Yenny StromgrenDirt by Earth

Creative boutique design studio, specialising in unique laser engraved interior gifts, home wares and accessories in wood.

A couple of years ago, while at home with her kids Yenny Stromgren started to experiment transferring her photographs onto wood.  She got a t-shirt press and tried that first, but the transfer paper didn’t have the consistency she wanted. After months of trial and error, she finally invested in a laser engraver and started her business.

This is what Yenny shared about running her business.

Q. What did you do before you started this business?

Prior to Dirt By Earth, I worked as a photographer here in Australia for 7 years. Before that I have been doing all sorts of jobs such as tree planting, fruit picking, wine pruning, waitressing, being a tennis teacher, photographer etc. Some of these jobs have been great, but also hard work but I have gained a lot of experience from it and it has made me a better person. It also has given me a great perspective of life and an appreciation of what I have done and where I am going!

Q.  Did you have any business training before you started?

I did get a little through James Cook University where I did a degree of Bachelor of Photography with Honors. (the reason I came to Australia 14 years ago), but we only touched the surface. Most of us felt was something we had to put down on paper to get grades. It is only since I started Dirt By Earth, I realized how important it is to know your business, have a plan and know where you are going.

Q. Describe your business and products/services you offer.

We make Scandinavian style homewares in sustainable wood, such as night lights, lamp shades, pendants and this year we are launching a furniture range as well. They are all designed and made by me and my husband James in our studio in the Noosa hinterlands, Queensland.

Q. How long have you been running your business?

I started the business 2 years ago in April 2012.

Q. How many hours a week do you work in your business?

About 40 hours a week. Sometimes more, I also try to do catch up listening to web seminars at night.

Q. What kind of online and offline marketing do you do and which is working for you?

I mainly do it through Facebook ads but newsletters are good too.

Q. Do you use social media as part of your marketing?

Yes of course, social media is great for that!  We are now on Pinterest, Google+, Facebook and Instagram

Q. What mistakes have you made in running your business and what lessons have you learnt from those?

Less is more.  You don’t have to have hundreds of products, work on the ones that works and make them better.  I have also learned to listen to the customer.

Q. How has your website helped you run your business?

Although we have a showroom in our studio, the website is our shop and the connection with customers around the world.

Q. What obstacles or challenges are you facing at the moment?


Q. Any other comments / points you would like to share about running your business?

• It is important to have a mentor or be a part of a business group of like minded people.
• Share what you are doing with your fans and customers and give thanks. It is because of them you can do what you are doing.
• Read, watch or listen to something inspiring and uplifting before you start your day.
• Keep the heart and passion in your business and remember why you started.
• If you are having a bad day, read testimonials from your customers. It will cheer you up and believe in yourself again!
• You can always improve and learn from others.