Brett Barnes of Anniston owns Barnes & Co. with his wife, Kristin. Barnes & Co. sells furniture and household goods crafted from wood and metal by Brett. Pieces range from $15 to more than $2,000, and can be seen in the online Etsy store (BarnesandCo). You can also contact Brett and Kristin through the Etsy store about custom orders.
Is running Barnes & Co. your main job? My career path has gone from owning a paint and body shop to running our Etsy shop, designing and building furniture. Each career move always had one thing in common: being able to use my creative energy and skills to create a product. For several years now, this has been my main job; however, I recently began working in real estate, as well. My wife has been so supportive and helpful in this process from the beginning to end.
How did Barnes & Co. begin? When my wife and I married, we bought a home that was nice but really needed some updating. We needed furniture as well. As a young married couple, we didn’t have a lot of extra money to do everything we wanted to do. I suggested to my wife that if she could get me some pallets from her work place I could build us some furniture! She brought home a truck full of pallets, and I designed and built some of my first pieces of furniture. My grandfather’s over-100-year-old barn had just fallen, and I was able to create some really nice pieces from the old barn wood. I designed and built a bench, and everyone I showed it to told me I should begin to sell them. That led to us opening our first Etsy shop. After the birth of our daughter, I was able to be a stay-at-home dad and create and grow Barnes & Co.
How long has Barnes & Co. been open? We have been selling furniture and household goods on Etsy since 2015. We run an online shop, but having local customers is the most rewarding to us, and we love our local clients! You can view all of our products and pricing on our Etsy shop.
Do you take custom orders? We also love custom orders and creating beautiful pieces for people all over the United States. If you can envision it, we can build it. We have several products currently listed on our site that started out with someone asking for a custom piece.
What materials do you use? In the beginning I used a lot of reclaimed wood like barn wood and pallet wood. As I have progressed, I use more rough sawn lumber. I love to work with oak; it has a timeless look that I love to use on all my farmhouse furniture. I am looking into getting into more exotic woods like walnut and mahogany in the near future. We also mix metal into our projects with the barn door hardware that we use.
How big is your staff? Our staff is myself, my wife and our daughter. Design, production and the day-to-day affairs of the business are my responsibility. My wife is the financial whiz kid; I leave all that to her. Our daughter is, of course, available to critique all our products and cheer us on! Running a business takes the whole crew, and we work together to ensure the final product is the best that it can be for our customers.
Take us through a regular work day or work week for you. Some days are spent in research and design, and some days are spent ordering or picking up supplies. When in production, my week is spent in the shop with the wood and the tools; this is my favorite part — working alone and creating something beautiful to share with the world.
What is your favorite piece you have created? My favorite piece so far is an oak TV cabinet. It was a custom request and had barn door hardware that really popped on the rustic oak cabinetry. It was a one-of-a-kind piece that was a joy to create.
How can the community order items from you? People can order through the Etsy shop. We do offer local discounts. They can reach out through the shop, and if they qualify, we will provide a local discount code.
Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.