How to Turn Your Passion into a Real Business
  • January 26, 2023
  • GSD Creative

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Have you noticed how every day is full of surprises? Even though I live by my calendar, there is always something unexpected and new that happens! The universe brings us together in amazing ways. We’ve been focusing on lifelines lately (if you’ve listened to the past few episodes) and if you are a business owner, your brand story is a huge part of your lifeline. 

Recently I traveled to the Atlanta market to shop for a client, and also I just love to go to see what's new! It’s hours of walking up and down stairs in multiple buildings with many many floors… and yes, you guessed it, I’m tracking ALL my steps along the way!

It wasn’t on my to do list for the day but I walked by this world art gallery with maps everywhere (I’m obsessed with traveling and seeing the world and learning geography because I’m SO not good at it.). I had to stop and go in! 

I spent hours in there! 

Ya know when you see something and you have that inspiration and you just have to stop and get it out! This was one of those moments! 

I quickly started to lay things out on the floor and designed away with one of their team members. Then one of the owners came over to answers some questions. 

When asking him about his story it’s the way he responded where I couldn't help myself…and asked “can I video you” (I’ve learned to ask, thank you to my sweet travel husband)!

There was an amazing brand story there and we recorded this podcast right on the spot! No mics (even though I had them in my bag, didn’t want to kill the vibe), I was so excited to hear how the company was founded and what they do, that we jumped right into conversation.

Let me introduce you to Ryan Martz of Fire & Pine. Grown from passion, this business’s mission is to provide meaningful home decor that gives memories a sense of place through their unique burning process that creates decorative wall maps, intricate U.S. patents and custom-designed wood artwork for customers in all 50 states and internationally. 

I’m so excited for you to listen in to (watch) hear his story and I would highly recommend you watch so you can catch a glimpse of their creativity at work!

Main Topics:

*Taking a passion and turning it into a real business
*How to lead with relationships
*How to create a company culture that includes your team

Key Takeaways:

*Some of the best ideas and inventions come from last minute thinking
*Creative ways to involve sustainability in your business
*How to be productive as a creative

More About Our Guest:

When we started Fire and Pine in 2016, there were only a handful of us working out of a small part of a warehouse. Today, we are a team of 24 artisans working from a full-scale production facility in a small town in South Carolina. Our unique burning process creates decorative wall maps, intricate U.S. patents and custom-designed wood artwork for customers in all 50 states and internationally. We’ve grown rapidly, continually adding new products to the Fire and Pine brand and increasing production output.

None of this would be possible without a fantastic team of creative professionals who take pride in the art of woodworking. Thanks to the support of our local community — and you! — our team is continuously innovating. The fact that we get to have fun while we work is an added bonus.


Oh my god, this was
ornaments. And I'm in this having a heart attack because we can't really think on the order. You have your ornament here, you would just select your color. And that would be the painted surface. And then you have your woodgrain which would be the burnout. And the
way you turn it to the side. So I can show the other way though. So I can see show how it's like oh, so on the back, we can put the website you see how it's raised. So if you run your finger over it, it's it's up which this is just nicer. We get the little sis called Honey come I guess this would be like everything what? This could be a man will.

