Welcome back everyone! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Things here have been pretty crazy with the move and traveling for the holidays. We finally received all our household goods on December 30th so needless to say I am up to my ears in boxes and unpacking everything.
Today, I have an awesome blog post that I am excited to share with you. I had the opportunity to interview Brooklyn Calloway from Brookielynn’s Bungalow. She is a true inspiration to crafters and business owners alike and is blazing the trail in the craft and paint workshop niche. She let’s us in to her life and how she got to where she is today and offers some business advice to budding crafters.
I met Brooklyn back in March of 2014 when I became a CeCe Caldwell’s Paints retailer and she was giving a class to help new retailers on the ins and outs of social media and getting your brand out there and noticed. I knew from that moment she was someone to watch and that she was going to be an industry leader. Not to mention she was pretty freakin’ cool too. LOL.
I watched her business and brand grow and come up with some really cool stuff over the last few years and with each Facebook and Instagram post she inspired me. So, I wanted to share her story with you and and hopefully she will inspire you as much as she does me.
Keep reading to see how she answered all my questions.
What is the name of your shop and where are you located?
7546 Oak St.
Frisco, TX 75033
221 W. Hickory St
Denton, TX 76201
Where are you from and where do you currently live?
I grew up in Garland, Texas and I currently live in Frisco, Texas.
How did you get into painting furniture and crafting?
I asked for a gift card for a dresser from a place called “Furniture in the Raw” for my son, Jayden in 1999. I really wanted to finish the dresser myself for his nursery. Stupidly, I used a stain from Lowe’s while 8 months pregnant in July out on the driveway. I loved the entire process from picking out the piece, choosing the stain color and the actual physical labor of it. I don’t know why, but ever since that first dresser 17 years ago, finishing furniture has always been something I wanted to do.
What inspired your career change from being a teacher to going into business for yourself?
MORE KIDS! In 2011 and 2012 I had my daughter and second son. As a teacher, being on maternity leave two years in row reeeeally puts a damper on your paycheck. Since I wasn’t bringing home much bacon and working over 40 hours a week away from my kids, it was a pretty simple choice. I knew I could easily make the same income and have flexible schedule at home if I quit to finish furniture full time, so that’s exactly what I did. I resigned on April Fool’s day 2013 and never ever looked back for a second. What is it that they say? Don’t look back because you aren’t going that way? It’s true.
How long has it taken for you to get to where you are today?
I’m going into my 4th year as a business owner, and I’m very very far from where I started. I no longer just refinish furniture from a two car garage. Matter of fact, I very rarely get to refinish furniture anymore. Now I teach weekly workshops during which I teach others to do what I love to do! I’m also the United States distributor for real silver real glass German glass glitter, a retailer of Junk Gypsy™, Rachel Ashwell SHABBY CHIC® and Bungalow 47™ Chalk + Clay paint, and now I design and make custom wooden wall words up to 8 feet wide! Told you, I’m far from where I started!
What inspired your Build-a-Bunting line?
In the beginning, when I first started teaching workshops, I’d have women drag their current furniture project pieces into the shop, and I’d teach them how to turn it from drab to fab. What I realized after 6 months or so is that no one ever needed to come back or signed up for an additional workshop. Why would they? The object of the workshop was to LEARN how to refinish furniture and the emphasis was not on the FUN. Would you take English 101 twice? No. Do people go to Painting with a Twist twice? Yes, yes, yes they freakin’ do, so I set out to design something out of wood that we could learn on but would simultaneously be something dynamic and fun that would bring clients back again and again. That’s when I pounced on the idea of bunting banners. They provided the surface area I needed to demonstrate various finishes AND I could make a different banner every month. During each class everyone typically makes the same predesigned kit, but eventually people started asking for a free-style class. That’s what prompted me to keep an entire Build a Bunting bar in the store front for all those crafty folks that want to build their own kit, take it home and make it themselves! The Build a Bunting bar has also enabled me to have REALLY FUN ‘free style’ classes. Pretty quickly, my paint retailer friends started seeing my social media posts and started asking me where I was getting my workshop kits. THAT’S when my business got really interesting. Now I wholesale my Build a Bunting kits all over the country, in Canada and in Australia!
You recently tackled and amazing goal of breaking the Guinness Book of World Records for holding the largest furniture refinishing workshop. How did this all come about? What made you do this?
The idea struck me in the shower. I wanted to put myself on the ‘map’ in a big way and get the word out that I taught workshops, so I thought holding the world record title for the largest workshop would solidify a title after my name that would drive customers through the door. 😉 In this craft world there aren’t ‘certifications’ you can earn. You have to make stuff up and pave your own way.
You have created an amazing brand, tons of followers, and become successful in your niche. What advice would you offer and suggest for those who want to start their own craft business?
Constantly innovate, constantly re-evaluate what is popular, what people want and do that. Focus on what is making your customers come back. That is the KEY. Sometimes I don’t necessarily like making what the customers want. It’s not as fun as I’d like it to be, BUT the earnings from doing a little of what you don’t want, allow me to be creative in my next creative venture and also mean that I’m earning more and more followers. Being crafty doesn’t always mean it’s fun, but embrace it. You can make “crafty” profitable and you can scale your crafty business if you constantly re-evaluate and realign with what your market it telling you.
What brands are you affiliated with and sell?
Junk Gypsy™, Rachel Ashwell SHABBY CHIC® and Bungalow 47™ Chalk + Clay Paint, Cling-On Brushes handmade in the Netherlands, Fiddes & Son’s Waxes, German Glass Glitter handmade and imported from Germany, and Build a Bunting™.
What is your next goal you are going to tackle?
This is my next goal… Flipping my 1956 Chevy 6700 school bus into the ultimate she shed in my backyard.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What business goals do you have for the future?
I see myself hosting amazing, luxurious, high-end crafter retreats in September and March. I envision a HGTV show or two and a fully renovated Junk Gypsy style bunk house in the carriage house out back!!!!!! Dream big or go freakin’ home. THAT is my motto.
What is an interesting fact about you that most people don’t know?
I’m a homebody. I get nervous in one-on-one conversations, but I absolutely LOVE public speaking and teaching large groups. The more the merrier, but If I’m not in front of a lot of people, I want to be alone with my family at home in my pj’s. LOL. Also… I’m very very hard on myself.
Make sure you check her out on all her social media sites and be sure to follow her to see more creativity from this innovative crafter. If you live in Texas you should definitely make it a point to stop by and see her and her shop.
And of course check out her website brookielynnsbungalow.com here.
Click here to see more from Brooklyn.
As you can see Brooklyn is not only an industry leader and inspiration to tons of small business owners. Glad that I can call her a friend. I messaged her last week after she posted something totally cool on Facebook that I wished we lived closer so I could come over and drink coffee, craft, and paint stuff all day. Would be the best day EVER!!!
I really hope that you all enjoyed reading this interview and getting to know Brooklyn a bit more. If you didn’t know about her a few minutes ago, you do now. LOL.
Until next time my friends.