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Meet Trailblazer Dawn Albright

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dawn Albright.

Dawn, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Years ago, I was living in a small condo complex in Old Town that had a large side yard with great soil and shade. I decided I wanted to get back to my roots and do a little gardening. With the help and encouragement of my now-husband, Chase, that evolved into composting and raising chickens. Bribing the neighbors with fresh eggs didn’t keep the HOA from asking us to get rid of the chickens so instead we decided to move. Once out in our new location, we soon realized there were alot of desert critters in search of food and night after night everything we planted was abducted. We were always dreaming up new projects and one day I had an idea to fit a garden into a tabletop to keep it off the ground, away from the fringes of our yard and close to the house for observation. Never intimidated, Chase was able to use his background in metal fabrication to assist in bringing this concept to fruition. We made one for ourselves and then several friends began making requests for more. Through that process, the table evolved to include a basin for ice and drinks when entertaining as well as a fire insert that is removeable and can be used inside or outside. When we decided to get married and never ones to do things conventionally, we thought making these tables for the reception would be a neat personal touch. We loved the idea of planting our centerpieces and allowing guests to access drinks right from their table. By the end of the night, each table was claimed by a guest! Completely unplanned, those nearest and dearest to us not only supported this endeavor of ours but were able to give us valuable feedback for prototyping. A few utility patents later, we started custom production on our Garden/Cooler/Fire Table and haven’t looked back! This continues to be our best seller and we now offer new products, custom designs, manufacturing and metal fabrication of all types.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
True entrepreneurship is a rough road to travel. Starting something from the ground up where you are unable to follow a structure or model of an industry you may have worked in previously is daunting. Retail and ecommerce are changing the way we consume goods so each day really requires a reevaluation of what you can do differently or better. There is no autopilot on this journey. What you get out of your business is a direct result of what you put into it and that can be exhausting. However, I have learned that there is a vast community of people who have been there, are there on a similar journey or that just want to help. Don’t be afraid to connect with others, be curious, ask questions and have a network in place when needed. We now host a monthly artisan and maker market where we welcome others to use our space to funnel sales but also to support each other and grow in business. People often think of artists as lone wolves but we actually long to be a part of something bigger than we each are individually.

One specific challenge as a female woodworker and business owner in the trade industry is that I will often tell people what I do and they turn right to Chase to ask him their trade specific questions. Discovering why we are willing to learn what from whom is a conversation we would like to engage with the larger community. In teaching trades and entrepreneurship to youth here at our shop, we hope to shift the notion that women are only a supporting role and not the decision-makers or the hands-on skilled tradesperson in business.

We’d love to hear more about C + D Industry.
At C + D, we design and build custom furniture and we have a full metal fabrication shop. We pride ourselves in crafting things that are unique and multifunctional; reinventing ordinary objects and thinking outside the box. We design, prototype and manufacture in-house so you are truly getting a locally made in USA product. We source reclaimed materials whenever we can and strive for sustainability in many ways. We are proud of our unique designs but we also love to explore the ideas of our customers and bring their concepts to fruition whether they are large or small. We work with other businesses, schools, designers, and the general public all over the country. We strive for quality and a buying experience unique to most retailers so you can get what you really love. Once part of the C + D customer family, you will receive first access to our new products, markets and DIY classes held at our new shop. We seek to be a larger part of the community in which we live and work and we are committed to helping other businesses and working with the city so our downtown can continue to grow and thrive.

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania with very practical parents who instilled in us an exceptional work ethic and a solid foundation. It was expected that you were kind, respectful, helpful and would be willing to sacrifice your time and energy to help a friend or neighbor in need. Tangible things didn’t matter as much as your core values and you were kept accountable by the whole community. I learned to stretch a dollar and had no idea if I was rich or poor. I now know, as an adult, that I was definitely rich in experiences. Not necessarily easy ones but the ones that set you up for success later in life when you are on your own wherever you may land. We didn’t focus on our differences but rather how we are all similar in those core values despite what anyone looks like on the outside. My first job out of high school was operating a forklift at the local plant for twelve-hour shifts during both the day and night. As a young, inexperienced woman, I was treated just like and held to the same standards as everyone else who had worked there for decades. I was intimidated and empowered at the same time. I went on to have a wonderful and successful career in healthcare but these values are really what set the tone for my success as an entrepreneur.

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