Making the Maker, an Interview with Terra Wood
It's Monday! And we have another wonderful handmade business owner to share with you today. Terra Wood has been one of our great business collaborators and friends since we rebooted Under A Tin Roof in November. We did our very first trade with her over Instagram, and I am so happy that we have continued to talk and collaborate with our businesses. Terra owns the small, handmade business Wild Creek Co, where she sells natural, wooden toys, teethers, and play mats. Terra lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas with her husband and two littles. Let's learn more about her and her business!
Kayla: Can you tell me more about yourself? What is your background? How did you become a maker?
Terra: I received a bachelor's degree from The University of Arkansas in both Finance and Accounting. I really didn't know myself well at that age, I just knew I was good at math. If I could go back, I wouldn't have even gone to school. I would have spent that time and money starting a business of my own or traveling. I grew up with a love of craft. My mother is a maker. Honestly, she can make just about anything. It was a wonderful experience to watch someone spend time mastering a craft and then moving on to another. She taught me how to do many things at a young age: draw, paint, crochet and sew.
Kayla: How did Wild Creek Co begin?
Terra: When I decided to stay home and raise our children, the first year was really hard for me. My little boy never slept, and he had a tongue tie so he nursed almost constantly for the first nine months until we had a surgery done to fix his tie. Once life calmed down a bit, I wanted to find something to do outside of motherhood. I never enjoyed Finance or Accounting so I knew it had to be something different. I made a few products to sell on consignment at a local shop, and I was in an Indie craft show, which was really helpful to see which products interested customers. If you're a maker, I really recommend getting your product in a local shop on consignment. It has allowed me to test products and see what sells best with little cost to me or the shop.
Kayla: Why do you make handmade?
Terra: I've always loved handmade. I really enjoy looking at something handmade and knowing that someone poured their time and love into it. Creating brings me fulfillment knowing that someone else will use a product I created with my own two hands.
Kayla: What inspires your products/business/designs?
Terra: Home design is something that has always inspired me. My husband has a design & build firm so we are always looking at the interiors and exteriors of houses. I have a very minimal aesthetic, and I want the goods I create for little babes to fit in well with it.
Kayla: What is your design process?
Terra: I have a three-month-old daughter, and right now I am constantly watching what she is drawn to. It's so sweet to watch a baby play. She really doesn't need much at all. With my first, I think I overwhelmed him by constantly putting loads of toys out for him. With [my daughter], I'll put out one rattle and one soft block, and she will happily play. I try to design toys that have multiple ways to play and grow well with babes. I know that handmade things cost more money because you are paying for the time it takes to make them. So, I really want my products to stand the test of time aesthetically. They need to be soothing to the eye (and the ear!).
Kayla: What is your typical day-to-day life like?
Terra: I think it's like most mamas who stay home and have businesses. Most days I'm just trying to keep my head above water. We spend [our] days out in the mornings, either running errands or at the park or library. I usually clean at nap time and then play in the afternoon. My eldest is an extreme extrovert and won't spend one minute alone so I'm usually playing with him when he's awake. I'm a night owl, though, and get most of my work done in the evening hours. We do have occasional days where I'll put on a show, and he'll sit with me while I work and get caught up.
Kayla: Do you have any regrets or have your made any mistakes when it comes to running a small business?
Terra: Definitely! When I first started, I bought a lot of supplies in bulk when I was trying to figure out what products I wanted to make. I still have boxes of things that I don't use at all! Now, when I have an idea I buy a small amount even if it costs more.
Kayla: What is the hardest part about running a small, handmade business?
Terra: The hardest part for me is finding a balance between my business and being present while my children are little. I mostly try to work on my business in the evening hours, which can be difficult if I've had a hard day or I'm tired. But, it's mostly great and the hard days are few. It's well worth it for me to have something fulfilling outside of motherhood.
Thank you so much, Terra, for the lovely insight into how you run your business! I really enjoyed reading over your answers (: If you would like to shop the gorgeous toys Terra makes (I have three, and we love them) click here. To read more about Terra, check out her website and follow her daily life on Instagram @wildcreekco!
If you think your small, handmade business would be a good fit for an interview on Under A Tin Roof, check out our contact page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org