We like to mix it up at aftcra, so we wanted to introduce you to this talented woodworker who creates funky, fun and stylish jewelry organizers. We love the variety of products that TheWoodenCorner creates and how she makes organizing fresh and funky while showcasing your jewelry instead of hiding it. So, let’s meet Lauren D’Amato of TheWoodenCorner, aftcra’s featured artisan for September, and learn about what inspired her to create her work, what steps she took to build TheWoodenCorner, and how she learned her craft.
1. Tell us about yourself and your company, TheWoodenCorner
I’m Lauren D’Amato. My shop’s name is TheWoodenCorner and I make wooden jewelry organizers. I’ve been working with TheWoodenCorner for one year.
I graduated from college with a degree in Engineering and am now working full time as an Application Developer at a pharmaceutical company. I’ve always enjoyed DIY projects around the house, and my sister wanted me to help her build an organizer for her jewelry. We built one and loved it, and I thought to myself, everyone should have one of these! It also doesn’t hurt that my father was a carpenter and I watched him build things around the house all the time when I was growing up. The rest is pretty much history.
2. What is your workspace like?
I’ve turned the detached garage next to my house into a woodshop. This is where the frames are built. I also have a room downstairs that I’ve coined “Shipping & Receiving”. This is where all the staining, hardware installation and packaging is done.
3. How did you come up with the name “TheWoodenCorner”?
I wanted to incorporate the rustic wooden feel my jewelry organizers give, so I definitely thought I needed to include the word “wood” somewhere in the name of the shop. TheWoodenCorner feels homespun and cozy at the same time.
I’d like to expand my product line to other types of wooden organizers in the future. This is why I named my shop TheWoodenCorner, it is expandable to different types of wood products. One product in particular I am working on is a kitchen/foyer organizer. It will have cork for pinning important notes, hooks for keys and a space to hold mail.
4. What steps do you take to create your work?
1. Cut the wood to right size for the frame.
2. Assemble the frames using Kreg Joints (these are very sturdy joints)
3. Sand, Sand, Sand! (for that smooth flawless finish)
4. Stain & Finish
5. Assemble hardware
6. Quality Check
7. Package it up!
5. Where do you derive the inspiration for your work?
I’ve been working a “9-5” job for the last seven years. While I enjoy my day job, my dream is to run my own business and for it to be profitable enough to live off of. I absolutely love being outside; being kept inside the office behind a desk five days a week hinders my creative side. I am also inspired by the positive feedback I receive after someone receives a product from my shop. I put a lot of time into creating and designing each piece so there is definitely some personal satisfaction knowing my time and creativity is appreciated.
6. As a small business owner, what is one piece of advice you would share with other small business owners?
Figure out how much it costs to make each of your items (materials, packaging, labor, website fees, etc.) so you know how to price your items. You don’t want to underpay yourself and you also don’t want to overcharge the customer. Finding a the right price is easy once you know all your costs before marketing your product.
7. What is a quote that you personally live by, or you have shared with others for inspiration?
Three Words: “Belief, Persistence & Enthusiasm”
8. What does “handmade” and “handcrafted” mean to you?
To me handmade and handcrafted are one in the same. It means you start with a design that you dreamed up. You then acquire the necessary tools and materials you need to build your design. Most, if not all, of the assembly should be done by hand. There is no machine manufacturing the same product over and over again. As a result, each and every handmade/handcrafted item is bound to be unique and authentic.
9. Why did you choose to join aftcra, and what do you enjoy about the community?
I chose aftcra after researching new places to sell my handmade products online. I enjoy the fact that everything is made in the USA, it’s hard to find products that are made in the USA these days. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of small businesses fail due to the onset of large stores like Home Depot, Target, Walmart etc. aftcra, in a way, is bringing small business back to the United States.
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