Anders Ruff Workshop is bringing industrial-chic crafts to thousands of women nationwide.
Take wine, throw in some power tools, and a fun DIY project for your home, and you’ve got the latest girls-night-out trend sweeping the nation. The coolest part: it started in Pineville.
Maureen Anders, 36, and Adria Ruff, 42, met at a preschool open house in 2010 and instantly clicked. “We were complete strangers and over the years we have become like sisters and best friends,” Anders says.
Both were stay-at-home moms living in Fort Mill, S.C., when they realized they had a similar design aesthetic. Within weeks of meeting, the women had an Etsy store together called Anders Ruff, selling stylish printable invitations, décor, and more for parties. The company exploded and soon the women were styling for Better Homes and Gardens and major movies with Sony Pictures and Universal Studios. Celebrities such as George Clooney and Cindy Crawford became clients.
But business really started to boom in the summer of 2016, when they created Anders Ruff Workshop, a DIY boutique studio where women can make decorative projects for their homes—everything from plank and framed signs (their most popular products) to lazy Susans and canvas wall hangings.
Women who come to Anders Ruff Workshops need only bring their friends (and lots of bubbly). The rest—all of the supplies, from glue guns to circular saws, and instructions—are there at the shop, waiting for you.
“Our classes are full of energy and a little wild,” says Ruff. “We love having girls’ night out here. People are always having a good time.”
Anders Ruff Workshop is one of a growing number of businesses carving a niche in the marketplace by offering customers hands-on experiences, a refreshing alternative to an increasingly digital world. Whether it’s painting a landscape at a Wine & Design class or crafting a monogrammed pillow at an Anders Ruff Workshop, 21st-century consumers want to use their hands for more than emails and Instagram—though these projects certainly deserve a post.
“They are amazed once they learn how to make a piece from scratch and that power tools don’t have to be intimidating,” says Anders. “And we love watching them sign the back of each other’s projects.”
Since the flagship store opened in Pineville, the women franchised the concept and have helped open 35 more Anders Ruff Workshop boutiques across the country.
“I wake up and I’m like ‘pinch me,’” Anders says. “It seems surreal that we get to tap into every kind of market across the country and see different styles and trends and meet different women.”
All Anders Ruff Workshops feature the same functional signature décor that all owners build themselves. From the tables to the shelves, each boutique has a similar look—but each spot is put together by the individual franchisee.
“Whenever anybody walks into our space, we tell them we built everything in here,” says Ashley Bonte, who recently opened a franchise in Lexington, S.C. “The coolest part is seeing people’s faces when they walk in. They really enjoy the experience, and we love seeing all the finished pieces.”
Startup costs for each new Anders Ruff workshop range from $59,000 to $99,000. But the classes are a lot more affordable. They range from $45 to $95 per person, with schedules released six weeks in advance.
“I love coming with my friends and taking a few hours to make something creative,” says Kerri Millo, a regular customer at the flagship location in Pineville. “I’m not a crafty person by nature, but they make it so easy that anyone can do it. Add some wine and it’s just a really fun night with girlfriends.”
Photos: Courtesy of Anders Ruff Workshop
WANT TO GO?
Visit open classes and projects at arworkshop.com.