Beth Kingston is on a joyful mission to get everyone crafting. In our conversation we discuss the origins of her Kingston Crafts brand, what it takes to be an on-air personality on HSN, and how she has mastered the art of ROYGBIV decorating. Perhaps most importantly, we dive in to some of Beth’s personal passions and goals as an influential creator.
- Kingston Crafts paper dolls on HSN
- Falloween collection on HSN
- Beth’s personal Instagram: @thekingstonhome
- Beth’s YouTube Channel
- Kingston Crafts Instagram: @kingstoncrafts
- Kingston Crafts Facebook Group
[00:00:11] Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, the show that explores the breadth of ways to be a memory keeper today. I’m your host, Jennifer Wilson, owner of Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking. This is episode 234. In this episode I’m chatting with Beth Kingston about being HSN’s on-air craft expert, the niche her own line products fill in the industry, and both the personal and creative passions that motivate her day to day.
[00:00:42] Jennifer Wilson: Hey, Beth, welcome to Scrapbook Your Way.
[00:00:44] Beth Kingston: Hi, I'm so excited to be here. I've been making everyone nuts all morning because I've been bouncing off the wall. So.
[00:00:50] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, I love to hear that. I am looking forward to our conversation as well. Um, can you start by sharing a little bit about yourself?
[00:00:58] Beth Kingston: Sure. My name is Beth Kingston. I am the owner of the Kingston Home and Kingston Crafts. I know we'll be talking about both in a bit. I'm the Honor Craft Expert on the Home Shopping Network. That's my quote unquote day job, I guess. Um, I'm married to Don Kingston, who is the star of all the things.
[00:01:17] Everybody loves him more than me. He retired from the military a couple years ago, so we just bought our forever home in Maryland and share it with six midshipmen from the Naval Academy, two dogs, and three nephews who Um, just moved out last week. Woo hoo!
[00:01:34] Jennifer Wilson: Fun? I'm sure you have a busy, busy home.
[00:01:36] Beth Kingston: We've got something. Got a lot of dishes and laundry. That's what we got a lot of.
[00:01:42] Jennifer Wilson: So Beth, what is exciting you right now? I love to ask our guests both about their crafty things as well as their non crafty things.
[00:01:49] Beth Kingston: Well, non crafty, um, fall! Hello! Obviously. Uh, I pulled out, like, a bunch of my fall decorations this weekend, and I am unnaturally excited about fall. Cause the, even though it's 98 degrees here, the leaves are starting to fall a bit, and, you know, pumpkin spice, everything is happening, so fall is my jam. I'm the sweater and jeans girl.
[00:02:11] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes. ! agree.
[00:02:12] Beth Kingston: So it's so much better than sweating everywhere. Um, the crafty thing, I think, I don't know if this is a regional thing, it is new, new again to us since we moved back here. But, um, crops, scrapbooking crops and events are very popular here. And we haven't lived anywhere where those have been a thing for quite a while. So I am, beyond excited to be living in a place where people actually get together and craft and have girls weekends. And it's like making me ridiculously happy.
[00:02:45] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, it's so fun. Those in person connections mean so much. Uh, I think that's one of the things the pandemic taught us is how much we really need that time.
[00:02:56] Beth Kingston: Girl time.
[00:02:57] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes. So we also like to talk about our memory keeping bucket lists. So I'm not 100% sure if you're actually a scrapbooker yourself, but I know you have stories to share because I've read them on your Instagram.
[00:03:10] Beth Kingston: Well, I, that's actually what I was just going to say is, um, Instagram is, I think, probably my greatest journaling prompt and my greatest downfall. Um, I am a hardcore scrapbooker. That's how I got started in this business. But, um, I, I have recorded so many things that mean a lot to me on Instagram because I also, I mean, I've been a writer since I was a kid. And I feel like the things I've posted about on Instagram, um, I haven't yet put in a book with pictures somewhere. And I, you know, God forbid, if Instagram fell off the planet tomorrow, or Facebook, or whatever. I worry that those memories would be lost, so I really need to get my act together. And take what I've written on Instagram, and put that to paper, and add some photos, and really make it, bring it to life. Cause, yeah, I'm scared to death they're gonna like, get rid of Instagram tomorrow.
