Stephanie Skok is one busy lady. She has been a nurse for 12 years and is passionate about working with the elderly. Stephanie is currently employed as an Assistant Director of Nursing at a long-term care facility.
When she is away from her full-time job, you will usually find her busy designing and creating custom wreaths and wooden door hangers at Charmed South. Stephanie has been making wreaths for only 2 years, and turns out some mighty fine-looking products!
She will be quick to tell you that she isn’t the only creative person in her family and that many other family members play a part at Charmed South.
“Charmed South is a family business. My husband Brian, draws up all of my wood designs, and hand cuts them. My mom hand sands and paints the designs on the wood. I make the bows for the door hangers, seal and ship the hangers, and take care of ALL social media and order taking. We are proud to be able to use our family’s creativeness at Charmed South. My husband is also a full-time restaurant manager, and mom is a retired school teacher. We all have a “crafty” side.”
Even her 8-year-old Daughter, Presley chips in by helping to paint door hangers and boxing up completed wreaths for shipment to her many customers.
I sent Stephanie a few questions and asked for some photos of her work.
Upon going home to MS one weekend to watch a Mississippi State Football game, I stumbled across a wreath maker in front of a store that we visited after the game. I was intrigued by these wreaths that I had never seen before. I stared for minutes trying to figure out the material and how she put all the things into this wreath. After a few minutes of starring, I finally asked the lady what kind of product it was, and she said it was a Deco Mesh product. What in the world is Deco Mesh, I thought? I bought the MSU wreath (just had to add one more thing to my MSU fan collection ;) ). During the 4.5 hr drive home, I studied the wreath and Googled Deco Mesh in an attempt to figure out how such a creative and inspiring product was made into this wreath. I had made floral wreaths for years for my family, and saw the opportunity to use Deco Mesh to branch out and possibly create a business. Like most crafters, I decided that I could also make a product like this. I quickly realized that Deco Mesh is harder to work with then anticipated when you are a beginner. It took several months, tons of practice, tons of attempts to get the technique down to an art, and to make a product that I was proud to show off to the public. I created Charmed South in Dec 2011, and the rest is history. The wreath making business was very slow at first, and after many months of putting out new designs, things finally took off. Charmed South will celebrate its 2 year Birthday this December!!
I love the challenge that deco mesh brings. I am a full-time nurse, and making wreaths creates a channel for the stress level of nursing. I often say that if you don’t have a challenge in life, then find something that inspires you, set a goal, and go for the moon! I absolutely love the relationship that I build with customers over the products that they purchase. Several of my customers have become my personal friends over the years. I have inspired several customers to branch out, and they have started creating their own wreaths. In summary, I enjoy the stress relief outlet, and the relationships that come through creating a Deco Mesh wreath.
I am inspired by other crafters in this business. I’m delighted to call several of them, friends. I love seeing new products, new designs, and new color combos. I am inspired most by my customers. The customers bring creative and fun challenges on the custom orders, which inspire me to promote my business, create new products, and design new wreaths!
My husband and I love to travel on special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, etc to short stay places around state of TN. We love to travel back home to MS to visit with our family. We take a yearly vacation (fly somewhere) usually in the summer for an extended vacation. We love the beach and nature. My husband is a hopeless romantic, so we often travel to botanical gardens, and romantic destinations. Our favorite places to visit are California and Savannah, GA. While on vacation, we hit up all kid friendly activities. We also love to food taste, so we hit up all the top recommended restaurants. We love to site see, and like to tour the cities we travel to.
My advice to all wreath makers is to utilize the tool of water marking your photos. Use one design concept (‘Branding”) throughout your etsy, Facebook, and logo designs to brand your business and product. Paid advertising sometimes works, but be cautious on which entity you choose to advertise with. If you are on a limited budget, utilize your money flow wisely and with the biggest bang for the buck when you are advertising. Social Media is an excellent tool to reach out to potential customers. Utilize a good packaging product and shipping company.
There a tons of people in this business. You need endurance to last. If you aren’t in it for the long haul, creating a wreath business may not be beneficial for you. There will probably be months when you have sales, and other months when you don’t.