The Two Best Rhode Island Wreath-Makers on Etsy
The ladies behind Wreath Obsessed and the Accidental Farmgirl are sprucing up front doors across the nation.
The air has turned crisp and, like clockwork, I’m on the hunt for the perfect fall wreath for my front door. After browsing the aisles at Michael’s and JoAnn Fabrics and leaving disappointed — why do artificial plants have to look so fake? — I decided to turn my search to Etsy. Take my word for it: There are a lot of wreath-makers on the Internet.
Narrowing down the search was key, and I used the location filter to browse regional wreath-makers — a both generous and miserly strategy that passes the buck to local artisans while also saving me money on shipping charges. In a visually driven medium like Etsy, the wheat mercifully separates itself from the chaff. When you’re searching for a specific good, it’s so easy to tell which artisan aligns with your personal aesthetic and which, absolutely, do not.
In the case of Rhode Island wreath-makers, it’s near-impossible to narrow it down to just one. Two shops — the Accidental Farmgirl and Wreath Obsessed — make some of the prettiest fall (read: weather-safe) wreaths I’ve seen. The two shop owners came to wreath-making for different reasons, and they’re pulling it off (with five-star reviews aplenty) in different ways. But the small businesswomen have a lot in common: They’re both stay-at-home moms who are self-taught. They both also got their start with one particularly trendy style of wreath. I caught up with each designer to talk about their origin story, their wreath-making “aha moment” and their favorite designs for fall.
The designer: Jessica Billings
The backstory: “I was living in Boston and I had come home for the summer and I only planned to stay for the summer. I got a cocktail waitressing job and met my husband, who has two kids, and I never went back to Boston. We have a little farm in Exeter with goats and pigs. It’s not exactly the life I planned but it worked out perfectly.”
Her aha moment: “I started doing farmhouse home decor here and there on Etsy and one day my aunt came to me to make burlap wreaths…. I stay at home with my kids [Jessica and her husband have five altogether!]. I needed something to do from home and I just really loved making wreaths.”
How she amassed her social media following: “Online is difficult; it’s really difficult to get yourself noticed so I just tried the old fashioned way on Instagram. It was like I was talking to nobody but I just started posting every day…. I made a list of some really big bloggers and I reached out to them saying, ‘I’d love to send you some stuff.’ Maybe a quarter of them said yes. Now, I have a handful of really big bloggers that I have a partnership with; I pay them to promote my wreaths. [Partners include Erin from @cottonstem, Kristy Wicks and the Design Twins.] Every time they post something of mine I can immediately see the stats on my Etsy and they jump.”
Her favorite designs: “Right now my customers are really into the artificial fruit; there are not a whole lot of people doing that. I have the apple wreath on my house. I don’t like to play favorites but I don’t think I’ll take that one off my door all season.”
Where you can find her work: Etsy and Instagram.
The designer: Leah Voccola
The backstory: “I guess the business was started on a whim, but it was a serious whim. It was kind of strange, I’d never thought of myself as a crafty person. A few years ago I saw a burlap wreath on Facebook. I couldn’t afford to buy the wreath for myself as a gift so I thought, maybe next year I’ll buy from that person. At the same time I was thinking about that wreath, my daughters and I started talking about a trip to Disney. Again, a huge financial decision.”
Her aha moment: “One weekend, around that one-year mark, my daughters and I went to Hobby Lobby and I saw burlap. I don’t have any training whatsoever on home decor or being creative. I was just like, I’ll make one myself. All of a sudden my mind was swirling with ideas.” [Note: Leah was able to take her family to Disney last year with her wreath earnings!]
Where she sources inspiration: “I come from the era of Martha Stewart. I’ve always loved HGTV and ‘This Old House.’ Then Pinterest popped up. Once I saw Pinterest – oh my God. I thought, what have I been missing out on all this time? I’ve never been one to copy another’s work but I’ve definitely been inspired by other’s work. That gets your creative juices going.”
Her favorite designs: Her farmhouse wreath series.
Where you can find her work: Etsy, Instagram and a free event located 610 West Greenville Rd., North Scituate, held during the Scituate Art Festival over Columbus Day Weekend.
Here are a few favorite designs from both shops: