Corporate or Craft? Making the Switch with Kaliegh Benck of Honeywood

Artistic pursuits have always been integral to human civilization, inspiring and moving people in profound ways. Creative expression has been widely celebrated, from painting and sculpture to music and writing, although it is often overlooked as a viable career option. Many artists feel pressured to choose between financial success and artistic fulfillment, which can create internal conflict and stress.

Kaliegh Benck, owner of Honeywood, in her woodworking shop

Kaliegh Benck, founder of Honeywood, in her woodworking shop

Corporate vs. Craft

Kaliegh Benck, the founder of Honeywood, experienced this first-hand. After working her way up to a management position in a tech corporation, she achieved professional success and financial stability but felt unfulfilled and unhappy. Eventually, the stress of her job caused physical and mental health issues, and she took a three-month leave of absence. She rediscovered her passion for woodworking during that time and realized this passion could become a successful business. By stepping away from the corporate world, Kaliegh found a new definition of success that focused on personal fulfillment, creative freedom, and the impact of her work on others. "This is what makes me the most fulfilled. And this is what brings me the most joy: being able to work in this way," she says.

Success in the Art World

Success in the art world is often about the journey, the process of creation, and its impact on others rather than just the end result. Many artists prioritize creative freedom and personal growth over monetary rewards. Kaliegh's success as a woodworker is visceral. "I feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. It feels like everything in my mind, body, and soul is in harmony, and I'm doing what I am intended to be doing." She also noticed a shift in design away from non-natural materials and focused her business on creating objects that people could connect with and keep for a long time.

Pushing Through the Challenges

Building a business from scratch can be challenging, especially for first-time entrepreneurs. Kaliegh had to give herself grace and learn from her mistakes, even when returning to the corporate world was tempting. However, she remains committed to her passion for woodworking and derives joy from knowing that her work brings joy to others. "It makes my heart happy knowing that something I made has brought someone joy and that they're interacting with it."

Small tray with teacup, tea pot and bowl of oranges

Honeywood's ebony tray with tea

Pursuing Your Passion

Ultimately, success is about doing something that inspires you even if it scares you, and pushing through the challenges to create something that brings you and others joy. While the pressure to conform to popular trends and societal pressure can influence our decisions, it is important to remember that true success comes from following your heart and pursuing your passions, even when it is difficult.

The Ebony Tile Tray from Honeywood is available from Here I Am Box. 

See more of Kaliegh's work on her website, HoneywoodATX

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