[00:04:10] Jennifer Wilson: And then everything will just poof.
[00:04:12] Beth Kingston: Will just disappear. All my words will disappear.
[00:04:15] Jennifer Wilson: I think it's more likely that Twitter will go poof tomorrow.
[00:04:18] Beth Kingston: I, right?
[00:04:18] Jennifer Wilson: Instagram.
[00:04:19] Beth Kingston: I'm not good at being short. So I'm not good at Twitter. So, uh, or X or whatever we're calling it. So, yeah, but oh my gosh, if Instagram or Facebook went away tomorrow, I would be lost.
[00:04:30] Jennifer Wilson: Well, there are some photo book services that will like slurp up your photos and captions. Maybe you need to like export them that way just to have just in case. Yeah.
[00:04:40] Beth Kingston: So many choices.
[00:04:42] Jennifer Wilson: Is there a story that stands out though that you're like, you know what? That one is really important. I want this recorded. And right now it's, it's only in the social media sphere or in your brain. Yeah.
[00:04:53] Beth Kingston: Um, I mean, gosh, there's a whole, um, you know, when we lost my dad, uh, when my husband retired from the military after 21 years. Um, when we, we don't have kids of our own, and, um, so when we took on our first batch of Navy children, becoming a pseudo parent for the first time, um, and that's changed our lives forever.
[00:05:17] So, I mean, there's a whole list of, Um, I volunteer at Meals on Wheels and doing that during the pandemic and the connection I've made with those people, there's just so many. That now, now I'm feeling like I'm so far behind. But I think those kinds of things, they're not, some of them are once in a lifetime moments, but some of them are just things that are part of your life every day. But you don't talk about how meaningful they are, or you don't record how meaningful they are, and that's, I think that's what's important to get down.
[00:05:46] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. Cause they add up to so much of our heart or time. This, this is part of our life. So, yeah. So let's talk a little bit about just you as a crafter right now, not the business, not beyond like, what is most fun for you to create these days?
[00:06:03] Beth Kingston: I love, well, going back to fall, I love home decor projects that I will actually, use. So, you know, for a long time, I just made projects for work, work related things like holiday themed. Um, But just as an example, this weekend, I took out, all my fall decor decorations and I opened one of the boxes and there was a decoupage pumpkin that I'd made last year that I was so proud of, and it was like Christmas. I was like, oh I want to make more decoupage pumpkins. But things that I want to display and use in my own house that I can look at and say, I made that. Or when someone, you know, comes and they're like, oh, I love that, pumpkin on your mantle, and I can be like, I made it. So things that I can put out and look at and enjoy either seasonally or all year round. Um, and then I've really been loving getting back into scrapbooking. Which has been I sort of gave myself that permission during the pandemic and have been excited to get back into that.
[00:07:07] Jennifer Wilson: Now are you kind of aiming the direction of 12 by 12 or what types of formats are you interested in?
[00:07:13] Beth Kingston: At the moment, I'm 12x12. Because I'm one of those people that like found a scrapbook album I liked and so I bought 20 of them and all the page refills. So I'm going to be using that format for quite a while. But I like the 12x12 format because it gives you a big, A, it gives you a big canvas to work on, but B, you can also, if you want to put seven pictures on it, you can. If you want to put one picture on it, you can. So it gives you a lot of options.
[00:07:41] Jennifer Wilson: Interesting. I yes, you're not alone in the buying all the albums. I am actually converting all to black albums because I had so many different colors and I was frustrated.
[00:07:53] Beth Kingston: These are the problems we face.
[00:07:56] Jennifer Wilson: I know, I know.
[00:07:56] Beth Kingston: Terrible.
