Building Better Businesses Together: Home Artisans of Indiana Focuses on Personal & Professional Growth - Home Artisans of Indiana w
Building Better Businesses Together: Home Artisans of Indiana Focuses on Personal & Professional Growth
Building Better Businesses Together: Home Artisans of Indiana Focuses on Personal & Professional Growth

In 2010, at the tail end of the recession, a group of home improvement professionals came together to support each other through personal and professional growth. It’s through these collaborative efforts that the founding members of Home Artisans of Indiana were able to flourish. Now as the industry navigates inflated material costs, housing stock shortages and a limited talent pool, the need for Home Artisans is as relevant as ever.

The professional development organization prides itself on being more than your average business card swap. Through regular meetings, industry focused speaker events, resource sharing and a top-notch referral program, they’ve made it easier than ever to connect with a flourishing community of artisans and craftsmen in Central Indiana.

David Decker, founder and owner of ACo, started the group by gathering a dozen members in his showroom. They flourished and quickly outgrew those four walls. Today Home Artisans’ 69 members across three chapters (Carmel, Fishers, and Greenwood) meet every other week to converse and collaborate. A fourth chapter is set to open in Hancock County with an initial founding group of 11 members, all from high-quality industry companies.

THE MEMBER EXPERIENCE

“We don’t just get together and talk about a job site,” says Diana Daniely, Outside Builder Sales at Ferguson Enterprises. “We discuss the best tools for time management and best practices for handling clients.”

At each meeting, an invited speaker discusses goal setting, human resources, or time management – all business-related conversations. Recently, Don Whetro from Arthur Rutenberg Homes spoke on supercharging results through goals. They also host monthly Happy Hours to provide additional opportunities to socialize.

Paul Carroll with Wooton Hoy, LLC was one of the first members of Home Artisans of Indiana.

“This has been one of the best groups I’ve ever been associated with,” says Carroll, who has been on the board for years. “I like the professionalism of each and every member of the group. The networking among professionals in this industry is second to none.”

During the pandemic, members met virtually to share industry concerns. Carroll provided updates on the ever-changing laws. Group members also were able to monitor material shortages and ask one another how they were navigating such difficult circumstances.

Members also find ways for people to dive deeper into connection if they want. One example: members formed a business-focused book club where they could discuss helpful takeaways from industry stories. Home Artisans also advocates for round table referrals, so if someone is interested in working with a builder or developer, a connection can be made within the group.

“Because of these relationships we’ve built, it feels safer making an introduction because you trust the other members,” says Daniely, a board member of Home Artisans since its inception. “That’s what makes this group powerful. I know when I’m recommending somebody, they’ll do a good job. They wouldn’t be in the group otherwise.”

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL GROWTH

Industry-specific organizations can become vital assets to professional and personal growth, at the company and individual level. Home Artisans doesn’t track leads or number of referrals. They do ask members to attend regularly, and if you must miss, you can send a representative in your place. It’s also worth noting that a single membership is company-based, not an individual membership, so up to three people from a company can attend the meetings.

Meridian Closets, located inside of Hub & Spoke, is a custom closet cabinet and storage company that designs, manufactures, and installs closets and murphy beds for local Indianapolis area customers. Lauren Schwartz, President of Meridian Closets, recently joined Home Artisans and already recognizes the benefits.

“It’s nice to be in a room with like-minded people, sharing ideas and helping one another learn,” says Schwartz, who recently visited a showroom of one of the other members and was excited to see what a valuable resource they each could be to the other.

Jamie Gauker, owner/lead interior designer of J. Gauker Interiors, joined Home Artisans last year in hopes of making new connections that might ultimately serve her in the long run. She has already formed a number of organic relationships with members and speakers.

“I’ve expanded my contractor base and have hired some of them where I never would have known them before,” says Gauker. “I believe it’s worth the investment.”

Jordan Knueven, Assistant Branch Manager at Stone Center of Indiana, joined Home Artisans in 2020. While her initial purpose for joining was to make connections with other builders, she found that she loved meeting with all members in the group.

“Your ROI on joining is all about what you put into it,” says Knueven, Home Artisan’s Executive Membership Chair. “Leads come easy with the group. You make relationships and get referrals from there, but what I really like is learning how to set goals – not just personal sales goals but also goals within my personal life. I love this group because it’s not just focused on business. It embraces a work/life balance.”

HELPING THE GREATER COMMUNITY

The Home Artisans members care a great deal about not only helping other professionals in their industry, but also bringing the best opportunities to their greater community.

For starters, they’re offering a scholarship to students who are looking to pursue a career in the trades. They’ve also hosted career fairs that specifically target high schoolers and local college students.

“The truth is you can make a great living selling appliances. You can make a great living pouring concrete. You can make a great living installing tile and flooring,” says Daniely. “These are all very fulfilling jobs.”

On April 16th, Home Artisans of Indiana will be hosting the “Build Better Summit,” a half-day featuring keynote speaker Donnie Campbell (who’s coaching career inspired the plot of hit Apple TV series Ted Lasso), panel discussions, and lessons in leadership.

“Instead of just commenting on the labor shortage, we’re asking how we can contribute to the solution,” says Daniely, noting that it’s all about growing exposure to the field. “How do we create paths for people to grow within our industry so that they develop an interest in the construction field?”

To find an artisan, learn more about scholarships, or find out how to connect, visit homeartisans.com.

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