Q & A With Clint Harp

Q&A With Clint Harp | construction2style

Well, this was fun! I got the opportunity this past weekend to sit down with the lovely Clint Harp from Harp Design Co. at the Home + Garden Show and ask him any questions I wanted.

You know when you watch people on TV, and you truly believe they are probably just as genuine in real life and vice versa? Well, watching Clint, I really did feel like he was always a down to earth guy and you bet he is! He’s actually even more genuine in real life than on TV. After chatting with him, my entire drive home my mind was spinning with all of the things he said, and I really hope I will forever remember all the information. He thinks deep…and so do I. Sometimes too deep that I scare people! Haha! But he’s the same way.

First, if you don’t know who Clint is, he was first recognized on HGTV as Fixer Upper’s carpenter. Alongside his beautiful wife Kelly, they own Harp Design, a woodworking company out of Waco, TX and now they have their own HGTV show called, Woodwork.

 

My girlfriend Jen, from Paisley & Sparrow, was there too and one of the first questions she asked was…

Q. What is one moment in your life that you owe to your success?

This was my favorite. Like I said before, I’m so crazy, that when I make a wrong turn, I believe it was for a reason. And he believes it too!

“I believe in every single moment. Including this one right now.” – Clint Harp

He responded with, “there are a lot of moments. I think you guys are in this room for an exact reason, maybe later down the road, who knows how our worlds are going to collide.”

He went through a handful of different stories that were important moments that led to his path in life now.

My favorite moment he described was that he was working at restoring this building that was outside this park. He loved that park and later in life anytime he needed to be reminded of what life was about he’d take his wife and kids and go to that exact park. Had he never worked on that building or had the buyer of the building never bought that exact building by that exact park, he would never have always gone to this same park later in life. One day after he left the park with his family, he went to a gas station. Had he never gone to this park he would have never been at this exact gas station. And on that day at that gas station, he met Chip Gaines.

Another important moment was when someone in his life told him he needed to look at Baylor College in Waco, TX. Having no money, this family said they were going to buy his flight to go and check out the college. He did, loved it, and moved from Georgia to Texas. Had this family not paid for him to go check out Baylor, he would have never met his wife nor be living this life right now.

As you can see, this guy thinks deep! And means it. He’s truly thankful for every person that he’s encountered in life…for the good or bad. There are the bad things that have happened in his path and he’s thankful, because he’s living a life he likes right now.

Q. Ten years from now, what does success look like to you?

As cliche as it might sound, I loved his answer.

“Healthy marriage, and my kids doing what they love.”

He went on to say my business, all of this could be gone and as long as I have my wife and kids and everyone’s happy that is all that matters.

Clint is a true family man! He went on to say that at 5:00 pm every day he shuts down. It doesn’t matter how behind he is, and goes and is with his family. He even coaches his son’s sports team. And at noon every day, even while filming their show, he runs over for practice and then back to work once it’s done. He said he plans his travel around their games. Because at the end of the day the network, radio, these events, all might be gone tomorrow or might not care who he is, but his son always will.

I thought that was so cool! Jamie and I are really struggling right now to keep all the ships afloat in our business. And we’ve realized that the first thing that drops is our family time. And this weekend Clint reminded me that it should be the last thing that drops. No matter what.

Q. How did you get into carpentry and what advice do you have for someone just starting?

His response right away was, “have a desire.” He went on to say he was self taught and had a desire for the craft. Another quote that made me laugh hard was,

“Don’t build a canoe.”

“Don’t take on a project that is beyond your pay grade.”

Meaning that if you’re not confident you can build it, do it, design it, etc…just say no. Because you’ll be building that canoe for ten years.

“Find a lane early and stay in that lane.”

He went on to talk about that; for example, he doesn’t build chairs. He’s good at tables and other miscellaneous furniture, but he knows that chairs would be one piece of furniture that wouldn’t make sense for his business. For every one table, he’d have to build six chairs, which he said he simply doesn’t have the space in his shop.

That was such a good reminder for us at construction2style too, we often find ourselves saying yes to doing everything within the space we’re remodeling when sometimes it’s ok to say no, as it just doesn’t make sense.

Q. Advice for working with your wife/husband?

I asked this because this is something Jamie and I get asked all the time, and my response is always that we stay in our lane, which helps us run our business, but there are other areas that are hard and that we have to work on every day.