[00:07:57] Jennifer Wilson: I also had albums wearing out. I was really surprised, like, the, like, the spines were cracking, and I'm like, okay, I guess I should buy more, a different brand.
[00:08:06] Beth Kingston: And, but that's the thing too, is like so many brands have come and gone throughout the years that I, I feel like that's why I always bought them in such quantities because I was like, well, what if this company isn't around next year?
[00:08:19] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, that's, that can happen for sure.
[00:08:20] Beth Kingston: These are terrible life problems to have.
[00:08:23] Jennifer Wilson: I have a side like kind of conversation point about home decor. So if you think back like 10 years ago, maybe, you know, everything at a store was like, Oh, that's, that's not cute. And the thing, the DIY stuff that we would make that we would see online be like, Oh, that's really trendy.
[00:08:40] But now in the store, everything is those trends that we were making, you know, a few years ago. So I'm wondering what is next? Because I go to the store and I'm almost like overwhelmed with like, do I need another scripty something wall hanging?
[00:08:55] Beth Kingston: Right. Right. You're exactly right. I feel like the two worlds have collided and there's a lot of you know, I was listening to some of your other podcasts and some of my friends who have been on your show have talked about like making, you know, something they made for their home and then they turn it into a business.
[00:09:14] Or you have a little business, but then you go to a craft show and there are 17 other people showing the same thing that you are. So I think that's been, I think people started to do what was trendy instead of doing what they loved. And that's how we got in this position. So I feel you know, I belong to some home decor groups on Facebook and people will say, you know, I love XYZ and someone will say well that's terrible or that colors out or whatever. And it's like if it makes you happy do what makes you happy. It's your house. Be surrounded by the things you love. Don't worry about what's trendy. That's sort of been my go to from the get. Do what makes you happy. You, these people aren't coming over to your house looking at your stuff, so they can shush, shush it.
[00:10:05] Jennifer Wilson: That's for sure. Well, and I've, I've always wanted to put shiplap in our very small bathroom, like our half bath and.
[00:10:12] Beth Kingston: Oh my gosh, me too.
[00:10:13] Jennifer Wilson: And everybody's like, Oh, but shiplap is so out now. And I'm like, I don't care. Like, I like it. I liked that trend and I want my bathroom to look like that.
[00:10:22] Beth Kingston: It's not, it might not be in the magazines, but that doesn't mean it's out. Like it's, I feel exactly, there's a wall in my house that I desperately want to put, you and I should go in together on like bulk shiplap, just shiplap all the things.
[00:10:34] Jennifer Wilson: I do live like 1500 miles away from you though. So I think that might be a, like.
[00:10:39] Beth Kingston: We'll find some other people that want to shiplap with us.
[00:10:41] Jennifer Wilson: In between. Yeah. Somewhere in like Ohio or something. So can you share a little bit about all the hats that you're wearing these days? You've worn many ones, many different hats over the years. And can you kind of just give us that backstory of how you reach this particular season of life?
[00:10:56] Beth Kingston: So I got here, this is a very long story, which I will try to condense. Um, I am a social worker by education and early career. And, um, my specialty was early gang intervention, so, um, I grew up in D. C., and that's where I started my career, and then, when my husband moved, um, there tends to be crime near military installations a lot of the time. So, um, I did it for several years, and then, my husband was deployed, um, when the war first started. And he was in a special unit, and so that was not common knowledge, it was actually classified.
[00:11:34] And, um, I was an advocate for juvenile offenders who happened to be gang members. And, um, the older brother of one of the kids that I was advocating for in court, um, followed me home one day, and he said to me, you know, hey, Ms. Beth, and I knew him, and great kid, actually. And he was like, Hey, Miss Beth, I know your husband is gone and I just wanted you to know, we're going to keep our eye on you.
[00:12:01] And I took that as a comfort because if the leader of one of the biggest gangs in Savannah is keeping an eye out for me, then I felt pretty safe. Um, when my husband got home, he did not feel the same. Um, and so he said to me, you know, I can't be worried about you back here when I'm trying to worry about my guys out there.
