“Things just seem to keep working, so we are enjoying the journey.” When a small business can say this, they know they’re doing something right. Whitney of Grace Graffiti humbly shares the rise of her incredible business with us, and let’s just say she’s doing something very, very right. Grace Graffiti specializes in beautiful, high-quality wooden products made from scratch for weddings, events, your home — you name it. It began as an “experiment” between a sweet husband and wife team, but quickly grew into something wonderful right before their eyes. So, how did they do it? By staying inspired, working hard, not sweating the small stuff, and most of all, loving what they do (and each other). It has truly been a pleasure working with Whitney at several of our events, most recently the third NYC NotWedding, and we can’t wait to work with her again this year at our Dallas and Charleston events.
“Whitney is the sweetest and such a joy to be around. Her pieces are so unique and fun and added so much to the event. She is always trying to add something new to her inventory and you can see how much she loves what she does!”
The NYC NotWedding Team
Tell us a little bit about the inception of Grace Graffiti.
Let’s just say this started as a grass roots experiment between a husband and wife that love working with their hands and being creative. When we first started, I don’t think either of us imagined it would ever last this long. It’s hard to say when the inception was because I’m not sure we really had a game plan. We just started working out of our kitchen, made a few items, started an Etsy shop. Then we guilted our friends and family into buying enough products that we had to expand operations into the backyard. Now, five years later, we have our own studio in Historic Downtown Brunswick and ship worldwide. Things just seem to keep working, so we are enjoying the journey.
What is the best part of your job?
I absolutely love having creative freedom in designing and developing new products. It is very rewarding to see your ideas become a reality! I also love being able to give back to my community. We still have a lot of growing to do, but so far we have been very fortunate as a small business and so many people have helped us along the way. I love finding ways that our success can lead to others’ success too. Check out #gggivesback on Instagram!
Who or what inspires you?
My family is very active and we spend a lot of time outdoors. We are lucky enough to live at the beach and have beautiful weather year round, so we regularly run, paddle board, and kayak. We also have a big family, so we are constantly on the move. I think it is in the balance between chaos and calm that I am inspired most. So many of our products are used in big life events, like weddings. When I think about all that a person faces in their life — the hard times and the good times — I just want our items to be something that brings a calm and helps people remember the moments of their lives that matter most.
What advice would you give to aspiring small business owners?
In a broad sense, I would say don’t sweat the small stuff. You indefinitely make mistakes. Lord knows we have. But you can learn from them and use them to make you better. In a more specific sense, I would quote Abby Larson, Founder of Style Me Pretty, “Know what you do and do it really well. Don’t try to be everyone. Don’t try to be everything. Simply know what you do and kick ass doing it.” I have to constantly remind myself too that I am good at what I do and there is no room for comparison. Accounting has never been my favorite, so I hired a local firm that was well recommended. It has saved me so much headache when it comes to taxes and closing out the end of the year. You should never be afraid to ask for help where you need it. It will only make you more productive.
What is your favorite part of The NotWedding experience?
To date, Grace Graffiti has been a part of The NotWedding in Atlanta, Savannah and New York and we will be participating in Charleston and Dallas in 2015. The events are so fun because they each have their own personality. We always come home challenged to step out of our everyday routines and try new designs. It’s like throwing a party at your house — one of the reasons I love to host parties and entertain at our house is because it makes me get my act together. When I know guests are coming, I look at things from a different perspective. Chandeliers get dusted, walls might get painted, furniture gets rearranged. In the end, the party makes me reevaluate my environment. The NotWedding is very much like this. It awakens me to ideas and possibilities that I would not have otherwise dreamed of. With each event I have participated in, I have been able to create and design new products, new ways to market existing products, and tidy up my virtual storefront to prep it for new customers!