Small Business Spotlight: AR Workshop Cary

As a custom DIY home decor boutique, AR Workshop specializes in instructor-led workshops — no previous art/crafting experience required!

As small-business owners and parents of five children ranging in age from 25 to 1, Holly Springs residents Stacy and Harrison Phillips have a lot on their plate. Despite their busy lives, both take pride in being an active part of the community and enjoy providing a fun and safe place for people to gather.

“I have owned other successful businesses through the years, although none as fun as the AR Workshop Cary,” said Stacy Phillips. “My husband currently serves in the military. When he is home, he is very involved with the shop. We love running this business together.”

With 150 other franchise locations across the country, AR Workshops offer both retail items and hands-on DIY classes to customers. We recently caught up with Stacy to learn more about their location and what experiences they provide for local residents.

Stacy and Harrison Phillips, owners of AR Workshop Cary, take pride in providing a fun and safe gathering place within their community.

What exactly is AR Workshop?

We are a custom DIY home decor boutique. After selecting your project online and registering for one of our Home Decor or Specialty workshops, you will arrive at your scheduled workshop, where you will have the opportunity to customize your project by choosing your painting technique and selecting your paint colors or non-toxic stains to work with. All guests will leave the workshop with a completed and Pinterest-worthy project at the end of class!

Don’t worry about your artistic talents — we specialize in instructor-led workshops, and no previous art/crafting experience is required. We have daily workshops for you and your friends. We also love to help you host private parties for any age or celebration. We can help you create team-building events that everyone enjoys, as well as youth camps in summer and track-out dates that include projects children complete and take home every day. AR Workshop Cary is for everyone! Additionally, we offer retail mostly made in NC, supporting small local businesses and small-batch (not on Amazon) artisans.

AR Workshop offers many opportunities for kids and teens, including birthday parties, youth-based DIY projects, and summer art camps.

What attracted you to the franchise?

My husband and I were regulars to the Cary location. We had date nights and made custom home decor for our home. I had girls’ nights, caught up with friends, and made more projects that I treasure. Each time we went to the workshop, we talked about how the AR Workshop could be a perfect fit for us.

Eventually we inquired about opening our own workshop, and the previous owner of the Cary location suggested we purchase it from her. She was the owner of both the Cary and Raleigh locations. Her busy schedule made it impossible to give the Cary location all the love it deserved. So, Harrison and I decided to acquire the Cary AR Workshop. As of February of this year, we are the new owners of the AR Workshop Cary.

AR Workshop also offers a selection of American-made and mostly NC-sourced decor items in-store — perfect for browsing!

Have you always been a DIY guru?

Yes! We love home projects. If you name it, we have probably done it, but my favorite was our penny floor. Absolutely stunning!

What is the most popular class/event at the workshop?

We have so many popular projects. Last Saturday we collaborated with a local baker, Baked_by_Maddie, and had a fantastic cookie decorating/tray workshop. Honestly, our many Christmas projects are popular all year long, especially the holiday countdowns.

Guests of all ages will leave the workshop with a completed and Pinterest-worthy project at the end of class!

What is the best thing about owning a business?

Freedom to express our creativity while sharing our gifts with our local community. We love being creative and getting to know new people.

What inspires you?

People. We love people! Being a positive addition to our community is very important to us. An activity to do with friends, family, and co-workers. Allowing people to create something and take it home with pride. Also, focusing our retail on American-made and mostly NC-sourced. We are supporting artisans all over NC and many from the Triangle, all the while providing jobs to people of all ages and stages in life. We have an amazing staff!

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