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Conversations with Jamie Oswald

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamie Oswald.

Hi Jamie, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I received my bachelor’s degree in construction management from Kansas State University in 1999. Up until 2016, I worked in both construction estimating and project management on multi-million dollar projects and very small projects in the 10’s of thousands. In 2016, I needed a break. The stress of the career and motherhood was making me feel like I wasn’t succeeding at either thing very well. So, my career took a backseat and I focused only on being a wife and mother and maintaining our home for the people I loved most. After a year and getting a little restless, I found myself making pallet wood signs and investing in a stencil cutter. Before I knew it, I had created a small business so I could have a tent at a craft show that showcased a variety of my wood signs and artwork, Friends were primarily supporting my business by commissioning signs as gifts for others but the craft show opened up the business to the public.

Soon after the craft show, I created a business that encompasses what I do best and what my husband does also – Crescent City Goods. The name is a hat tip to our favorite city in the world (New Orleans) and allows me to sell both my craft creations and my husband’s gardening and culinary products.

In the past few years, I have teamed up with Linda at Bramble Rose Farm. She, personally, has the biggest collection of my barn quilts and together, we host barn quilt painting parties at her farm – a blend of my hosting a barn quilt painting class and the patrons enjoying Bramble Rose Farm’s amazing cuisines. The evening is a heavy 4-course appetizer meal, each paired with a different local wine. It’s one of the highlights of what I do – teaching people about the art of the quilt block, barn quilts and guiding the process. We do them about once a month through the summer.

In late winter/early spring, I pop up my greenhouse and grow herbs and vegetables for sale as well. We started only with sweet basil but it has grown to about 20 different kinds of veggies, herbs and flowers. I also do commissioned artwork on request. One of the recent pieces is the cover of a new journal for Sonja Corbitt. She found me on Instagram and, out of the blue, asked me to do a sketch of Mary holding baby Jesus in a Russian Orthodox theme. Every time I get asked to do something unique and different, it’s amazing to me what happens.

My most important take-away these past six years is sometimes that career we are chasing after doesn’t 100% fit our identity and that’s 100% okay. We don’t have to fit some kind of mold where we are climbing up some corporate ladder. There was such loud noise, especially after Sheryl Sandburg’s ‘Lean In,’ for corporate women to juggle both motherhood and high-stress careers. I think what many of us were not hearing is that “leaning in” only works if you and your career are a good match. Having a small business like I do allows me to lean in while also being fully present to my husband and children. I don’t walk away feeling like I’m having to choose anything over anyone.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The only struggle I have had along the way is more me telling the voice in my head that I am fully capable of the commissioned work I was asked to do. One of the biggest things I struggle with is the follow-through on the requests. Once I get in the grove, then it’s all fine. One of the other struggles is feeling like I have a certain lane to stay in. I think it’s important for small, growing businesses to not worry so much about their lane or their identity but to figure out what works and what seems to stick.

One summer, I carted so many fresh herbs and produced around only to realize that my efforts were misplaced. I should have been sanding pallet wood pieces and getting them ready to make signs – THAT is where my effort pays off AND where I get more enjoyment.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m most known for barn quilts and being a barn quilt painting instructor. And while I’m very proud of a 6’x6’ barn quilt that adorns the side of an old horse barn in Leavenworth County, the commissioned piece for Sonja Corbitt was an amazing thing to do as are my signature pallet wood housewarming signs. What sets me apart from other creators like me is that I don’t spend my time making things that I don’t have someone in mind. I’m thinking about the person receiving my signs or artwork from the first step in the process. To make a bunch of board signs that are all the same don’t have sentimental value to me. So while I don’t have a van load of crafts to take to shows, I do have a portfolio to look at.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
Linda Suttlehan, at Bramble Rose Farm, has not only been a big cheerleader but also one of my biggest clients. She shows me through her actions that integrity and high standards and quality are important for that one customer in front of you because they’ll gain you, customers, down the road. Others are just all the clients in general – MOST of my clients are repeat. They either ask for something for gifts for others, OR they give my creations to their clients. That really means something.

In fact, last year during COVID, it was my BEST year. I had plans to focus on doing craft shows and instead, a realtor-client, now friend, Holly Renfro, had me make housewarming signs for nearly all of her clients.

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  • Instagram: @crescentcitygoods
  • Facebook: @crescentcitygoods

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