Hiram College

Ben Meardith ’17 has turned his woodworking hobby and passion into a business. The entrepreneurial craftsman says his hometown of Kinsman is where Crooked Pine Wood Working began.

“This started as a hobby. I took classes on it in high school,” Meardith explains.

Since his teen days, the rising Hiram College graduate has crafted a productive and profitable business. He repairs chairs, builds items such as dog gates, and creates lawn accessories, fireplace mantles, custom cutting boards and other pieces, which he sells at specialty shops.

“I am a LLC now, so I’m pretty deep into it. I want to be my own boss and that pushes me harder,” says Meardith, who believes that college students, no matter their majors, can turn their passions into professions.

“It doesn’t take a business degree to run a business,” says Meardith, who has a major in psychology and minor in educational studies. “It takes determination and staying humble.”

Kay Molkentin, director of Hiram’s Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship, says that Meardith developed his business plan for Crooked Pine Wood Working during his Entrepreneurship and the Studio Arts course, which she team-taught with Linda Bourassa, professor of art. Molkentin says Meardith’s business venture displays the power of Hiram’s interdisciplinary teaching. Hiram’s Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship linked Meardith to several local shops, including Felicia Timas with His Daughter in Middlefield, which carry his products.

So, what’s Meardith’s advice to fellow new graduates dreaming of branching out with their own businesses?

“Take the leap,” he says. “If you told me I would be selling all these products, I would think that I was crazy.”