We’re pleased to shine a light on KRAFTiBEE this week, owned by Stephanie Caruthers who just recently PCS’d to Panama City, FL from Guam. Having attended one of her private parties for an FRG event, I can personally vouch for the amazing quality of home decor you’ll walk away with. The best part is – you need zero creative genes to produce a beautiful piece of artwork to hang on your wall. Stephanie’s system is dialed to a tee. She does all the “heavy lifting” so that you can quite literally have all the fun without any stress or mess.
From a spouse night out to a fun birthday party for your kids, her private parties are personally tailored to your needs!
Name: Stephanie Caruthers
Hometown: Houston, TX
Current Duty Station: Panama City, FL (Recently PCS’d from Guam)
Q: Tell us about your business.
KRAFTiBEE is a dynamic, custom wood sign business that creates one-of-a-kind and personalized wood signs. Signs can be purchased as special orders or created during one of our private (customer-hosted) parties. Customers can host at their home and invite friends, family, co-workers, etc. to paint together. In March of 2018, I started my KRAFTiBEE business out of my love for crafting and the necessity for a creative outlet for all those on Guam. Since then I have added new tools and techniques to keep up with the latest trends as well as adding a laser cutter to increase the diversity of the products I offer.
Q: What made you choose this type of business?
I have always loved crafting and creating so designing wood signs and custom home decor just seemed to fit. From there I researched, did A LOT of trial and error as well as joined crafting communities for likeminded crafters to continue to learn and be inspired.
Q: What motivated you to start your business?
As a spouse, it can sometimes be difficult to take your career with you and start over every few years. Prior to moving back to Guam for a second tour, we were stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, where I worked as an English teacher. I taught Japanese residents English as a second language for the three years we were stationed there. I’ve had such a diverse resume and I always struggled to re-establish myself in the workforce every time we moved. I have always worked and had jobs, but nothing I was truly passionate about. We were stationed in Guam previously and once we moved back, I knew I wanted to offer something like this on the island. There was a need for an affordable, creative outlet within our community.
I created KRAFTiBEE to be a modern version of a sewing bee. My customers are able to get together, be social, meet new friends, and at the same time create something beautiful to hang on the walls of their home for many years to come. Since then, I have expanded what I offer to my customers. In the wake of Covid, I began to offer DIY kits, take and make kits as well as host seasonal live sale events for pre-made decor.
Q: How do you manage the work/life balance as a military spouse?
With three things:
- A lot of coffee
- A great support system
- A lot of late nights
This one is so hard for me. I have two small kids so they are my first priority. I am a stay-at-home mom first and a business owner second. I do a lot of my work in the evenings after they go to bed. During the holiday season, or around big events like craft fairs or live sales I usually call in friends to help and we spend a lot of late nights getting things done.
Q: Any advice for fellow military spouses who want to start their own business?
The best advice I have is to be true to your craft and yourself. Make things you love, do things you love and your customers will see your passion for your business.
Q: Favorite thing(s) to do in your current duty station?
We just moved here in December 2021 so we are still learning our way around but so far we are loving exploring. We love finding great parks and outdoor activities for our kids.
Q: Where can we support and learn more about your business?