I’m a “surprise baby,” born 18 years after my next-oldest sibling. I also consider myself a “Disney baby,” as my mom worked on Main-Street Disneyland and my dad served as Disneyland’s resident glassblower.
My husband Kevin and I got together in high school (yay San Clemente High!), despite his being a surfer dude and my being more of a “happy sand dweller.” In our 22 years as a couple, we’ve moved all over the western United States in search of adventure, living periodically in Utah, Colorado, Arizona and California. Today we live in Fallbrook, California, with our four children. Fallbrook’s year-round mild climate makes it the ideal spot for growing avocados—and for working long days in our outdoor wood shop.
Through the years of moving and growing our family, Kevin and I were forever in search of creative ways to decorate on a budget. I’ve been known to frequent thrift shops and scour the neighborhood’s curbs on trash day. I’ve always had a creative gene in me, but it was with the onset of Pinterest that my passion exploded. In 2013, my friends and I started a Pinterest-based craft group. Our first meeting was attended by 10 friends. The next month’s event hosted 15 more. By the third event, it was clear this may be the beginning of something bigger. I decided on a name (Olivewood designs), enlisted a friend to help design our logo, and the rest is history!
Olivewood designs got its start with hand-carved wood hearts, but our inventory includes a range of decorative wood sculpture, including hand-lettered wood signage. We sell most of our goods online through our website, which we restock every other Friday. Four times each year we sell at Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market in Scottsdale and Los Angeles. People travel from all over country to shop the Olivewood booth—some of them standing in line for hours to get first pick. I’m proud to say I’ve witnessed women ditching their high heels in order to run to our booth.
“Dreams don’t work unless you do.”
— John C. Maxwell
Kevin and I lovingly refer to our customers as “The Olivewood Tribe.” Many of them have gotten to know us through our social media posts and feel like friends by the time they meet us in person. We love seeing their friendly faces and sharing hugs, stories, smiles, laughs and even tears. It’s because of their loyalty and support that Kevin was able to leave his corporate job and join Olivewood full time. It was a scary decision to make, but we don’t regret it for a second. It’s been magical having my husband home to help me raise these humans we created together.
I live for our market appearances. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut if you’re only creating and shipping but never putting faces and conversations to your clientele. I love visiting boutiques in big cities and small beach towns. They are filled with colors and words and designs that truly inspire me.
When we are at home, our three teenage daughters and 8-year-old son pitch in every day with the family business. Whether we’re painting signs or packing orders, it’s a fullon family affair. Our favorite thing to do when we’re not working is hitting the slopes with our snowboards.
My biggest challenge as a full-time creative is finding time to shut it all down. They say the more creative you are the more creative you get, but I also need to occasionally walk away to spend time with my husband and kids. Recently we went on a 1,500-mile road trip from San Diego to Portland, Oregon. Those are the kind of adventures that fuel my soul.
My biggest accomplishment as a full-time creative has been the recognition from my top girl-crush, Joanna Gaines. Joanna saw one of my posts on Instagram and contacted me to say she thought my work was lovely and my family beautiful. She invited us to visit her Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas, and you can bet I had plane tickets booked the next day! We flew out with a bag full of our creations and partied down at the Gaines’ first “Silobration.” It was a trip we will never forget. I love seeing women like Joanna achieve their destiny. Another huge accomplishment in my career is being featured in magazines such as this one. I’m in awe of all of this. In my heart I still feel like just a girl with a big dream and a big heart.
“I love inspiring women who are brave and who make a living at what they are passionate about.”
— Julia Wood
P.S. I Love This!
Hands-down my favorite item in my studio is this 48-inch “mega heart” my husband and I built together using reclaimed barn wood we collected in our travels. It’s a reminder that beautiful things can be created from a junk pile.