- A man, disabled due to an accident on the job as a construction worker, found himself unable to work and care for his family
- His teen daughter shared some pictures of wood worked logos he has begun making to while away the hours and they went viral
- He built a homegrown business based on her sharing a picture of one of the items he had made to give away
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Christopher Gonzales’ life is a living example the phrase, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”
Briefly.co.za learned that the divorced father of two teenagers was forced to leave his career in construction after having sustained an injury while working.
The injury left him with spinal cord damage, bulging and herniated disks, and lots of pain when moving around in ways most people take for granted.
Unable to work, he relies on his monthly disability checks which has left the family in a tight financial position.
Over and above the financial implications of not being able to work, being unemployed also took a mental toll on Christopher who eventually began to explore various new hobbies to keep him occupied. He tried his hand at painting, drawing, and woodworking, until one day he saw a sports logo he thought he could carve.
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With the success of his first attempt, he began making more. Soon, friends took notice, and asked him if they could buy them for. He sold the pieces for extra money, with each piece taking him about the equivalent of a work day to complete.
Depending on how intricate the design is, one piece can take up to nine hours from start to finish. Sales of just a few pieces were enough to cover a month of petrol for his vehicle.
Until then he hadn’t been marketing the products at all, but Christopher’s teenage daughter, Alexis, was active on social media so he rounded up a few of his finished pieces and asked her to share with her friends, hoping to just add a few orders.
“I told my daughter to put it on Instagram and see who wants it and give it to them,” Christopher said. They had no idea what would come of it.
Alexis not only posted it on Instagram, but also tweeted it, asking people to Direct Message her if they were interested and if they weren’t, to re-tweet. She also let people know that her dad could recreate other designs — that it wasn’t limited to only sports teams’ logos. The tweet was retweeted over 200,000 times and by the time Alexis checked her phone the next morning she had received over 7000DMs.
While Christopher has to be careful not to overwork himself and aggravate his injuries, he and his children have created a system for orders and shipping of the items he makes and the “accidental” business is doing a booming trade.
He says the experieince of seeing how much people want his work has given him the motivation to fulfill people’s orders.
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