He responded with, “trust your partner, have respect, learn to let go early, and when you don’t, say sorry before you should.”

I loved that! Especially the “learn to let go early.” He said he still struggles with this being his face is a lot of what their brand is and it always comes back on him. I watch Jamie really struggle with this too within our business because he is the craft behind our business. He’s the one that if something doesn’t go right, is out there fixing it. He’s been trying to let go and sub more things out, but it’s hard! People don’t always have that same eye and attention to detail.

Clint went on to say that his team calls him, Eagle Eye Clint. I laughed really hard because Jamie has a crazy eye as well! He also said that since he’s let go and let others on his team take over, they have excelled at things where he would never be able to excel. Which is pretty cool to hear!

Q. Building for less, how do you deal?

This is one Jamie and I have always struggled with. Can’t tell you how many times we get asked if we can build this Restoration Hardware piece of furniture they saw, but for less. When in reality it’ll cost us more to build.

Again, I laughed hard! Clint is also a really funny guy! He said, “let me guess you charged $700?! That’s the sweet spot every carpenter starts with. It’s not too close to $500 to be too cheap, but you’re almost touching that $1,000 mark.” He said that’s the magic starting number with all carpenters. And you bet that’s what we sold our last ten pieces of furniture for.

Clint really went over not only the industry as a whole but society in general and how we’ve evolved. There are no shop classes anymore, but people are missing a real-life connection, so they want those pieces with a story behind them again. They want someone they know to have built something. They don’t just want all of this “stuff” in there home with absolutely no meaning to them, so he truly believes it’s all coming back right now. It’s just a matter of time, and a lot of people are already there before everyone wants to pay the price for your value.

Throughout the conversation, he referenced books he read, YouTube videos he watched, and articles so I could tell he was well educated and why he builds such cool things and provides so much value.

Q. Favorite wood right now?

Q. Did your wife flow into this because of you?

Wow! Clint gave me a whole new perspective on this question!!

I get asked this all the time, because well, never in a million years did I think I’d be doing this “interior design” stuff. I have a background in marketing and fashion, but after our conversation today, Clint reminded me that is not what it’s all about.

He credited all the success of their business to his wife, Kelly. It was a bummer she wasn’t there so I could meet her too. He said they take turns on these things to make sure they have as much family time with their kids as they can. Again, what a family man!

He said Kelly is the one who knew business. She started a business before making clothes. He went on to say how brave she is, and when life has thrown things at her when she could have chosen just to quit she never gives up! And he mentioned she’s been through some rough things.

I could relate to what he was talking about so much! Despite my dad dying and my little brother is in prison, I always say, those things make me the strong person that I am today! Weirdly they actually push me to be better, do better.

It’s not about the furniture.

This wasn’t a question but made for a great conversation! He said that he kind of wished he would have titled his book, Handcrafted, to “It’s not about the furniture.” He went onto say that everything isn’s about the furniture, it’s so much more than that.

Every day Jamie and I strive to do and provide something so much more to our readers and clients than just remodeling a home. And it’s something we have to remind ourselves daily because this gig is hard work and draining at times.

Clint talked about how he’s moved 30x and loves change and credits a lot of that to his success. He’s always open to possibilities and never knows what the future holds. The future for him may be speaking, getting into educating the craft to bring more tradesman back into this industry, teaching and more.

It was super cool to think about and be reminded of… that everything comes and gos…which could be scary to some if you never adapt and change!

He finished our conversation off with,

“This is a great time to be alive!” There is so much opportunity and we’re all in this together. There’s no need or room for competition. It’s not about accumulating wealth for yourself; it’s about helping one another out.”

It was such a great morning hanging with Clint, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity. Clint was an all-around genuinely good guy, and I’m so happy our worlds collided! I can’t wait to see how our lives intertwine again later down the road.

I hope you guys enjoyed this Q & A as much as I did with Clint.

Make sure to check out their new show, Woodwork, on HGTV, and I haven’t read his book yet, but I already ordered my copy off Amazon. You can buy it HERE. He was told from someone after reading it that they didn’t know he was such a feminist! Haha! Again, it made me laugh!

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[…] weekend reminded me of what life is all about. I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Clint Harp, and throughout our conversation, he reminded me that at the end of the day your family relationship […]