At first glance, Blanc Creatives is a handcrafted culinary tools company, but interwoven into the story of the business are moments of fate acting as guideposts that led Corry Blanc to his calling. Corry grew up in Georgia, and as a boy, he spent hours at his grandfather’s welding shop carving soapstone race tracks for his toy cars and observing the craftsmanship his grandfather brought to his work. It’s the kind of education that sinks in and lingers. This early experience was one of many that would.
In high school, another guidepost appeared in the form of an art teacher that instilled a belief in Corry that art could in fact be a career. Once he graduated, he worked several different jobs until a call from his uncle helped hone his path forward. He worked for four years with his uncle forging architectural handrails until he landed a job in Charlottesville at a blacksmith studio. In 2008, he ventured out as an entrepreneur to start his own architectural metalwork business, but the strained U.S. economy derailed much of the demand for his products. To help make ends meet, Corry pivoted into the restaurant industry while continuing to work on metalwork projects. Little did he know that he was growing ever closer to the idea that would turn into Blanc Creatives.
While working in the back of the house at a restaurant, Corry noticed the chefs using carbon steel pans. The pans retained heat well giving food an even sear with the versatility of going from the cooktop into the oven. However, the carbon steel pans used in restaurants are usually mass produced and tend to warp under vigorous use. Corry saw an opportunity to put his metalwork skills to use and create an improved version of the carbon steel pan.
“The first one took a very long time to make and it wasn’t that pretty. I spent some time refining the design, working with my chef friends, making another prototype, getting feedback, and having this dialogue with that community. Then I finally got it sort of dialed in and I liked it. In 2016, I started selling them to chefs and at the city market under the name Blanc Creatives,” Corry recalls.
Shortly after, Corry gained national recognition for his work with Blanc Creatives. “We entered into a competition from a magazine called Garden and Gun. Every year they have a Made in the South award competition, and we entered the frying pans into that. We ultimately won the overall grand prize. So that took me from working with local chefs and selling at the city market to now having a national audience. Blanc Creatives was founded a few years before that, but that’s really when the birth of Blanc Creatives as a handcrafted culinary tools company happened,” Corry explains. From there, Blanc Creatives expanded their handcrafted culinary product selection, and their national audience has turned into a worldwide one with orders coming from as far away as New Zealand.
When asked what advice he would give to future entrepreneurs, Corry’s answer is straight forward – you have to be too stubborn to give up. He elaborates by saying, ”That’s pretty much what I’ve always done, just have an idea. I obsess about it and it doesn’t go anywhere until I make it happen or I’m proven that I can’t make it happen. It’s gotten me where I am. I’m so relentless about moving forward. I definitely believe in constant progression.”
From his grandfather’s welding shop to a keen observation in a restaurant kitchen, it may have been hard to predict how these events would weave together as they were unfolding so many years ago. The result we see now is Blanc Creatives, a successful business fueled by a passionate team and a dedicated leader. So let it stand as encouragement to future entrepreneurs that by holding true to what you love and paying attention to the guideposts, you may also find yourself in unexpected and wonderful places.
To learn more about Blanc Creatives, visit blanccreatives.com. For our complete interview with Corry Blanc, check out Ep. 14 of the Waynesboro at Work podcast on podcast on YouTube and Spotify.