We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle Strauss and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danielle, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
I have worked in a few different industries prior to owning my own business. I feel like the skills and lessons learned in those jobs have helped me becoming a successful business owner. The most important lessons is trust. You have to trust yourself in the decisions you making and be confident. You also have to trust your employees and they need to trust you. If your staff can trust your process, decisions and that you always have their back, they will have yours in return. Having staff that love your business, brand and what they do will make or break a customer experience. I couldn’t love the staff that I have more, they are always a breathe of fresh air every time they come to work.
What should our readers know about your business?
We purchased our business in November 2019. We had an amazing winter season and then…..COVID shut our doors. We had to shut our business for public workshops almost 4 months. Once we were able to reopen we were only allowed to open at 1/2 capacity. Dealing with trying to pay for rent, utilities and other expenses after owning a new business was a scary place to be in. We had to get creative with how to still make money. Our model of how we did business had to pivot, we had the help of our franchise but we had to choose what made the most sense for us. We actually offered curbside pickup for Teacher Appreciation boxes, Easter boxes and we turned into a yard games factory- me, my mom, daughter and husband all reported to the studio daily to make corn hole, yard jenga, yard dice and other games. That is what paid our bills and kept our business open. During the past two years I worked another full-time job while owning this business. I’ve had to learn how to juggle my time with family, friends, work and owning a business. It wasn’t always easy, however it was all worth it.
This past December I took the leap to be my own full-time boss. I left the corporate world after 21 years. I’ve always dreamed of being my own boss, if you have that dream, believe in it. Work on yourself, your mindset and believe, hire a business coach who matches your vision. Someone who will scale and grow with you.
We are part of Board & Brush and own our studio in Eau Claire, WI. We are your place to build on-trend, farmhouse-classic, inspirational pieces of décor for your home, office or cottage. Our studio offers a vintage, timeless look with accents of black and weathered wood to help cultivate your inner DIY design skills. And each hands-on wood sign workshop teaches you the techniques needed to create a custom piece that looks professionally made. I love helping people who don’t think they are creative or artsy create something for their own that they are proud to display. For busy people who don’t have time or would prefer to purchase something we also do orders that can be shipped anywhere. We also offer the ability to connect people across they country by hosting a virtual workshop, we provide all the supplies to each guest and then we zoom together for a fun crafting time. This is great for teams who are located in different offices, friends who don’t live near each other or families who just want to spend time crafting.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Eau Claire has so many great opportunities all year long. Summer is my favorite season so if you love to hit wineries or breweries they have you covered. We also love to visit Foster Fireside for pizza all year long. You can also hit local berry farms when the season is open or the farmers market at many locations in town.
Our family loves to utilize the beauty of our area and hit up Lake Holcombe for some fun in the sun.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to thank my family! First my husband, Jeremiah and my daughter, Danica deserve a shoutout. My business wouldn’t be successful without their help. We truly are a family owned and run business. My husband does all the wood prep and building for our business so without his help I wouldn’t be able to grow like I have. My daughter also helps with some of the wood prep in our business once she is older she’ll be able to work as an assistant as well. Without the work ethic that my parents taught me I wouldn’t be the type of person I am today.
I grew up on a dairy farm, which taught me how to work hard. While others were “bored” all summer long; my summers were filled with fond memories of planting a garden with my grandma & grandpa, playing with all the new babies on the farm, catching butterflies in the hayfield and letting them go when it was time to go home. We also worked hard doing chores, cultivating corn, baling hay in the hottest months of the summer, but we knew what it meant to do a job that would benefit everyone in the long run. I also grew up in 4-H and FFA; both of those organizations taught me the meaning of leadership, and teamwork.