Elizabeth’s style is clean and elegant when it comes to her beautiful wreaths. She is a Canadian who married to a Scottish soldier & a mother of two! Her husband is currently serving as a Major with the Royal Engineers in the British Army. They are currently located just outside of Swindon in England.
When did you start your business & what made you decide this career path? I am currently a stay-at-home mom, taking a break from my ‘day job’ as an elementary school teacher. I started my business in December 2020 after teaching myself how to make wreaths to give as gifts to family members for Christmas. I loved making them and thought they were super cute, so at the last minute I signed up to an outdoor Christmas market to see if anyone else out there liked them too! I ended up selling three and I was over the moon. I kept at it and the business was born!
As a professional working in education, I always suffered from imposter syndrome, never feeing good enough or confident enough at my job, despite absolutely loving the act of teaching and learning. Wreath making however, has been a different story. I have never felt more happy with or confident in the work I am producing. I love the process of creating something beautiful and turning a customer’s vision into a tangible object. Making this a successful, full time job is currently the dream!
Where have you lived and what has been your favorite base so far? My husband and I have been dotted around England for the majority of his Army career (ten houses in ten years!) but our favourite posting by far is undoubtedly the four years we spent in Paderborn, Germany. Learning (some of!) a new language was tricky but fun and by the time we left, we could definitely hold our own when out at the shops or in a restaurant! The Germans love to celebrate abs party and there was always something festival or another on. There was never a dull moment during our time in Germany and I will always have a soft spot for Weiss beer and leberkaese (think American hot dog, in a rectangular shape!)
What is the biggest challenge of being a military spouse and pursuing your career? As a teacher, the greatest and most obvious challenge is having to continually find new work and accept that moving up the ‘career ladder’ is practically impossible. Just when you make a name for yourself in a school, you have to leave and start fresh somewhere else. I have actually been told that I didn’t get a teaching job purely because I was moving the next summer. I think it’s this nomadic element to army life which leads so many spouses down the road of making or entrepreneurship.
What are your other hobbies? I think if you were to ask my husband this, he would say watching reality TV and drinking red wine! Which, to be fair, are two of my guilty pleasures! I am a self-proclaimed Real Housewives junkie and I like nothing more than getting cosy on the couch after a long day with a glass of vino and some trashy tv! I also love shopping – window shopping suits me just fine! I really missed being able to just pop in to a shop for a look around during lockdown. I also like to keep fit and am usually out running when I get the chance, or squeezing in a workout video while my kids have quiet time.
What are some benefits of being a military spouse as a business owner? While some may focus on the disadvantages of being a military spouse, I honestly feel so lucky to be one, especially now that I am in this position of small business owner. As soon as I started up my Little Village Wreaths social media account on Instagram, I was asked to take part in a ‘giveaway’, in which all the makers taking part were military spouses. I immediately became connected to fourteen other likeminded women in positions exactly like mine. I remember thinking to myself, ‘How lucky am I to have been invited into this group of supportive and encouraging women, who don’t even know me, all because of the fact that I am married to a soldier?’ It is pretty cool and I feel super appreciative to have this military spouse community around me.
If you could, what advice would you give yourself when you first started your business? This is a hard question for me to answer because I am still not even a year in! I am learning lessons all the time but I feel like I still don’t have very much hindsight. I suppose the only thing that comes to mind is… ‘Don’t undersell yourself’. This is still a challenge for me and I think it will continue to be for a while yet. Sometimes I work for hours and literally earn nothing. I feel that, because I am so focused on growing my customer base right now, that once I have a solid following I can focus a bit more on how I’m going to make a profit!
Any future plans or dreams for your business? The ultimate dream is definitely to make Little Village Wreaths a full time gig. At the moment, having two small children at home, I usually work sporadically on weekends and in the evening after the kids’ bedtime. Next school year with my eldest off to his first year of school, I plan to put my daughter into nursery for a couple mornings and really get stuck in to working on my brand and creating as many wreaths as possible. I’d like to streamline my wreaths as well: find a few designs that are well-received and create multiple wreaths which I can put on my website to sell. I feel like time is the key to my business growing, and I currently have very little spare!