New DIY Boutique Celebrates Grand Opening In Westfield
Photographer / Ellie Sophia Photography
Do-it-yourself home décor has a new hands-on workshop in Central Indiana. On August 24, husband and wife, Jeff and Brenda Armie, welcomed guests to their grand opening of AR Workshop Carmel in Westfield, IN. Located off of Gray Road, the DIY boutique provides a creative space for people who want to take classes and learn how to make their very own home décor.
With more than 135 franchise locations across the United States, the Armie’s location is the first to open in Indiana.
Brenda, who owns a majority of the business and runs the classes, says AR Workshop is unlike other craft-making establishments in that people can do a variety of different projects at the same time rather than doing the same project as everyone else.
After looking for a way to pair her love for crafts with a business model by searching “hashtag words” on the internet, Brenda came across AR Workshop. As her “partner in crime,” and CFO, Jeff’s responsibility was to research the company and run the initial numbers. After realizing that this could work for her, Jeff encouraged Brenda to pursue her passion. So began the journey to opening an AR Workshop.
“I love crafting. I would do it on the side, after work, make people things,” Brenda says. “Then, I decided that I wanted to do this full-time. So, I started online, looking at things, thinking ‘There has to be places that you can make things.’ I necessarily didn’t think about classes per-say, but just making things.”
Corporately owned by Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff, AR Workshop began three years ago in North Carolina as a simple Etsy shop that blossomed into a fully branded e-commerce store, formerly known as Anders Ruff. With more demand for classes that taught customers how to make their projects and designs, the pair opened up a workshop.
Eventually, customers began asking about how they could open up their own stores and so a franchise was born. Now, the Carmel and Westfield area has its very own location thanks to the Armies and Brenda’s love for crafting.
“She’s always had a bug for craft,” Jeff says. “She’s always had this desire. Every year it’s something different. She tried with this, she tried with that. She’s always making something for somebody.”
AR Workshop is designed to give guests a truly do-it-yourself experience with the help of a guide. The hands-on classes give people the chance to create custom home décor pieces using raw wood, professional paints and canvas. Projects include wood signs, frames, canvas pillows, round signs, lazy susans, tote bags, dog beds and so much more.
“We like our customers to be able to do things from start to finish,” Brenda says. “So, we like them to be able to use the drill or use the nail gun. I mean, we’ll teach them how to use it. If they’re uncomfortable with it, we’ll definitely do it for them, but we want them to have the whole experience of doing everything, step-by-step.”
Classes can be done solo or with a group for a unique and fun activity. AR Workshop also hosts private events such as birthday parties, bridal showers, baby showers and team-building events. However, if crafting isn’t your thing and you’re just looking for gifts or seasonal decorations to put in your home, AR Workshop does sell generic pieces.
“We can make gifts, and then we sell anything that is on the walls,” Brenda says. “I’m hoping in the future to get retail, which probably is going to be earrings, bracelets, candles and bath bombs. But we’re just starting out.”
According to Brenda, networking and being plugged into the community has helped the launch of her workshop be successful. Friends and family helped throughout the building process, made signage, ran social media campaigns and helped prepare the new space for its grand opening. Without their support, Brenda doesn’t know if AR would have been possible.
“We’ve been blessed with a lot of good family and friends,” Jeff adds.
Booking a class is simple and done completely online. Choose the project, check the calendar for the available day that your project is being done, choose a graphic design, register and then pay. When you show up for class, all of the materials are ready to go. If you want to tweak a design or make a complete custom piece, you can add this as an option during your online registration.
And leaving a class unhappy is not an option.
“My philosophy is: ‘To have fun and to never walk away with a project that you’re not happy with,’” Brenda says. “Basically, at the beginning of every class, that’s what I tell everyone. You’re here to have fun, and you want to walk away with something that you are happy with.”
AR Workshop is located at 14643 North Gray Road in Westfield. You can visit them online at arworkshop.com/carmel/ or give them a call at 317-747-0200 for more information.