Local man turns crafting into a career
Last updated 10/7/2021 at 4:14pm
MEDICAL LAKE – Steve Clough has turned his passion and crafting skills into his livelihood.
The local businessman recycles used bullet casings and builds functional items for the home or office.
He builds a variety of items including refrigerator magnets, pizza cutters, ice cream scoops, letter openers, outdoor camping tools and more.
The 51-year-old craftsman said he started his business "Boolits And Brew" as an Etsy store in 2019 as a way to bring in some extra income and it has grown substantially since then.
"I am just blown away by the support we have received from stores and customers both locally and regionally," Clough said, noting you can find his products online and at local events, fairs and rodeos.
In recent months, he's set up a booth and the Lincoln County Fair and at Odessa's Deutchesfest, among other events.
Having moved to Medical Lake in 2006, Clough spent the past 16 years working as a machinist and crew lead for Collins Aerospace, he said, noting he was able to recently refocus on crafting his own business into his livelihood.
Clough said he has refined his crafting and machining skills through years of production and assembly work.
He said the business had a strong start in the six months it was only an Etsy based store, although he did face setbacks.
At one point, Clough said Etsy forced him to remove half of his listings because of new regulations the site had put into effect.
Not long after that the pandemic hit and forced the cancelation of several scheduled, events he said.
At the time COVID hit, he was still working as a machinist and was furloughed for a total of 17 weeks in 2020, but the crafting business helped make up for lost work, Clough said.
Clough said he has been participating in many regional fairs and festivals, and his wife and 11-year-old daughter help him run the booth during these events.
Having his business available for vendor fairs has opened other doors to opportunity, as well, he said.
"I had a booth set up at Greenbluff when a customer bought some Christmas gifts and then offered me a deal to place my items in Northwest Craft and Décor on consignment," he said.
The in-store presence of his products has grown considerably since that he said.
Since its inception, Clough's business presence has expanded and he now sells products in 24 different stores in three states, he said.
The creative builder hopes to continue expanding into more stores, and he hopes to be invited to larger festivals and fairs he said.
Many of the items he creates are donated to raffles and silent auctions organized by local and regional groups, he said.
"I just like being able to give back," Clough said.
Matthew O. Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org