Prairie Wife of the Week January 16, 2015 #giveaway

Posted January 16, 2015 by Prairie Wife - 74 comments

Here at PrairieWifeInHeels.com we are all about Target and Amazon.com but, we also believe strongly in supporting our local businesses and small town entrepreneurs! Michell, owner of Girl In Air, a super charming home decor and DIY supply store, was the perfect pick for our Prairie Wife of the Week for a multitude of reasons. A woman, wife, mother, business owner, blogger, artist/crafter/DIY, and teacher…you name it Michell does it! Her desire to teach others to create for themselves, as well as her willingness to donate her work to help others in her community make her an example for us all. When I met with Michell I was impressed with her talent and ability to multitask. She whipped out an awesome custom sign as we chatted away, without missing a beat. I appreciated her honesty about her struggles as a business owner, as well as the advice she gave me from her experiences as a blogger. I can’t wait to see your comments after you read her story!

giveaway small

Michell has offered our readers an amazing chance to win a custom made piece of art, created by her! This USA painting is made of Cedar plank wood and the size is 24×36. Stop by the end of the interview to enter to win. All you HAVE to do is comment but you can earn more entries by following PrairieWifeInHeels.com and Girl In Air on Social Media. Please be honest, we will be checking!

GIA shoe pic

Prairie Wife (PW): First tell us a little bit about your family.

Girl In Air (GIA): I grew up in Houston and moved to Cody, Wyoming when I was 19. For some people that might have been a drastic change but, I loved everything about it! I got married and had two daughters. After my divorce I moved to Laramie to attend the University of Wyoming. My plans changed and I ended up becoming a flight attendant for United Airlines. I met my current husband in 2008 and moved to Casper to be with him. My son was born when I was 40. He has been such a blessing to me, and I just love spending time with him. Having grown daughters I know how quickly the time goes and I find myself really appreciating that with him.

PW: Currently you own a store called Girl in Air here in Wyoming. On top of this you have a blog and online store, and are a woman, wife and mother. We’ll be talking about all that in a minute but first, tell us how you began creating your own home décor and crafting?

GIA Bird CageGIA: It actually started during my pregnancy with my son. I had some complications and was forced to quit my job as a flight attendant and stay home. I began to crochet to ease the boredom. I would post my work on FaceBook to share with family and friends and soon people on FB were asking how I made things. I love to teach others, so it seemed natural to me to begin doing DIY tutorials. This was before Pinterest really became big so, I started my blog as a way to give others an easy way to access my tutorials. At this same time we built a house and as I was decorating it and creating the space I shared that with my readers as well. Watching me go through the process of decorating a house (and my son’s room) people really became involved, much more than I ever expected. Everything just kind of took off from there!

PW: From perusing your store and blog I can see that you work with wood, metal, stone, jewelry, AND crochet…is there anything you won’t try?! What are your favorite types of projects?

GIA: I’m willing to try everything and anything. I’ve found that whatever I try seems to always turn out OK, and even better than expected! I think that through the years I’ve learned that if you are willing to put the effort and time into creating something, or trying something new, it will always work out.

I love when my customers bring me things from Pinterest they have seen, or pictures from magazines and catalogs, and ask me to create it for them. I love a challenge! It’s really amazing how many videos and tutorials are out there to offer you help. Just Google stenciling on wood on YouTube and you’ll have thousands of options. Another passion of mine is using my craft to help local charities. It’s been an unexpected part of starting my Girl In Air store.

PW: Tell me about your blog and online store.

Girl In AirGIA: As I said before, my Girl In Air blog is tutorials and inspirational pictures (stop by my Pinterest page to see it all) for my readers and customers. I love sharing my creativity with the world, and inspiring people to do the same. Fairly soon after I began blogging I started to be featured on other blogs, and various businesses and magazines approached me to share my work. This was a great motivator for me because it prompted me to go bigger and try new things. While I don’t blog nearly as often now that I have a store I still really enjoy sharing what I’m doing with my readers. Instagram (@girlinair) has been a great way to do this without all of the writing (I am not a fan of writing lol). I also enjoy the interaction with people that a blog and social media provides; it’s so fun when readers share with me their successes!

The online store is not only my personal creations but also tools for crafters. So in a way it really just reflects what I blog about…my projects and the tools I use to make them.

PW: What led you to start your own business, what are the pros and cons?

chalk paintGIA: In truth I really had no idea what I was getting into when I opened Girl In Air, I was naïve! I was doing the blog and online store, being featured in various magazines and even doing monthly tutorials for our local News Channel. It occurred to me that rather than simply have my things sold online and doing “virtual tutorials” I should open a store and have everything in one place. That way people could see and touch my work, and I could do workshops and be right there to offer support. Another motivator for me was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I love her products and really wanted to share them with my customers but, you have to have a store to sell them.