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Oh, and we've even done postcard versions of these Christmas cards here we have these posters pops out. So if you're doing like Sharkoon so we have our mess one or both of our more rectangle largly this thing anymore and appear that they make is this another one map over second. You got the block elevated print. Oh no, I like this. Can they go this way too.
And this is lazy. I don't know if we could work it out with pattern.
Exactly. Are you recording right now? All right. So we've done these little, little wooden chips that on the front for some restaurants, it would say good for a free beer back as a QR code that you scan it goes right to their restaurant menu to either place an order online or see what they have.
And then tell him what you told me. You did you did it last minute for yourself. I did a last minute for myself. And everyone. Why didn't you do it last minute?
Because we ran out of time? I don't know.
inspiration behind like, let's just do some small little QR code things like what was the story behind? Yeah, well, I mean, I guess it's more different than this. Yeah. Okay. So you. So you had the idea of instead of a business card, which your business cards are so cute. This could stand up. Yeah, there's more. But that definitely
we also explore we wanted to get away from physical printed catalogs. Yeah. Because one we always update our products. So there's they get out of date very quickly, and we don't want to waste them. But also it's expensive. And it's kind of a waste of paper and things like that. So we went in and the tree is sustainability, right? We have I don't know if you saw behind you. We have solar panels installed on our entire roof. We donate our wood shavings to our local horse barns, things like that. So we're trying to go as green as possible. And as we were making these get the idea that why don't we make a fun little Plinko game. So whenever you come in to redeem your free drink, you can put it in the Plinko game and win fun prizes.
Oh my god. That's All you got to do is oh my gosh, thank you. Yes, I'm okay. This right here. He's like, holy shit this girl. I'm like, do you sell these? And he's like, and at the last minute which this was at the last minute? Yes. And there's a point to the story people, those of us who are creatives we do shoot last minute, are you ever gonna change get used to it? Okay. So always think, last minute and I'm like, oh my god, we need all this Yeah, as a last
minute as we're finishing these things up to get him ready to come to the show. My laser Tech was like these are like those little Plinko chips. It'd be cool if there was a game. So hold my beer an hour later, we have this design from scratch.
And here it is, and now they're selling. And this is how you add to your inventory. When it's not on your vision board. You listen to your audience. And when people want something, you're like, yes, we sell that. How did you come up with these things?
I literally just thought like, hey, well could be 1% off your order and a free design. Then what can I give people that would put a smile on their face. So free compliment that I I think I misspelled Oh, my God, you so did I misspell everything I can take this off and replace it with a new one. Okay.
So like what amazes me and he's like, Well, you know, what do people want? Sorry, Amanda, my microphones aren't out there in my person. I should have pulled them out. But it would just be weird at this point. So he's like, Oh, I think I just missed a compliment. And you're just now noticed that Yeah. Now this is because it's not well thought through. Because it was the last minute. And the laser tech just does what you tell them to do. They're not going to check you like they should. This is where we teach proactiveness of someone saying like, Oh, hey, what's your name? Ryan? Ryan, did you mean to spell compliment like that? And then they're like, Oh, you're speaking in the UK. And that's the way they spelled in the UK. I'm like, okay, but I would never even catch it. People in the audience come up and tell me Oh, you misspelled on slide. 17. My slides don't even have good features. But you know, 70 But that's how the brain is wired. It's like the psychology of the brain. Okay, back to this. Another free drink. Everyone wants a free drink. Free hug on that. So sweet. Left over Halloween candy. That's disgusting. And mystery for us. What's the mystery?
Well, that's a mystery. But most of the time, it's lip balm. I'm like,
why is this sitting here? Okay.
There we have a lot of industry friends. Because as we build our company with other companies alongside us, yeah, we become a family. And we like to cross promote each other's products that we really like and serious lip balm is some of our closest friends, killer lip balm and other
products. So we're not going to do lip balm. But if we did, we would wrap it with our we would probably do something for the mystery prize. It would be like pedometers or ring lights or like a GSD water butts like stainless steel water bottle or T shirt like sweatshirt, where they could like go into the bucket of the mystery of what's in there. Wouldn't it be funny if we were like on a race floor and people put their hands in there to give something and a hand comes up and like they would kiss their pants? I'm a jokester. So it's like I play these shirts.
So I've actually not ever sold this. I made this for us last minute. How long did it clearly not developed to the greatest degree? Because it's so I don't know, I would have to chip away right? Maybe turn it upside down. But it's all I would have to? To put my name on a product I would have to be very comfortable with. Yeah, and medieval. I love this. I love like,
