Monday, October 6, 2014

Moms on Mondays - Elizabeth from Peg and Plum

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This week I am so happy to feature Elizabeth from Peg and Plum.  Her wooden, peg dolls are AMAZING and Lemon absolutely loves them.  She captured the details of our family beautifully and we couldn't believe how cute the dolls were when we got them.  I just love this lady, her IG and her super cute family and she is oh so talented.  You NEED a personalized set of your family like NOW - go shop! 



She sent Lemon this set as well and she loves them!



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What is the name of your shop and how can we find you?

Peg & Plum is the name of my shop! "Peg" & "Plum" were the 2 names my (then) 2 1/2 year old daughter gave to the first peggies I painted for her.  You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.

Tell us about what you make/sell in your shop.

I make and sell hand painted wooden peggie dolls! My shop is filled with special hand-painted toy sets, felt peggie "sleeping bags" for storage, travel and play, custom/personalized peg families and wedding cake toppers...I also paint pets! I use non toxic paints and sealer. The wooden peg dolls I use are made by a small business toy maker in Portland. Every day is fun and awesome and I'm stoked! 




 (All peg doll images are courtesy of instagram.com/pegandplum)

How/why did you start making these products and open this shop?

I am a lifelong lover and collector of quirky, tiny, cute toys and baubles! I've been painting little wooden peg dolls since my kids, Ruby (7 yrs) & Ollie (6 yrs), were toddlers. To put it mildly, the apples did not fall far from the tree!! They both keep their pockets full of special finds and line their windowsills with their favorite tiny objects. Their little bungalow playhouse in our backyard is FILLED with tiny treasures. Those two little sillies have been my best inspiration!   
Last winter, I posted a photo of a peg set of 5 little girls in dresses and a little felt roll up "sleeping bag" I had sewn to go with it. It was made for a friend's 3 year old daughter as a Christmas gift...I immediately started getting messages from other friends about painting sets for their kids too. So, I took the inspiration and ran with it. It was an unplanned, but has been a very exciting surprise of a venture! It's been all in perfect timing though. I am a stay at home mom and last year was the first year that both of my kids were in school full time. I'd been thinking about new paths for a while. My husband and I had just started renovating our sunroom into an office/art room with a special corner reserved for my painting stuff. It was all kismet! Absolutely the right moment to feel inspired. The universe gives you exactly what you need when you pay attention...

How long have you been in business?

Peg and Plum opened February 15th 2014 and has been running full speed ahead ever since!

What is your background?

I am an artist. My background is in visual arts and design/merchandising. I was lucky to be able to graduate high school from The Perpich Center for Arts Education, in Minnesota. I focused on visual arts there. My favorites were painting, handmade paper, small sculpture and jewelry metal arts. After I graduated, I immediately moved out to Los Angeles and went to school at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) I followed my impulsive 18 year old heart and majored in Fashion Design. After college, I got a fun job working for a huge, creative retailer as a visual merchandiser. That was all good and I learned a lot about who I was and what I wanted, but, in the end I landed back home...back in my beloved Minneapolis and running a creative business from home. 
Tell us a little bit about your family.

Oh, my gosh...my family. They are the bees knees! My husband, Chris, is a handsome, bearded carpenter, musician, pottery enthusiast, do-it-all and do-it-very-well kind of guy. We met in high school through a mutual friend. He picked us up in his orange Eagle and I was smitten! But, I was MUCH too shy to barely utter a word any time he was around. Fast forward ten years and I'm on a last minute visit home (from L.A.) at Christmas. We re-meet again through the same mutual friend, he says "Oh, I remember you..." and before I could blink twice, I'm moving back to Minnesota, getting married, having 2 babies and buying a cute fixer-upper house in South Minneapolis! Kismet again, I tell ya. It's been grand. We've been married 7 years and I still pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming!



Oh, and about those 2 littles,.. they are pure sunshine! My daughter, Ruby Laine, is 7 1/2 years old. She is a brave little spitfire of a free spirit who loves a good sundress, dirty bare feet and refuses to cut her waist length hair. She loves painting with me and making little houses out of boxes...she lives for a good project. At just 17 months younger, our sweet 6 year old son Ollie can steal your heart with his big brown eyes and adorably dimpled cheeks. He is a quiet and curious guy who loves science, monsters, reading chapter books with his dad (currently reading the classic Frankenstein), collecting rocks and bones and taking care of his lizards "Cornelius" and "Rex." Oh, and there is also Louise. She's our special fuzzy.


