We turned our bedroom into a workshop and built this company together from the ground up

July 9, 2020
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We turned our bedroom into a workshop and built this company together from the ground up

We turned our bedroom into a workshop and built this company together from the ground up

“I was in sales and on the road for twenty years. We lived in Houston and I worked in Dallas. I flew out on Monday and back home on Friday. I didn’t want to sell my soul any longer. I climbed the ladder and it got more devastating on my family. One day I quit with no backup plan or concept of what was next. All we knew is that we made the right decision and that God would take care of us. I had a smoking pipe and made one on my own for fun. I was hooked on the result. We moved to Fairhope and I met a master pipe maker in Foley who let me watch him. I sold my BMW, bought all of the tools that he was using and started making pipes. I sold pipes all over the world, made good money, and enjoyed it. But the FDA put regulations on pipe sales and put me out of business.

A lot of pipe smokers weren’t Christians, but I was making friends and having an effect on people. It had become my ministry and I was doing it to God’s honor and glory. It was hard when it was taken away. In that time of making pipes, I made a leather pouch for the tobacco. I pulled it out at a cigar shop and someone asked me to make one for him. He suggested I could make money doing this and I was interested.” Brian

“That was at the end of 2016. We knew it was going to be a career instead of a hobby and I was going to have to help. I homeschool our four girls and haven’t had a job outside the home in 19 years. I bought him the Growley Leather domain name for Christmas in 2016. At that point we had to learn everything about leather, sewing machines, and how to put pieces together. We turned a bedroom into a workshop and built this company from the ground up. I learned how to take photographs, build a website, and run social media. We opened in May 2017.” Kelli

“I quit a 40-hour job to work 80 hours for ourselves and make a lot less. Financially we had to do a lot of trusting God. We didn’t know anything before we started, but our goal was to create a presence like we had always existed. We had to create complete product lines. They have changed and grown since then. Kellie and I have grown closer through this than our last 18 years of marriage. It has changed our marriage for the good. That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. We acquiesce who has the better idea.” Brian

“We came to Fairhope on a family trip and decided to move here. We sold our house in Houston and moved to Fairhope on Valentine’s Day. My parents moved here six months later. We adopted two daughters from China. Most children in orphanages in China have special needs. We saw a video and knew the first daughter adopted had an eye condition. Our oldest daughter has an eye condition and we were used to that. We wanted to adopt two girls because we saw the bond in our older girls. The second daughter we adopted has a similar eye condition. It is our lifestyle now and we have adjusted.” Kelli

“Our older two girls work for us part-time and the little ones love to work any time they can. Research shows that many adults with their conditions have difficulty finding careers. As we were considering what was next for our family, we wanted to start a business in which all four of our girls could learn a trade and make a living. Those are the best times working together in our small space with our hands. Everyone has a role. We turn the music on and sing along as we work. Or we talk, listen to podcasts, or work in silence. One day we will outgrow the bedroom and move into the garage. We are growing at a pace that we can afford. We don’t want to take on debt.

I love working from home. I fill my head with shapes, lines, and designs, then I use those to form the shapes I want to make. It also has to have a good function. We do a lot of prototyping. We can’t be afraid to throw away. Our customers give us great suggestions and we have named a few products after them. The name of each bag fits the feel of it. The biggest way people here about us is word of mouth. We try to be real with people and show we care. Many of our products are given as gifts. Christmas gets insanely busy.” Brian

“Our designs are rugged simplicity. We want to make timeless heritage pieces that are passed down. We just put our bags, journals, and other pieces in Melt and More in Fairhope and that was exciting. I don’t know where it goes from here. We have open hands. God gave us this and can take it away. One of our dreams was working with our girls and that has already come true. Then we get to know our customers. The best compliment we receive is when they come back and buy more. We are filled with joy and excitement for each day we get to do this.”

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