Kristin is a mom of 3 boys. She and her husband live in Wisconsin, in the troll capital of the world! Read about how her entrepreneurial spirit has created beautiful treasures for people since she was in college.
Q: Why did you become an Entrepreneur?
A: My entrepreneurial journey started when I was learned calligraphy and took freelancing jobs addressing wedding envelopes for extra money during college. After college, I became a middle school teacher and have been doing that for 23 years now. But, you know what they say, teachers don’t teach for the money, so to help pay bills, I launched Hill Valley Workshop. Even that isn’t all about money though, because I love creating things that make people happy.
Q: Tell us about your business.
A: Hill Valley Workshop is where I create totally one-of-a-kind decor items. I hand-letter signs, make pieces using hand-painted Sola wood flowers, and refinish furniture. Every once in a while I also dabble in photography and offer workshops.
I started this business ten years ago, though at that time it was called Monkey Shines Design. Four years ago we were building a new house at the top of a hill with majestic views of the Blue Mounds State Park and a beautiful valley below. Since I wanted to change the name and also our family’s favorite movie is Back to the Future, Hill Valley just made sense!
Q: What is your personal mission, or your big why?
A: I want to create personal, meaningful pieces that make people happy whenever they see them. Whether it is a gift from a treasured person, marks a milestone, or maybe reminds them of their story, I love helping people make their home personalized and special.
Q: How do you integrate work and home?
A: It’s so much easier now that my boys are older. I’ve worked super hard to teach my kids to cook, clean, do laundry, and advocate for themselves. After all, I’m trying to raise adults…not children who look like adults! Even though they pretty much take care of themselves, we regroup at dinner when their work schedules allow. And, when we’re really lucky we take hikes together.
My husband is a huge help in my ability to integrate work and life. He is truly my teammate and picks up slack when I’m busy, like during Christmas season, or at the beginning of the school year. I could never juggle it all without him.
Q: What has been your biggest lesson to date as a business owner?
A: YOU ARE WORTHY. I undersold myself for so long, and only recently priced my pieces to reflect the time and work I put in. I used to be anxious to price anything too high, but I’ve come to realize that my time, and my skills have value.
Q: Do you have any wisdom to share with your fellow mompreneurs?
A: Give yourself grace! If dinner has to be a frozen pizza; if the cat got lost in the pile of laundry; if juggling your everything is exhausting; just b-r-e-a-t-h-e and let go. All of it will resolve in time. Stretching yourself so thin so you’re at your breaking point is doing nobody any good.