Ky is where I disassemble the barrels & create my craft. August 10, 2011 I accomplished a major goal. I met with Liquor Barn USA & made it into one store in Lex, Ky. Two years later I'm now in eleven Liquor Barn Stores, which they have 236 stores.
What makes your business stand out?My handcrafted pieces represent family, hard work & the American dream. Bourbon & horses are icons of Kentucky & represent our culture & traditions leading back to the Whiskey Rebellion. My American made products are functional pieces that are taken from the barrel & brought to the kitchen, where every American dream is started. Most dreams in America are always started in the kitchen whether we realize it or not. Food is where the family is; our Bourbon barrel cutting boards & other products represent family! Each piece is recycled & handcrafted in an unheated old building at the former James E. Pepper Distillery off Manchester Street. Inside I dismantle bourbon barrels that once held 53 gallons of Kentucky Bourbon. I work with a few of the distilleries in the state, but most often with Buffalo Trace in Franklin County. I admit I'm not an artist but someone with a passion for Kentucky icons and building self worth for all involved though crafting.
What's the best business advice you've received?I have to say the best advice and leadership I received was from the United States Marine Corps. This is where I was taught everything that would one day lead me to where I'm now in my life. It's the principles that the Marines taught me that have allowed me to succeed today. The Marines taught me how to be on time, how to stay motivated, to be honest and hard working. It's that advice that has helped drive me to want to succeed and to leave a legacy behind.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 8, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.