Clint Harp owes a lot more than his television career to Chip and Joanna Gaines. When the woodworking genius fortuitously bumped into Chip for the first time at a gas station in 2012, he was good and broke. In fact, he wasn’t even sure he’d have enough money to fill his tank. As it turns out, being broke is something the “Fixer Upper” stars were more than familiar with.
A year earlier Harp was living in Houston and making six figures working in medical sales, but he wasn’t happy. So, he quit his job to pursue his passion—furniture making—full time, he tells Austin-American Statesman. In particular, he says he wanted to work with salvaged, reclaimed wood.
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“There is the beauty of this idea, of something being left for dead and brought back to life,” he explains. “It had a deeper meaning. I felt that way about myself. I was living my life one way doing the sales thing, which was fine, but I didn’t feel like myself. For me, I’m kind of reclaimed as well.”
He went on: “I really wanted to do something that I have a passion for,” he recalls. “The only way it was going to happen is if I completely went for it. I quit my job and jumped off a cliff.”
Even though the salary his wife—a stay-at-home mom—brought in from her small children’s clothing line wouldn’t pay the bills, the couple took the leap. With a handful of tools, they moved into a small apartment Waco and Harp began to look for work.
“I wanted to do something that meant something to me and my wife,” he says. “I wanted to wake up in the morning and feel like we were truly being ourselves.”
But work proved hard to find and he needed a workshop. So he and his wife talked about things like the possibility of bankruptcy, how they would be able to pay the mortgage and the car payments, and how long they could live off savings, Austin-American Statesman reports.
Just as they were at their lowest point, Harp spotted Chip, who he’d heard about from a friend, at a local gas station. He worked up a bit of courage and approached him with his pitch. After spending a few hours riding around Waco together, Chip invited Harp and his wife Kelly to his home for dinner, where he would ultimately meet Joanna. The rest, as they say, is history.
Harp began making custom pieces for Joanna, who was selling furniture out of her home at the time, almost immediately. A few months later, the Gaineses began their “Fixer Upper” journey, and they took him with them.
“I met Chip at a gas station in February or March of 2012 and by October or November, we’re filming a pilot for HGTV,” he says.
His role in “Fixer Upper” has allowed him and Kelly to open their own store, to hire people, including an accountant, and to buy commercial-grade tools. The pilot of his own show, “Wood Work,” just recently premiered on DIY network.
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“This whole thing has been such an amazing job,” Harp says. “It’s just insane. Just a few years ago, I was sitting at a gas station wondering what’s going to happen.”