Photo by Heather Middleton
Ben and Abbey Brown with their son Luke, 2, run their online shop, www.thehoneydew.etsy.com. The business has become a family affair. One of their chandeliers hangs under the pavilion at their home.
By Heather Middleton
McDONOUGH — Clayton County firefighter Ben Brown was browsing in a local shop when he saw a chandelier he liked.
His next thought was “I bet I could make that,” he said.
Thus was born Ben and Abbey Brown’s online store, TheHoneydew.
“After I made the first chandelier, Abbey thought we could sell them,” Ben said. “I didn’t think anyone would want them.”
And after an unsuccessful first attempt at selling them during a July 4 festival, Ben was certain nobody wanted them.
But Abbey could see the beauty in her husband’s pieces. She knew if they could get the word out, people would want them.
Abbey, a Locust Grove High School agriculture teacher, spent the rest of her summer vacation creating their Etsy.com shop.
Etsy is an online marketplace for crafters and their handmade goods.
“We can’t believe where this has gone,” Ben said.
They’ve sold 118 chandeliers so far with no signs of stopping. Many of the pieces resemble lighted works of art rather than chandeliers.
They will come up with a design, mostly using shipping pallet wood, scrap wood from a local business and lots of glass canning jars.
“What anyone else doesn’t want, we do,” Abbey said.
Ben said once pieces are posted online, they’ll often get requests for something just a little different.
"A lot of people have more specific measurements — they send me the size they need and I’ll build it for them,” he said.
Or they’ll get requests for a little bit country and a little bit glamorous.
“We had a lady who wanted one with pearls and crystals and we built it for her,” Abbey said.
Working with wood is nothing new to Ben.
He inherited his love of all things tools from his grandfather Charles Brown — who built his own home.
“He was really good with wood and tools and he taught me a lot about it.”
Now Ben is passing his love down to his son Luke, 2.
“He’s got his own set of plastic tools,” Abbey said.
Luke is often found working along side his dad in the basement workshop imitating his every move.
“It’s the cutest thing,” Abbey said.
Abbey does her part for the family business too. She does most of the lightbulb socket wiring.
“We’ve got a stock pile of it,” she said “I’ll sit here watching American Idol putting them together.”
Each chandelier Ben puts together takes between two and four days.
The wood is cleaned and oiled or sealed. Then once the pieces are put together, each chandelier is hung in the Brown’s dining room to test the wiring and soundness.
All wiring is done to electrical codes - these rules and regulations are followed to ensure electricity is safely used in homes, in accordance with information found at: About.com.
With the success of their online store, the Browns started saving for a swimming pool. But that plan has since been put on the backburner.
The couple are now planning for the future of TheHoneydew. They’re expanding from the basement workshop to an outbuilding behind their home.
While Ben’s primary job is to help keep the citizens of Clayton County safe, he said TheHoneydew is the best part time job he’s ever had.
Though a traditional honey-do list often involves a long list of chores given to a husband, the Brown’s Honeydew has become a family affair.
To contact the Browns and see their chandeliers, visit their shop at www.thehoneydew.etsy.com