Happy Fall! I really can't believe it's October. This year has had so many ups and downs and has been harder than any year I've ever experienced. I decided to switch things up this month for our Featured Maker series and interview myself. Yes, I said interview myself! Weird? Maybe. But I am constantly challenging myself to go outside my comfort zone and this is something I'm not very comfortable with. I don't like tooting my own horn because it can come off as arrogant and if you know me that is not a quality I ever want to possess. Being a small business owner and entrepreneur has been wonderful and challenging. One of the challenges is figuring out how and where to market my businesses. I have been utilizing this space to feature one of the makers that we sell every month and thought that it might be a good opportunity to discuss my newest venture, Salt and Branch Designs. In August, I decided to take the plunge and sell some of my creations on our website. You can check some of the beaded garlands out in our Salt and Branch Designs Collection including the Falmouth Garland and the Brewster Blessing Beads. Read on to find out more about this latest project and more about me. These are the same questions I've used for previous Featured Maker interviews.
Featured Maker Q &A
- Tell us about what you do.
You already know me as the co-owner of Salt and Branch but you may not know that I’ve recently started a side project called Salt and Branch Designs making Coastal Farmhouse bead garlands as well as other home décor. Read on to find out more about this project and about me.
- How long have you been making your products and how did you get started?
I’ve been making garlands and keychains for the past several months but I’ve been crafting most of my life. Whether it was puffy paint T-shirts, cross-stitched projects, friendship bracelets or scrapbooks I was trying it. I’ve always loved art and being creative but recently started selling my products because it’s a little scary to be honest. I’ve never thought of myself as especially talented with art and I’ve had to get over the idea of putting my creations out to the world and just see what happens. Some people will like them and some won’t but that’s OK. I’m really doing it to fulfill the creative part in me.
- What is your favorite part of the creative process? Least favorite?
My favorite part of the creative process is coming up with new color combinations for the garlands and new things to make that are all somewhat related to the Coastal Farmhouse theme. My least favorite part of the creative process is not having enough time to devote to creating because of my other responsibilities. Creating has been a nice escape from reality, especially the past several months.
- From where do you draw your inspiration to create your products?
Much of my inspiration comes from the colors in nature including blues and greens. I love the ocean and the woods and decorate my home with this color palette. It makes sense that I include these colors in my work and the fact that I include sea shells makes sense since I’m such a beach girl at heart.
- What values does your business embody?
I find it hard to separate my personal values and business values because they are one and the same. Some of the values that are important to me are being hard working, honest, and providing good customer service and communication. I strive to be authentic in my life and not portray something I am not. I do the same with my businesses—not just showing the “best” Instagram version of myself or products but also being real. Life is messy and running a small business is, at times, messy. I think people value seeing the realness.
- Is your business a full time or part time venture? Do you have plans to grow/expand?
Both Salt and Branch and Salt and Branch Designs are part time businesses. I spend time in the evenings and weekends working on my designs and running the e-commerce side of things. My full-time profession is being a program director at a local non-profit agency working with youth and families impacted by mental illness. I’ve worked in the mental health field for 17 years and love the work that I do but I also love being an entrepreneur. It’s definitely possible that Salt and Branch and Salt and Branch Designs will grow and expand in the future. We will have to see what the future holds. Opening 2 businesses during a global pandemic has been quite the experience.
- 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 would be having enough time in the day to do everything I want since I’m balancing a lot at the moment. My biggest success is connecting with customers and hearing that they love my creations. It’s so rewarding to hear what people have to say and to see how they styled the garlands in their homes.
- How do you spend your time when you aren’t creating?
When I’m not working, I’m typically spending time outside walking or going to the beach. I love reading and travelling (pre-pandemic) and spending time with my family.
- Salt and Branch sells only a few of your products. Where can people go to find more of your products?
In addition to launching Salt and Branch Designs on our website (www.saltandbranch.com) I decided to open an Etsy shop. You can find a lot more creations on Etsy (Saltandbranchdesigns) including some ornaments. Wreaths and holiday items will be launching very soon.
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