Made in the South Awards
From modern rocking chairs to strawberry jam, the winners of our first contest for craftsmen exemplify the South’s entrepreneurial spirit and a tradition of goods made right
Click here to read the stories of twenty remarkable entrepreneurs who are keeping things local, small-batch, and made-to-last.
Made in: Tryon, North Carolina
Roughly fifteen months ago, Jay Lichty had a dream. No, really, he had a dream.
A professional home builder and woodworker from Tryon, North Carolina, who has also been a musician for thirty years, Lichty, now fifty-four, was asleep one night when the next phase of his life got delivered to him.
“I had this really vivid dream, where I was playing this small-bodied instrument,” he says. “It was like a small guitar, a really, really small guitar, and when I woke up the next day the dream just hung with me. So I decided to look into small guitars, and I hit on ukuleles. I now love ukuleles.”
Within days of his epiphany, Lichty had bought a ukulele and was learning to play it. He loved the experience. “But that first one I’d bought was a big version of ukulele,” he says, slightly sheepishly. “And then I wanted a small one, too…so I got one. Then I realized I’d bought two ukuleles in about two weeks. So the next week, when I saw another one I wanted to buy, I thought: It’s a recession, there’s not a lot of work for house building right now—why not save money and use your woodworking skills? Why don’t you try to make one?”