Mary Perrin turns her wood-making hobby into a new Brownsburg business
By Stephanie Dolan
Mary Perrin leads a busy life. The lifelong Hendricks County resident, a 41-year-old mother of three, recently sold one family business and started another that’s gaining popularity in Brownsburg.
After doubling her original workspace, in July she held a launch party as the owner of She Wood Know, a crafty space where Perrin creates unique wood pieces and holds workshops near the corner of Northfield Drive and Ind. 136.
But an unfinished basement project more than a decade ago planted roots that started her down the path to using her teaching background combined with her love of creating and building.
“I’ve always been crafty,” Perrin said. “I fell in love with that building process.”
Perrin and her family moved to Brownsburg in 2003 and built a house with an unfinished basement. As their first DIY project in 2008, she and her husband Les finished their basement, doing everything down to the electrical and trim work. They repeated the process after moving in 2011 and finished that basement in 2013.
“When we finished it, I was left with a large area I knew I wanted a table in,” she said. “I couldn’t find what I wanted anywhere. I decided to get past my fear of trying something new and built my own table. It’s still standing. Really, it was from that table I was so empowered and had such a build up of confidence.”
She then went around her home and decided what she wanted to build to add the perfect touch to her spaces.
“My husband finally said there was nothing else I could possibly build. We were out of room,” she said.
Perrin’s family is a part of the business and had their hands in getting it started in their home about two years ago.
“My daughter, who was 12 at the time, loves helping me and loves to be a little entrepreneur,” she said. “She was pinteresting and found these chevron arrows. We made them to hang in her bedroom. We posted them to Facebook, and between the two of us ended up making and selling close to 80 sets of arrows.”
Perrin continued to build more and more for friends, neighbors and family. In October 2017 their house was soon bursting at the seams trying to contain every aspect of her new business.
“I was making a huge mess in my garage, and then I was making a huge mess in my entryway,” she said. “My husband and I decided it was time to look for a place outside the house for a location where I could go and set up shop.”
They found a space on Northfield Drive in Brownsburg where she can create and use her teaching background to help others make projects for their homes through workshops. Friends’ comments helped her come up with the play on words name for She Wood Know.
“Friends have always said, ‘ask Mary, she would know,’” she said.
She does have a few shelves in her shop displaying items for sale, but most of her work is made-to-order.
She’s getting rave reviews from customers arrand would like to know what you want to create.
“You can feel the time, care and love that goes into every unique piece,” Summer Thomas said in her Facebook review. “So excited to have this vendor in Hendricks County.”
The She Wood Know opening overlapped the Perrins ending a chapter of running a website design business for homeowner’s associations and property management companies that the couple built over the last decade.
“I stopped teaching because I’d had my third child, and my husband and I wanted to start a business,” she said. “For us to be able to start our own business and be able to stay home with the kids just made the most sense for us. He’s in software development, and I was the front end. I taught it. The whole 10 years that I ran that business, my number one goal was just to educate our customers.”
And education is in Perrin’s blood. For eight years, she taught fourth grade in Wayne Township and at Brown Elementary in Brownsburg.
“Those kids are amazing actually,” she said. “They have a sense of humor. They’re reading and they’re writing. They bring so much spirit and joy. There were hard days. Doing anything, you have a hard day. But the good they brought though was just amazing.”
Some students she taught are now adults who are teaching or married or having babies of their own.
“To see that and know I had a little bit of input into their lives way back when has really brought it full circle,” she said.
Perrin brings that spirit of education into her new space at She Wood Know. Her students just aren’t limited to 10 and 11 year olds. Even her workspace has grown since she first moved out of her home.
“I started out with 1,000 square feet and brought all the tools from home,” she said. “I’d host workshops. People would reach out to me and tell me they wanted to build something and I’d organize a class. I ended up expanding my space, busted through the wall, and that area is now strictly for holding workshops.”
Perrin teaches two workshops a week and shares the now 2,000 square foot space with other business owners such as florists and string artists are also teaching in the building.
But for Perrin, it’s not just about running a business.
She would also know about giving back to her community. Last spring she was part of a group of women who built a home for a woman and her family during the Habitat for Humanity Women Build.
“I built and donated a bench for the homeowner’s front porch,” she said. “She had stated that she wanted a bench, so she could sit on the front porch and remember her mom. On dedication day we presented her with that bench in memory of her mother.”
Perrin will be back in Habitat’s build rotation for 2020.
To catch the builder spirit and get in on making projects, follow She Wood Know on Facebook and register for workshops, meet with Perrin for custom orders she makes or pick up a DIY kit.
Perrin recently made an entertainment center and kitchen buffet-style table for Julie Sinclair who owns Caroline’s Boutique in Brownsburg.
“I came in with an idea, and she helped me put things together as far as functionality of what would work in my house,” Sinclair said. “I gave her pictures, and she just made things come to life. I do love everything she did. It’s great quality. You can tell the workmanship. She just puts her heart and love into everything she does.”
She Wood Know
Phone: (317) 460-0708
Studio: 1652 E. Northfield Drive, Suite 500, Brownsburg
Mary Perrin combines her love for teaching, building and crafting at her business She Wood Know. She makes custom pieces, holds workshops and sets up as a vendor at festivals. (Photos by Rick Myers)
Getting to know Mary Perrin
Where did you grow up?
Stilesville and Plainfield
Who or what inspires you?
My friends and my family inspire me to be better and think bigger and do better, to be a dreamer, to go after what I want. I think that just my friends and family in general have always been my biggest supporters or encouragers.
If you had to choose a theme song for your life, what would it be?
Probably Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.”
What are you currently reading?
I just finished “Handcrafted” by Clint Harp.
What is your secret to success?
Just keep going. Don’t stop.
What do you believe is one of your greatest accomplishments?