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The Trendy Tree Customer Spotlight

The Trendy Tree Customer Spotlight

Trendy Tree is proud to shine the Customer Spotlight on

Gina Carter-Small and her home business All About You Designs.

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Gina's professional background consists of 33 years of Human Resources/personnel Management experience. customer-spotlight-gina-3

She retired from the Government in 2001 and has returned back to work three times because idle time just didn't seem to work for her.

If you're a Facebook fan, you may have seen some of her stunning creations of wreaths, swags and doorscapes for every season on her Facebook page - All About You Designs

Gina's Facebook page is very popular and updated frequently with new creations that she has designed and hand made for her friends and customers. She ships her wreaths all over the country.

One of the newest additions to her wreaths is custom made wooden monograms that are handcrafted by her husband.

Gina is married to her "best friend," Tony, who is a Firefighter of 22 years.

On his days off from the Fire Department, he handcrafts wooden monograms in many styles and sizes. All are hand painted with beautiful finishes.

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Tony has a Facebook page also, Engine 7 Monograms, and he accepts custom orders there. His business is growing rapidly and it's no surprise as the craftsmanship is outstanding.

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Gina has one son C. J., who has been married for five years to Soledad. Both of them work full time and go to customer-spotlight-gina-cjschool. C.J. will have his Masters and Soledad a degree in Nursing this December. Gina and Tony live on five acres just outside the city limits of Kentucky's State Capitol in Frankfort. Gina says it's more like "Green Acres"......but they like the calm and quiet country living sitting on the back porch in the evenings watching the wildlife.biggie-susie Tony and Gina are the proud "pet parents" of two Chihuahuas ....Biggy who is 2 1/2 year old and their new little 12-week old girl, Susie. We interviewed Gina to learn more about her wreath making and decorating business and here's what she had to say. How did you get into crafting? As a young girl, I was always at the heels of my Momma. She quilted, crocheted, made flower arrangements, macramé hangers, etc. and was an incredibly gifted decorator.customer-spotlight-gina-halloween As I grew into an adult, she and I did a lot of ceramics together. Little did I know how much I would cherish those times later in life. When I started housekeeping, I loved decorating my own home, making grapevine wreaths and fabric on the wire rings around the holidays. As for the wreaths, I have to give Jeannie (Pence) credit for introducing me to deco mesh on a roll and a work wreath. I was acquainted with her prior to ever making my first wreath and just thru general conversation she said, "let me send you a roll of this deco mesh and a work ring". And, well... you see what that conversation resulted in.. *grin*

Do you craft as a full time business, part time, or just for fun?

The hours spent in my shop, coupled with forms from my CPA, would indicate what I do as a "full-time business". gina-beachIf you ask me, it's "just for fun" :) It's my... something-to-do... until Tony retires from the Fire Department in four years. I get up early each morning and prepare for the day just as I always did when I was employed elsewhere. I don't do anything unless I go at it 110%, so it's usually a 8-10-12 hr day. In addition to the many long hours, I also have a large monetary investment in seasonal and holiday inventory in my shop that I know has to be moved... so that's another contributing factor that drives me.

What type of decorations do you make? Primary wreaths, centerpieces, swags….for holidays…etc.

All of the above... If you visit my on-line shop, you will see mostly wreaths. However, my passion is mostly along the line of home décor. I have 14 homes booked for Christmas this year and will be doing small scale from a mantel to large scale, a horse farm where I will be doing doorscape, two mantels and seven trees. customer-spotlight-gina-2

What is your favorite holiday to create decorations for and why?

Easy question... CHRISTMAS!!!! I love the smells of our hometown manufactured, Candleberry, candles... homemade breads, cookies and cakes during this holiday. christmas-wreath-gina-2 In my own home, I usually start decorating two weeks before Halloween. There is something Christmas in every single nook of our home. We have 11 trees up, each with their own name/theme. To me, there is nothing more cozy than a snowy evening/night, sitting in front of the fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate enjoying the lights shimmering on a Christmas tree. After all of the decorations are set, we love having our Christmas "Open House". Sharing our home and spending time with family and friends is the best part of the holidays

If you make collegiate wreaths, who is your favorite team?

