Maine woodworking shop named a top Etsy business
May 7, 2021 | 7:39 am CDT
Rowe Station Woodworks floating shelves maple

These maple floating shelves are a sample of the products that earned Rowe Station Woodworks top store recognition from Etsy.

NEW GLOUCESTER, Maine -- Leaving the corporate world and teaching to start a small woodworking shop has paid off for a couple in central Maine.

Ross and Carie Gauvin both left comfortable careers when their woodworking business, Rowe Station Woodworks was transported to success on the wings of Etsy. This week, as part of Small Business Week, Etsy named the Gauvin’s shop as the top Etsy shop in Maine while recognizing one Etsy business in each of the 50 states.

Rowe Station Woodworks dining table
Rowe Station Woodworks got its start when Ross Gauvin built a dining table for their new house in 2015.

The whole thing started with a dining table. Ross told the Lewiston Sun Journal that he wanted to create a focal point for their new house when they moved into it in 2015. So, he decided to build the dining table himself.

“I had no carpentry experience — I learned everything the hard way,” he told the Sun Journal. “That was my school: The Hard Way. I actually prefer to learn that way. It’s not always the prettiest way to learn, or the most exciting, but it’s one of the ways you learn best.”

He built the table, posted pictures online and friends asked if he would make one for them. By 2017, the operation was so successful that Ross left his corporate job at Apple, and Carie left her teaching job the next year to make Rowe Station Woodworks their primary focus. In a somewhat ironic homage to his former employer, Ross quotes Apple founder Steve Jobs on the Rowe Station Woodworks website: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Rowe Station Woodworks Carie and Ross Gauvin
Carie and Ross Gauvin left comfortable careers to build their woodworking business. Ross worked at Apple, and Carie had been a teacher.

The couple did other woodworking projects on their new home and found they really liked to work together and loved working with wood. “Now, we are proud to say that we are a husband and wife team built on quality, craft, and fun — making handcrafted pieces that will stay in your family for generations,” says a statement on their website. “With living in the beautiful state of Maine and being inspired by the Shaker community and craftsmanship in our area, we do what we love every single day!”

And a funny thing happened along the way. The custom furniture that started the business was completely replaced by a new product that became a hit on Etsy: floating shelves. The Gauvins started making floating shelves when they bought some for themselves and were unhappy with what they had bought. They now offer more than a dozen different types, all sold through their store on Etsy.

Rowe Station Woodworks floating shelves different species
Rowe Station Woodworks currently makes more than 1,500 shelves a month in a variety of sizes and different species of wood.

One thing that sets their shelves apart is that they use a wide variety of different wood species so they can better match the wood to a customer’s home. They currently make more than 1,500 shelves a month with units ranging from 1 to 7 feet long, and they are back ordered for two months by the demand. Last summer, fueled by pandemic buying, their business grew 700 percent. Their goal is to get production up to 2,000 or 2,500 units a month to shorten lead times.

To do that, they plan to build a new shop and hire three employees by the end of 2021. They currently work out of converted garage off their home, where they have made more than 9,000 sales on Etsy since 2016. Besides Etsy, they also sell in various stores and galleries across the country.

Rowe Station Woodworks small shelf with hooks
Ross and Carrie Gauvin say they love the rustic and Shaker esthetics reflected in their work.

“We work constantly,” Ross told the Sun Journal. “My wife and I set up at night and we have what we call customer service hour, which is where we sit in front of the TV with a Celtics game on or something like that and we respond to emails and quotes, orders for the week.”

You can visit the Rowe Station Woodworks Etsy store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/rowestationwoodworks.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Profile picture for user willsampson
About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editor of FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.