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Conversations with Lori Ray

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lori Ray.

Hi Lori, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
In April of 2019, I was working full-time selling cars. That month, I had knee surgery. Nothing serious, just a torn meniscus. After knee surgery, I did a whole lotta nothin! During this time, I started watching YouTube videos of designers making wreaths. After about the third video, I thought to myself, “Hey! I can do that!” So I started. I went to Hobby Lobby and bought all kinds of supplies not really even knowing for sure what I would need.

Admittedly, in the beginning, my wreaths were just ok. I look back on April 2019 and had I not had knee surgery, there is no way I’d be doing what I’m doing today. While working full-time, I didn’t really have time to just “sit around” and watch YouTube videos. In retrospect, what I thought was a huge pain in the neck turned out to be an enormous blessing. God really does put you where he wants you.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I would say one of the biggest challenges in my business is trying to figure out what people will like. One doesn’t want to buy say, a lot of ribbons or signs only to find out customers aren’t interested in those things. When a wreath doesn’t sell for a while, I see that as money not coming in. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen too often. I would say 90% of them sell within 90 days at most.

Another is income. My busy season is August through December. It is pretty much non-stop wreath-making during those months. However, the other months are not as busy. Managing money wisely is important. It is definitely a balancing act because I want to continue to design to keep my name out there but I do not want to run up my credit card either. This goes back to my first statement in the first paragraph. Wreaths not selling = no money coming in = do I purchase on credit to buy more supplies? Get it?

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Creatively, what I am best at is color, symmetry and balance. I’ve always been pretty good at deciding what goes with what and what colors look good with each other. Another thing creatively I have is a fairly quick sense of humor. Many of my wreaths have some REALLY cute signs that make people giggle. I love it when someone sees one of my wreaths, reads the sign and laughs. I REALLY love that!

One thing I am most proud of is about a year ago, one of my friends who also has her own business told me, “everyone knows you as the “wreath lady.” I gasped and said, “whaaaat? Are you serious?” She said to me, “oh yes Lori, you ARE!” Another thing that I love is when customers say, “Oh my gosh! This is so much prettier in person” (speaking about their newly purchased item.) I know they’re happy when they say that.

One of the things that sets me apart is my customer service. I make it a practice to under promise and over deliver so I am never late with a project. If a customer sends me a picture and asks if I can do something, if I think I cannot or hesitate in whether or not I can pull it off, I will always be honest. The last thing I would want to do is take someone’s money and have them be disappointed.

What’s next?
Future plans… Ahhhhh, so many but the biggest personal plan is for my husband to retire in a little over three years. Our plan is to purchase a mountain house in Pennsylvania and spend the hot and humid North Carolina summers there. We would mosey back down here in the winter and rent out our house there during the snowy ski season.

Professionally, my plan is to just keep creating pretty things for all my sweet customers and keep them giggling.

Pricing:

  • Wreaths range in price from $75.00-$120.00
  • Centerpieces range from $100-$165.00
  • Mailbox swags from $100.00
  • Teardrops from $100.00

Contact Info:

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1 Comment

  1. Mitzi Mills

    July 28, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    Lori is an amazing wreath maker and has taught me many things in the last couple of years.I am very thankful to her tips and tricks as a crafter.
    Congratulations!! Lori.

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