One of the most rewarding things we get to experience is meeting and spending time with the ladies who attend the events. One of those ladies who humbled us with her kindness is Sammy D. Sammy created a beautiful handmade Babes Ride Out East Coast sign for last year's event and drove it all the way out to us in the Catskills as a surprise then turned right back around after a quick lunch to head home as she couldn't stay for the event. With a giving heart, talent, and the work ethic is takes to make stuff happen, Sammy has started her own business since last year and is thriving. Get to know Sammy D, owner of Rustic Doors and Decor, and friend of Babes Ride Out. We are so thrilled to spend some time with her this year at Babes Ride Out East Coast 2!
Interview by Virginia Cagney
Name: Sammy D from Northford, CT (CONNECTICUT WHAT)
Tell us all about your wood business and what inspired you to start it.
Oh man, I’m not even sure how to describe it! I make things! It’s mostly custom work, and I specialize in weird. I make decor and furniture that is rustic and industrial and repurposed and kinda funky. I love salvaging and am always hunting for cool vintage junk to brush the dust off of and turn into something cool. My most exciting project right now is the launch of this weird and cool wedding centerpiece series. I love being able to match my projects with my clients’ personalities, and making event decor that perfectly encapsulates the hosts’ interests is the penultimate challenge for me. In addition to making classically elegant centerpieces, I’ve partnered with my buddies at Earthwood Products to develop the following niche themes: nautical, woodland, automotive/motorcycle, teacup, prohibition, vintage, and whimsical luau. We are having an absolute blast making all this stuff, and our creative catalog is growing rapidly. It is so unbelievably rewarding when you actualize your potential and take creative risks and people really get it and receive it and love it.
What inspired me to build? Hmm I’d have to say it’s one part passion and one part rampant ADHD. Ever since I was old enough to hold tools in my grubby little hands, I have been a fidgeter, a fixer, and a tinkerer. I once spent every night for weeks in my parents’ basement, recreating the carnival games I’d seen at the local fair so I could practice at home. And I once begged my father to buy me an old typewriter we’d seen at a flea market. He did, and was furious with me for not actually using it but taking it apart to see what was inside. In adulthood, my love of making things proliferated when I moved into a fixer upper with a boyfriend. We were totally broke, so if we wanted anything fixed or made, we had to get really creative and build it ourselves. Ever since then, crafting unique and repurposed decor has been an affectionate obsession of mine. I’m the kind of girl who doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty, and I did just that. I had the time of my life fixing up that little trash palace!
How long have you been working with wood and how did you get started?
A few years ago I was a high school biology teacher and just doing woodworking on the side. As soon as it started taking off, I quit teaching and just went all in on my trade. I didn’t have any money saved and didn’t really know what I was doing so it was a pretty scary time for me. All I knew for sure was that I loved doing it. And it just felt right. I was too scared to admit to clients that it was just me: a single twenty-something year old female, building everything on her own, with no formal training whatsoever. I even made my email address firstname.lastname@example.org. And I was embarrassed to tell clients that I didn’t have a real shop but was working out of a friend’s basement. It wasn’t until a very fortuitous meeting with some strong, business minded, mega righteous ladies that I was encouraged and fully convinced to embrace being a single female tradeswoman. (*Those ladies were the BRO babes, when I was lucky enough to have lunch with all the organizers and officers before the first annual east coast event and that conversation changed my life*). So now I gladly share with people (when they come to my real life fancy-pants workshop) that ‘the team’ in my email address is me and my two dogs! It was a profound lesson for me as well, on the importance of connecting in a genuine and real way with the people in your life who encourage and inspire you. And I will never again forget to unapologetically be the strongest woman I can be.
What are your goals for your business? What projects are you hoping to work on?
Oh man, so many goals, and only one lifetime! In addition to my ever expanding business endeavors, I have big plans already in motion for giving back to my community. Firstly, I’m launching a clothing line in which part of the proceeds are going towards keeping the trades alive and sponsoring people (battered women, combat veterans, and people with TBIs) how to weld, build, design, fabricate, etc. And secondly, I’m helping my amazing motobabe @jillmckenzieray organize a charitable motorcycle event and ride to benefit local women’s shelters. The event is called Into The Wind Ride, and celebrates rising up from the ashes and fighting adversity. The date is Sun Aug 6, and will start with a women's only ride. It will continue with a scenic coed ride, to end at an epic after-party and cornhole tournament at Stony Creek Brewery on the water in Branford. Cold beer, great people, and food trucks galore! All proceeds from the ride and raffle benefit abused women and women's shelters in CT. Please follow us on insta to stay updated as we plan out this epic, amazing, super fun event!
What do you ride and how long have you been riding?
Sportster 1200 baby!! Total Harley mama. And holy crap but this will be my ninth season! I’m getting old...
Favorite local ride?
When I bought my first motorcycle (Honda Shadow 600) I didn’t tell my parents and had to hide it in a barn on our neighbor’s farm. I would sneak over and ride it around the barn in circles and then put it away. When I got brave enough I started taking it out on the winding back roads in my small farm town. As many of you know, there is nothing in the world as thrilling and empowering as your first real time opening the throttle, wind in your face. Those roads will always be really nostalgic and special to me, and of all the picturesque places I hope to travel to, there will never be a stretch of pavement that will ever look and feel so good to me.
What did you contribute to the raffle? Anything special we should know about it?
Taking suggestions!! Lol. I haven’t made anything yet, but I want it to be unique and cool and awesome. I was thinking an engraved bottle opener, or a repurposed helmet rack.
Are you excited to get to be an attendee at Babes Ride Out this year?
OMG I CAN’T EVEN. I’m basically Tom Hanks in Cast Away when he makes fire. I am so freakin’ excited. My girlfriends and I were literally group texting all day today about who’s bringing what, and the event is still over two months away!! Oh, and what am I bringing? The clothes on my back, like two granola bars, and party-till-your-pants-fall-off kinda attitude.
To see more of Sammy's incredible designs visit her website by click HERE