At our CHA #BlogNetworking16 event last month, we were happy to announce our 2016 Craft Blogger of the Year Award winner – Jennifer McGuire! She was nominated by you, her fellow crafters, and is being recognized for having a great online presence as well as wonderful craft projects. Jennifer blogs over at her website, Jennifer McGuire Ink, and has been sharing her crafting expertise with the world since 2002. In addition to being an avid crafter, Jennifer is a published author, a craft designer, and a mother! We had the chance to chat with her to see how she manages to do it all.
Where did you grow up? Did you do any crafts as a kid?
I grew up in Cincinnati… not far from where I live now. My family is very close, I can’t imagine ever living far away. I did a lot of crafts when I was little. I loved cross-stitch and making handmade friendship bracelets.
How did you first get into crafting?
Although I enjoyed crafting when I was young, I got away from it when I went to college. Once I was working full-time, I really needed a hobby. So I decided to volunteer as a leader for my church senior high youth group. We went on a mission trip and I came home and made a scrapbook. I was hooked to say the least! I soon quit my job to do crafting full-time… doing scrapbook idea books and magazine articles.
I loved math in high school. Big time. So engineering seemed like a natural career choice. After working in that field for a few years, I realized it was not at all right for me. I turned my new hobby into a career and it was the best move I ever made! However, if you had asked me in high school if I ever thought I would be an entrepreneur in the craft industry, I would have thought you were crazy. 🙂
Does your engineering background influence the way you craft?
I am not sure it influences me much. However, the business experience I got from working as an engineer has helped me. I also am an organization addict. That is common for engineers!
How did you figure out your niche?
I love to teach. To show new techniques. To show creative ways to use products. I also like to share kindness. So my natural niche became making cards for others while teaching fun techniques.
What inspires your crafts? How do you find inspiration?
I really don’t look around for inspiration much. Instead I am always trying to come up with new techniques and then finding products that work with those ideas. I let the techniques and products dictate what I create instead of looking for inspiration outside. And I will say – my favorite ideas come to mind when I am laying in bed with my eyes closed and trying to go to sleep. Wish I could sleep more!
What are some goals you have for yourself in 2016?
Honestly, I am not a goal-setter. Crazy, I know. However, I am a mom first and foremost. Parenting takes so much effort, focus and attention. I am exhausted at the end of the day! So instead of setting business goals, I just keep sharing what I can and when I can and pray that people like it. Thankfully, my business has grown that way on it’s own. I believe that if you focus on doing “your thing,” encourage others and share often, then you will not need goals. It will all happen as it is meant to be.
A big thanks to Jennifer for taking the time to chat with us! We can tell that big things are in store for her on the horizon, and we wish her the best of luck in all of her creative pursuits! To see some of her amazing craft projects, check out her website, Jennifer McGuire Ink!