PARAMUS, N.J. — Settling for a job he hated posed a bigger risk than pursuing his dreams for Paramus' Tyler Lucas.
The 26-year-old went to school for computer science but he couldn't see himself doing anything in the field.
Woodworking, on the other hand, was something Lucas questioned. He'd loved it ever since his first class at high school, and his teacher said he was among the best students he had.
While the craft didn't seem like a conventional job, Lucas gave it a shot four years ago and has since launched his business, Trees To Dreams, which truly is just that.
"I'd rather spend my life doing what I love making a little money, than make millions at a job I hate," Lucas said.
"I wouldn't want to wonder what I could've been doing if I took the other track and gone for something I really wanted to do.
Woodworking was easily Lucas' favorite class in high school, but fell by the wayside in college. He didn't have the machinery and was focused on trying to find a lucrative path.
The craft eventually made its way back into Lucas' life four summers ago.
"My cousin has a shop up in Warwick, New York, and he invited me to come down and work for a summer," Lucas recalled.
After the summer had ended, it was clear to Lucas what he had to do: follow his dreams.
Lucas dropped $1,000 on the equipment four years ago and opened shop in his garage.
None of his family member supported him, he said.
They would've much rather see him land a full-time job and steady income before taking that financial risk.
But he didn't have anything to lose — and so he went for it and hasn't looked back since.
Trees To Dreams started off slow as Lucas felt his way around the market.
The first year or two were mostly trial and error. But last year, Lucas made a viable income, and he expects he'll do the same this year.
"Like any job, it has good days and bad days," said Lucas, who gets his lumbar from Pennsylvania. "The only difference is that I control every aspect of it."
Lucas specializes in household objects — salad bowls, cutting boards and sushi trays. But he can make almost anything, including an entire island set.
If he can dream it, he can make it.
It helps that his trade is making a comeback.
"Woodworking is making a turnaround." Lucas said. "It was huge in the 1970s and 80s, then it went out for a while. Now it's making a huge comeback."
Lucas says he draws on other craftsman for inspiration, either at other shows or on the internet.
"I think a lot of us on Instagram are trying to figure out an alternative way to do what we love, and make a decent living of it," he said.
"You're seeing a lot more creative people around because it's gotten so much easier to document."
In a way, what Lucas and his fellow, young crafters see online is making up for what they may not have learned in school.
"Schooling is so limited in what's offered," Lucas said. "Black and white film photography, electronics — you can't get that stuff anymore.
"Social media is a source of information. You come across these viral videos of people making something cool. I wanted to do that, so I did."
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