Monday, September 26, 2016

Small Shop Feature, Grace Sarris of Fernweh Supply Co!

I'm so excited to share my new favorite small shop with you guys today, Fernweh Suppy Co. I first came across her etsy shop while looking for the perfect wall hanging for Blair's room and this beautiful soft coral toned one completely captured my heart at first site:
After chatting with her I learned that her shop actually originated with her handmade falsa blankets and then reclaimed wood décor. Gah! I am now completely in love with this hexagon shelf and can see this fitting just perfectly on our blank wall in our living room:

also really enjoy this mountain shelf for a boys' nursery or bedroom:
I am actually in love with about every single reclaimed wood item in her shop and her instagram account just gives me ALL the heart eyes.
But besides her creative gifts and natural talent of making all these gorgeous items by hand, she started her company from nothing and is such an inspiration to me and my own etsy shop, as she truly actualized her life dream through dedication and hard work. She is such a wonderful person that I am so happy I got to know, and I am SO happy to talk shop with here on the blog today!

Lisa: One thing I really loved hearing about you is your story about how you came to be to where you are in your business today. Do you mind sharing that again for me?
Grace: Of course. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to own a brick and mortar shop, but right out of college this wasn't the easiest thing to do. After graduating with a Graphic Design Degree I spent almost 6 months doing odd jobs and feeling totally lost and unfulfilled. I loved the creative aspect of my degree (and now also do freelance design for other small businesses) but couldn't figure out where I'd fit in a corporate work environment. I reached a point where I had literally $3 in my bank account and no direction. I felt completely hopeless and like I'd reached rock bottom. Sitting at my kitchen table I decided to take a chance and resurrect a long time dream. Thanks to the support of my amazing family I was able to launch a simple website selling 15 different Falsa Blankets...and the rest is history!

Lisa: I love it, thanks. I am also in love with all your reclaimed wood products. I feel like it's such a 'stereotypical male' hobby -- How did you start a business in it?
Grace:  All the reclaimed wood items are 100% handcrafted from start to finish by my dad and I in Terre Haute, Indiana. My dad and I have always been close and I grew this business together with him, which has been a wonderful experience. I've always been very creative but NEVER would have thought I'd one day be a "woodworker" and I've loved learning this new skill. My grandfather was also a carpenter and built furniture so I guess you'd say I'm carrying on the family tradition!

Lisa: That's awesome - being able to work with people you love and carry on the tradition of your family's work. A question I always wondered about is how do you get 'reclaimed' wood, and get it to achieve that perfect 'reclaimed' look?
Grace: We collect reclaimed wood and pallets from friends, local businesses, old barns, etc. rip apart the wood, wash it down, sand it and repurpose into something new and beautiful! The wood is not treated in any way but rather earns it's unique look through a variety of factors like environment and weathering, so each piece is truly original and literally one of a kind!

Lisa: Very cool. And that is why I love supporting handmade small shops:) Besides your businesses, what are some of your other passions and what do you enjoy in your spare time?
Grace: I'm also a Midwest photographer, graphic designer and I'd say I'm an explorer with big dreams! I end up spending a lot of time behind the camera and the computer for both my business and contract work... but I also enjoy watercolor painting, drinking all the coffee, injecting Gilmore Girls quotes into daily life (I've watched the series no less that 12 times) and stalking Joanna Gaines on Instagram -- She's Queen!! I'm also equally obsessed with morning yoga or a good hike...and just laying on the couch with my pups. It's all about balance right?!

Lisa: Totally! Balance is still something I struggle with everyday ;) Okay so last question: what advice would you give to someone who wants to start or grow a business making things by hand?
GraceTruly above all else I would love to just sit down to coffee with anyone contemplating launching a handmade business and encourage them to be brave and just START. I don't mean that as a cop out answer, but because I honestly think that is the biggest obstacle! It breaks my heart how many people I talk to who have a killer idea or an amazing talent who allow fear to keep them from presenting that part of themselves. So often I'll be having a conversation with someone and after I explain what I do for a living their whole face will light up and they'll say something like "That's so cool! I wish I was creative" Or "I wish I could do something like that". I hate that because what that says to me is maybe they don't feel worthy of taking a chance on their dreams or like what they have to offer the world isn't quite good enough....and nothing could be farther from the truth!! It's such a myth and such a lie we believe that everyone is so much more competent and smart and creative and confident then we are. I really think SO much of success is just seeing something in your life you don't like, having the bravery to actually take action and make change...and then literally faking it till you make it. I never want people to look at my story or journey and think it's unattainable or impressive. Last October I decided to start a business while sitting at my kitchen table...and now my dad is actually working for me and I'm in the process of hiring additional employees. And you know what? 95% of the time I have NO IDEA what I'm doing because there isn't a blueprint to this thing. I didn't go to business school. I don't have an off the charts IQ. I'm just a normal chick who who said YES to a dream and an opportunity. And the best part is that at some point the fake it till you make it confidence actually starts to become real confidence. The point is that if you wait till you're "ready" you'll be waiting for the rest of your life. If you are looking to start or grow a handmade business my advice to you would just be to really learn to value your own work and truly believe that you have something to offer the world....and then be brave enough to share that part of yourself. If you can learn to do that you will be amazed how many people will authentically connect with your brand or product, and ultimately you as a person. If you need more hands on tips or want to share a new idea, or even just a little pep talk please feel free to email me at fernwehsuppycompany@gmail.com. I'd love to meet you!

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