 
How does this company help your family?  Or you?

Having my own creative little business helps me be able to continue staying home and have a quirky creative outlet. Last year, when Ollie started Kindergarten full time, I started praying for a new path. It was like a happy forehead slap when "making people smile with tiny painted peg dolls" was the answer! This small business also helps keep the projects going on our beloved fixer-upper 1921 bungalow. My husband and I LOVE to work on our house. It's what we do together for fun! (Ok, it's a bit of an obsession!) We have transformed it room by room into a special Scandinavian inspired, white floored, sunshine filled HOME. Peg & Plum has made it possible to keep the renovation momentum going and continue to enjoy our mutual passion for making our home silly and special.
Did you ever think you'd be doing this?  What did you think you'd be doing instead?

Since becoming a wife and mother, I knew having my own small business was the key to my happiness as far as work goes. I am a true homebody and it's a perfect fit to have my own small business at home. Soon after I finished college, I knew the fashion industry wasn't truly my cup of tea. Paths change. We grow. I'm ok with that!! :) I do enjoy creative merchandising/visual display. I still find myself setting up "displays" in my home all the time. I also tossed around a few ideas involving my other passions of interior design, event planning, good coffee and baking delicious and beautiful desserts. But, through Peg & Plum, I have found myself a good niche, I get to stay home for my family, and I plan to keep building it up from here!

Does anyone help you with your shop?

I am a one lady operation I do it all myself! My husband sometimes runs an errand or dashes to the post office for me though which is rather helpful ;) He's been great support since the beginning.

How do you find time to run your shop and create products? 


Once I opened shop with my original 14 designs, adding new and fresh play sets to my shop became difficult because I got busy so quickly! So, I problem solved by adding a listing for "choose your own theme" play sets. Now customers can purchase this listing and request exactly what will suit their fancy if they don't see it in the shop already. I add those designs to my listings! I'm a rather organized gal  by nature and when I have a bit of time, I don't drag my feet! I'm really good at getting things done in the early morning and during nap time. I do my best work in the early morning hours before my family is awake. 5 am is my favorite time of the day! 

What do you love about this business?

It's my own! I love making people smile with such a fun, unique novelty item. My customers are always happy and very excited to receive their orders. People from all over send me photos of my pegs in their child's chubby hands, and it's been an absolute delight seeing photos of my cake toppers as part of somebody's special day. I also love my little work space! Sitting in my little sunroom painting corner, lost in thought over tiny details of a custom order is my happy spot. It's like meditating or free therapy...it's good for my soul! 

What is the most challenging part of this business?

To be quite honest, I haven't run into too many challenges yet! As long as I can keep up and have weekends for family time, I am one happy peggie painting camper!


Where do you see your shop in the future?

I've done a few smaller wholesale orders in the last 6 months, but I think I'm ready to really take that on full force now. I am hoping to see Peg & Plum in some local shops in the future. Minneapolis is full of amazing little shops! I'm learning about starting my own website/blog, so I hope to see that come to life in the next year. And, you know...just make it grow!

Tell us your favorite product or your most favorite thing you've created?

I LOVE doing custom families and I love a good challenge. Painting tiny lettering is fun. I totally dig the reaction I get from customers after they see their personalized "3-D family portraits!" Cake toppers and making 3-D elements are my other favorite right now. There will be more examples of this in my shop soon!

Do you have any advice for future mom-entrepreneurs?

Do NOT ignore that inspiration!! Take it with a leap and RUN with it! You just never know unless you put yourself out there. There has been many moments in the last 6 months where I have literally sat down on the floor and let happy tears stream down my face. I am so thankful and filled to the brim with possibility. I was always intimidated that my ideas were too tiny and wouldn't amount to anything because I didn't have the means to start something BIG. But, what I've learned here is that NO idea is too silly and tiny ideas are where great things begin!! Have fun, stay thankful (that keeps your momma patience in check!) and keep your balance. Being a mom and running my own small business from home is the BEST job ever.  
What are some of YOUR favorite shops/products, besides your own?
Well, I am an Etsy addict (I even order almost all of my own business supplies through other Etsy sellers!) I've been filling our home with handmade Etsy goods since 2007. My favorite kind of shopping is home goods. My current favorite shops are Le Petite Biscuit Shop (holy smokes...have you seen her gorgeous Instagram?!), Mudpuppy for his pink hanging air plant pods, and Silver Lining Ceramics - she makes the most magical pottery. I am rather passionate about anything Scandinavian and pastel.

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