Katie Burke has always been crafty. After creating signs for her own wedding and hosting “Pinterest parties” for her friends, she eventually created an Etsy store and took orders online for hand-painted signs and screen printed T-shirts. In July 2017, she combined those interests into a business: Board at Home.
“I’ve always been an entrepreneur and I’ve always been crafty,” she said. “There’s other ways people can go and get crafty, but with this, people get to do it in their homes where they’re comfortable.”
Once Board at Home launched, Burke was swamped. As a full-time statistics teacher at Denton High School, she knew she needed help to manage the business and school in the fall. So she hired other crafters and artists as independent contractors to host sign making parties and earn commission. Now, there’s a team of six artists and Burke, and more than 80 sign designs that partygoers can create.
Here’s how it works: A customer contacts Burke or one of the other six party hosts with Board at Home, and they set up a date and time for the party. Attendees pick online what sign they want to create — such as whimsical cursive spelling out “Home sweet home,” or “Bless this home” surrounded by a floral design.
Depending on the size of the board and the design, signs cost between $25 and $55. Right now, there are hosts in Oklahoma as well as North Texas and East Texas.
Before the party, the hosts cut and stain the wood, print out stencils and set up the party. At the party, they teach the groups how to place the stencils on the wood and delicately paint them so they come out perfectly — like something from Hobby Lobby, but handmade.
For Lacey Holland, one of the Board at Home artists, hosting parties gives her a new way to be creative and social, and she enjoys teaching people over and over again.
“It’s a phenomenal brand, and you can’t not get excited about women helping women,” she said. “I love getting to be creative and getting to meet new people.”
It’s also a low-pressure endeavor, with hosts able to build their own schedules and host as few or as many parties as they want. Since customers pay in advance and know what they’re doing, it means Board at Home events are about building community and friendship instead of selling something, Burke said.
“There’s a lot of businesses that do home parties and give women the opportunity to get their friends together, but this one is not salesy,” she said. “When we show up at your house, we’re not trying to sell you products. Everything is done in advance, so it’s very low-pressure and it becomes all about the gathering. Plus, it’s a DIY, hands-on activity without having to do it from the ground up.”
Burke said she hopes she can expand the business and get more hosts on board without becoming like a multilevel company. She wants to keep teaching, so as the business grows she hopes to keep adding more artists to share the business with other women.
“When other people wanted to join and see it grow and have extra pocket money, it fills my heart, so it’s exciting to me. I’m not looking to be a millionaire and a big CEO, but I’m in the business of supporting other women,” she said. “It’s super exciting to support women like this, but that same feeling I get from this I get from teaching high school kids and helping them figure out what they want to do with their lives, so I don’t want to give up either one.”