Conventional wisdom would suggest when starting a new business venture, it’s essential to have years of experience to steer the desired outcome from the start… but where is the spirit of adventure in that? Despite having zero experience working with acrylic, we (brothers and co-owners, Derron and Eric Ball) started Sticks and Stones Acrylics in February 2018. We were intrigued by the promise of acrylic’s versatility and modern characteristics. Enough so that we decided to order a truck load of the material and set-up shop in Eric’s garage. Thus began the crash course education in acrylic furniture.
Our paths leading to this endeavor have been quite opposite. Derron, a commercial fisherman in Alaska for the past 12 years had dabbled in furniture making, building pieces for his Kodiak, Alaska home. Eric, adopting a more conventional life, worked in the corporate world before starting e-BALL, LLC a bookkeeping business in 2017. Eric enjoyed art as a hobby but never seriously considered it as a career choice.
Growing up in Blacksburg, Virginia, we both enjoyed and exceled at art – receiving incredible support from family, friends, and teachers alike. Derron, deciding to continue developing his creativity side, studied Landscape Architecture at Virginia Tech before riding his bicycle to Boulder, Colorado. After finding a job at a landscape design/build company, the call of the Alaskan wild only intensified. Just under a year in Boulder and never one to shy away from an adventure, he moved to Alaska and started walking the docks looking for a fishing gig as a deckhand. After a dozen years of hard work and a few stormy seas and Nat. Geo-worthy moments it was time to embark on a new adventure.
Eric, choosing a different route after high school, but still not knowing what he wanted to do with his life, decided to move to Richmond, VA where he worked nights at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond processing checks. While working nights, he studied business at Virginia Commonwealth University. After graduating, he continued working at the Federal Reserve Bank as a procurement professional, eventually going back to school to get his MBA. After 16 years under the comforts of the Federal Reserve Bank, he was recruited to the Hampton Roads area to pursue new opportunities. After a series of one-year stints successfully helping different companies, the intrigue of working for himself led him to start his own bookkeeping business. Two months after starting e-BALL, LLC, shunning conventional wisdom, he agreed to let Derron sleep on his couch and have a truckload of acrylic delivered to his garage.
That’s our story, if you don’t like it…. Sticks and Stones.