How to start a DIY Business

I remember when I went to my first sip and paint style workshop over 12 years ago. I was visiting my best friend in Houston and we went to Pinot’s Pallet. I was so excited to do something beyond just grabbing drinks at a local bar. The energy and excitement of creating something while hanging out with my friends struck a cord with me. I knew I could see myself loving to create something with a similar vibe one day, but I had no idea where to start.

At the time, I was involved with an MLM and had worked my way up to the top 10% of the company. Paisley, my daughter, was only 1 and life was established and good. Little did I know, two years later, I would find myself 8 months pregnant with my son and the MLM was shutting down. Everything I had worked for disappeared in a flash. I was so upset. There was an onslaught of companies that were approaching many of the managers in the now out-of-business MLM– and many of their offers were tempting. However, I knew I could not put my heart and soul working for another company that I had no control in the outcome.

So, one afternoon, while Paisley napped, I pulled out the Silhouette that had been collecting dust in my closet and started playing with the vinyl included in the starter kit. I’ll save you the progression of obsessive YouTube videos I watched to learn more about it, but once I painted my first wood sign I was hooked. My grandparents used to own a Craft Company called Witbro’s Wood N Things and I felt like it just came full circle.

Shortly after my son was born, I decided it was time to take the leap. I refused to build a business underneath someone else’s business plan again. It was time to stand on my own two feet– and out of that I created my own business- Paisley Grace Makery.

It was my goal to combine my love of crafting with the business and booking skills I had learned working in MLM for the past 5 years. Inspired by my time at Pinot’s Pallet, I decided to offer in home painting workshops where I would bring all of the supplies, designs and instruction to hostesses homes for a night of creativity! Eight years later, it’s still going strong. I own a 3,000 square foot building in our town’s Historic Main Street District, have an amazing staff and have generated over 2 Million dollars in sales. It’s been an amazing journey and it’s why I’m so passionate about helping other’s achieve the same success and more!

Here’s how I started:

Do the Mental Work

It’s super easy to think the first steps of business are to just jump in and start making sales– but you will have more long term success if you pause before you jump. I’m not saying to write up a huge business plan– but take time to discover your why. This is the first thing I break down in Maker Bootcamp, because it is what sets you apart from the crowd. If you truly dive in to figure out WHY this business model will fill a mission field in your life- your marketing, branding and strategies will stand out from any competition.

Gather Your Materials and Perfect Your Craft

The world of DIY is a massive one– and while that leaves unlimited earning potential, you can not do it all at once. Take time to figure out what project you want to START with. It may be stenciled signs, laser signs, macrame or canvas painting, etc. But choose ONE to launch BIG. Too often I see new makers launch an insane amount of designs and projects right off the bat because they feel they have to cater to everyone– when instead it just makes their audience confused at their branding and what they offer. Choose ONE thing and get really good at it first. Write all of your other ideas in a safe space, because these will be vital to bring in as new launches for your customer base. When I started to outgrow the Silhouette, I purchased at TITAN 3 51″ Plotter for my stencils and a Dewalt Tablesaw to cut my wood. It is also extremely important to sand your wood. I’ve been through many sanders, but the Dewalt Battery Powered one is my favorite because I can use it all around the studio and mobile parties without having to find a outlet. If you’re looking for a detailed list of supplies to bring to a mobile party, I have a great resource available here.

Create Your First Product Offerings

When I got started, I only did stenciled wood signs. I strongly believe the success of my first parties was because I kept my offerings simple and easy for my clientele to understand. We did ONE size sign (15×20 pallet) with 10 design options. I painted examples of each, photographed them and created a simple order form on Google Forms to allow people to place their order. Now looking back, I wish I would have started everything on a Shopify site right away, but the Google Form was easy, free and allowed me to get the information out to my friends for my first launch party quickly and easily.

Once I had these three things, it was time to host my first party! More on that in the next blog!

Until then,

Want to learn more about Maker Bootcamp? Here’s my page!

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