The foundation of Crane & Sparrow is to be a community where women can not only look good but feel good and do good as well. Crane & Sparrow is a place where women can feel inspired, and lift each other up - where we celebrate our successes and others as well.
With that idea in mind, we wanted to introduce our newest weekly feature - Women Wednesday. Each week we'll be featuring a woman that is passionate about what she does in hopes to inspire and teach others along the way.
Meet Sasha - the minimalist home decor designer based out of Prince Edward Island.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Sasha and I'm the 25 year old owner of Timber Grove Studios, an Etsy based woodworking & design business. I live in rural PEI with my other half, one cat and two little birds.
How did you get into woodworking?
It's funny because I took a woodworking course in high school and really had no interest in it - I was a huge art student and never really put two and two together about how it could be used for art. I then went to Mount Allison University for Fine Arts, ended up working on a Commerce minor, and during the summers I ran a little furniture refinishing business. I got quite skilled with finishing wood and my interest in interior design grew immensely once I had moved out of my parents home and into my own space. Wanting a practical skill that I could build a sustainable long term business with, I set my sights on furniture design and left University to attend a one year college course in Wood Manufacturing. It was just what I needed to become comfortable with tools and have the confidence to figure out how to build whatever I came up with. I actually started building mountain shelves early in the morning before class, so that's really where Timber Grove Studios started.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I have actually really had to learn to reign in my creative inspiration, because everything I look at gives me ideas. Growing up I would paint, draw, write, photograph, you name it. There's always been a lot going on in my head so I think that adopting a more minimalist approach has helped to calm things down and allow me to focus on what's important. I started my business at home with nothing but a mitre saw and a nail gun, and challenged myself to design a product line with just one standard board size. Taking basic ideas and materials and pushing them as far as you can is where the good stuff really starts to happen, I think.
As for the daily inspiration to keep going, which I think is a bit different yet just as important, I love having my first coffee on the deck outside whenever possible. Taking a minute to step outside and appreciate what's around me helps me start my day off right.
Tell us about your process.
It's pretty straightforward for most of my products - cut, sand, stain, varnish, tape edges, build, and untape/touch up. The process takes a few days with dry times so the hardest part is juggling 10-20 orders within any given week and managing my time appropriately.
What are some of the obstacles you've had to overcome?
The fact that I was young and fresh out of school when I started the business meant I wasn't really settled and had next to no savings. We've since moved three times as the business grew (and appreciated my boyfriend more every time for letting me drag him around with me!) but we're finally settled somewhere perfect for us with room to grow. I know many aren't comfortable talking about money, but I think it's important to be realistic and it's tough to start a business without capital. There are definitely some things I could have done much better along the way if I'd had the funds. However, it's taught me to be frugal and being young & childless means it's easier to take risks.
What advice would you give to other creatives thinking of going into business?
I'm definitely a realist when it comes to handmade business so I will say this; find something that people want and figure out the most efficient way to make it. Your favourite thing to make might not be what your target market is after, or it might take entirely too long to create. Doing what I love is the best part about this business but I do have to make compromises and look at things from a business lens and not simply a hobbyist's, because in the end it's my job. There are some things I love to create although I know they'd be stressful to try to sell, so I keep them as a hobby so that I can still enjoy them.
3 Random facts about yourself.
- I'm an avid hockey player and you can find me at the rink almost every night either coaching goalies or playing a beer league game.
- I have always loved photography, but it was never my full time job and I'm glad because I still love it just as much! Staging day is secretly my favourite part of the job.
- I was born and raised in Ontario, lived in New Brunswick for quite a few years, and now happily call PEI home. If you haven't been here, please add it to your bucket list, it's the most incredible little island with the best beaches in Canada!