and you started this company?
i Yes, I helped develop this whole company. And how long have y'all been in business? We've been doing this particular product for about six years.
Okay, and how long have you been in market? How many years?
Probably our fourth year in market is our first year with our own permanent showroom.
Okay. And as far as ROI and like revenue, do you come twice a year and that's like, you set it up. And if you don't meet your goals, like from those two shows, you're like shit, we have to do more marketing shit.
Not necessarily. We try not to be super analytical and like really hard by the numbers because there's so many various variations and variables in there that, you know, we can't really account for financially. So we have so many people that come back and say I saw you two years ago. I saw you last year. And I've been thinking about it for a year. They didn't buy at that point, right? There's so many contexts that we meet Yes. become huge growth for us and for them. Yeah. After the shows, yeah.
Relationships like
exactly. So like serious lip balm. They had a need for something that we had moment didn't we couldn't provide, which was displace, they were buying displays from some company that was really expensive. They weren't customized. And I designed all these displays for us out of necessity, you know, we needed to do horsetail displays, tabletop displays, so I created them from scratch, based on our needs. They saw
just how businesses start, by the way, yeah, it's a problem. You want to fix it.
Necessity is the mother of invention works out really well. So they came to us. And now I design and supply all their displays. And since then, we've had four or five companies come in and ask for the same. So you never know what you're gonna get out of taking a chance and doing things like this. And a lot of times, it grows more than just financially. We have a lot of great friends by doing this. So
how many people are in the company? We have around
25 employees, total artisans, whether they're making artwork, they're helping customers shipping receiving woodworking lasers?
Are they all over the world? They're all
in our, in our warehouse? We do everything in house ourselves. And where's your warehouse? Originally in South Carolina? It's right outside of Hilton Head, north of Savannah, Georgia.
I don't know if we'll be in Hilton Head. But we all do an annual retreat. Do we do an annual Christmas party? Really, that's not the same. So next year during the annual retreat, I'm going to come do it. Okay, this is what we're gonna do since 25. People's like, the perfect thing is like, she knows this the four Ps it's like people, processes productivity, profit. So like we teach our business model called for GSD. It's get shit done. Like for productivity, make sure you have the right people based on personality. And then make sure that you have so like these could be like four different colors, you know, like, it's a trademark is culture colors. It's like this Myers Briggs Enneagram. Every coming work was based off the psychology because without the right people, you can't go where you want to go. And why so many companies we work with, they don't close the gap. They don't close the circle, because we hired buddy that we like, like, but I learned very young and you can't do that. Like you can't hire your friends. Like you learn the brain type. And then the processes is about like buckets, like Tom buckets, like how do you spend your time. And so we work with your employees and say okay, like, personally, you know, you have a birthday every year, your family is birthday of holidays, heart, the timeout for your family. And don't touch that. And then if you do weekly things, like we all have to get our groceries like I don't like to wash my hair. So I get a blow out every week, like I have my groceries delivered. You know, it's like there's routine. So go ahead and put the time on the calendar, you know, and then and then we color code everything's we teach. It's a very elementary system. But people walk away with like, there's so unbalanced. And when you work on as a team to like get things balanced, it is the productivity is like the payoff is up here. I mean, the case studies are incredible. So before COVID I all I focused on was like productivity, productivity, productivity, like a teacher. And then I started dancing on Tik Tok with COVID because I'm like, I'm giving up what people think about meeting works, I'm probably going to die. Like I almost thought it was like, it was bad. And so I'm sarcastic, but like, I'm being serious. It was so bad. Like, I did good bad videos to like my family and the kids. Yeah, I was bad. So, but it's like a second chance that life, right? And so I'm like, I need to, like get some shit together like myself. Because like you I don't know, like, I'm a workaholic. I love what I do. Like, I will sit up and draw this out all night long. until I'm done. And I mean, it's not healthy. My husband also works at the
company. And we will sit there like all night and just talk and talk. Yeah.
But like you so you have to have like rules and alarms and and we like our brains. I don't know yours yet, but I will. We don't like it just never shuts off. So it's like how do you shut it off. So you can go to bed and you can rest and you can feel better. And then the way you eat and like I just went down a whole rabbit hole of wellness. And so the process is timepieces like the second then the third thing was productivity. And it used to be our automation software. And then after COVID I mean I literally gained 100 pounds and I lost 100 pounds and people watch me through social media because I got a treadmill desk. I walked at a treadmill desk all day. You have one and how many steps you walk a day.
