Barn Owl Primitives: Tips to Grow Your Creative Business

I started this blog in February 2010.
And in the beginning, I remember spending way too much time on Etsy looking to discover my favorite new designer–one that maybe, just maybe would be willing to sponsor a giveaway on my site. That’s when I met Kristi of Barn Owl Primitives.

Kristi, Creator and Designer of Barn Owl Primitives

I knew I had to contact her after I found myself hearting nearly every item in her shop. At first, she was hesitant about sponsoring a giveaway AND product review.
She had never done one before.
I pretended to be an expert and assured her that I would use every ounce of my effort to promote her amazing brand and product, because I believed in her shop.
She agreed,
sent me my first BOP sign,
I loved it so much I kissed it,
and from that moment on Kristi and I became friends for life.


Real friendship means you want to see the other succeed. You root for them.
You get giddy when you see them making a difference.

We’ve never met.
And I can tell you, that even if we never meet, she is the kind of friend I would hop on a plane and fly all the way across the country if she needed me.  She is that awesome, and real and special to me.

Today I not only believe in her shop,
I believe in HER.

She has taught me many important lessons as I have worked to grow my own online business, and today she is guest posting to share some of those tips with you. AND, be sure to keep reading for a never before seen look inside her studio.





















Be Creative
by Kristi Quill

people often ask me where i get my ideas.  how i come up with my designs.
and the truth is i’m inspired. everyday.
i’m inspired by things i see, all around me.  and I’m inspired by things  that i do.
i’m even inspired by things i see everyday in my own home.

this piece of art, which was created by my daughters preschool class and hangs in my studio was the color inspiration for my summer fun piece.
i normally do not use that much color in one piece, but I was inspired and it reminded me of all the the fun summer activities that we love so much, the activities i listed on my sign.

i’m inspired by things i find on pinterest .
and it is ok to go and make your own version of art inspired by what you might find.  (please note, i did not say copy it.)
As an artist, it’s very important to know the difference between a copy and an inspiration.

cop·y [kop-ee] –noun
1. an imitation,
reproduction, or transcript of an original

in·spi·ra·tion [in-spuh-rey-shuhn]
1. an inspiring or animating action or influence: I
cannot write poetry without inspiration.
2. something inspired, as an idea.

And as an artist, it’s most important to embrace creativity.

cre·a·tiv·i·ty[krēāˈtivitē] – noun
1.  The use of the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work.

so go and create something new.  something different.  something as special as you are.
we are all capable of so much more than we think.  you must believe in yourself and your ability.
and the more you believe in yourself,
the more people will see your genuineness and your originality
and the more people will want to own what you create.
be real.
be courageous.
be creative.
be awesome!

And here are some tips to help grow your creative business:

Create Your Brand

It is very important that you create a brand for your shop or company.  and it’s even more important that you reinforce that brand consistently in all your touch points with your customers. Ask yourself: What are my touch points? Your business cards, thank you notes, labels, note cards, logo, facebook, avatar, blog buttons, shop banner, etc.  You need to develop a message and  make sure that no matter where people see “You”, they know it’s you. Don’t use one logo in your etsy shop, another on your facebook page, another as your blog button and another on all your printed material unless they look very similar and people will recognize them as your brand.

And you don’t need to spend a lot of money, I promise.  I purchase all my printed material from Vista Print.
They have these cute little owls as a standard design on their site.  Perfect!!

Since they often offer free products, I didn’t want to make a big investment in having to custom order all my printed material.  Instead, I contacted a talented graphic designer, Tracy of Tracy Ann Digital Art , shared these products with her and asked her to design all my digital art for me!  She used my printed products as her inspiration, and she created all these fabulous, fun and consistent art pieces for me. 

So, as you can see, I have options and different things to use in different locations, but there is no mistaking that it’s the barn owl primitives brand.

And I feel like I need to share the inspiration behind the upside down owl.   I asked Tracy to incorporate that because I’m often crazy.  and barely hanging on. but mostly, I like to have fun!  and be different.  it’s important to be different too!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Barn Owl Primitives LARGEST giveaway yet!
Like, take how large you’re imagining and double it…it’s a BIG one, literally!

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  • Reply
    Salena Lee @ A Little Piece of Me
    August 30, 2011 at 5:04 am

    Being a new blogger inspired by you, Ashley, this is helpful information. 🙂 I’m still learning and am having so much fun doing it! 🙂

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 5:20 am

    XO. ANI

  • Reply
    Marsa McCool-Solis of Ourazfamily
    August 30, 2011 at 5:26 am

    I loved all the info thanks so much for sharing! Its amazing how many people you can meet through the web that become such good friends. As the wife of a disabled for life veteran, I appreciate that so much! It helps me keep in touch with those we are no longer near and we’ve made so many close friendships.

