This month we had the pleasure of interviewing Laurie from Cottage Harbor Homes. We currently sell her Salty bag and Beach bag which have been best sellers this summer. I love checking out Laurie's posts on social media to get design inspiration and the newest items in her shop are giving me all the fall vibes right now. Read our Q & A to learn a little more about Laurie.
Featured Maker Q &A
1. Tell us about what you do.
I’m Laurie, but you may know me as the SALTY bag girl, as I’m often referred to. Hahaha. From my home in New Jersey I run a multifaceted small business called Cottage Harbor Homes! I offer decorating services, refinish furniture and two online retail shops.
2. How long have you been making your products and how did you get started?
This all started in 2018! I was a stay at home mother of two boys and decided I needed to do something for myself to get my creative juices flowing again. Working as a journalist prior to having kids, I had always been able to tap into that side of me. However, when I had my first son in 2012, staying at home with him and future kiddos felt more like my calling. Eventually I just knew I needed something else, to feel productive in more than the “mom” capacity I was fulfilling. So the idea to start an Etsy Shop where I sell items I would personally use and decorate with in my home and daily life became a reality. I also chose to reopen the small interior decorating business that I had once run prior to becoming a mother as well. It has blossomed into what it has become today, a full-time working from home, stay at home mother.
3. What is your favorite part of the creative process? Least favorite?
I love coming up with new ideas and bringing them to life in my online shops! I also absolutely love to rescue old pieces of furniture by fixing them up, showing them some paint love and transforming them into something that fits in modern, coastal farmhouse aesthetics.
4. From where do you draw your inspiration to create your products?
The beach! Hands down, with no question. I draw most all of my inspiration from the coast. Growing up I spent summers in Spring Lake, NJ walking to the beach every day and taking in all the beautiful tree lined streets with stately Victorian homes boasting the most beautiful gardens. I also spent quality time in Southeast Florida where I enjoyed the beaches just as much although looking so much different than those from my home state. Nothing compares though, to the breathtaking beach in my happy place, Ogunquit, Maine. The smell of that salty air and my dreams to one day own a beach home there, inspired me to make the SALTY bag, which has been my best seller since day 1.
5. What values does your business embody?
The values my business embodies are personal for me. I am a goal oriented person, who didn’t even realize that until I finally set one for myself! This business is helping me reach that goal of owning and running coastal rental cottages in some of my favorite beach towns along the east coast. I have a long way to go, but every day that I fulfill orders that have been placed, paint a piece of furniture or post pictures of spaces I’ve decorated on my social media platforms, it makes me feel that much closer and gives me the drive to keep going until I get there one day!
6. Is your business a full time or part time venture? Do you have plans to grow/expand?
It started as a very part time business, however it has blossomed into a more full time schedule. I don’t necessarily have plans to expand, however I would like to keep growing in terms of adding new seasonal items to my shops and keeping things fresh and fun.
7. There are many challenging that come along with running a small business. What is your biggest challenge and what is your biggest reward or success?
My biggest challenge is definitely managing my kids and still giving them most all of my attention. I spend a lot of time working before they wake up in the very early mornings and then after they go to bed at night.
8. How do you spend your time when you aren’t creating?
When I’m not creating I love to enjoy taking walks and family bike rides. We spend a lot of time at the beach in the summer, and I’ve recently grown a love of gardening.
9. Salt and Branch sells only a few of your products. Where can people go to find more of your products?
On www.cottageharborhomes.com you can shop my limited collections of tote bags, beach bags and reusable grocery bags that I hand paint. You can also see images of furniture I have completed and sold. This website is new and more is being added to the shop every day. My Etsy shop, www.etsy.com/shop/cottageharborhomes, is where most of my business is done. Here you will see a large variety of bags, throw pillow covers, tea towels and home decor pieces that I have hand painted. I also accept custom and personalized orders, as well as bulk and wholesale! Pictures of my shop items, furniture transformations and spaces I have decorated are posted on my Instagram @cottageharborhomes and Facebook every day!
10. Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like readers to know?
I think I covered all bases :)
If you love fall, go check out her fall themed items in her Etsy shop. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Laurie.