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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Survey Questions Answered

A few weeks ago, our reader survey had an ask anything section! Today, I am answering those questions. :) 

What is your favorite project to make? 

I love making DIY's for parties! My favorite pieces in the shop to make are our wood burned signs

How long have you been doing this and what’s your inspiration?

I have been blogging for 9 years, and have had the shop for 7. I have been creating artwork since I was little. I was 11 years old when I sold my first piece. It was a hand lettered personalized sign on a sheet of paper for $5. ;)
I am inspired by special moments and memories. I love details that remind us of our loved ones and our most precious memories. Whether that's a painting of a home, a family recipe, or your child's name.
I am also inspired by special and pretty details. I love looking at weddings, florals, and pretty homes for inspiration.  I love adding beauty into our daily lives. 

How do you manage your business and also care for your sweet little girl? What's your schedule like? 

Figuring out how to balance work and mama life has been a learning curve for sure! I want to be present with my little one on a daily basis. What has worked best for us, is to work when Joslynne is either asleep or in her high chair doing a contained activity. When she is playing freely around the house I am available to play with her or stop any housework if she needs me. 

I will be doing a post more about our daily and weekly schedules soon, but roughly our schedule looks like this:

   Mom                                 Josy
Devotions                                  Blanket time (reading her books)
Work                                          Breakfast
Get Ready                                  Get Ready
Housework                                Playtime
Work                                          Naptime
Work                                          Lunch
Outside/Walk                          Outside/Walk
Housework/Dinner                 Playtime
Dinner/Family Time               Dinner/Family Time
Work                                          Bedtime

How does Wes help you with the business?

Wes manages the financial side of things. He also is a pretty great wood stainer. ;) 

What made you decide to start this business?

I started getting requests to create pieces for friends to buy, so I created the blog and the etsy shop soon after! 

How do you find the time??

Finding time to devote to our business takes some juggling, scheduling, and prioritizing. During busy times, we opt for quick dinners, work on weekends, and keep the house manageable instead of spotless. ;) I definitely couldn't do it without Wes being onboard, sweet, helpful, and understanding!

What's your Favorite tool to use?

My favorite and somewhat unexpected tool is chalk! I do most of my planning for pieces in chalk. 

I also love using salt when working with watercolor. Salt pulls up the color of the paint so it helps create textured effects!

What is your favorite DIY you've made?

My favorite DIY's I've done are probably the Baby Sock Corsages and Floral Initials

How do you determine what you are going to sell? 

Many of our best selling products have been inspired by pieces I made for our home or for gifts! When I create a piece I love, I usually make it one of our available products soon after! I often come up with ideas based on solving a problem or filling a void in the creative market, so I share them in case others are looking for something similar! 

Maybe not the type of question you were wanting.. but do you do "group discount" meaning if I wanted 5 of the same watercolor recipe would there be any discount? 

We can offer discounts for multiple orders! However, Multiples of the same product will still all be individually hand painted, not "mass produced".  If you're interested in multiple pieces, send me a message and we can talk about what you're looking for!

Was it hard to learn hand lettering? Is it just something that came naturally to you or did it take a lot of practice?

I have loved learning hand lettering! I have been drawing since I was very young, and started hand lettering in Middle School. I would just make signs with friend's names and quotes for fun! So, I did practice quite a bit, but it was mostly just through fun pieces and playing around with it until I got in my groove. If you are interested in hand lettering, my advice would be to try it for enjoyment and make your own style! The nice thing about modern calligraphy, is that it is all so unique and doesn't have to look a certain way. :)

Do you experience highs and lows of this business and how do you manage them?

We definitely have our busy times! April and May are full months, and then our Christmas rush begins in October. During our slower months, we spend the time gearing up for the rush! We like to do as much as we can to prepare for the busy times so we can take on as many orders as possible. :)

What made you decide to start a blog? 

I started the blog as a way to share my art and ideas! 

Did you go to school for art or are you self taught?

I took as many art classes as I could as electives in High School. A few of them were college level.  My degree is in Elementary Education. :) The principles I learned have helped me a lot. I have taken that knowledge and use it when trying to learn new techniques I'm interested in teaching myself. 

Is your lettering done by free hand writing on your signs and child steps tools? 

All my lettering is free hand!

I’d love to know how much time you commit to your blog daily, weekly, etc.! I currently write for a mom’s blog in my city, but I’m thinking of starting up my own, too...but I don’t want to add something to my plate that I won’t be able to commit appropriate time to!

I work an average of 30 hours a week. I have a friend who helps with our marketing and she works 10 hours. So, our business is a full time job. :) I'd say the bulk of that time is actually doing the art work to complete orders. I work approximately 6 hours a day Monday- Friday. About 1 hour in the morning, 3 hours in the afternoon, and 2 hours in the evening, to fit it into my mom life. ;)

Blogging is more like 5-10 hours a week. Something that helps me fit in blogging is that I blog ideas, DIY's, and recipes that we actually use in our daily lives. So, while taking pretty photos of the process takes up extra time, the actual projects are ones that fit into my day and I would be doing anyways! 

Do you have a certain amount of work that you “have to” get done per day, like you’ll be seriously behind if you don’t/can’t get to it? If so, how do you handle mom life with that pressure?

There is not typically an order that absolutely must be shipped out each day. We have a 2-3 week processing time. That gives me time to make sure I can complete each other by the date it needs to go out. I definitely have goals of what should get done each day to prevent many orders becoming due at the same time and having to rush. A couple things that help keep me on track as a working mom are:

Only taking on as many orders as I can get done in a 4 day work week. I leave Fridays as a catch up in case mommin' takes over one of the other days. 

If I am going to take  on more orders than that, I check with a friend or family member to see if they can babysit for a few hours before agreeing to a larger workload than we've determined I can handle in a week. 

On Sunday nights, I map out the week and determine how much should get done each day to stay on track. 

Josy is my first priority during the day, so if its looking like I can't meet her needs, finish an order, and take care of the house, we determine what can wait. Those times usually mean the condition of the house might be less than perfect for a few days. This is something that Wes and I are on the same page on, or it definitely wouldn't go smoothly. ;)

Batch work has helped a lot as well. I have a different aspect of the business that I try to concentrate on each day of the week. I do blogging and photos, stools, signs, paintings, and packaging and shipping. It cannot always be done this way to a "T", but helps efficiency. 

I'd love to get to know YOU better! What is your typical week like?