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Transforming furniture and her life: Entrepreneur opens business after divorce

Ashley Garner always had a knack for making furniture. She started her furniture painting and restoration company Nest in 2018.
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 7:24 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Ashley Garner always had a knack for making furniture. She likes to see a piece of furniture transform.

“When I was little I didn’t have a lot of money, so I’d see these pieces in big box stores and id try to make that,” said Garner.

She started her furniture painting and restoration company Nest in 2018.

“I left a really bad marriage and, at the time, I was the primary caregiver to an 8, 6, and 1-year-old. I had a Bachelor’s Degree, but it was a theater degree. I knew I couldn’t start working in corporate America. I’d done furniture a little but while I was in my marriage my family would say but what are you going to do for work, and id say furniture, and they’d say no, what was your backup plan? I said there is none,” said Garner.

She put everything into her business. She said there were hard times. She recalls one time when she couldn’t pay a high electric bill.

“It’s hard to be a single mom and it’s hard to be a business owner. One day, I had a high KUB bill. Our lights got shut off and our heat was off and there was snow outside and I remember wrapping the baby in a fleece onesie and getting the big boys in bed with me and stacking up the blankets all night, then I cried all night,” said Garner.

She doubted herself and questioned her decision, but says something inside her told her to continue to pursue her dreams.

“I really had to grow into a person and transform into the person I am now. While I was transforming other people’s stuff,” said Garner.

Garner plans to open a storefront in Colonial Village in South Knoxville. She wants to encourage other people to take a leap of faith and follow their dreams.

“Building something is not these huge gains every day, it’s a marathon of tiny little things that most the time you don’t know is happening,” said Garner.

You can see her designs here on her website.

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