This lady knows all about great beauty beginning from small dreams and failure. Erin Talley is a mama, wife, jewelry maker, small business co-owner of Wild Juniper, and overcomer. She is one of my favorite creatives. Her life balance and realism will inspire you to start your creative dream with what you have, right where you are.
Tell us about yourself & Wild Juniper.
Hey! I’m Erin. I’m kind of a mess, but that’s ok. I’m not sure how, but I married to the finest man ever, Justin. We have two spicy boys, Everett and Courtland, and a little girl on the way. (I’m completely giddy about this.)
We live right outside of Kansas City in a 108-year old house with crooked floors and questionable creatures in the basement. I love it. Mostly, I am in love with Jesus. He has my whole heart.
I have always LOVED making and creating.
I grew up starting many projects and messes. In high school I took every art class possible and cared more about color palettes, design and style than the important things like math and science. After college, I taught 3rd grade for a while.
Wild Juniper was the dream I never knew and always had in me.
Wild Juniper is a line of everyday chic accessories. We dream of encouraging every girl to be their own beautiful. Our hope is that ladies, of every age, will be able to wear our designs effortlessly to enhance their everyday selves. Racheal and I are the owners/creators. I make the jewelry, and Racheal makes the hair pieces.
We recently moved into a cute little studio in the historic district of our town and added some awesome makers to help us with production & shipping.
How did Wild Juniper get started?
Coffee began Wild Juniper! Racheal and I had always hoped to start up a little business. With lots of creative sessions and dreaming over coffee we decided to move forward. In 2011, we both started sewing baby items for a fall craft show in our town. We spent a good two months prepping for our show, which ended up being a catastrophic flop. Out of that failure, the little seed that was Wild Juniper kept growing online — and eventually in stores — into what it is today.
What’s it like collaborating with another creative every day?
I can’t think of a bigger blessing than working with someone that you also get the privilege of doing life with as a friend. We agree, disagree and collaborate every single day. It builds and challenges me as a business owner, and, in turn, refines my personal character.
Did you have a vision for what you wanted your business to be when you started?
No, we weren’t sure exactly where we were headed. Racheal and I both knew we were passionate about setting our own course as entrepreneurs. As we each a settled into our own interests as designers, the vision of WJ took shape.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Every day is different. Right now I work from the studio 3 days a week and have my kids the other days. I fill in on evenings and weekends when I can. There are always lots of emails to answer; items to make; and orders to go out daily.
I tried to choose hope for the day and trust that these pieces would become a bigger part of God’s story for my life.
Each day I try to make a list of everything I think I can realistically get done in that time. The biggest struggle I face in running a business is taking care of the tasks of the day versus investing energy in Wild Juniper’s future. For example, do I use today to contact potential retailers or work on designing a new piece for our upcoming collection?
How do you balance running a business with being a wife and mom of 2 (soon to be 3)?
I have learned that balance doesn’t exist. Once I allow my crazy-perfection seeking brain to accept this, it looks a lot like me just being me in whichever arena that I find myself in at that particular moment (be it mom, business owner, etc). I have learned to give my best and let grace fill in the rest.
You’ve faced some personal hardships over the years, 3 miscarriages. How did you keep going in your personal and professional life?
I think experiencing any sort of hardship or pain can disable a person to the core. When we experienced our first miscarriage, it rocked my world. I feel like I had to dig down deep and discover who was still in there. My faith grew to be much more solid as I started to move forward. I tried to choose hope for the day and trust that these pieces would become a bigger part of God’s story for my life.
What has starting a business taught you about taking risks and being brave?
Everything. By default I’m an insecure person. When we started, I made Racheal make so many calls and lead our interactions with contracted buyers. As we have moved forward I sometimes jump (or have been pushed) into opportunities to grow my courage. I’m learning that bravery is gained by choosing to fight for it one step at a time.
I have learned to give my best and let grace fill in the rest.
What inspires you as a creative?
I try to spend a lot of time filling my “creative tank.” Lots of wandering, collecting, sifting and discovering slowly help me develop my own ideas. I genuinely believe everyone was created to be creative. It is just a muscle that has to be used and trained over and over and over again. To strengthen my “muscle” means making time to immerse myself in the creativity of others.
What would you tell someone who wants to start their own business or follow their creative dreams?
Do it. Be ready to fight for it. It is so much work and not all cupcakes and unicorns. Be ready to fail — a whole lot — but understand this is part of the process of realizing your dream. Get a community of people around you who support your dream and will be willing to speak truth and love into your vision.
Give your best. Let grace fill in the rest. Tweet This
This giveaway has ended.
GIVEAWAY! I’m teaming up with Wild Juniper to give away some beautiful products to 2 readers.
1 reader will receive this GRAY TASSEL NECKLACE and 1 reader will receive a HEAD TURBAN of their choice from Wild Juniper’s shop.
To enter, leave a comment below about which product you’d love to win (or share your creative dream) AND check the box to subscribe to my blog.
If you are a current subscriber, just comment.
Official rules: The giveaway begins Thursday, October 15 at 4 a.m. CST and ends Thursday, October 29 at 1 p.m., CST. Entrants must be 18 years or older. By entering, you are agreeing to receive email from www.creativeandfree.com. Winners will be selected at random. They will be notified by email Friday, October 30 at midnight CST and must respond within 24 hours.
This is the final post in the Great Things Start Small Series.