I had no idea how much time and energy owning your own business would take. I didn’t realize how much it would take to create a store full of products (all hand crafted by me) in time to open…and then keep things coming! And I am the first to admit that I am hopeless with the accounting and numbers side of things. Years into it and I am still working out the balance. I’m learning how to price my work and be comfortable asking for money in person, rather than online. I know that sounds weird but, I am so focused on the creating part it’s a struggle for me to think about all the other areas of owning a business like this. But, I am learning each day. Like I said before, all you have to do is dive in and be ready to work, and everything will turn out!

PW: You mentioned before how much you enjoy working with local charities. What exactly do you do?

giving roomGIA: I just created what I call The Giving Room in my store. People bring in any old items they think I can use like windows, furniture, barn wood etc. It is priced and placed into the room. The profit from anything that sells from that room goes to 12 local charities (each charity has a designated month). If possible I try and create something with what people have brought, like painting it or making a window into a picture frame. Many of my customers are DIY and are coming in for tools and supplies so they stop in and see something and become inspired and purchase it to turn into a custom piece for themselves. I also have volunteers that will come in to work on the pieces and then put them back into The Giving Room to sell. In the future I would like to hold a workshop to show customers how to use a certain technique, and have them decorate the items that will then be placed back into The Giving Room. Then they go home knowing how to create something new but having helped their community as well!

PW: As a mother with a young son how do you keep your balance between work, family, and friends?

GIA: I’ll let you know when I have that figured out!

PW: What tips do you have for those of us that see the lovely items in your store and the projects on Pinterest and want to give it a go?

GIA: Just go for it! The worst that happens is that you end up repainting something. Do your research and watch the videos and tutorials before you start to work on the projects. Stop by some of the stores in your town, like Girl In Air, and see if they offer workshops. Even if they don’t, the people that work there usually can help you get started, and answer many of your questions.

PW: You’ve recently begun teaching workshops through your store, what gave you the idea to do this?

storeGIA: It was one of my hopes for having a store, that it would offer me an opportunity to teach face to face rather than just through my blog. Throughout the year I travel around the US to learn how to use various products and new techniques. It’s something that I really enjoy doing. I decided to offer classes to show what I’ve learned through workshops I’ve attended, or just my experience. It’s been hard to find hours that work for both my customers and I, but I’m working on it! My workshops aren’t about bringing a bottle of wine and chatting with your girlfriends (though those are fun). My workshops come more from a place of education, and showing you how to create with new techniques and materials.

PW: Where would you like to see yourself in five years?

GIA: I would like to see my business continuing to grow with more opportunities to hire employees to do all the stuff I hate. Then I can just create, sell and teach workshops…all the stuff I LOVE! I would like to be able to work more on the blog and continue to have the opportunity to teach people all over the world how to do what I do. I hope that I can continue to keep my son a priority, even though having my own business has allowed me to spend more time with him than a “regular job”, it’s just never enough!

PW: Any last Prairie Wife words of wisdom?

GIA: “She thought she could, so she did!”

If you’re ever in town make sure you stop by Girl In Air 134 E Midwest Ave, Casper WY (307)337-3926

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74 thoughts on "Prairie Wife of the Week January 16, 2015 #giveaway"

  1. Lizzi says:

    I love all things DIY and am so thrilled to knownthatbuou have a store! I’m slightly afraid to come in cause I know I will be instantly addicted! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      You won’t walk away empty handed!

  2. Jil says:

    This comes at a perfect time, I was just doing research this week on a couple of pieces of furniture I want to re-do and I have determined chalk paint is what I want, this in turn led me to Girl In Air, I had decided I need to visit this store, now seeing this interview I believe it is fate that I very much need to go visit!! 🙂

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Make sure you stop back and share with us how it goes!

  3. Sally Ann Shurmur says:

    Love, love, love that she has Wyoming stuff for sale locally. Love it!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I know! And her Wyoming home decor is amazing, she has rugged and masculine pieces, rustic country art featuring the bucking horse AND great little feminine touches that feature our Wyo logo too 🙂

  4. Rebecca W says:

    Love Love Girl In Air! Michell is so nice and extremely helpful! So glad she was featured on your blog.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I am thrilled she was able to spare the time to chat with us!

  5. Lorena Davis says:

    One of my FAVORITE shops in Casper!

  6. Sandy says:

    Trying to work up the courage to paint my kitchen cabinets. I love the way Michell’s turned out!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Cabinet painting can be intimidating, but the difference it makes is well worth the effort! Let us know how it goes 🙂

  7. Mary says:

    Very Cool!