[00:12:21] And so he asked me to find something else to do. Um, and so I have a minor in marketing. So a friend of a friend of a friend was starting a scrapbooking company and asked me to do some promotional materials for her. And her company took off and they got bought by Xyron, which is an adhesive company that's been around for a thousand years. Xyron hired me and then asked me to go on HSN for them. And then a couple years after that, HSN hired me away from Xyron and asked me to work for them full time. And so that's how I got here. It's the weirdest, longest, right place, right time story probably in history.
[00:13:02] Jennifer Wilson: So, okay.
[00:13:04] Beth Kingston: Right? It's a lot.
[00:13:04] Jennifer Wilson: It is, like, it is, um,
[00:13:07] It's all about, like, serendipity in life. Like, one thing leads to another, and all of a sudden, you're, like, you started at point A, and you are at point Q somewhere.
[00:13:15] Beth Kingston: For sure, yes. On another planet. Point Q on another planet.
[00:13:19] Jennifer Wilson: But, yeah, we have to just kind of celebrate that each choice, like, leads us closer to where we're supposed to be, maybe?
[00:13:26] Beth Kingston: Yeah, and I still have the opportunity to serve in my private time and my volunteer time. So I feel like I haven't lost that passion that I had for social work back in the day. But I'm very very very lucky.
[00:13:39] Jennifer Wilson: So how does your Kingston Home blog fit into the story? When did that get started?
[00:13:44] Beth Kingston: So that was started when I worked at Xyron. The internet was very new then because I'm 7, 000 years old. And we didn't Xyron didn't really have a place to host videos that we were doing or projects we were doing with their adhesive. And so they were like, could you just start a blog and just do this for us?
[00:14:06] Um, so I did that and I just sort of hosted all the projects. And then, um, as my social media presence got bigger, um, and we moved into a house that we had bought and could do repairs on, I started working with like home decor and home renovation companies. And so for a long time. It was tight. They were sort of tied up together in each other and it started to be confusing.
[00:14:30] You know, one day I'd have, here's how to make a kid's Halloween project out of a toilet paper roll. And then the next blog post would be, here's how I tore out my bathroom and re-tiled my shower.
[00:14:43] So, it was sort of a mish mosh of things for quite a while until Kingston Crafts came along. And that gave me the chance to separate fully into a craft brand and website, and a home decor DIY brand and website. So, the last couple of years have been, it's been a nice reorganization of my life and my passions, um, and my brand partnerships and all that stuff. So, it started as a helping out my employer, and now here we are.
[00:15:17] Jennifer Wilson: Well, you are the employer in one of your hats, so.
[00:15:20] Beth Kingston: Right. Right. That's just one of the many hats.
[00:15:24] Jennifer Wilson: So how did your Kingston Crafts brand come to be? And how did your role on HSN influence your goals for the brand and how you're selling it and, and how it exists in the world?
[00:15:37] Beth Kingston: Well, uh, Kingston Crafts 100% came about because of HSN. I had already been on HSN for over a dozen years. Um, and a company that was selling their products on HSN came and, um, they had been watching me off and on throughout the day and they were like, Have you, has anyone ever talked to you about starting your own brand?
[00:15:59] And, um, then COVID happened. So, we launched Kingston Crafts during COVID, which actually proved to be fine. Um, but it was, it was 100% because I was already at HSN and after all that time, I know, I know what the customers like. Um, I know what they get excited about, but I also knew what was missing in the, in what was offered there.
[00:16:25] I already had the relationships. I already had the followings. So it was 100% because of HSN that Kingston Crafts came about. And I'm super grateful and lucky and happy, excited.
[00:16:38] Jennifer Wilson: So what did you identify as what was missing?
[00:16:42] Beth Kingston: Um, so there are sort of three. And this is sort of, there's a very basic overview, but there are three major brands on HSN. One is Diamond Press, which is um, mostly dies and stamps. One is Anna Griffin, uh, who has been in the industry forever, and she does beautiful like, um, chinoiserie paper, and Victorian style, and all this really beautiful, detailed, intricate work.
