Project Home DIY: Building a Creativity Business from her Garage
Project Home DIY makes it easy to get started with creative home decor projects. The subscription box service is like the HelloFresh of home decor - shipping a box with everything you need to build an intricate, creative home project. We spoke to founder Christine Glodt on how she built her business from her garage, the community of fans who have kept her going, and how she grew her business 5,000%!
Customer Stories is a feature where we interview eCommerce founders and ask: what's helped you grow so far? Read about how they got started and the tools they used to build the business.
Where did Project Home DIY all start?
Like all great startups and home projects, Project Home DIY began in Christine Glodt’s garage. While she was working as a schoolteacher, Christine set up a session to teach her local community a little about DIY Projects. The response was overwhelming.
“People really want to be creative, and make something with their hands,” Christine reveals. “But they just get stuck sometimes, and they get overwhelmed. I wanted to give them a little help.
“Some people get intimidated by all the options and craft supplies in big box stores like Hobby Lobby. Others are overwhelmed by the ideas they see on Etsy and Pinterest and don’t know where or how to start. I knew that something like Project Home DIY was going to solve a lot of problems.”
Today, Project Home DIY has grown from her garage to a fulfillment center in Denver, with thousands of boxes shipped out monthly. Christine personally sources and selects the project in each box.
The fulfillment team, hard at work. Via @ProjectHomeDIY on Instagram
“I work really hard with all our vendors to get high-quality projects. Everything our customers get was designed and hand-selected by me ahead of time. It’s stuff that I’ve made or created based on what we’ve seen.
“We have good stuff, and our customers know it.”
Her growth numbers tell the story. Since March 2020, Project Home DIY has seen a 50x growth in the number of subscriptions. And along with the growth has come new challenges, like how to keep the business growing at the same explosive pace.
Happy subscribers sharing their projects. Via Instagram
How did Project Home DIY keep growing?
We asked Christine what has helped the most in growing the Project Home DIY brand, and here are some of the key things that have helped.
Using Shopify for eCommerce
Project Home DIY began as a subscription service on CrateJoy, but what helped the business grow was the move to Shopify.
For 9 years, Christine and her husband worked on Mason Creations, a home decor business that also sold products on Etsy and elsewhere. They drew on that experience to start Project Home DIY two years ago on CrateJoy.
Starting a business on CrateJoy was easy, but limiting, recalls Christine. It was difficult to export customer data like emails, and there was limited customizability for website designs.
Moving to Shopify was a no-brainer. That let Christine build a more robust website, with fewer limitations on coding and customizations, and allowed her to be more creative with her website designs. Plus, Shopify let Christine sell past projects and boxes as one-off items. That helped to give Christine a strong base for growing the business.
A Great Community on Facebook
Christine also credits her wonderful community for keeping her -- and each other -- going.
“We had a VIP Facebook group when we started, and the group is still here today,” beams Christine with pride. “It’s a positive community of thousands of people.
“It’s a creative environment, where people are working on and making the same project together. It’s also been extremely uplifting - this community of mainly women, pulling together and sharing encouragement, especially through a difficult 2020.”
A happy subscriber sharing the project she made. Via Facebook.
Christine shared that on top of mutual encouragement, group members often posted pictures of their successful projects - especially if they put their personal spin on things. “Being creative is a natural instinct. People want to show off their projects.”
With such a tightly-knit community, tapping into word-of-mouth was a no-brainer. “Referrals are an important element to have in your business. Everybody likes to refer.”
Organic Growth through Word of Mouth
“Our business does especially well with referrals. Our customers like to share our projects with their friends, and guests to their houses will often ask them about the projects - ‘What’s that? Where’d you get that?’”
ReferralCandy was a no-brainer for Project Home DIY, to encourage customers to make more referrals and track their effectiveness. As traditional marketing has plummeted, finding the perfect channel for organic growth.
Christine was recently featured on the Donna Drake show on CBS. Via YouTube.
Where to Next?
As the business continues to grow, Christine faces new challenges every day. On top of continuing to seek out inspiration and logistics for new boxes, Christine and her team are always looking for upgrades to their tech stack.
For Christine, the thriving VIP community is proof that she’s done good work. The fact that past subscription boxes are being purchased is also a testament to the quality of the projects she curates.
For now, her goal is simply to keep going, and keep growing Project Home DIY.