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Crafting Creativity: An Interview with Katie May, Founder of DIY Craft Warehouse

Crafting Creativity: An Interview with Katie May, Founder of DIY Craft Warehouse

Welcome to DIY Craft Warehouse, a space where creativity meets practicality. Today, we're thrilled to have with us co-founder, Katie May, sharing with us her journey and insights into the craft industry. Let's dive in!

Q: Can you share with us your journey into starting a craft supply company? What inspired you to enter this specific industry?

A: Absolutely! My time at University of Mount Union, playing college volleyball, was fantastic. I pursued a degree in early childhood education and reading intervention, which I adored, but I soon realized my heart was truly in being creative and adult learning. Crafting during college wasn't just a hobby; it helped pay for books. And with my mom's success at Wholesale Supplies Plus (a soap and candle supply company), stepping into the craft supply realm felt like a natural transition. We decided to focus on materials for sublimation, heat transfer vinyl, beads, and other trendy products. The best part of my job? It's definitely interacting with our customers, knowing that we're helping them make a profit or save money, especially during tough economic times.

Q: How do you decide which products to include in your inventory, and what's your process for sourcing materials? 

A: We are quite selective in our process. We partner with trusted suppliers who have a reputation for quality and have their finger on the pulse of mainstream retail movements. I personally test the products, and honestly, about 40% don't make the cut. If a trend doesn't seem lasting or if I wouldn't use it myself, it's a no-go. Then there's pricing – we aim for affordability, which leads to rejecting 15% of items if the cost doesn't align with our goals. Once we find the perfect match in product and price, we welcome it to our collection.

Q: In what ways do you engage with your customer base to understand their needs and preferences? 

A: Our customers are our compass. We actively engage with them through chat and face-to-face interactions. We've found that our best-sellers often come from their suggestions. They're at the heart of our business, and their feedback is invaluable. 

Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business in the craft or retail industry?

A:  Passion is key. Embrace what you love, and don't rush the process of perfecting your craft. It can be frustrating but so worth it in the long run.  There's nothing quite like the joy of giving or selling a handmade item. The fulfillment you get when someone appreciates your creation is unmatched. 

Q: What are your future plans for the company? Are there any exciting developments or expansions on the horizon?

A: The office is full of excitement! A lot of effort is going into content creation and enhancing our website experience. We have such a wide variety of products, we want to show our customers all of the cool things they can make, especially on a budget.  We have some new product lines queued up for the coming year. Stay tuned! 

Q: What is your favorite type of craft to make?

A: My go-to has to be anything involving heat transfer vinyl and sublimation. Whether it's designing t-shirts, customizing cell phone cases, personalizing tumblers, or crafting coasters, it's in my wheelhouse.  I could stay up all night making those products. I love it that much.

Q:  Outside of work, what do you like to do?

A:  I'm a huge fan of all Cleveland, Ohio sports - whether it's football, basketball, or baseball, I'm either watching the game or there in person. During the fall, I coach high school volleyball at my old school, which is a lot of fun. In the winter, I coach a club volleyball team, helping high-level high school athletes develop skills they need to potentially play in college. My parents always emphasized the importance of giving back to the community, a lesson I've taken to heart as an adult. I volunteer in support of autism, a cause close to me because my sister has severe autism.

Thank you for giving us a peek into your world of craft supplies. Your passion is inspiring, and we can't wait to see what creative ventures you pursue next!