[00:17:09] And then there's Sara Davies, who's from the UK. And she does, um, whimsical, um, like these beautiful graphic papers, and these really intricate, gorgeous, uh, dies and stamps and projects and things to go with. And there wasn't anybody in the space, really, who did, just cardstock and basic pattern paper that didn't cost two dollars a sheet. And just sort of getting back to the basics. What what HSN was offering was all the fun extras and I wanted to get back to the basics. Diversity and inclusion is also something that I am incredibly passionate about. And so we have a paper doll line on HSN that allows people to create pages and cards and scenes with, dolls that reflect what their family looks like and what their community looks like. And I was worried HSN wouldn't be interested in that, but they have fully embraced it and it's one of the most popular things we sell. And I hear from customers all the time how much it means to them to be able to create cards that have people that look like their family members or that look like their friends or that look like their marriage. And it's the honor of my professional life to hear that from people and know that we're doing that for people.
[00:18:35] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, that's a wonderful, that's amazing.
[00:18:36] Beth Kingston: We're very, very lucky.
[00:18:38] Jennifer Wilson: I will definitely include the link to that product in the show notes so that others can discover it as well.
[00:18:43] Beth Kingston: Thank you.
[00:18:45] Jennifer Wilson: Now you also mentioned that you know what customers like. So could you talk a little bit more on that and how that contrasts to maybe to other things out there?
[00:18:55] Beth Kingston: So the, the HSN customer is a fantastical, wonderful, special breed of person. I think they are so passionate about what they love. Um, they're eager to learn new things, but they also want to use up what they've already got at home. And this may be, you know, this may be sort of the craft and scrapbook audience in general, but HSN is my, sort of my view out into the world.
[00:19:27] Um, they are people, they love organization, but they also want to buy all the things. They love color. They love a great value. They want to feel a part of something and that's all of those are things that I a space I feel very comfortable in. And I I am a crafter on top of everything, so it was really easy for me to look at what was out on the market, look at what we could offer, and know what the customer would like.
[00:20:00] Uh, the other great thing about the HSN customer and the way HSN functions, um, their social media presence, the way they interact with their vendors and their hosts and their guests is, If I do something and the HSN customer doesn't like it, I'm not going to hear about it six months from now. I'm going to hear about it ten minutes from now. So I can make choices moving forward with my products or my presentation or whatever, um, based on what I'm hearing from the customer right then. So I mean even as we joke about it in the Um, at the studio, but I, I have an assistant who comes with me to HSN and I say to her, do, if someone is saying something bad about me online, do not tell me unless it's something I can change.
[00:20:48] Like, you know, Beth is... Beth is sneezing too much on air, or Beth is saying um too much, those things I can think about and change, but I hate Beth as a person, it's not something that I can address. And so she's, but I'm like, you know, or if someone says something nice about me, please tell me immediately, so she's really good about, um, or you know, it's, it could be that shirt Beth's wearing looks crazy with the camera or the lighting. Well I can just run back to the green room and change. So, um, but then it can also be Uh, as an example, we just launched our Falloween collection and we came out with this set of, um, puffy stickers, which we are, us, 80s children, puffy stickers is our jam. And, um, we weren't sure how people would receive it, and the sales on the day weren't what I had hoped they would be, but what started happening is, as soon as people who did buy it, got it, they loved it so much that they then tell everyone else on all of the other, you know, Facebook pages and chat rooms and whatever.
[00:21:56] Oh my gosh, these, uh, puffy stickers are amazing. They're so big. The value is so great. That then the sales just started going up and up and up and up and up. So, they're great in telling us what we're doing well and where we need to change, but they're also our greatest cheerleaders when they are happy with what we're doing.
[00:22:14] And I think that's rare. Because a lot of companies, you know, they might sell to a big box store like Michael's or Jo Ann's and then they never have any interaction with the actual customer who's buying their product. I get it in full stereo.
