We are Amy and Krista, the two co-owners and best friends that own BuilderChicks in Washington, DC. We met at the end of 2014 when Krista was hired to work at the same place that Amy had been working at as a property manager for years.
We bonded over two things:
The Walking Dead, and after a large work event as we both were working to teardown, we realized and respected how capable the other one was. It was sort of a light bulb moment for both of us, “Oh, you’re capable and strong too! Let’s be friends!” A little less than a year later, Krista had a vision to create her own corner office at home made out of pallet wood, and Amy jumped in to help make that a reality. It was during the home office project that we realized how much we enjoyed working together building things, how great of a team we make because we are so different, and slowly started taking on more side projects for friends.
We began joking about being “Builder Chicks” and eventually the name just stuck once we realized that it hadn’t been claimed online anywhere!
In 2018 Amy realized that her desire was to quit her job and do her own thing, so she began talking with Krista about leaving her job and switching to BuilderChicks full-time. So, we put into motion helping Amy figure out all the things needed to make the switch. Together we started dreaming up what life would be like with this new full-time creative adventure for Amy, and part-time for Krista. However, as life goes sometimes, by the end of 2018, Krista was looking for a new full-time job and ultimately decided to also pursue BuilderChicks with Amy because nothing else brought the same level of dreaming and excitement to either one of us, plus we could do so much more together!
What have been the most rewarding aspects of owning your Business and what do you wish you knew to help avoid and what can you help share with others to help pitfalls?
The best parts of owning our own business and running it full-time is the freedom to choose projects, and create a business and ultimately a life that we desire for ourselves. We love being able to work together, to create beautiful, functional, and unique pieces of furniture or help people bring their visions to reality with small remodel projects in their homes. But, on the flip side, when challenges come up, running your own business is stressful in totally different ways than when you work for someone else, and there is no one to pass the problems on to! It is hard to separate your work from personal worth, so it takes a lot of processing and intentionality because you will never do everything perfect and you can’t please everyone. However, we obviously recommend running a business with your best friend!
How do you balance work and home life, can you ever unplug?
We talked a lot when we were first transitioning to full-time about what we were willing to sacrifice, what the process would look like, what did we need in order to be functioning and healthy long term etc… We pick one full day a week where we do no work whatsoever, and after a while we began shifting to taking 1-2 additional days off a month, then we started planning small getaways and vacations a couple months out to force us to carve out time to rest and feel like we have the freedom and life we want. We also began helping one another figure out when is each of our best and most productive times of the day, and schedule for us to work then; as with everything, we are so different, so our optimal work and focus times are opposites! Amy thinks better and more clearly in the mornings, so she does a lot of the office work and planning then, whereas Krista is a really slow starter to her mornings, but loves evening work. It took us a while to realize we didn’t always have to be working while the other one was working; it just takes a lot of communicating! Other times, during really busy seasons, we just declare cutoff times for work. – The work will always be there tomorrow, and we can only do as much as we can today.
What is next on the horizon for you both and your business?
We are finally to the point of feeling comfortable to grow, so we are looking to expand our garage in a larger space and add another workshop so that we can take on more projects at any given time. We are also slowly adding contract work for other women who we want to work with! On a personal level, we are still learning when and how to ebb and flow with this new life, and to find when are good times to work crazy hours, and when we need to be more mindful of rest.
What do you hope women can take away from your experience?