Fatie Atkinson, 2005 Haywood Community College Professional Crafts Wood graduate, always wanted to work for himself. In addition to the flexible schedule, he wanted more control over what he made and how he made it.

The flexible schedule was put into play when his three kids were born. Atkinson was a stay-at-home dad for three years until his kids started school. During his time at home, he continued to work on pieces when time allowed. Once the kids were in school, Atkinson decided to refocus the goals of his business, Design Intervention.

That’s when Atkinson first visited Haywood Community College’s Small Business Center. Meeting one-on-one with Katy Gould, HCC’s SBC Director, proved to be very valuable to him. “I needed reassurance that what I was doing was still relevant,” he explains. “It was the push I needed. It gave me the little bit of confidence I lacked.”

Atkinson describes his work as very elegant and very functional. “I try to blur the line between functionality and art. I like to see what I can get away with making it light and sturdy at the same time. It takes a lot of engineering to make that happen.”

Atkinson’s work can be found at the Southern Highland Craft Guild, The Bascomb: Center for the Visual Arts in Highlands, and Grovewood Gallery in Asheville.

Atkinson says owning your own business requires you to wear a lot of hats. It’s not just designing the piece or even making the piece but there’s also the business side of things like paperwork and marketing, taxes and social media.

HCC’s Small Business Center can help with each step of the process. The Center supports the development of new businesses and the growth of existing businesses by providing training, counseling, and resource information. Confidential counseling, seminars, and access to resource libraries are free of charge. For more information, please call 627-4512 or email kmgould@haywood.edu. Information can also be found online at haywood.edu/small-business-center.   

Donated photo. Fatie Atkinson, owner of Design Intervention, says meeting with HCC’s Small Business Center gave him the push he needed after spending three years focusing on his children. Atkinson makes elegant but functional wood pieces.