Five years ago, Clint quit his six-figure medical sales job in Houston to pursue his woodworking passion full-time, the Austin American-Statesman reports. And it wasn't going well until he introduced himself and pitched his work to Chip Gaines at a local gas station in Waco, Texas.
The owner of Harp Design Co. always loved making furniture and was encouraged to pursue his dream by his grandfather. After showing him a piece he made, his grandfather gave him money to buy more equipment. Clint continued to invest in smaller pieces of equipment like a table saw, drill press, and lathe for his garage workshop, all while teaching himself how to use the tools by watching YouTube videos.
The furniture maker often opted for reclaimed wood and would go to construction sites to ask for leftovers. It was a simple way to save money on materials, but it also had special meaning for Clint. Even today, many of his projects are crafted from reclaimed or upcycled materials. "There is the beauty of this idea, of something being left for dead and brought back to life," he told the Austin American-Statesman. "It had a deeper meaning. I felt that way about myself. I was living my life one way doing the sales thing, which was fine, but I didn't feel like myself. For me, I'm kind of reclaimed as well."
In 2011, he gave up his high-paying corporate job to pursue his dream. "I really wanted to do something that I have a passion for," he said. "The only way it was going to happen is if I completely went for it. I quit my job and jumped off a cliff."
Soon after, his family moved to a small apartment in Waco and decided to live off their savings while Clint tried to grow his career and his wife Kelly went to graduate school. Chip spent his days volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and searched for an inexpensive space for his workshop.
Friends suggested that he reach out to Chip Gaines, the owner of the nearby Magnolia Homes, but when Clint contacted Chip, he never heard back. Just when things seemed to be at their lowest in 2012, Clint pulled into a gas station to fill his car up and noticed a Magnolia Homes truck outside. He introduced himself to the driver who turned out to be Chip Gaines.
During that first meeting, Clint pitched his work to Chip who invited the Harps to come over for dinner later that week. At that dinner, Clint met Joanna who was selling furniture from their home and was looking to include more pieces. Joanna became his first client.
"She knows what she wants," Clint said about Joanna. "She's so freakishly gifted at seeing a design in her head. You can look back to the picture she drew, and it's a mirror image."
Not long after, Clint received more good news-the local Habitat for Humanity was moving out of one of their workshops and offered to rent it to Clint for just $25 a month. His new career was underway.
Just a few years later, Clint and his wife Kelly have grown their shop, hired several employees, and filmed a pilot episode for their own show, which premiers this week on the DIY Network. "It's just insane," he said. "Just a few years ago, I was sitting at a gas station wondering what's going to happen." Now, he's living the dream.
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