I recently stumbled upon Richwood Creations while I was searching for a gift and was pleasantly surprised to see that Brad and Emily Weckesser are located just a few hours away in Summersville, West Virginia. This husband and wife design-duo collaborate to create amazing, one-of-a-kind wood products for the home made with locally sourced materials. Brad decided to start Richwood Creations after he found himself daydreaming of doing what he loved full-time — working with his hands, donning flannels to work, and working with his wife. Both designers pay meticulous attention to craft (as Emily says, “Every pixel matters!”) and hold themselves to a high standard of integrity in their work. Although I was impressed by their work, it was their purpose that left the biggest impression on me.
Me: Tell me a little about yourselves.
Brad: I grew up in Wooster, OH. I taught technology education for 1 year at the high school level before moving down here to WV to start up Richwood Creations with Emily. Emily grew up in Carmel, IN. She has been doing freelance graphic design for a few years now and has her own Etsy shop, The Oyster’s Pearl, where she does poster prints, wedding stationery, and other paper goods. We have been married for 3 years now this June.
Me: How do you and your wife work together as a creative team?
Brad: I think that we work very well together. She often plays the role of design and creative ideas, where I also help out some. But my main role is being able to take her ideas from paper or computer screen and make them come to life!
Me: Where do you draw your inspiration from? How has living in Appalachia influenced you as creators?
Brad: Our inspiration comes from each other mainly! From past experiences, travels, and memories. Living in Appalachia has helped us see more of the importance of family and friends, so creating products that could be passed down from generation to generation has been a big influence.
Me: Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Brad: We like the outdoors. WV has a lot of great outdoor activities, so we enjoy hiking, canoeing, fishing, etc.
Me: What handmade possessions do you most cherish?
Brad: Definitely anything we make for our own home. We have collaborated on tables and such for ourselves, it is always a joy to use them knowing we designed and made them.
Me: How were you able to make a living doing what you love?
Brad: We have had an incredible amount of help getting things started and a lot of fundraising for this business, from a number of very generous people, without whom it would have been very difficult to get things off the ground earlier on. Plus it took a good amount of faith and risk to move forward with no promise of success or sales!
Me: What motivated you to set up Richwood Creations as a non-profit?
Brad: There was a group of men and women who wanted to help out the area here in WV by generating more jobs and also being able to donate to various youth organizations, so they decided at the start that should be the focus of the company and business, to give back, and not just financially.
Brad and Emily set up Richwood Creations as a non-profit business that benefits their local Young Life organization so that ultimately their work was for the good of the community instead of their own gain. Their intent is to sustain jobs and raise money to keep their community vibrant. When customers support Richwood Creations, they are quite literally changing lives in the heart of Appalachia.
For more information, I highly recommend visiting their shop — with Wedding Season quickly approaching, you may find that this will be your favorite place to shop — the personalized cutting boards make a perfect gift!