Homegrown Hustle


Many people have great business ideas and even greater goals, but not everyone has the time or drive to make those ideas come to life. We’re here to shed light on several people who did. They felt passionate enough to quit their day jobs and start businesses that offer something unique, from custom-made furniture to memorable experiences. Take a glimpse into five companies that call North Georgia home.


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RUSTIC TRADES FURNITURE ALL STARTED WHEN newlyweds Clay and Maggie Adams were in search of a dining room table that could grow old with them. After visiting many stores and finding the same, cheaply made tables, Clay decided to take matters into his own hands and promised to build their table himself.

Adams enjoyed the task so much that he decided to build a few more to try and sell.

“My first table didn’t sell for nine months,” Adams said. But that didn’t discourage him. He started a blog and from there, people all over the country began to see his work and contact him for custom-built tables.

“People want something that is custom-made just for them, something that will be loved and appreciated by the family,” Adams said. His business flourished enough that in 2010, he established the company, and in 2012, he was able to leave his full-time job and focus on the new business. Adams and his team are now building 300 to 400 tables each year.

Adams has a showroom in downtown Roswell, where customers can learn more about his work. rustictradesfurniture.com


GRILLING OUT WITH FRIENDS IS A SUMMERTIME staple in Georgia, so if you want some killer locally made seasonings to add 100 percent natural flavor to your meats and veggies, you have to check out Socks’ Love Rub. Steven Hartsock, a Suwannee resident and the owner and mastermind behind Socks’ Love Rub, is a man passionate about food, family and his wonderful wife, Kim. He created his very first rub (appropriately named Original Seasoning) to use on meats that he cooked during barbecue competitions, but the seasonings didn’t get a name until the couple’s wedding when they gave bottles of it away as favors and dubbed it “Love Rub.”

“When the seasonings were first created, I had no idea that it would turn into a business,” Hartsock said. “It was simply me sharing something with the important people in our life.” Once things started to take off, Kim encouraged him to follow his passion, so Hartsock worked hard to get his business going and eventually was able to quit his former job to take on Socks’ Love Rub full time. What started as just one rub turned into a line of seven seasonings, two sauces and a catering company. Hartsock sells his spices online and in several local stores throughout the metro Atlanta area. socksloverub.com


IMG_3688aIF YOU ASKED LAWRENCEVILLE RESIDENT JESS Freeman what she was doing a year ago, she’d excitedly tell you that she successfully wrote, designed and self-published a children’s book called “Frank The Chair Goes to Kansas.” This book is about a little green chair that goes all over Kansas to find his friend, Mr. Cow, meanwhile teaching children about life, love, joy and sadness.

Frank the Chair came to be in June 2014 when Freeman and her husband, Aaron, decided to start a fun photography project.

“We took Frank all over the place — restaurants, mountains, parks, road trips — and took pictures of him,” Freeman said.

It wasn’t until she lost her mom in a car accident in Dec. 2014, that she decided to honor her mother, a gradeschool librarian of more than 20 years, by turning her photography project into a children’s book.

The whole process happened very quickly for the Freemans. The couple began a Kickstarter campaign in March 2015, flushed out the story in April and launched the book in October.

When she’s not following the chair, Freeman helps other people’s ideas come to life through her graphic design and web firm, Jess Creatives — work that helped her snag the title of Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015 from the Gwinnett Chamber. frankthechair.com; jesscreatives.com


IF YOU LIVE ANYWHERE IN THE METRO ATLANTA area, you’ve likely heard of Sugarboo & Co., the cute little store filled with art, antiques, jewelry, paper goods, gifts, outdoor décor and more. While you may have perused one of their unique stores, you might not know the woman behind the treasures or that the branding was inspired by nicknames given to her kids.

Rebecca Puig, a resident of Roswell and University of Georgia grad, is an artist who has sold her art all over the world. While she enjoyed selling her art at wholesale, she also wanted a space where she could sell her pieces along with the work of the local artisans she loved. So, three years ago, Puig opened the first Sugarboo & Co. store in Town Brookhaven, creating a place that provides wonder and joy for many people.

“Our mission is to put good things into the world, so we strive to do this every day,” Puig said. “We put positive messages throughout the store, and I’m interested in any piece that will add soul to a home.”

Aside from the store in Town Brookhaven, you can find Sugarboo & Co. at The Collection in Cumming as well as Ponce City Market. Puig also has a branch in Birmingham, Ala., and will soon be opening two locations in Florida — in Boca Raton and at Disney World. sugarbooandco.com


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EMMA PITTS, THE FOUNDER AND “PRODUCTION Wizard” of Crafted Productions, has spent more than 10 years in the conference and event industry.

“Too many times, I saw people pay a lot of money to attend an event and leave the conference feeling disconnected,” Pitts said. “I wanted to reinvent how we plan events and conferences.” So Pitts, a resident of Norcross, took a leap and started Crafted, a production company that programs events, which focus on creating
a unique experience and valuable peer-to-peer interaction.

In addition to event programming, Crafted also specializes in online streaming and video production. Pitts and some of her team recently had the opportunity to travel to Paraguay with The John Maxwell Company to interview Gaby, a woman who began the Transform Paraguay conference out of a love for her country and a desire to see her people thrive.

“Having the opportunity to meet with Gaby was incredibly inspirational,” Pitts said.

With support from her team, Pitts doesn’t settle for doing things well; they strive to become experts at doing great work and serving others. craftedproductions.com