somewhere between eight and 10 miles at during my work day.
Okay, do you do it every day, seven days a week.
I used to until I got new equipment. I had to move my office but yeah,
so you do need I'll use it every day. Not anymore. Not anymore. He needs to move there and his friends
last month. But do you have a goal to walk to remove 10k steps a day? You just you don't care. Why did you get a terminal go?
I don't like being stagnant. I can't sit too long I can't. And then I did a standing desk. But even that was I felt too stagnant. So I got a treadmill desk that really helped bridge the gap between like, I'm moving, I'm motivated. And I feel like I'm more involved in what I'm doing. Even if I'm doing emails, I'm more involved. If I'm physically
moving, that's how we learn. Like, we suck it, but like I told the girl, I'm like, don't laugh at me. But it's Greece, a country and like, I can't like see certain things. It's like I'm really good at like these things. And that's what I stay in, like, stay in my lane. And then team for everything else. Yes.
Something that takes a while to learn. Yes, fine. Like surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. Yeah. And delegate. And allow your team to, to fail. Yeah. So grow with you. 100% is you will eventually burn out. If you you think you can do everything. And in some cases, maybe you can, but you're, they're going to fall, they're going to start falling. Yeah. And, and you'll never continue to grow, you're gonna plateau very early, and you're gonna burn yourself out. So that took me years to learn that I feel like I can do everything. But you know, again, it's gonna stop falling behind. So I have to say, Alright, Sierra is unbelievable at what she does, yes, talking to people and taking care of everybody. And now allowing somebody who's really good at what they do to take that off of your shoulders. At first is stressful, because you have to trust somebody. But once they prove that they can be trusted. It is an unbelievable weight off your shoulders. And then it's easier to say, okay, that worked really well. Let's let's allow our artists to take over like, this is my baby. This is what I designed. It's hard to give that to somebody else. Yeah. And then once you do
be like the main colors, he was doing design work. He was the VP he was doing so how are you feeling?
Birkdale? Yeah,
but I come in here and I physically build all the designs and feel
like yeah, so that's the thing with with your buckets, or I'm gonna call it start funding and pots, actually, except just bought a bunch of pots.
It's like a barrel.
Yeah, I mean, it's like, it's Yeah, it is sorry. I mean, the roof of your head. No, no, I just completely interrupted. Anyway. This is so school moment. Like,
you're telling me all my life about this? And my wife is coming in? Yeah, like an hour. She worked with children with autism. Yeah. And she's a Psych Major.
Major, I can tell I'm a psychologist. I mean, that's what I did for 10 years.
So and you two have very, very, very similar mannerisms and your references. I can tell you very intellectual. Yeah, you'd be you would just have
certain things. Let's be clear. Very certain things very, she's.
She's also on a podcast with one of her co workers. It's a psych podcast. So she has a podcast. She's on a podcast, like as a host or a guest? Monthly guest? Okay, or maybe every other week. But it's a psych podcast based in the ABA world. Okay. And her baby split testing, no ABA applied behavioral analysis. Oh, gotcha. She works with children with autism. Right? That's right. So her monthly segment is kind of more on the we help other people for a living. How do we help ourselves exactly what we find it so easy to use ABA and on other people, but you we don't like give ourselves self help? Yep. And that's why there's such a huge burnout rate in psychology and, and that's like that. So her section is just like, I read this book. Let's shoot the shit about this. Yes. And, and it's
been awesome. I think we're gonna be best friends. And so I do this podcast, you have y'all doing your lifelines? Okay, so like, let's pretend this is a piece of paper and you draw a line. And this is the year you were born. And this is the year right now. And then you draw lines like this, and you put the high and the low of every single year and you kind of have to do with your family because like, we don't know, you know? So for Thanksgiving, my family, like sat down. The whole point for me was I mean, my mother is old, my father died of cancer. It just sucks, you know? And I'm like, I wish I had more video and stories. Like, they have crazy stories and crazy, right? Yeah, so exactly what I wanted happen, but it just happened organically, where my mom like took over and just was all over the place like me like add, I'm like, Okay, let's stay in order of the years here. Because you know, she's like all over the place. But what you do when because when you get to 40 years old, it's like, you can start to see a pattern and all the highs and all the works. That's the first thing. The second most important thing is what people are saying. So my mother she kept saying, but your daddy was never there. Yeah. But your daddy was never there you are, you're in the hospital, you might have a workaholic. He's supportive. My mother never worked. They have three kids like you support your family. Oh, yeah, I got to travel and work. But that's a sacrifice that you make