A chance meeting at a farmers market gave a young business owner the opportunity to showcase his work at one of the newest restaurants in Columbus. Woodworker Tyler Slagle started Handcrafting Ohio just two years ago and landed Copious in the Brewery District as one of his first major projects.
“I went to the Sunbury Farmers Market to get my name out there,” Slagle says. “I passed out hundreds of cards to try to expand my business and that is when I got a call from Terry Turner, the owner of the new restaurant Copious. He wanted to have a rustic themed restaurant made from the wood that he removed from the original building.”
It was a project that perfectly fit Slagle’s style.
“Handcrafting Ohio’s style is a rustic, reclaimed style that is totally customizable,” he says. “All of the wood I use is reclaimed from Ohio barns or trees.”
He does most of it himself, tackling trees or taking down barns.
Outside of large, interior projects, Slagle handcrafts individual furniture and decor pieces like benches, bookshelves, nightstands and tables. He lets the wood speak for itself, incorporating design elements with bark and whole branches. He likes to get creative and wants his clients to as well.
“Everything that I build is customizable and am open to any ideas that people have,” Slagle says.
While he may be fresh out of high school, the woodworker already has a few years’ of experience under his belt. While in school he took every woodworking class possible, and has never stopped learning.
“From there on I was self-taught and still to this day learn something new everyday,” Slagle says.
He started the business at his shop teacher’s encouragement.
“When I was in high school my shop teacher tried and tried to get me to go to college to become a shop teacher and said that I could get a better position if I had experience in the field, thus hatching the idea of Handcrafting Ohio,” Slagle says.
The never-a-dull-moment pace of entrepreneurship has proven to be exciting for Slagle. And while he may be learning something new with woodworking every day, being a business owner has been the biggest learning experience of his life.
One of the biggest learning curves has been overcoming his perceived inexperience because of his age.
“People can say all the time that my age doesn’t matter, but when you first walk in and meet the client sometimes they can get pretty nervous,” Slagle says. “I tend to let my work do the talking and show them that I might be young, but if they give me the chance I can make there ideas come to life.”
He’s finding clients that aren’t concerned about his age, outfitting customized pieces in homes across Columbus, and landing work on another new restaurant and with design group KP Design & Associates.
Outside of expanding his client base, Slagle already knows where his business is headed. He wants to not only get more hands-on with sourcing his wood, but, “I want to expand my business even past just woodworking into different aspects of design.”
For more information, visit handcraftingohio.com.
Photos from handcraftingohio.com.