Shop Around the Corner is a monthly series where I share a variety of fan-tas-tic small business owners that I think you’d really dig. It’s very important to me to share the love with fellow small business folks – the welcoming community of entrepreneurs I’ve met is quite strong, and there is so much incredible talent out there! I look forward to introducing you to great photographers, designers, shop owners…the list goes on and on!
Welcome to another Shop Around the Corner! I’ve been excited to share Shout Happy with you since Jennifer first told me that she was going to start her business. She is one of my favorite people – a wonderful friend, and a talented weaver! Check out her Etsy shop and Instagram feed for color-filled updates.
Tell us about your business!
At Shout Happy, I make weavings, wall hangings and fiber creations for your home, work, life.
Weaving and tapestry art is such a beautiful craft with a rich history of which I’m only beginning to crack the surface. I’ve devoured countless library books on the subject — and have the late fees to prove it. Apologies, library. I want Shout Happy to harken back to its roots in this art form but I also want it to have a distinct look and feel all its own. Half the fun in figuring that out is making mistakes along the way. It’s also half the torture, anger and utter disgust, but I prefer to focus on the positive.
In addition to ready to ship items being in the shop, you can also request commissioned pieces, based on your favorite colors, textures, places or spaces. There are a lot of ideas and plans for Shout Happy in 2015, including exciting collaborations, new houseware items and projects I am so excited and hopeful for, they’re being kept very close to the vest — for now. Overall, I’m ready to push myself further and see where these needles and yarn take me.
What made you decide to open your shop?
A little over 7 years ago, I had another small business, creating knitted and hand stitched items, did craft shows, met some lifelong friends and then, allowed life to get in the way for a while. I focused on my design career, my marriage and my family, all the while knowing in my heart I had not let this dream go.
In 2012, I got the chance to start this crazy journey, though it came in a drastic, life changing way… like so many of us these days, I was laid off from my job after a particularly challenging year. Fast forward through another wild year of the highest highs and lowest lows. We began to get back on our feet, I came up with the name in 2013, experimented with a few products for the shop but nothing seemed quite right. Then, I took up weaving in January of last year. Immediately, it blended my love of needlecrafts, working with my hands and even painting. It was the creative outlet I had been looking for and proceeded to fall head over heels in love with. It began with making weavings for myself or as gifts for friends and family. Somewhere around last Summer, all the pieces came together. With the help of supportive friends and family, especially my incredibly encouraging husband, Shout Happy opened and it’s been a steady pace ever since.
Where do you find inspiration?
Most of my inspiration comes from daily life, whether it be certain colors I’m drawn to, a new technique I want to try or drawing inspiration from nature. We took a trip to the mountains last Fall and that influenced a whole series of weavings once we returned home. I have always been drawn to the way colors work together, so a lot of my pieces begin that way… a new favorite color combination and the spark of an idea.
My parents were both creative and worked with their hands. They are my larger inspiration, the original spark. Some of my favorite items in our home were made by one or both of them. My mom still makes things that I am either gifted, steal or copy. 😉 She’s way more talented than she would ever give herself credit. Unfortunately, my dad passed away at a really young age. That, of course, proved to shape most of my life, putting things in perspective really early on and changing the way I see people, life, connections. My mom and grandma raised — and fiercely loved — my brother and me, which showed us over and over again what being strong really was. It also made anything my dad created, touched or loved that much more invaluable. To know that I might be leaving a small mark out in the world, leaving something behind for my daughter and becoming a part of history, if only my family’s history, is a bit of an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and smallness — in the best way possible.
Favorite item that you sell?
At Christmas, I made tiny weavings/woven ornaments and those were a very fun, new challenge. Who doesn’t love tiny versions of things? However, my favorite things to create are on the opposite size spectrum.. the giant weavings, especially commissioned pieces, because you get to create something special for someone’s home or space or family and it inevitably, stretches your skills and teaches you new things.
Any advice for those just starting out?
I feel like I’m still starting out myself but the number one lesson I’ve learned is: do not give up. Everyone says it but it is absolutely true. If you’ve got that gut feeling or fire in your belly to do your business, listen to it. I put mine on the backburner for a long time and that little voice only got louder and louder. It is going to be hard, it will probably take a very long time, it will definitely take a lot of work and you are going to have days where you’ll want to throw in the towel or get dragged down by others. If you know in your heart that you are doing what you’re meant to, keep moving. Scream and cry it out when you need to, but keep pushing forward. I have learned the power in focusing on the positive progression of things, because they will keep progressing, even if it takes ten times as long as you wanted.
Three words to describe you/your life.
Life is, currently: wild, messy, happy.
Story or moment in business that was memorable/impactful:
In December, I was asked by my friend Meredith to speak about my passions, tell a little story about my life, in front of a room full of strong, creative, beautiful ladies. She has 2 or 3 women share about themselves once a month at her A Beautiful Gathering get togethers. As someone who is desperately shy in front of crowds, it was a challenge, to say the least. To say the most, I was pretty sure I was going to vomit. But I pushed past the fear and told my story surrounded by some truly warm, welcoming and terribly inspiring women. It was a powerful moment.
Favorite tv show:
We’re working towards moving this Spring, so I’ve got homes on the brain. I have been watching a lot of HGTV. My two favorite shows — and I mean, flat out obsessions — are Fixer Upper and Rehab Addict. I love how they both focus on restoring an old home to its former glory. Owning a historic home that’s 1930s or older gets this heart beating crazy fast. The history and story of things continues to be a passion of mine in all areas of life.
Favorite ice cream flavor:
I’ve never been a huge ice cream eater but hands down, the best ice cream is my mom’s homemade vanilla, made with non-dairy milk. It’s so delicious, I begin to crave it as soon as the weather turns hot, which should be sometime around February here in middle Tennessee. Ok, maybe not, but it won’t be too much longer.
Favorite vacation spot:
I have loved the beach and the water as long as I can remember. Something about the salt air, the crashing waves and the warm sand calls to my bones. Growing up in Tennessee and having a lot of Irish blood running through me, the mountains and countryside almost equally call my name.
Favorite way to spend a Saturday afternoon:
Right now, exploring a historic downtown or neighborhood is just about all I think about. However, I am really looking forward to the weather warming up for weekly outdoor Farmer’s Markets and park visits.
Favorite part of running your business:
I love the connections and storytelling aspects of running this business. My story — and all those who came before me — is woven into each piece and from there, someone gets to place their story and their life into it. There’s not much better or more special than that for me.
(This girl’s one heck of a writer, is she not?!)
Thank you again, Jennifer! Don’t forget to click over to her Etsy page and do some shopping!