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Daily Inspiration: Meet Jess Godsey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jess Godsey.

Jess, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started my refinishing journey at the beginning of Covid in effort to preserve my sanity. I’m a full-time Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant and as you can imagine, working in the ER during a pandemic will leave one in need of a healthy outlet. While there were plenty of glasses of wine, painting furniture was a welcomed (healthier) distraction to the stresses of an average day in the ER, only exacerbated by Covid.

My childhood dresser was my furniture debut. I was simply in search of a fun activity that would make me excited to wake up … and stay home on my off days. I quickly realized how much I enjoyed working with my hands, using a completely opposite side of my brain than medicine requires and creating something beautiful. I then started buying pieces on Facebook Market and was shocked how quickly I could sell them once refinished. My casual hobby quickly turned into a little business, almost unintentionally. Before I knew it, Oak | Grain was a brand.

I’ve never had something that I wake up so excited about until furniture. Having a sander, brush in my hand or being faced with a repair challenge is such an escape. Don’t get me wrong, there are unique obstacles and challenges with each piece, but when I find the solution it just gives me more confidence to take on bigger, more challenging projects and keeps me coming back for more. All the little learning opportunities quickly add up in this hobby. My favorite thing to tell new refinishers who may be hung up on a problem piece is, “The more you do, the more you learn, the more you know!” – Me

So I guess to summarize it… refinishing takes me to a different world and different mindset just behind my garage door. Where I am free to flex my creative side (and sometimes my muscles), where I can always count on a fun challenge and where nothing is ever life or death and there’s almost always a solution to the problem, even if it’s not plan A. And if all else fails… throw a bonfire party!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Each piece of furniture brings its unique challenges and obstacles whether it be repair-related or a design plan that doesn’t go as intended. But the bigger picture struggles for me include my limited workspace, time and lack of storefront.

Space – I work out of a one-car garage (a major upgrade from the kitchen in my 900sq ft apt) so I can’t have a ton of inventory on hand at any given time. It makes it challenging to plan for custom drop-offs or when I can pick up new unfinished pieces, especially if my previous project has unexpected delays.

Time – Working full time in the ER gives me a lot of random weekdays off but very little time on workdays to get out and create. While going part-time in the ER has crossed my mind – so I can dedicate more time to growing my small business- there would be a big income gap that would be hard to bridge with furniture sales alone.

I don’t have a storefront or booth so I’m essentially selling directly out of my garage via word of mouth, Instagram or Facebook Market which certainly limits my customer base.

For now, I’m ok with all of these above challenges. I like being so small that people know items are limited and I hope that makes my pieces even more desirable.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I refinish furniture, mainly with the media of paint. But I don’t just paint furniture, that’s a misconception. There are lots of repairs, woodworking, prepping, sourcing, staging, photographing and marketing that go on behind the scenes.

I’m known for my clean and classic style in the Instagram furniture community. But still not afraid to go bold now and then.

I think what sets me apart is how meticulous I am. It’s the perfectionist in me that takes every step possible to ensure even the most beat-up of antique pieces are as close to perfect as possible while still highlighting their character.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
It’s ok to say “no”.

My #1 priority is to keep this a creative outlet for myself. Which sounds selfish when you consider it a business, but it comes down to respecting and protecting my own time. Which means I get to decide where my energy is channeled and where and when I choose to use my skills. With my limited time and space, I’ve had to learn to say no to a lot of people reaching out for custom work. While this may hinder my business growth short term, I don’t want refinishing to ever to be a stressor or feel like a potential calamity. Because let’s face it… There should never be a furniture emergency.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Jaimi Bailey

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