    Thanks again for sharing, this post was very helpful! <3

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 5:28 am

    Great story! Full of wonderful ideas. I have been going crazy over Owl’s the past year. They are too cute!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 5:31 am

    LOVE BOP and first found Kristi’s shop thru you, Ashley. I even won a giveaway here on LMM and am still SO IN LOVE with my family rules sign. I get compliments EVERY TIME someone new comes over.

    Thanks so much for the tips Kristi!!!

  • Reply
    Amy E
    August 30, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Very inspired!! You are so talented and creative!!

  • Reply
    Annie D.
    August 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Wow! I think this is the post I’ve been waiting for… I feel inspired!! Thank you so much, Ashley and Kristi, for your words of wisdom 🙂 I {heart} both of you talented ladies and I cannot wait for the giveaway tomorrow!! Eek!!!

  • Reply
    Heather @SimplyCottageLove
    August 30, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I just love Barn Owl Primitives! I am inspired in art and life by those signs! Thanks for a sneak peek into your studio and all the great tips!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I adore Kristi and her work. She has set a precedence for me and my little shop 🙂

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I have a sign on order and can’t WAIT until I get it!!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Thank you so much for these tips and inspiration. I am slowly growing my bussiness and love any help or advice I can get. Kristi, your work is amazing and I find myself daily just browsing around your shop and oohing and ahhing.

  • Reply
    ashley LEMIEUX
    August 30, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    i love this post. and I love how you too became friends, both new to everything…and now you’re huge!!! Kristi is just as sweet as you say…she donates money from each sale to the scholarship fund. It makes me so happy when successful people give back. xoxox

  • Reply
    Maureen Polderman
    August 30, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Yay for Barn Owl Primitives and Yay for LMM!! You girlies just inspire me every day, and make me happy =) Thank you so much for the insight into growing a creative business…it can feel so overwhelming at times! I appreciate the wisdom shared and that it is so tangible for a starter-upper to implement!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    I loved this post by both of you gals. This is great material and advice for us bloggers and shop owners that have been stuck. A Humongous THANK YOU for continuously sharing your great tips. I’m so happy for both of your continued successes, well deserved:-) Now I need to get back on here to sign up for that giveaway, I’ve been wanting one of these for over a year. LOL

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing. Everytime I read this blog I receive more hope in myself. Even though you don’t know me, I know you’re rooting for me because you put up these awesome tips to help ME out and help ME grow my business. So thank you for the hope and rooting for me : )

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Love this post! Coming from the shine project!

  • Reply
    Michelle Parrott
    August 30, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    what a GREAT post!!! how neat 🙂 and it does give anyone out there that is trying to ‘start out’ hope that it can REALLY happen 🙂

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    I love her signs so much! I want one for our wedding next August that says something about us/the day!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    I love everything she has!!!! So cute, thank you for this post!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Always a daily reader, but saying hello from The Shine Project today!!

  • Reply
    kathy h
    August 30, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Great post!

    On another note… Ashli.. I love your little white dress(?) in the picture above. May I ask where you purchased it? Also, have you ever considered modeling? YOu are so pretty and photogenic!!

  • Reply
    What Sadie Did
    August 30, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Great words form Barn Owl Primitives, it’s always useful to hear how a successful designer works!

    Sadie x
    Blog: http://whatsadiedid.blogspot.com/
    Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/people/ShhBySadie?ref=si_pr

  • Reply
    Kristen Duke Photography
    August 31, 2011 at 4:00 am

    FUN peek into your studio! Great tips, too!

  • Reply
    August 31, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Wow. Yall make me wanna leave work – go home- and cre8 something….like now!!
    This post was better than five cups of coffee, a jelly donought, and AC/DC Back in Black – sorry had to throw that one it there cause this songs gets me moving esp. during SEC football season…

  • Reply
    August 31, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    These signs are amazing. I love your work, Kristi. Thanks for featuring them Ashley!

  • Reply
    August 31, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    wow! this is amazing! i’m just starting up my new etsy shoppe and i’m right where you were when you made this great friendship i’m looking for guest spots and sponsors everywhere and i agree there are some amazing people out there so beautiful and generous! And you’re one of them!! thanks for showing and telling about your craft and creativity i love all things colorful and fun and this is nothing shy of perfection! love love! will check in later for the huge giveaway!

  • Reply
    Zsa Zsa
    September 1, 2011 at 2:41 am

    Awesome story, Ashley. You and Kristi are an inspiration to all mommies — we love your business ideas and we love how you help make motherhood such a pleasure! 🙂

  • Reply
    Barn Owl Primitives 'Be Real' Giveaway - - Little Miss Momma
    June 12, 2012 at 5:27 am

    […] exciting and a privilege to witness her success over the past couple years. Kristi even wrote a guest post for us a little while back with some tips about how she grew her handmade business. In fact, […]

  • Reply
    signs California
    September 17, 2012 at 2:36 am

    Thank you for this amazing post. I had a great time reading your material. I am so happy for you both. May your friendship still bloom to its best. These tips just really inspired me to do and give my all in everything that I work for. Thank you so much for this.

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