Arkansas City resident Dusty Hettenbach is living the new life of an entrepreneur.
“I just announced this past Sunday (Aug. 5) that I was going out on my own to do professional flooring installation,” he said in an interview Aug. 8.
But floor installation is only a part of the services Hettenbach is offering at D & M Woodworks.
What started as a project for his wife has grown into a full-blown furniture refurbishing and fabrication company as Hettenbach moves forward with his plans to become a full-time business owner.
The first project Hettenbach completed was a pallet couch for his wife, which he finished while they still were dating.
“My wife inspired me to start building things. It started with stuff for our house,” Hettenbach said.
“I thought it turned out really good until the first time she went to sit on it and (saw) a snake crawl out from it. Needless to say, that pallet couch turned into other pieces of furniture pretty quickly,” he said.
As a result of his new project, other people saw the items Hettenbach created for their home.
“(They asked) if I could build stuff for them. The more I built, the more I realized how much I loved doing it,” he said.
“It was nice doing something I love in my spare time and making a little money for it.”
Business mode unlocked
Since those first few projects, D & M Woodworking has appeared at shows similar to Cowley’s Outdoor Market, where its creations are on display for potential buyers.
The “hobby” since has become a fully booked work schedule.
“It calls for a little more than just spare time to keep up with orders. We are staying booked solid, (four to five) months in advance,” Hettenbach said.
His ability to create desirable pieces is based on his attention to detail.
“I just analyze things. I look at other pieces of furniture wherever I go. Talk to other woodwork(ers),” he said.
“And (I) wasn’t ever afraid to mess up because I always knew I would learn how to build it better the next time.”
D & M dining tables
Dining tables are Hettenbach’s favorite projects on which to work.
“They are a focal piece in most houses, and everybody gets to gather around them and make memories. Hopefully, the ones we build will get passed down a couple of generations,” he said.
“We tore down an old barn a couple years ago and I made quite a bit of tables out of the antique heart pine. It has such an amazing grain!”
The wood that was salvaged was a very hard wood.
“(It) can be a pain to work with at times, but makes beautiful tables,” Hettenbach said.
Hettenbach strikes out on his own
Hettenbach has been working full time for a local flooring business for about four years now, he said.
While he still will work primarily on flooring, by branching out on his own, he will be able to make his own schedule.
“The ultimate goal is to do woodworking full time, but we are still a ways off from that,” said Hettenbach, who is excited about the change.
“I’m absolutely pumped! I’ve worked hard all my life. I’ve got a really great following with my woodworking and they have already been spreading the word about my flooring.”
Hettenbach already is receiving good feedback and it hasn’t even been a full week since he announced the change.
“(I’m) feeling very blessed! Definitely couldn’t have done it without the support of my wife,” he said. “I just want to make a better life for us!”
D & M Woodworking can be found on Google, Instagram, Pinterest and Etsy.
But the easiest way to contact Hettenbach is on Facebook or by calling (316) 772-2864.