Where Are You Wednesday - Sibling Edition - Justin Felker, '07 & Erin Murphy (Felker), '11
Erin Murphy (Felker) '11 and Justin Felker '07
- Tell us what you are doing currently – professionally & personally.
- After attending Providence, we both graduated from Jacksonville University with business degrees and opened our own businesses that function out of the same building in Saint Augustine. Justin has always been a car enthusiast and dreamt up an industrial style building that would house a unique rare and classic car dealership. During the construction of the building, Erin got married and planned to move to Texas with her husband. Plans changed and Erin and Jimmy remained in Saint Augustine after everything fell into place when deciding to open a wedding and event business utilizing the new building. The building was completed in 2018 and the businesses opened shortly after.
- Now, Justin's rare and classic car gallery and dealership, Art 'n Motion, is growing and he has also taken on large local auto shows and car events. Erin's wedding and event business, House of Assembly Events, quickly took off at Art 'n Motion (venue: 'The Assembly Room') and another location, a neighboring barn venue named 'The Carriage House', was added shortly after. "Our businesses are growing very quickly and we are happy to be small business owners doing what we love."
- Outside of work, Justin has enjoyed desert racing (along with a few other Providence alums) and travelling. He also founded the Jacksonville University Clay Shooting team. Erin also became a captain and varsity team member on the JU shooting team, but her real passion is horses and now enjoys competing in mounted shooting competitions with her husband, Jimmy Murphy.
- How did your time at Providence School prepare you for what you are doing today?
- Providence was academically challenging which prepared us appropriately for college. Jacksonville University is a small private college and has a similar environment and academic standard as Providence. Both schools taught "Critical Thinking" which not only helped in our education, but also helped prepare us for business ownership and decision making skills in our life experiences. We enjoyed an environment that helped us grow in our faith, as well as where we formed long term friendships.
- What is your greatest professional accomplishment thus far?
- Founding our businesses at young ages and watching them grow faster than we expected has been our proudest accomplishments so far. Erin's event business took off and within 2.5 years has booked close to 250 events and already has over 150 weddings under her belt. The SJC Chamber of Commerce handed over their event, The Ponte Vedra Auto Show, to Art 'n Motion and Justin helped it grow exponentially within the first year with several hundred entries and an estimated 7000 attendees.
- What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your field?
- Erin- The wedding and event industry is filled with passion, emotion and beauty. It is also filled with stress, problem-solving and small details. It is a lucrative and wonderful industry to get into if you are passionate about it and every day brings something new. With this industry in particular, getting to know fellow businesses and personnel in the industry and learning from their input and experiences is the best way to get started. With those who would like to start a business in general- dream and then dream bigger. Learn from others but don't be afraid to be yourself, ask new questions and go to social/marketing events. Figure out what your best skills in the business are and don't be afraid to invest in other people's skills for the ones that you aren't as strong in. There is no room for jealousy in business- be happy for others and go at your own speed (while still dreaming big). I strive to form good business relationships, cheer each other on and reach for the clientele that I believe suits my business best.
- Justin- The career field I chose is generally in the auto-sales industry, however I don't consider myself a "car salesman". I wanted to be different and build a unique business that gave car enthusiasts/collectors an honest and upscale experience not only when searching for a rare or classic car but also with car shows where individuals could enjoy the company of others that share their same interests. With that being said, a career in this industry would most likely be different from my job, but for anyone wanting to start a business in general- don't be afraid to think outside the box and bring something different to the table. Start with something that you are passionate about and continuously set bigger goals as you go.
- Share your best Providence memory.
- Erin- I formed a close group of friends but liked that our class wasn't super "cliquey". I enjoyed getting to know quite a few of my classmates and forming some really important friendships that showed me love and support. One unique experience that only one other person will ever share with me (shoutout to Krista!) would be bringing horses to the Homecoming games our Junior and Senior year and being a part of the festivities including the opening ceremony, Homecoming court intros and halftime show. Go Stallions!
- Justin- I really enjoyed attending the athletic events, especially the basketball and football games. One specific memory I have though was when we got snowed in on our senior trip and had to stay longer which was pretty awesome.