March is a great time to look back on your planners and review specifically your Crafting and Gift list entries. With the cold still lingering, you can get some crafting out of the way while you're still stuck inside! My gift list for friends and family is already growing, and to be honest, I already have one person done! And remember, as your tax returns begin to arrive, consider building your gift budget out of your return to take some stress off of your wallet during holiday season!
If you're in Instagram follower, you know that March is Holiday Home month. I've found sooooo many amazing designers and inspiring designs on Instagram that the "save" feature has become more like Pinterest at this point!
It seems no Holiday Home design is complete without rustic wooden farmhouse signs. Sure, you can find mass-produced signs out there, but why not discover something new and truly unique made by an artisan out of their home?
For our March profile, I'm happy to introduce you to Rebecca Calkins of The Rustic Country Home! Rebecca's shop is located in Vine Grove, Kentucky where she hand paints gorgeous custom wooden signs. You have to check out her Etsy shop!
I talked to Rebecca about running a small crafting business through the holidays. Even if you're not running a small business, we can all learn something from Rebecca's pro-active planning process! Take it as a sign!
New-Fallen Snow: Tell me a little bit about what got you into sign making and where your inspiration comes from.
The Rustic Country Home: My husband is military and with that comes a lot of moving. When we were stationed in Texas, my mom, who has always had a love for antiques, vintage and shabby chic encouraged me to open an antique booth at one of the local stores in town. It was great for me, as I was a new mom and it gave me something to do for a little extra money. After about a year, my love for painting grew and my mom and I started a business together. I absolutely loved every part of it. However, my husband got orders to move and my mom and I decided it would be easier if we put that business on hold for the time being, as doing what we did by myself with two kids would be a major undertaking. So, from that I started painting signs, it was something I could do easily with the kids home and I loved it because it was still painting! The Rustic Country Home was born.
N-FS: Focusing on your Christmas signs, tell me about your production process. How far in advance of the holiday do you design the signs and/or prepare them for Etsy?
TRCH: Well, this year was a little crazy to say the least! I started The Rustic Country Home in November of 2016, so I was really already behind the ball with Christmas. When I started painting signs, I knew I had to have as many Christmas signs as I could possibly paint! I absolutely have a HUGE LOVE for the Christmas season it has always been a big part of my life. My mom loved decorating for Christmas, and she has definitely passed that love on to me. For 2017, I plan to start putting new Christmas designs out by October to give myself some piece of mind. I don't want to pull all-nighters, trying to get it all done! Of course, like many of us, I need to just resist the urge to keep adding to the list, which is already impossible to complete!
N-FS: How far ahead of your stock do you produce, or do you produce on demand?
TRCH: I pretty much produce on demand. I had a few signs that were very popular, so I would try to make extra to have a few always available. But with two kids under 4 that doesn't always happen!
N-FS: Are there any special considerations you have to take into account when
producing for the holiday (i.e. shipping, availably of craft supplies, number of
TRCH: My biggest concern with signs is the sizing! Figuring out what sizes people are going to want can be a challenge, and not only that, but calculating shipping costs. The bigger the signs, the more the shipping, and that isn’t always appealing to everyone. But I am always open to making a custom size for a customer as needed.
N-FS: Is there any special preparation that you will add into your schedule based on
lessons-learned from the year before?
TRCH: For 2017, I want to build a stock of signs before the holiday season begins that I know will be popular. The goal is to fill orders a little quicker this year. Also, as I said, I like to keep adding to my plate and I want to try and hold back on that this year. I need to remember I can only do so much!
N-FS: What are your favorite personal holiday planning tips for your home/family?
TRCH: Enjoy it! That is the biggest thing I always get stressed about matching and what theme I am doing Rustic, Shabby Chic, Country Christmas, etc. but really all that matters is that you are enjoying it, and if you have kids or grandkids helping that they are too. This year was the first year my kids were actually wanting to help. Oh my! Our tree had ornaments basically all in one spot. We did a blue and silver Christmas in the living room and they loved it and that was what was important. I did decorate my room with my style as well, and made it the Christmas look I love, which was great, too.
N-FS: What is Christmas not complete without for you?
TRCH: Gingerbread houses! For as long as I can remember, our family has made gingerbread houses. When my sisters and I were all at home, we use to have huge parties. My mom would hand make every house and it was THE BEST time! Now that we are older we celebrate after Christmas with gingerbread house decorating. It's usually just the four of us, but it is always so nostalgic and we have so much fun doing it!
Be sure to visit Rebecca online on Instagram and on Etsy!