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Ashburn carpenter knocking down stereotypes, building a business from her garage

Virginia Wallen owns Ashburn-based Ginny Bins. Courtesy Photo/Alimond Photography, Instagram/@GinnyBins1
A carpenter is probably not the first occupation that would spring to mind upon meeting Virginia Wallen.

The petite Ashburn mother of three is quick to describe herself as “type A.” She worked for IT company Cisco for 11 years as a global program manager before getting laid off.

Wallen's childhood was spent on a farm in Loudoun County. She opted for shop class instead of home economics and loved woodworking and helping her dad build fences.

She had always enjoyed refinishing and upcycling as a hobby, so to pass the time while searching for jobs – and inspired by the love of her own two dogs, Penny and Chloe – she started making crater stands that act like kennels for dogs.

She soon started receiving requests for more stands, which snowballed after she started posting on Facebook and Instagram. Her business Ginny Bins, now four months old, was born. Her grandmother was named Ginny, and her husband came up with the company's name.

Wallen quickly converted the family's double garage in Ashburn into her workshop.



“In the beginning, I said I'm going to start building crates, then I started getting requests to do something different, to build things that were different and unique,” Wallen said.

She was asked to transform the Alimond Photography studios in Leesburg, redesigning the office space, which she said was a great project to work on.

She has also embarked on a major commission for Little Oaks Montessori Academy in Herndon, designing a tree-shaped bookshelf, a reading bench and some barn-style doors. Next she'll be making gates to match the barn doors and some sensory boards.

“These were really unique customized products,” Wallen said.

The majority of the timber used to make the furniture is reclaimed, and Wallen said she aims to use materials that are locally sourced.

Most of her marketing has been done via social media. She has more than 1,800 followers on Instagram. Additionally she goes to vendor fairs and helps promote other local businesses while donating products to nonprofits like The Humane Society.

Her three children, two boys and a girl, also enjoy helping their mother in the garage.

Wallen says she gets mixed reactions when she tells people she's a carpenter.

“There shouldn't be gender roles,” she said.

Her husband does the lion's share of taking and picking up the couple's children from school, and he works around the house.

As for the future, Wallen said she's delighted the business has taken off so rapidly, and further down the road she'd like to open a small shop with a few employees.

“Work doesn't feel like work. I love Loudoun County, so I would want to stay here,” she added.

Comments


My heart stopped when I saw that scarf, please take a few safety classes!  No eye protection either..ugh.


I wish her the best of luck in her business. I’m not sure I’d really call her a carpenter though, she really seems to just specialize in one item and it is clear from the video that she is not a very experienced carpenter- marking the tape measure, no safety glasses and for God’s sake, wearing a scarf while using power tools? Whoa.


Super cool! Best of luck Virginia!


Best of luck to you!

But please, lose the scarf when working around power tools. Very dangerous.

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