What started on a whim in the garage of a townhouse two years ago has morphed into a full-fledged DIY and custom order business for Sauk City residents Hayley and Eric Gieseke. Nestled into the small row of storefronts along Water Street in Prairie du Sac, Home by Hayley is a first of its kind business that blends custom orders with the do-it-yourself trend made popular over the years on networks such as HGTV and DIY.
The rustic, farmhouse-inspired style of TV personalities Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fandom and the popular Magnolia brand they created has inspired the kind of popularity that someone could build a business from. Hayley Gieseke already had a passion for hands-on creative work, and with a little encouragement from her husband, decided to capitalize on the niche with her new business.
“One day my husband and I were out shopping and I realized I was putting all that type of stuff in my cart,” Gieseke said. That’s when she decided to buy some equipment and try it herself.
“I love working with my hands,” Gieseke said. “I get more of a sense of instant gratification when I make something.”
Gieseke picked up a few tips and tricks from her grandfather, a woodworker by trade, who does traditional, ornate furniture pieces. Once she started creating, people began to take notice and began ordering custom pieces. She also noted other people doing parties around DIY signs and other items, and decided to branch out and offer that as well. She partnered with a few local businesses to offer kids parties, where the kids actually get to create something and bring it home.
Doing a bit of work out of your home is a far cry from opening a storefront, but with a lot of nudging and support from her husband, Eric, Gieseke decided to give it a go.
“It actually happened really fast,” Gieseke said.
Now the Giesekes offer not only a place for people to shop – but also to create.
“Custom work is still a big part of what I do,” Hayley said. “But now I get to share that experience with others.”
Sauk Prairie Chamber of Commerce Tourism Promotions Director MaCall Tourdot said the Giseke’s business is different than the typical board and brush shop in that it combines the DIY experience with public and private events as well as her own custom work.
“There is a strong need for businesses like this as part of the county-wide effort to draw millennials to our area,” Tourdot said. “DIY projects are definitely the new ‘it’ thing and Hayley has nailed it.”
People can create more than wood signs. Customers can make their own wood boxes, serving trays, decorative pieces or vintage-inspired corbels. With approximately 650 square-feet of combined retail and maker space, Home by Hayley offers custom home decor, DIY wood sign workshops and a DIY craft bar. The place’s events calendar is already filled with upcoming workshops people can sign up for, as well as drop-in public hours and private parties.
“A lot of people want to be able to make something but don’t always have the right materials,” Gieseke said. “We stock stencils here in addition to having all the materials someone would need to make something.”
Gieseke plans to host kids’ birthday parties in her space, and said she would eventually like to hold classes where people can come and learn how to use tools such as a drill. “It’s very empowering,” Gieseke said.
She also loves to see people create. “What I love about bringing this to people is you could have three people working with the same stencil and get three completely different signs,” Gieseke said. “And I love being able to share what I do with others.”