in your marriage. And then my brother's wife was sitting there. And she's like, Well, both of my parents worked. Our grandmothers raised us that was very intentional. That was very strategic. We've never had debt, we all three kids have masters. It was like a 20 year family plan. But that's their personality, our personality. You don't have to do that, unless somebody to do it for us, or teach us how to do it. So when I learned the lifeline, I mean, that's not the purpose of the lifeline. The purpose is to teach us every 10 years, we have to reinvent, recreate and grow scale, sell whatever you have to that other different brain types aren't going to understand they think we're crazy, literally. And so it's like, why would you do that you've had this baby, you built it, but it's like, you both it and now you're bored and move on. But it was like so you, you start to see what the lows are in your family. And then my sister has four children, three of them are girls, and everything they were saying about their low has something to do with clothing. She's like, I'm like so what was your best memory that year? And my mom's like, well, Knox was born. That's the baby that Brooke brother, he's seven now. Caroline, one of the she's like 12 or 13. She's like, All I remember is I walked in and Mama was laying in the hospital bed. And she hated the pants that I had on because I wear these yellow pants and polka dots. And she was like, Really, Caroline, my sister's very particular about like, what her children were. It's like, life is too short, to worry about what the fuck you were right. Like, it's, um, mine had two different socks on it, at least my shoe laces match, like what it's like, but it doesn't mean her problems are any more insignificant than mine. It's just their life is different. And then, so I'm like, do you guys want notice these patterns where it's like, Oh, my God. And of course me and my sister don't get along. So we don't think alike. And that's okay. I still love her. She's my sister. But she like is like annoyed with all these self help and development tools that I like, bring her at the family dinners on the holiday. Love it. They're like, and what are we going to do now. And I'm like, and I'm gonna make a podcast about it. And we're going to share with our whole community, and they're going to do with their families. And it starts to unpack a lot of history, which then there's a lot of negativity, you can get therapy and get help and actually, like, die a happy person that you had a good family and you had a good community, because there's so many wonderful people out there. And that's why the suicide rate is so quick. And yeah, which goes back to me working in mental hospital. So there's always a circle and a loop to everything I'm doing. And we don't know the purpose all the time. I mean, I hated working at a mental hospital, it's not what I thought it was gonna be, you can't really help people that are that sick, you can guide them with tools, but it's just like the saddest thing ever. Anyway, we have a full podcast episode here with no ring light, and no audio. I'm really sorry. But um, anything else that you all would like to say thank you for all your time. But I love this. And yeah, it's always rewarding when people to amazing,
really enjoy what we do. justifies the fact that we spent our entire working day just creating something, creating something that we love, and then finding out that other people get enjoyment out of it, it's
pretty cool. Like, I'm not gonna be right. And you provide opportunities for 20 plus other people, and their families rely on you and your wife to run the ship correctly. You know, so Oh, my God, the fourth P I have to finish is profit, which has to do with like monetizing social media building online community. So you can go global, so your products, global or whatever. And so a lot of businesses we work with, they outsource to a third party agency, which is great, but they fail to do a strategy. And so they give him our lyrics. You don't you have no clue what it means unless you really know what you're doing. And so we have managed a production company years ago and got really into video because we did high end events and weddings. We were paying 150 grand for wedding video. Like I mean, it was like a full like little mini movie set. I got bored. It became more about the money and up in the Joneses. And I'm like this is not about money. You have people spending millions of dollars on private islands, meaningless to me. People like oh my god, your life is calling your secret suitcase. I'm like, oh, and would you like for me to call you out of bed at three in the morning when your bases still aren't there and their cotton customs? Or they get there at three in the morning and they're all fucking broken. And then what? You're on private island, there's no Amazon problem. There's no Walmart, there's no Hobby Lobby, there's no teaching acts like your product. And you have to come up with something on your own. And this is how we grow and it's all in how you handle it. You just don't tell it beforehand. And half the time they don't even notice. But you have to come up with something right? So it's like those situations. things that are like real life, like I can't even make this shit up kind of thing to where it's like, that island that I worked in, that was like 10 years ago that happened to me. They hired us to do consulting. And so like, we do stuff with them every year, and we like go in and do their annual conference. So the profit piece like for the hotels, we take all their employees who were doing social media anyway. And we make it a contest. And then