Happy Saturday everyone! I am over-the-moon excited to bring you the very first of my Small Business Saturday series to the blog. It’s not exactly a secret that I love supporting small businesses, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with some amazing, genuine and hardworking individuals, learn their story, and hear their heart behind their business – and on top of all that, get to share it with you! Corporate stores aren’t going anywhere any time soon, but small online shops and locally owned boutiques are gaining popularity, and with good reason. Not only have they become more accessible with sites such as Pinterest and Etsy, but with unique products – many of which are hand made – they’re able to offer a consumer experience that is unmatched by big, box stores. I love shopping on Etsy or through smaller online shops, knowing that I’m supporting someone’s family, and helping to make their dream a reality.
Today’s post features The Rustic Twist, owned by Katie Kiehl, a 32-year-old wife and super-mom of 5 from Clarion, Pennsylvania. What started as repurposing old hymnals into beautiful plaques, became a fully stocked Etsy store full of farmhouse-style decor and incredibly unique wood flower bouquets. As you read Katie’s story in her own words through the rest of this post, I know without a doubt you’ll be able to see her heart & passion for her business shine through. To find Katie & see more of her work, life & family, be sure to check her out on Facebook & Instagram!
As a super fun added bonus, Katie and I have collaborated on a giveaway that you do NOT want to miss out on. Be sure to keep reading to the bottom of this post to get the full details on how to enter!!
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1. To start, tell me a little bit about yourself in a paragraph or two!
I’m Katie Kiehl — a 32 year old mom of 5 little ones. This suburb girl met a country boy and now we live in Clarion, PA. Our kids are Kason 8, Kenley 6, Kyla 4, Korie 2 & Karter 6 months. Yes, I’m a busy lady who’s outnumbered by crazy, rambunctious, silly, snack-demanding kids – but I wouldn’t want it any other way!
|Image Via The Rustic Twist on Facebook|
2. What kind of business is The Rustic Twist? /What kinds of products do you sell AND/OR services you offer?
I started my business making hymn plaques after a sweet lady gifted me 50 hymnals from her home church that was being torn down. She said “I’m sure you can find something creative to do with these!” (I mean, sure! because I have nothing better to do! 😛 ) They sat in boxes for a longgg time until finally I decided to get crafty. Just like a Bible, you can’t just throw them away. There’s so much history and nostalgia behind each song. I knew I wanted to bring back to life all the sweet memories connected with the hymn words. I also knew I would need more than 1 product to have a legit business, so soon I added on Farmhouse and Rustic Décor featuring Sola Wood Flowers (it’s easy to be inspired when you watch wayyyy too many hours of Fixer Upper). After about a year, I expanded my business into the wedding market doing centerpieces, bridal bouquets, corsages, aisle/altar décor and more!
3. How long have you been open?
I started this business July 2017.
4. What is your web address or Etsy shop name?
5. What was your passion behind starting this business/opening this shop?
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I used to be successful in direct sales, but when the company underwent major changes, I decided to walk away. It was a very hard decision for me because I was so invested in my clients, the products, and the friendship I had made. But the things I learned along the way of my direct sales journey, continues through my business today. Truth Talk — parenting is HARD! I needed something that channeled my energy and tapped into my creative passion. I love being able to make my own money from working at home!
6. What is your mission statement?
My tagline is Reclaim. Redesign. Reuse. I wanted my business to be unique! I wanted to find unclaimed pieces and turn them into something modern. Something a person would be proud to hang in their home. I pictured people buying my products, lovingly displaying them in their homes and when friends compliment their piece, it wasn’t something from a big box store. it was a statement piece handcrafted with love with nothing out there like it
7. What’s your favorite part of this business?
OH THE STORIES!!! I do a large craft fair every year in my town where I set up my hymn plaques and wood floral items. I could just stand there for hours as customers step into my booth and reminisce about earlier years around the Hymn Plaque display. They say things like “I am a Christian today because my great aunt May would drag me to church to sit on a hard wooden pew with her every Sunday as a little girl” or “this was the song my mother sang to me as a child” or “My father would sing this song over and over as I ate peanut butter banana sandwiches in his workshop after school. He’s been gone for 37 years and this would be the perfect reminder of his love for me!”
8. What motivates you the most, in the face of challenges and obstacles?
I want to be a strong example to my kids! I want them to see mommy follow her passion and dreams. In the face of obstacles, I push through the challenges and “figure it out” God has given me a creative mind to use for His glory. If we constantly give up when the going gets tough, then we aren’t utilizing our talents to the best of our abilities.
9. From your perspective, what are some of the biggest challenges facing small businesses?
I want my pieces in EVERY home across the world. unfortunately, I find pricing my products to be incredibly challenging. Each piece is handmade from start to finish. they aren’t outsourced or mass produced in a factory overseas. Therefore, I can’t compete with Walmart or Hobby Lobby prices. My customers are getting a high-quality product with every detail thought through, but not everyone wants to pay for that.
10. What kind of things inspire you the most?
I love watching Shark Tank and hearing the struggles of fellow entrepreneurs and how they’ve overcome low times to rise to the top. I’ve read all of Chip & Joann’s books to hear their story of small town, Christian couple to a well-known brand name across America. they turned a small town in Texas into one of the top tourists destinations in the US! I have visions of that for Clarion.
11. What do you feel makes you unique in your line of work?
I’m constantly thinking outside the box. I want products that are truly unique. I’ve gone with my husband, 4 kids and chainsaws to cut down a 100 year old barn just to design my barn wood burlap bouquets. I want to create pieces that you cannot easily recreate yourself or get knocked off by a big box store. I can’t walk into Walmart to buy a hymnal. They are precious books that are usually boxed up in the dusty attics of churches. I’m the one willing to reach out to churches to share my passion with them to bring those dusty pages back to life!
*discount only valid November 10, 2018 – November 17, 2018