If you know someone who owns a beautifully handcrafted wooden mug, chances are it was made in Downtown Arlington. For decades, Wondrous Works in Wood and its sister businesses have set the standard for quality workmanship and great design while preserving the artisanship of the past.
We’ll drink to that
[caption id="attachment_12647" align="img-wrapright" width="480"] Sherrie Phillips and her team in front of the gift shop on Front Street.[/caption]
Thirty years ago, Sherrie Phillip’s parents launched a furniture refurbishing business on Front Street in the heart of Downtown Arlington. About ten years later, Sherrie joined Phillips Furniture Refinishing to help build an emerging product line: wooden mugs.
“I thought I would help them out for a short period of time,” recalls Phillips. “Ha! Short became long, and I bought the business from them over 10 years ago.
Fueled by her imagination, enthusiasm and hard work, the mug business took off and Wondrous Works in Wood was born. Today, Phillips’ business offers an entire line of handcrafted wooden items including goblets, bottle openers, wine bottle holders, pitchers and accessories for the mugs.
Building a faire share
“When we first began, we sold at any kind of renaissance faire or festival we could,” said Phillips. “Traveling is one of my passions, so I did the festival circuit. There is an energy about festivals that is unique from anything else I do. Customers become familiar faces, and I look forward to catching up with them every year. Many have become friends.”
Now that Wondrous Works in Wood is well established, customers have become collectors and demand has increased for a traditional retail space. So Sherrie recently opened the Wondrous Works Gift Shop. “I’ve always wanted a gift shop in the front of my building, and it seemed like a logical step,” she said.
Meanwhile, Phillips hired a traveling crew who now manage the festivals, which continues to be an important link to customers and fellow artisans. “There are so many incredible artists at festivals that it inspires me to make sure our line of merchandise is always top notch and interesting,” said Phillips.
What’s old is new again
In spite of (or more likely, because of) the success of Wondrous Works in Wood, clients still seek out Phillips Furniture Refinishing for a wide variety of reasons. Phillips and her team of ten are happy to oblige, taking on projects ranging from old pieces in need a little of TLC to furniture requiring a complete makeover.
“In the furniture world, that’s everything from gluing a chair that’s loose, fixing or replacing broken parts, completely stripping and finishing a piece, restoring a precious antique, or getting a little funky in a redo,” said Phillips. “You’d be surprised at some of the colors people want for their furniture.”
In addition to her main businesses, Phillips operates an online vintage resale shop on Etsy called Love and Legacies.
“My father was an auctioneer for many years,” said Phillips, “and I began ‘picking’ with him before most people knew what the word referred to. I like the look and the quality of antiques, so I began collecting them. I think vintage pieces should be used in daily life, not just displayed as part of a collection.”
You’ll find many of Phillip’s collectibles in her Etsy store and integrated into her new Downtown storefront.
Bringing it all together
Wondrous Works Gift Shop is, indeed, the physical manifestation of Phillip’s many interests, passions and talents, plus those of her dedicated, hardworking employees.
“The Gift Shop ties everything together,” said Phillips. “We freshen up old furniture and add it to the gift shop. The handcrafted mugs are in the gift shop. The vintage items are throughout the gift shop. I have a crazy love for jewelry, so guess what's in the gift shop! All the businesses combined in one place are what make the gift shop unique.”
As for being in Downtown Arlington, Phillips loves being close to home. She’s excited about the revitalization she sees, and hopes that Downtown can continue to evolve without relying on a cookie cutter approach to redevelopment. “I'm hoping Downtown will encourage other unique shops, restaurants and bars. If I want to go a chain, there are plenty close enough… Downtown currently seems to be veering away from that and I hope it continues.”
When you visit Phillips at the Wondrous Works Gift Shop, you needn’t worry about homogenization. Every square inch is one-of-a-kind. “What I love about my businesses,” said Phillips “is that we are a pleasant surprise. We sell things we make, things we rescue, things we create and things we love.”
It’s as simple and as sublime as that.
Click, post, tweet and tag
Follow Wondrous Works in Wood on Facebook, ArtFire and Etsy and Love and Legacies on Etsy. Be sure to tag @WonderousWorksGiftShop, @dtArlington and #authenticallyArlington every time you visit. Call (817) 277-6831 for more information.
About Downtown Arlington
Ranked as one of the top urban districts in the country in 2016 by TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals, Downtown Arlington Texas blends a unique mix of activities, sights, tastes and sounds that attract visitors and locals alike. Within its less than a two-mile radius, Downtown Arlington is home to a top tier public university, prolific cultural arts institutions and live entertainment, exciting NCAA and professional athletics, one-of-a-kind dining and retail, and a supportive business climate. Downtown Arlington brings together a plethora of cultures and inspirations with a character all its own.