Anyone that knows me can tell you that if I get a paper cut, I will bleed, University of Kentucky... GO CATS, Blue... lol UK is my Alma Mater. customer-spotlight-gina-kentucky We never miss a game and game day attire is always a UK t-shirt or sweatshirt... even if we're not leaving the house and watching the game on TV. Of course we support our other State schools as well.

What current project are you most proud of and why.

The project that fills me with the most pride is the Wreath Classes I offer. I have been instructing for the past nine months and can't begin to express what a fulfilling experience it is to meet such eager students. Many arrive, very skeptical, stating they have no creative/crafting ability whatsoever, then leave with a beautiful wreath, a sense of accomplishment and a smile on their face. In addition to the classes, several who came to the first class as strangers have now become friends. customer-spotlight-gina-class It warms my heart when I run across them in our small community, get a hug and they tell me they made a wreath all by themselves and they love decorating with the mesh, etc. I still get messages and phone calls all the time from my students asking questions and I love hearing from them.

What was your most challenging project and why.

I, honestly, can't pinpoint any one particular project as I consider each Custom order a challenge. I thrive on a challenge and, in part, I believe that's why I enjoy designing the wreaths so much because each custom order takes on a life of it's own.

Please give one tip on making wreaths that you could share with our readers.

Don't over-think your process. Being a Type A Personality, this is probably my biggest, personal, hurdle as I have to have everything just "so-so". But when I teach my classes, I tell my students if I have to give them autumn-wreath-ginaone word when they start dressing their wreaths, it is "RANDOM". It's kind of like going into Sherwin-Williams to pick out a paint color.. the longer you look at it, the more aggravated you become. This is why I tell people my wreaths are my mental therapy. If you ship your wreaths, please give a tip on shipping, packing, supplies etc. Use good quality boxes that are large enough to accommodate your products. I've had customers complain to me about wreaths they've received from other businesses because the items were "crammed" into the box, which compromises the integrity of the whole product. I dress the inside of my boxes with nice designer tissue because when my clients open them up, I want them to feel as though some thought and care has gone into packaging.

What advice would you have for a new crafter?

I would have many pieces of advice, but from my personal experience over the course of the last 13 months... I would say... "BE ORIGINAL". mocha-ginaI really enjoy Ralph Waldo Emerson and one of my favorite quotes is what I wrote in my son's card when he graduated from college, which was ".... Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail". Getting inspiration from others is wonderful, but use your own ideas and creativity .... don't be afraid to be different. After all, there is no right or wrong way to craft. I tell people that God has blessed me with a little bit of talent and a huge imagination. I greatly attribute what humble success I have within my business to thinking outside the box. Do your own thing... it will set your work apart from others.

Advice on organizing your craft supplies?

After many frustrating months, the light bulb finally came on... hands down... organize by holiday and season. I have a 1200 sf workshop and found myself, literally, climbing over top of ribbon, mesh, boxes, signs... just an absolute accident waiting to happen. Get large storage bins and pack your materials away at the end of each holiday and season. I use the clear ones. For Christmas, I have themed bins... Snowmen, Santas, Elves, etc. It will make your shop much more efficient.

Summary.

I would strongly encourage anyone who has a spark of interest in crafting, making wreaths, decorating for yourself or others to go for it. In my house growing up and with my own son, we never said, "I can't"... we always said, "I'll try". Give it a try.. you may find a passion within yourself you didn't even know existed. OR.. you may start with a roll of mesh and a work ring from a friend and end up as a successful business owner :) Thank you, Jeannie and Trendy Tree for showcasing my business. I wish everyone a safe and blessed holiday season!!

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*****

Gina's Facebook page is All About You Designs. Be sure to drop by and like her page so you can stay up with the latest creations coming from her Craft Cave)))

You can contact Gina through her Facebook page. And don't forget to visit her husband Tony's page, Engine 7 Monograms.

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