If you’re looking for someone to help tackle your seemingly endless to-do list of home improvement projects, Mackenzie Wright will be your handy ma’am.
Armed with her tool belt and can-do attitude, Wright has been traveling Whidbey Island to fix gates, repair decks, install pantries, haul furniture, manage gardens and more. After a few years of taking on odd jobs such as these, she decided to make things official with the creation of her handywoman business, Mack of All Trades.
“It seems like there’s such a large older population,” Wright said. “There’s just a lot of things that people need help with, which I’m ready, willing and able to do.”
Born and raised in Seattle, Wright picked up a lot of her handy skills from her father, who is a general contractor. She enjoys the challenge of entering a traditionally male-dominated industry.
“There’s nothing inherently masculine about this, at all, and I would love if more women could feel confident using power tools and being able to build things and do things,” she said. “You don’t have to wait for your husband to make your Pinterest board happen. You can do it. You can absolutely do it.”
Before moving to South Whidbey, Wright lived abroad in Japan, where she taught English in Tokyo. Being there, she said, drove the craving to do more on her own.
“Part of living in Japan, it was hard, and it was super, super urban,” she said. “And in an environment like that, you can’t always just do what you want to do. If you want to build a table, you can’t. There’s not the space to do that.”
Wright came to Whidbey in 2022 to work for Ballydidean Farm Sanctuary. Located in Clinton, the nonprofit organization provides a home for over 100 animals.
She moves around the 15-acre farm with ease, stopping by her outdoor office to grab some tools to complete the day’s work. Models of miniature farm animals are glued to her desk.
“The crows like to steal them,” she said by way of explanation.
She gets busy fixing an old apple picker, sanding down a door to a chicken coop that has difficulty closing and repairing the siding on a shed. At Ballydidean, much of her work revolves around maintaining the farm’s infrastructure.
Sarah Santosa, who owns Ballydidean with husband Ansel, said Wright volunteered a few times at the sanctuary before the couple decided to hire her.
“This can be the unicorn of an employee that we’ve been looking for,” Santosa remembered thinking.
Now she can trust Wright to make executive decisions about how best to repair things around the farm.
“She truly is Mack of All Trades,” Santosa said. “I can trust her to do any assignment. For us on the farm, she helps with construction projects, fencing, barns.”
Wright also helps take care of the various species of animals that live at Ballydidean, from cows to pigs to chickens to geese to Gourd, the sanctuary’s sole turkey. As part of Mack of All Trades, she hopes to be a farm sitter for those who are looking to take a break or go on vacation.
“Farm sits are something that I love doing that I’m super passionate about because in the agricultural world, depression and suicide is a huge issue, and I would at least like to help the folks who have animals here on the island,” she said.
Since creating her Facebook page for the business, Wright has been booked solid. Things blew up in a way she didn’t expect, especially when another local, more popular Facebook page shared hers.
“Overnight, my page went from 10 views to 6,000 views, which was nuts,” she said. “I’m so grateful.”
Her current rate is $40 an hour, plus sales tax and the cost of materials. Though she lives on South Whidbey, she’s happy to travel for the right job.