Star City Six – Brenda Clark
Barnwood & Leather is a locally-owned home furniture store that features a mixture of rustic and traditional furnishings. Brenda Clark is the founder of Barnwood & Leather, along with her husband Mike.
Tell us a little about your business.
Our focus is to work with American-made manufacturers, artists, and craftsmen who provide high-quality products. We carry a beautiful barnwood line made from 100% reclaimed wood, hand-crafted one at a time, that includes dining room pieces, living room accent tables, stand-alone bars, pub tables and stools, and office and bedroom furniture. In addition, we can custom-design barnwood cabinets, and we also carry leather and upholstery furniture with the capability of designing custom-made pieces. Recently, we began working with local Nebraska artists and craftsmen who have their unique pieces for sale in our store, including table and wall art made from textured steel and copper, wood-carved accessory items, rustic furniture, and Nebraska photography.
How did you get started in the business?
Our journey as business owners began over three years ago when we were looking for our own home furniture. Our shopping quest led us to some talented people who were offering the exact “look” we had envisioned. They, too, began their careers outside of furniture retail. After meeting them at the Vegas market in 2018 to explore the industry and answer more questions, we came home inspired to pursue our own business ambitions.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
We had developed our concept of what we wanted Barnwood & Leather to be and had a business plan but had much to learn about execution since opening six months ago.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
Helping customers find that right piece for their home, whether it’s a small item or a large custom furniture piece.
Tell us a little about your family.
Mike and I have three children, two of whom are married. They all live in Lincoln, along with our six grandchildren. We moved to Lincoln from McCool Junction in 1997.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
Mike and I were born one day apart in the same hospital in York, NE and delivered by the same doctor—a real-life small-town story! We started dating when we were 16 years old and have been celebrating birthdays together ever since.
Who inspires you?
People who persist through all of the ups and downs life throws at them, and those who own up to their mistakes along the way.
What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
There are two favorites that come to mind. Both are from a book given to me by my school principal titled The Energy Bus. They are #1 and #6 on the book’s “10 Rules for the Ride of Your Life.” #1: You’re the Driver of the Bus. #6: No Energy Vampires Allowed on your Bus.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
“The Long and Winding Road” by The Beatles, not because life has been difficult but because it has been a journey! I went back to college in my 30s, changed careers, moved to Lincoln, worked for the public schools and UNL as an SLP…and now Barnwood & Leather!
What is your favorite TV show?
This is Us.