Oh happy day! Another Friday is underway, which means we’re another week closer to meeting our next little guy. Six more weeks to go before baby #2 is here!! EEK.
But enough about the baby, we are SO SO SO excited to introduce you to our local friends over at PIP (Projects in Person) right here in the Twin Cities.
Oh gosh, how did we meet? We were following one another yep- you guessed it- Instagram. Then one of our mutual friends told us we must meet, and after I invited myself over to her studio, I can’t get enough. This chick is one badass boss lady. And we can’t wait to share more about the beautiful Jill and her hubby, the husband and wife team behind Projects in Person. They have been such an inspiration to us, and we know you guys will fall in love with them too. So let’s get to it!
Hey guys! So, so happy to have you on c2s today. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself? Your background, who you are, what you do…
I own a DIY workshop on Mainstreet in Hopkins, Minnesota where I’m from, and I love! My customers register to create a project and attend the workshop where we supply everything they’ll need to go home with a beautiful home decor piece made by them. I am currently wearing all of the hats for the business: designing, marketing, material prep, and teacher, but my amazing husband Jason lends a hand quite frequently. When I’m not breathing, dreaming, and sleeping PIP, I can be found adventuring with our two almost 2-year-old twin girls!
All while being a mama and wifey! You are a rockstar!! I am one big fan of downtown Hopkins too. I always forget how adorable that main street is and now I’m pumped to have another reason to make my way over there. What led you to pursue PIP?
It’s funny when you’re able to look back and see all of the steps and events that led you to do what you do. Is is because my family has been in the hardware business for three generations? Did it stem from drawing fully decorated homes during class in 3rd grade? Did it start with a gift when I was 16 to redecorate my room…by myself…and removed wallpaper…by myself? Maybe it’s because I married an extremely handy hunk of a guy who with confidence can tackle any repair that led me to use my hands more often.
The largest influence has been my teaching career. I love watching other people learn, create, and connect in new ways. Every workshop is like teaching a lesson, then giving a quiz that all of the customers ace!
That’s so cool. So you left your teaching career to jump right in and start up your own teaching business. Now that takes courage!
PIP, Projects in Person. Love, love that name. Names are always so hard. How did you come up with it?
At first, I called my DIY projects at home, PIP for Pinterest in person. Obviously, I couldn’t use the social platform in my business name and replaced it with projects to summarize exactly what we do, projects, in person!
Oh my word, haha, I love it! I didn’t know that. So cool. Tell us more about PIP. If someone is looking to do a DIY project…costs, hours, projects, etc.
Currently, I’m offering about two public workshops a week where one could register on their own or with a small group of friends. The projects range from a $45 framed wood sign to a $175 skinny console table, but the average workshop costs about $65.
And the coolest part is the projects don’t look like a Pinterest fail. I’ve seen all of your parties and the things everyone creates are incredible. But I guess you are the teacher! Do you do private parties?
Yes, we offer private events for groups of 10 or more, such as birthdays, bachelor/ette, or just because! We’re just starting to crack into the corporate events world which is a great team builder…eh? Builder 😉
Haha! YES! SWEET! I am shouting that out to the world. What a great idea. Your projects amaze me. You’re always coming up with the simplest yet stylish pieces that really make a statement. Where do you find your inspiration?
Wow, thank you! Honestly, I’ve always been more of a collage kind of girl than a design from scratch girI. I take pieces of projects already out there in the world and meld them together until I think I’ve created a versatile piece that would appeal to a variety of customers.
I typically apply this criteria to my projects:
– Can the project be customized/personalized by style or size?
– Does it have multiple purposes?
– Will the style last as the trends change?
Once I’ve answered those questions, my teacher mindset really helps in deciphering what projects could or couldn’t be replicated successfully by a group of 20 people that often have little experience with tools.
Gosh, you are so good. What if someone just wants to buy your products and not DIY…because seriously…so cute! Do you sell your projects?
Haha, thank you! Right now I’m focusing on the experience side of the business although I do get asked that frequently. I’m no dummy, anyone can buy similar products off of Etsy or at a local home goods store, but what I’m selling is the experience in addition to a beautiful product.
I love that. Sometimes as business owners it can be easy to see a bright light and get side tracked from what the overall purpose of your business. Even though, at times, I’d rather just buy…for example…your cutting board (haha!) I love that you’re sticking to the experience and your values. What if someone has a project they want to make but needs a helping hand? Do you do stuff like that? Private consultations?
We actually JUST opened up an option to do a custom project for a group. For a design fee, we will bring a project to life for a group to recreate during a private event.
Sweet! What is your favorite tool you can’t live without?
What’s your favorite brand to work with- for our DIY’ers?
Depends on the store, depends on the tool. Right now, I’m trying to purchase as many tools through my local Hance Ace Hardware just down the block from my shop. At Ace, I turn to Craftsman!
What would you tell your 22-year-old self?
Ooooooh I love this! At 22, I was entering the teaching field at the bottom of the totem pole, not knowing that meant quite a bit of moving around. Almost every year entailed a new grade, a new subject, and always new students. I wish I could go back and tell myself that each year will bring new opportunities, ones that will shape my career and understanding of people at many ages. I always thought I would teach one grade for 20 years like the teachers I had growing up, but moving around taught me how to be flexible and stay on my toes for the next opportunity.
Couldn’t agree more! And now as business owners doesn’t it seem like each day brings new opportunities and experiences?! What advice would you give to someone that is just starting or wanting to start their own business?
1. Meet with other entrepreneurs. – Entrepreneurs are their own breed of crazy and driven. Find a local business you admire and start there (not a family member or friend that loves and supports you already!). Ask specific questions about setting up a business, what they wish they would have done differently, and pitch your idea to get feedback. Then, LISTEN.
2. Study your competition. – Truly defines what’s going to make YOU different from your competitors.
3. Discuss with your family. – My decision didn’t just impact my career; it also affected the time I spend with my family and our personal finances. What will your new roles be, how will you be flexible as a family, what are you and aren’t you willing to give up?
Amen! I love that! Couldn’t agree more, especially with that last bullet. We heard on a podcast, if your significant other isn’t on board, take all the time you had been pursuing that “thing” and focus it on getting your partner on board. That is just so important, whether it’s big or small.
Physically – At PIP, at a hardware store, playing with my girls, or scheming how to escape to the lake up north!
YA! YA! Thank you so much, Jill, for hanging with us at c2s and giving your time to our readers and us. We truly value your knowledge, energy, and entrepreneurial spirit. You have been such an inspiration, and I’m so excited to see where you take your business. You’re already doing such incredible things I have no doubt you’re going to rock the DIY space and continue to give so many the confidence to tackle any project. And…I’m most excited about our new friendship! So much in store, I can’t wait to get to know you more.