they could win a treadmill desk, they could win a trip at like another property. And so they say they have a wellness program and an incentive program for their employees. No, they don't, they have one, no one's using it, because they're not excited, and they're not tracking it. So I give you a little pedometers or an Apple watch or something. Like my mom's company did it. She worked up and my father died. And they gave them pedometers for Christmas two years ago. I'm like, Mom, I think it's trying to track everything you all are doing, because you're all working from home now. Which is kind of cool. But my mother wins all the challenges. And she wins all these things. Because she's like, healthy, and she's, you know, like, I'm gonna win. And everyone else just sits at a desk. So it's like, I'm like, Mom, quit winning. Like you don't need the treadmill desk, like some of these other people are really unhealthy, and they need to get up and move. And then they'll feel better. And then some of these other things will go away, like their knees hurt, their back hurts, which slows down their productivity. So that's the for people. I'll have to go look at your social media and do a digital audit.
We're being really good at social. Yeah.
Are you doing a lot of reading talks they didn't have that's not oh my god, Instagram or nothing like that. They're like, we're
terrible. I don't do five, to do nothing on my phone, eats his phone. I go to like one website, if I need, like, I don't do anything online. That's okay. It's okay. I don't watch movies, everyone.
I don't either. I don't watch TV, all my screens or editing screens. I don't have cable. I don't watch TV. I don't watch the news. I don't get to Fox unless it has something to do with my revenge, or the airports that are down and I need to be another country. That's kind of a problem. And I was in that in India a few days ago, and I needed to get here in the last three days of market because, yeah, but I'm so glad I met you. Yeah, everything happens for a reason, because I only could do certain things. And like meet certain vendors. But this is like a fun school moment.
Sorry for taking up like most of your day
here. No, it was worth it. And you guys were gonna, like, do a whole wall of like, all the different countries we worked in, and it states and cities, and then she's gonna work on it and design. This is fine. And you have to send I'm gonna say,
incorrectly 30 seconds. Don't quote me on the Blue Zones, Blue Zones? Yes. So it's, it's a there's a book called The Blue Zones. And it's this longitudinal study that basically collects data on small pockets of people spread across the world that have the highest concentration of Centurions cemeteries, that people who live to 100 years old and older. Oh, I'm gonna be that there are certain collections of people in the world that they a lot of them live to this age, and they live healthy and happy to this age. And so they can walk on the Blue Zones explains they dove into it, like why are these people are learning so much longer than other people. And it comes down to a number of aspects. The book is broken down by chapters that have to do with community. So they have a very small community based activity, not necessarily always healthy. But it's always very interactive with each other so small, there's a, I think there's one in America, and it's in California, there's a couple in Italy, but basically, and there's like one or two in Japan, but in a small neighborhood where they're at five years old, 90 years old, and they all leave and they meet at the pub and have a glass of wine together. And they're talking and they're interacting, they're learning new things. So they have a sense of purpose, you know, they're always like, have something to look forward to every day or every other day. So it's not just wake up, what do I do. So that's small aspects of it. But then they also get into a lot of it is what they drink. And it may not sound the healthiest. And it leads to red wine and cheese, goat cheese, mostly. But it's all local, organic, and it comes from the shipper around the corner rather than the grocery store. process. So they're literally they're waking up, they're going to the pub, they're having a glass of wine in the middle of the day and have a cheese and crackers and stuff and they just shoot the shit. And these people are living longer than anybody else because of these small, seemingly insignificant aspects. Like compare that to our lives. Now it's completely different time. It's something that we should strive for. But it's difficult in certain areas of the world. So it's a very interesting book, I would definitely recommend diving into it. And then there's a follow up called the Blue Zones of happiness, where it's the same thing, but it's about how do we find the happiest people on What makes them happy?
That's it for this week's episode of business unveiled. Now that you have all the tools that you need to conquer the world and GSD get shit done. Would you share this with your friends and fellow business leaders? One thing that would really help us and help new listeners is for you to rate the show, and leave a comment and Apple podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you tune in and listen to business unveiled. You can check out the show notes at Angela and link up with us on social media so you can share your biggest insights and I want to know your aha moments. Until next week, remember, the profitable shifts and structures you're creating in your business, help you be more present in your life. So get out there and GSD


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