SpringGR grad Jessica Austin has decided that jack-o-lanterns aren’t just for Halloween anymore. Along with her business partner, Ricky Gray, they are taking the art of carving and turning it into a profitable business.
Pumpkin carving has always been a fun family activity that Gray enjoyed doing with his two daughters for the past six years. It had been one of his passions growing up – he always won pumpkin carving contests in school. As Austin began posting photos of Gray’s designs on her personal social media pages, the comments started rolling in.
“People would start commenting ‘Can I pay you to carve one for me?’” said Austin. “I did some research and found two successful pumpkin carving businesses out there, and that told me it could be a business for us.”
Austin first heard about SpringGR from her aunt, who encouraged her to apply. After attending the first few classes, Austin really began to see the business potential – and Creative Carvings began to take shape. Austin runs the business, while Gray is the artist behind the carvings.
As more business opportunities began to come in through word of mouth and social media, Austin decided to get an official Creative Carvings website up and running. She also decided to learn a little bit of coding to help make their website fit their needs.
Now, Austin and Gray are looking at expanding their available products from only pumpkins and watermelons to include smaller fruits and vegetables. They’re also collaborating with local catering companies to start including carved items in their displays. Even with this recent business growth, Austin still continues to look at additional ways of networking and marketing their business.
She has been reaching out to Grand Rapids area businesses to help them create fall and winter displays in their offices, and is hoping to work with after school programs to include carving activities as part of their arts curriculum. Her goal is to eventually start hosting workshops with Gray to teach different carving techniques.
Offering a wide range of carving options, Gray can create everything from cartoon characters, sports team logos, emojis, and business logos; or he will work with you to create something unique and personal. All designs begin at $29.99, with the final price determined by the complexity of the carving.
Creative Carvings will also deliver to any location within the greater Grand Rapids area. To keep the carving design fresh during transit, Gray leaves the entire design perforated, but intact, on the pumpkin, so the pieces can be easily removed upon delivery.
For more information about Creative Carvings, or to place an order for your special event, please visit their website.