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Katie in her own words...
Tell us about you!
I was born, raised, and currently reside in Oakdale CA. It's a small rural town in the central valley. I live with my boyfriend and two dogs - a chocolate and black lab. Even though I don't have kids, everyone knows my dogs are more spoiled than my kids would be anyways haha. I do have a day job that is 40+ hours a week. I work for a painting contractor where I read plans and assist the estimators with bidding and project managing. Although I would ideally be working on the shop full time, I do like the mathematical and analytical aspect of my job and I feel like it allows me to keep my left and right brains sharp :) When work and the shop do not have me occupied (or just have me going crazy!) I love to get up to the mountains to unwind. I also love to cook, crochet, garden, refinish furniture, etc...
What is the name of your business and what is it you make?
My shop is That Special Touch, and I make handcrafted home decor
How did you start your business? How has it evolved?
I started an Etsy shop back in 2013 when I was recovering from a severe accident and needed a creative outlet while I was not able to work. From there, I decided it was something I wanted to keep pursuing even when I was able to work again. Since then, I have begun to hone in on the direction I want to head and the types of products I want to carry. It is a continuous work in progress, but I want to create items that are inspired by all the design influences in my life: an eclectic mix of rustic, vintage, industrial, and boho. I love natural materials and want to focus on wood, glass, metal, and stone in the future.
What is the meaning of your business name? How did you come up with it?
So the thought process behind my shop name, was the desire to create pieces that customers will love and will become "that special touch" within their space. I want to make things that are more than just generic, chain store replicas and focus on things that will spark interest and dialogue in someone's home.
What is your biggest dream for you and your business?
I would love to get to the point where I can have the shop be my sole focus and income. I'd love to be able to connect with enough clients each year to make a living doing what I love - as cliche as it may sound. If money were no object, I would absolutely love to open a storefront and showcase local artists as well. Make it like a studio feel, so customers get the full experience of entering the artist's workspace and purchasing from a real person.
What is your favorite part?
I love creating custom pieces for clients more than anything - something that is uniquely theirs and means a great deal to them. I do not love shipping prices! haha, if that can be my least favorite! Making home decor, some pieces get very large and/ or heavy, and shipping prices can limit the amount of people who are willing to buy handmade versus just "amazoning" it.
What is something we wouldn’t know about you or your business?
So going back to the accident I had prior to starting the shop, most people do not know everything I went through and had to recover from. First my family was told I would not survive, then I was told I would not walk, then I was told I would not live a normal life. I basically gave the middle finger to all those options, and surprised my doctor with my will and stubbornness. I try to draw from that in my life now, and whenever I need strength I just remind myself that I am the only one stopping me from doing anything I want.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far? What are you most proud of?
I would say I am most proud of being able to juggle a demanding day job with having a small shop of my own. There are days I just want to come home and relax, but I still manage to ship all my orders out on time and keep gooing with it. Sure, I am not able to promote, engage on social media, take as many orders, create as many new items as full time shops but I am happy with where I am for the time I do have. Over the next year, I want to figure out a way to focus on just doing the shop and maybe cutting back on work hours (or quitting!).
What does shopping small mean to you?
To me, shopping small means being conscious of where you are investing yourself. Do you want to put your hard earned money into supporting a corporation that has no consideration for your life, or do you want to support an individual in your own community who will value your purchase and be truly grateful? By shopping small, you are putting your money back into the pockets of your community and making a difference in someone's life.
What are your plans for the holidays?
We usually just stay close to home and celebrate the holidays with family. It is nice to just keep it low key and visit with those you love. My favorite tradition has become searching for the most unique gift that each person will truly love - which means shopping small and buying handmade!