By Kitty Golding
Kitty & Company will be conducting a series of short interviews with Chelsea Residents for 52 weeks, bringing to light differing personalities and design styles in our community. Perhaps you will meet someone new through these weekly interviews or perhaps it will be YOU! Stay tuned and follow us each week – we now introduce you to Charlie Dahlgren.
What is your current profession? I started The Chelsea Pen Company 5 years ago when I was 15. I run the company and am also a student at Eastern Michigan University, and on track to graduate with a Construction Management degree, minoring in Business.
Your family members: Father (Brett), Mother (Michele), brother (Luke) and dog Molly.
When did you move to Chelsea and where did you live prior to coming to Chelsea? I was born in Royal Oak, and my parents moved to Chelsea when I was one year old.
What do you love about where you currently live? We live just west of Chelsea and I love that we have country surroundings but are still so close to town. I am so fortunate to have a woodshop right on our property where I hand make all the orders. And, having recently graduated ( 2019) I appreciate the fact that we have a good school system.
Have you traveled and do you see yourself living outside of Chelsea someday? I think I would want to stay in the area- for reasons I mentioned above and my family. We do travel up north a lot, where we have property, but I haven’t ventured too far away as of yet.
What three words describe your style? Do these count? Wood, Cowboy(boots!), Hunter (orange!).
Did someone have an influence on the way you view art and design? My dad, who owns his own business and does a lot of woodworking is and has been my main influence. He allowed me to start working with him ever since I could pick up a hammer – he really taught me what I now know and love.
What are you most inspired by in design? I love working with old things, existing pieces and or broken things instead of buying new. My inspiration comes from what other see as “trash” into treasure.
As you think about the home in which you grew up, what elements do you like and do you think you may incorporate some of them in your own home?
My dad built our home and made all the woodwork in it. The main rooms are very open with tall ceilings and of course lots of wood and warmth. Definitely there will be a lot of wood in my home.
Would you like to someday build or remodel a home ? I have thought about these ideas and have concluded I wouldn’t want to build new. As of now, I would choose to renovate a home instead so as not to destroy more land and forests.
What is one element or trend in design or art you do not like? Sleek contemporary with large doses of white and stainless are too cold for me - I don’t even like too many white cabinets as it gets boring! Instead I love wood characters showcasing the warmth and graining.
If you were moving and could only select one item from your home to keep, what would it be? Our wood shop for sure…..as it is filled with history of past generations in both memories and the tools we use.
Which room in your home gets the most use? Our open concept kitchen/living room is the busiest room. It has windows that look out at our back woods and barns.
No room is complete without a stylistic element – meaning something that adds interest and detail to a room, such as beautiful molding or a great light fixture.
Has any local venue particularly caught your eye - if so why? Do you remember The Wolverine (bar and restaurant)? I think many didn’t like it because it was dark inside, but I loved the “lodge-like” feeling it offered, and we would eat lunch there a lot when working with my dad’s crew. My current favorite is Thompson’s Pizza because there is a lot of woodwork and offers a homey feeling.
What did you do to pass the time during the COVID-19 State shutdown? Aside from continuing with my college studies, a friend had encouraged me to check into the Fire Dept. training program. I found myself attending the fire academy and will finish this fall. I am really liking it so I will go on to get my EMT certificate as well- which is required to be a firefighter at the Chelsea Fire Dept. My Chelsea Pen business has been slower at this time, allowing me to do these other studies. I also traveled up north a lot, got myself organized and bought a car to enter into the Demolition Derby at the 2020 Fair, but we all know that didn’t happen- so hopefully I will use it for 2021!
A few of your favorite things!
Movie – Forest Gump
Favorite Historical Place You have visited –Mackinac Island
Scent – Sawdust
Music– Aerosmith ( I had their Greatest Hits, on a little tykes cassette player that I would listen too) – and Yes! I still have that cassette.
TV Show- Well, we just got rid of TV- but I liked, Seinfeld
Meal - My Gramma’s Beef Barley Soup- a fall treat!
Travel Destination (on your bucket list)– Colorado – for the mountains – and hopefully an Elk hunt!
Season – Fall – hunting, colors and the Sugarloaf campground Haunted House/Trick or Treating Event!
Color- Blue, with deep green being a close second.
Favorite thing to Collect –I have a large Coca-Cola collection
Museum – The Lumberjack Museum in Hartwick Pines, MI
Hobbies- hunting, fishing, motocross, dirt bike trail riding.
Item on a bookshelf – I do like to read, so I would answer, books- specifically John Grisham’s, The Painted House
Charlie has been our youngest interviewee and I enjoyed meeting with him to hear about his company and his plans. Self-motived and inspiring, this young man’s name will continue to surface as he embraces his entrepreneurial path. Charlie told me his story of Chelsea Pen and I wanted to share some of what he said:
Charlie has been connecting with businesses and the community to grow his business. As an example, he put the Chelsea-Opoly board game idea on Facebook in order to allow people to make suggestions on local businesses to feature. There is now a proud completed version in Reed’s Barbering. This was a fun project taking approximately 100 hours of labor.
Charlie has always had an entrepreneur’s spirit. Chelsea Pen arose from the love of working with wood and encouragement from his family after seeing some of his designs such as pens, pencils and desk accessories. Chelsea Pen has also crafted small pieces of furniture, pizza wheels and cutlery. Charlie is willing to try new things and encourages people to ask him for items on their wish list, if they are not currently showing on the company’s offerings. Recently he was asked to create a long wooden shoehorn, so he went to work and was happy with the results.
As mentioned in the interview, Chelsea Pen uses salvage wood, as recycling is priority to this company. He explained to me, that there was an old walnut tree in Chelsea on Old US 12 that had to come down when a change of ownership occurred. Beautiful designs and new life have now been fashioned from that walnut wood.
You can find Chelsea Pen on Facebook, Etsy and Instagram, and you can find Charlie hard at work, studying, or creating or maybe at the Fire Department.