We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Rothe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
As a teenager I was diagnosed with a chronic illness, called Endometriosis, that left me in constant pain. I sought woodworking to be a creative outlet to cope with the pain and depression I was living with. I had spent time collecting ideas of projects I wanted to try, and eventually started learning how to work with power tools. To my surprise, I had several friends encourage me to start selling my creations. Everything I made was simple and very rustic when I began, but with time I found myself lost in the artistic realm of modern, yet rustic designs. At the age of twenty-six, I had a major surgery that treated the symptoms of pain I was dealing with. Recovery and adjustment took a lot longer than I anticipated, but I have now been symptom free for a year and a half. Physically, I feel like I’m ten years younger, and I’m so thankful to be able to work with my hands and let the creativity flow!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
ModStik Designs specializes in Colorado-themed artwork made entirely from reclaimed wood. A constant theme in my artwork is a mountain look using two layers of wood to create a 3D affect. Recently, I have been incorporating a starry-night look in the background, as well as introducing a round shape. ModStik has it’s own specific look that I have been building off of for years, and is inspired by my mountain lifestyle. Each piece is custom made and no two are alike. The single, most important strategy I’ve used in building my business is to listen to the ideas of my customers. I always want to hear what people would like to see in my artwork. I welcome new ideas and value the creative input others can share. I run my business with a thankful heart and I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my customers. I am a single mom to two young daughters, and I am able to still be at home with them and make a living doing something that I love. I am grateful for every order placed and every new person I get to meet.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Evergreen is a quaint mountain town that’s also only 30 minutes away from Denver. What I love most about the area is getting to explore the great outdoors. Evergreen Lake is the perfect place to take a stroll and enjoy the scenery after grabbing a bite to eat in downtown Evergreen. My hangout in town is Muddy Buck Coffee. The atmosphere is one that brings inspiration to my artwork, and their coffee is the best! Squaw Pass Road is one of my favorite drives in the area. There are epic Mountain View’s and some incredible hiking trails on the way up to Mount Evans. Breckenridge is another mountain town I take any excuse to visit! You can’t beat the snowboard/ski culture there, and Breckenridge Brewery is a great stop when visiting! Keystone Mountain is my absolute favorite place to snowboard in the winter, and you can’t beat the camping in the summer.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
While on this journey I have had a few people jump in and help out during seasons, but no one has supported me quite like my parents have. From the beginning they were cheering me on as I was fighting through the biggest challenges in my life, and even now they have remained consistent in their support. About a year ago I almost gave up on this dream as I didn’t have a workshop to work in. They offered me their garage and extra space to store materials. While I would work in the garage, my Dad would come outside and start prepping the materials so I could work more productively. Even though I now have a workshop, my Dad still supplies me with prepped materials. My Mom promotes my business on community pages on social media, and makes connections with people for me to get in contact with. They have never missed an event, and are always available for me to bounce idea’s off of. I wouldn’t be able to do what I love without these people rooting for me!