Peter Brown is known for doing crazy things on his YouTube videos. He combines woodworking tools with unconventional materials to make some of the most creative videos on YouTube. He melted a box of crayons into a solid block and turned them on a lathe to make a bracelet. He made a ring out of a bundle of colored pencils, and he made a knife out of some off the shelf epoxy. The knife wouldn’t cut anything, but that was not the point. Because for Peter the destination truly is less important than the journey.
I interviewed Peter Brown at his woodshop in Santa Rosa, California in January of 2016. Peter’s shop was a tiny little building in the back yard of his house. I think the dimensions of his shop were something like 12’x16′, but his little shop DID have a bathroom!
Peter’s YouTube channel is wildly successful. He has 197,000 subscribers and over 18 million views on his videos and I was quite interested to learn how managed to build such a loyal following.
Peter told me that he enjoyed woodworking, but he especially enjoyed working at the lathe. He also wants his hobbies to pay for themselves and not be a drag on the family budget. So, when he first discovered and got good at woodturning he decided to sell some of the pieces that he made. As it turned out he was also quite good at selling and before long his work was selling both on the internet and in local craft shops. He was so successful with this that working in the shop and running the business became an all consuming endeavor.
One day he decided that he had enough and he just quit. He told me that “it stole my joy”. Not only did he quit the business, but he was so burned out on woodworking that he quit going into the shop altogether.
Some time later he was watching a Jimmy Diresta video and he thought to himself “that looks like fun”. His take on it was that Jimmy did just exactly what he wanted to do. That was an ah-ha moment for Peter. He wanted to reclaim the fun times that he had in his shop before the business got out of hand. The next day he went back into his shop and made his first YouTube video.
I know how much work it is to run a business and I know how much effort some people put into their YouTube videos. I find Peter’s decision to do only fun things in his shop and on his videos both counter-intuitive and refreshing.
Charlie and Peter Brown
Peter is a great guy and I genuinely enjoyed meeting with him. His YouTube channel is called Shop Time and I encourage you to check it out at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3CrzXzBFVqEopj5T1jiRtA