  8. Christie says:

    Love Girl In Air! That is probably one of the shops I miss the most since moving to Gillette 🙁 Michell is amazing and a constant inspiration. ..she’s pinterest come to life!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I agree lol “Pinterest come to life” is the perfect way to say it!

  9. Katie says:

    Love Girl In Air! She is an inspiration!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I could spend hours on her Pinterest page!

  10. Patty Thompson says:

    I keep thinking I want to do something with the silhouettes. GIA has given me a lot of encouragement on new projects.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Ohh that sounds great!

  11. Maria says:

    ive been wanting to do chalk memo boards around the house. Chore boards, inspirational and more!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      There are SO many great ways to be organized AND stylish!

  12. Tracey C says:

    Have really enjoyed watching you progress from doing DIY home crafting and decorating projects, to starting a brick and mortar business. You truly are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your journey…and for sharing Rains with all of your followers!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thanks for stopping by Tracey, hope we see more of you!

  13. kristy says:

    Love this girl! She’s amazing!!

  14. Sherrie says:

    I have been following Michell for a long time now, and would love to try the wall texture and do ocean waves and beach.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Her home decor and accent walls are amazing!

  15. Megan says:

    Oh my goodness! Michele has such a great store full of fun ideas and supplies! I think I totally need to get the Silhouette! Oh, maybe make the carpet dinosaur wall art

  16. Hannah says:

    I LOVE GIRL IN AIR!!!

  17. Sara R says:

    I’m hoping to take down a lot of the photos/posters in my house and make my own creations to hang! (:

  18. Whitney says:

    I adore Michelle! She is always willing to help get you everything you need for and talk you through the hard parts of a project. I have come to her many times for help.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      She is SO willing to share what she knows with others!

  19. Karen says:

    I’m excited to check out this store next time I’m in Casper!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      You will love it 🙂

  20. Kayla W says:

    So glad you featured such an awesome lady 🙂

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thanks for stopping by!

  21. Sarah Larsen says:

    I love the giving room and how generous Michelle is, our community is lucky to have her!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Isn’t it a wonderful idea?!

  22. Courtney Copley says:

    I want to try turning a mirror into a framed chalkboard.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      That’s a great one!

  23. Amanda Carpenter says:

    I want to try to make a large sign like the one’s she does that are wall size 🙂

  24. Victoria West says:

    I was into DIY stuff for awhile but got out of it for one reason or another- maybe one day I will find a DIY project I wanna do but in the meantime I crochet! 😉

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      She has great crochet projects on her blog and Pinterest Boards too!

  25. Cyndi Evans says:

    Wonderful interview and GIA is a great place to get your craft on, your hobby fix, your house transformed and some really one of a kind gifts! Love this store and I really appreciate the help they give and their line of products.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      It makes it so much easier when you have a friendly expert you can talk too!

  26. Sara Rieker says:

    Great interview! I love GIA and the amazing products she makes and sells!

  27. I’d love to make a plank painting like the USA one but maybe with the states we have lived in!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      That’s a wonderful idea!

  28. Ricki Duke says:

    Love GIA! Have followed her blog for a long time. Great tuts and insperations all around.

    1. Ricki Duke says:

      I want to also try the chalk board paints. I don’t yet know what I want to turn into a chalk board still deciding.

      1. Prairie Wife says:

        There are so many projects you can do!

  29. Kayla H says:

    I’ve wanted one of her maps for a long time! I love all of her crafts!!

  30. Jordan says:

    I haven’t been in since you switched locations but when you were in the sunrise shopping center I always went in on my lunch break. I love it!! I will definitely need to come check it out again.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I know you’ll love what you see!

  31. I have thought about doing a map for my 2nd son. He loves history and studying maps so this would be a great win. Thank you for the opportunity.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      What a great idea, and your welcome!

  32. melissa says:

    I love Girl In Air!

  33. Jennifer says:

    What I love about Michelle is that she is always willing to stop what she is doing and talk me thru my project! I love stopping in and seeing what new things she has. Wonderful interview and an amazing lady!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Her stores is inspirational!

  34. Shannon F says:

    My daughter has an old dresser in her bedroom that I’ve been meaning to makeover. It was a garage sale find and SO ugly. I had intentions sand it and paint it white but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. lol I also really want to build more shelves for my bedroom. I’m a DIY person. lol

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      With the chalk paint you won’t have to sand!

  35. College BFF says:

    I’ll have to check her place out next time I’m in Casper!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I know you’ll find some great stuff!

  36. Sarah Fehringer says:

    I love following Girl in Air on Facebook! Such inspiring projects!

  37. Jordan says:

    I think all the wood projects are beautiful I would love to test one out

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