Student's art background shows in furniture
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
Ashley Heier was used to improvising and being creative. So when she broke her foot in April and wasn't able to work her regular job, she started her own business, Furniture Crave.
Heier, who has set up shop in the garage of her rented apartment in Hays, is set to graduate in December from Fort Hays State University and plans to move to eastern Kansas.
Until then, her hobby of painting furniture has turned into a part-time job that most days during the summer was full-time.
Heier, a graduate of Colby High School, already was transforming old furniture into useful, appealing-looking pieces to go in her own apartment.
"I had bought a really ugly piece of furniture and painted it," she said of her beginning.
When Heier decided she didn't like the piece after all, she stumbled onto something. She sold it.
"After that, I had so many people wanting to buy my furniture, I thought why not paint (for other people)," she said.
So Heier began picking up more castaway furniture to bring back to life and started advertising her business.
"I'd put it on Facebook and Nex-Tech (classifieds)," said Heier, who can be reached at facebook.com/TheFurnitureCrave. "In the summer, I was doing from one to seven pieces a day."
Customers who have an idea of what they want can request a color. But oftentimes, they give Heier the green light to come up with something on her own.
"They'll say they want an off white or cream or some other color," Heier said. "I know what they are talking about because I've taken art classes. They'll come to pick it up, and they're really happy with it."
Heier is taking 19 hours at FHSU this fall, but several of those classes are independent, so she is able to paint and concentrate on her other home business -- Breezy Photography, for which she takes pictures mostly of "weddings, babies and families."
"I want to open a store with furniture and photography," she said of her future plans. "I think they will go together well."