Happy Feature Friday!
We love how unique today’s feature is, as Janine Stone of “If You Give A Girl A Saw” is the first woodworker we’ve had on Castle Foundations! She’s actually the first woodworker we’ve known of, and we’re so glad we came across her work … simply because it’s incredible! From gorgeous breakfast trays and wall hangings to full on furniture, her pieces are one-of-a-kind and you can clearly see the time and craftsmanship put into them. Plus, this girl loves what she does! We completely agree with Janine’s mindset on finding a job that makes you excited, determined, and fulfilled each day. Keep reading to find out more about her brand and make sure to also follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and check out her Etsy store!
: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
: My name’s Janine Stone! I’m the girl with the saw. I have entirely too much to say about wood, tools, shop life, and the general excitement that envelopes me when I’m around any of those said things. So I’ll stop before I get carried away! But here’s most of what you need to know:
: Your name, “If You Give A Girl A Saw” is pretty literal to how you got your start. Tell us the story behind it!
: It’s funny how, often times, we don’t realize significant moments are significant until much later. I created an Etsy store on a whim, mainly to gauge if there was a market for my new found, die hard love for woodworking. I was prompted to enter a business name, which I hadn’t given a single thought to before that very second. I tend to be unreasonably impatient, so I figured I’d enter something temporary, granting me access to the world of Etsy. I was stuffing my face with cookies, which is entirely all too common, and a book I hadn’t thought about in years crossed my mind for reasons I’ll never be able to explain. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. If you give a girl a saw, every corner of your life will be filled to the brink with sawdust. If you give a girl a saw, lumberyards will have a larger appeal than shopping malls. If you give a girl a saw, cars will be traded in for mini vans from the 1990’s to better haul wood. And just like that, it stuck!
: We love your products and can’t imagine how you create such beautiful things out of a simple piece of wood! How do you make a piece from beginning to end?
: As a small business, supporting fellow, local, small businesses holds a huge importance in my eyes. That being said, I source all the wood from the good ol’ boys at a local lumberyard in the neighborhood. Table saws have become my most feared and respected tool and play a large roll in ripping down all of the wood into consistent strips before the build begins. Each piece of wood is meticulously measured, measured again and measured one more time for good measure (HA) and finally cut to size. Paint and wood stain bring these babies to life before everything is glued and nailed down, framed, packed up and shipped out! Sending products out is similar to what I imagine it would be like to give your child up for adoption. Given, I don’t have kids, so I imagine my perception is pretty far off, but you get the gist.
: It’s so awesome that you’re self-taught. What was the trial and error period like in learning to create products for your Etsy store?
: I’m entirely convinced the trial and error period never ends. But in my humble opinion, this forces you to continue growing and exploring within a craft that offers endless possibilities. I share a shop space with my boyfriend, whose talent as a metal fabricator is mind boggling! When times get desperate and I’ve exhausted my trial and error options, he offers an outside perspective and we bounce ideas off of each other to come up with a solution. I’ve also made a regular habit of watching YouTube videos made by old carpenters and this has replaced most of the time I used to spend watching New Girl and The Goldbergs. But honestly, learning by doing is the most valuable route for me. The way someone else does something, while it may work great for them, might not be the same for you. So really creating your own style and technique is inexplicably gratifying and keeps you true to yourself.
: How did it click that you wanted to pursue this talent and start selling your work?
: It happened so organically that I’m questioning if there was ever a defining click! Before I got into woodworking, I was a Realtor; and might I add, I was a terrible one. Sales don’t run in my blood in any way, shape or form. My first day with a saw, I was smitten! I couldn’t stop. I wanted to spend all my time building, so I did – until my tiny house was overflowing with wood goods and an outlet became a necessity in order to keep building. Like I mentioned, opening an Etsy store was a pretty mindless experiment. The next week, I shipped my first order to Australia. Over the next few weeks, inquiries and orders began building up. Two months later, I decided to go full force, abandon real estate, give it everything I had and sink or swim. One year later, I can confidently say that was the best decision I’ve ever made.
: What have been some of your favorite pieces to make?
: When I initially started building, it was because there was a purpose for the product. Whether that be a shoe rack, a table, a breakfast tray etc. Items that are relevant to every day life are my jam.
: We can tell that you love what you do! What is the best part of running your own business?
: The moments when you feel like you’re 14 and just walked by your crush, but instead you’re in the shop, alone, looking more haggard than an outside dog, asking yourself, “This is my job???”. That’s surreal and incredible and I’m getting humiliatingly giddy just thinking about it! Creating a job for yourself that you’re wholeheartedly excited to get out of bed every morning and do is far more radical than words could ever begin to describe.
: You’re currently working on your 2016 product line. What can we expect to see and what has the process of creating it been like?
: I had to calm my role. Initially, I’d envisioned building upwards of 50 new items in one month. But let me tell ya, no amount of coffee could have given me the manpower to conquer that! Often times, my ambition far exceeds what’s realistically possible. A huge inspiration behind my business is multi-functionality. Wall hangings that can be used as table tops, breakfast trays that can be used as wall hangings, headboards that can be used as table tops, etc. Giving the consumer the ability to have a say in the final step of the design process is everything. I’m suppressing urges to launch a summer addition to the product line with a chunk of products I wasn’t able to complete before the launch…so keep those eyes peeled!
: Where do you hope your brand goes in the future? Anything coming up that you want to tell us about?
: I remind myself often to remain open to any and all possibilities and not get my heart set on one possible outcome. We don’t always know what’s best for ourselves. That being said, in the meantime, I’m going to soak up every ounce of this goodness and embrace future opportunities with open arms! I have an announcement I’m bursting at the seams to dish, but have to keep my mouth shut for the next month. Get a glass of champagne ready, because I’ll be cyber cheers-ing every on of you when the time comes!
: Any advice for those looking to start woodworking or just about any creative endeavor?
: Create your livelihood from something you’re truly passionate about. You’ll never look back; but more importantly, you’ll never want to.