Meet Kelly Mindell, Founder of Studio DIY

Kelly Mindell created Studio DIY in 2011 but she's been a life-long crafter, and became an entrepreneur in 10th grade! Visiting Kelly's site and Instagram puts a smile on our face every. single. time. It's clear that she is enthusiastic and passionate about her work, and we love that in her world, there is no such thing as too much color. We are so grateful that we got a chance to pick Kelly's creative brain about her incredibly successful brand.

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You've accomplished so much in the past six years since starting Studio DIY! When was the moment that you knew you had tapped into something big?

Studio DIY slowly and steadily grew from the start after launching in November of 2011, but Halloween of 2013 was a turning point for me. Before then, I'd been working with sponsors, had a couple posts that had gone viral on Pinterest and was pretty happy with where the blog was headed, but it wasn't until my now infamous DIY Pineapple Costume went live that I really understood what an impact I could make.

At the time, there wasn't much out there in terms of DIY halloween costumes for women who wanted to wear a costume to work, school or out trick-or-treating with their kids. Everything was either over the top or barely there. I wanted to fill that void and the pineapple costume was a last minute idea that we threw together and shot just a few days before Halloween. Once it went live, I was shocked at the response. It was the first time that people recreated one of my projects en-mass and I was getting tagged left and right from people of all ages, and from all over the country (and world). It solidified us as one of the go-to sources for Halloween and to this day I still have many readers that tell me "I first found you because of your pineapple costume!" 

Finding balance and the time to recharge can be a very difficult thing as an entrepreneur, and now that you have your incredibly adorable little one, how do you accomplish this?

This is an ongoing process for us that we're still in the thick of figuring out. Right now, I wake our son Arlo up every morning and spend the morning with him before work, and then I handle his bedtime routine every night. It's the only time where I always turn everything else off and just be a mom. My husband and I each then have set "work" days and the other watches Arlo, but since we both are self-employed we have to keep things flexible and it's constantly changing! That really makes me value the time in the mornings and evenings that I get uninterrupted to be a mom.

As far as recharging, I don't get a ton of "me" time, but I have really learned to value my rides to and from work alone. I'm an introvert and am constantly needed at home and at work, so those few moments in the car with just me mean a lot now!

You have so many amazing DIYs. Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut and what do you do? If not, where do you find this continuous inspiration?

Creative ruts are inevitable when you're creating new content almost daily.  I find creative ideas come in waves, sometimes I have more than I can create and sometimes I've got nothing! I keep an ongoing list in my phone of every idea that pops into my head, big or small. If I run into a creative roadblock, I pull up that list and see if any them spark something. 

If that doesn't work, I like to get out of the house or studio and go explore a craft store or the fabric district here in LA. Being on the internet is great, but you have to know what you're looking for there. Just heading out to a store allows you to see supplies or color palettes you never would have searched for.

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

In 2014, I hit a breaking point. I was juggling too many things and not doing any of them as well as they could be done. I knew I needed help but didn't know what that should look like. After a lot of trial and error, I've learned that there are two areas that are most important to focus on when outsourcing: the areas you are not good at and the ones that take up the most of your time.

For me, answering emails was something I was terrible at. I'm not organized and emails give me a lot of anxiety. So my first employee started by just sorting emails for me, then eventually responding as I got more comfortable with her and her knowledge of the brand. Now, I have a fulltime Operations Manager who answers 90% of our emails. It's been a huge weight off my back.

As far as what takes up the most of my time, that's the making of the project. As a textbook control freak and perfectionist, that wasn't an easy thing to give up, but I realized that if I was going to be running a company and be the face in front of the camera, I couldn't also spend hours fringing a piƱata or inflating balloons. I started focusing on the high-level creation of the concepts and brought on others to help execute them. Time is money! 

What 3 books would you recommend every entrepreneur should read?

With a new baby, new house and rapidly growing business, I don't get nearly as much time to read as I'd like! I do however listen to a lot of podcasts on my way to work. My favorites for entrepreneurs are the DAIS podcast and NPR's How I Built This. They provide great nuggets of advice and a plethora of inspiration for working hard to get to where you want to be. I'll get back to you on the books once I work on that work life balance thing, ha!

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We are over the rainbow that Kelly will be joining our 'Social Selling On Demand' panel to discuss the concepts, benefits, and strategies of social selling. Join the conversation by clicking the button below!

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