[00:22:30] Jennifer Wilson: That's amazing.
[00:22:31] Beth Kingston: All day. It's a really, it's a really great way to do business and that the customers are amazing.
[00:22:38] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. Just to have basically real time reactions to, you know, I want to see that thing in more detail. You're not getting enough closeup shots.
[00:22:47] Beth Kingston: Yes.
[00:22:47] Jennifer Wilson: Um, I can't quite tell what color that really is. Can you compare it to something? Um, Just to be able to make those changes live is so beneficial.
[00:22:59] Beth Kingston: We're so lucky.
[00:23:01] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. Could you tell us, are there any more like, I don't know, behind the scenes secrets that you want to share about what it's like to be on HSN and, you know, selling products. Like you were, you know, talking about your customer in a very kind of articulate and sophisticated way. So imagine you guys are having meetings and you're talking about the customer.
[00:23:19] Beth Kingston: It's a whole thing.
[00:23:20] Jennifer Wilson: Do we, you know, how, what are the phrases that we use to appeal to the customer? And, but I'm sure there's like lots of like quirky little things that we would never guess.
[00:23:29] Beth Kingston: Oh, it's a whole HSN is a whole. I could talk about it all day. We could do a whole podcast just on HSN. Um, I think the biggest, and if people, those of us who are on air, if they follow us on social media, they already know this, but, um, the schedule is absolutely brutal. Like it is, because it's 24 hours of live television.
[00:23:50] So for example what happens is I will fly, I'll get up at 7am on Monday morning, fly down to Tampa, my assistant and I start setting up tables, start unpacking projects, start putting our presentations together. We maybe grab dinner together, and then usually I am on air at midnight or 1am, And so if I'm on air at 1am, obviously we're not sleeping, you know. Uh, on air at 1am, so we're done by 2. We have 30 minutes to sort of rearrange what we can for the next morning, but then we have to be back at the studio generally by 6:30 to get ready for the next day. Because we've got makeup and host meetings and then I'm on air usually by 8 or 9. And so, the, the 2, 2. 30 getting back to your hotel room, winding down from being on air, and then, oh, you have to be up at 5:30.
[00:24:43] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, ouch.
[00:24:43] Beth Kingston: To take a shower, um, but then you have to be on all day. And I also usually finish out the day at 11pm. So from, from the time I wake up, At 7 o'clock Monday morning until 1 a. m. on Wednesday, um, there's no sleeping. And you're also working and being on air and setting up your tables and running around and having meetings. So it is a brutal, brutal, brutal, brutal schedule. But, um, everyone that works there is friends. So, you know, people comment a lot about my relationship with the host.
[00:25:19] Those people are actually my friends and we're just tickled to be together. The other guests and I are all friends. It's, it's just a great, it's a great place to be. I think the other thing that surprises, maybe not people who watch HSN, but people sort of out in the world. My, my husband now works in finance and when we go to like cocktail parties, I think people are surprised at the money that is generated on HSN. It is a multi million dollar a day business.
[00:25:53] And so I think a lot of people in the world in general sort of count out crafts as an industry. It is, it is a huge industry with a lot of money floating around and in and out. But I think that surprises people how just how much money is generated.
[00:26:12] Jennifer Wilson: Well, based on how much I spend, I can certainly guess that.
[00:26:15] Beth Kingston: Right. I appreciate you. We appreciate you. Um, but I think, you know, like, I think that's one of those things that if people don't watch it, they'll be like, oh, oh, look at you and your little craft brand on TV. And I'm like, okay, well, here's how much money I sold last year. And then they're like, oh, oh, okay. This is an actual, this is an actual business.
[00:26:35] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. I have a question later on that connects with that idea of the little, anything that drives me nuts, so.
[00:26:41] Beth Kingston: The other thing that, that still tickles me to this day, like it happened, I was there three weeks ago. Um, just the random celebrities that you meet or, you know, run into in the halls. Or um, Last week or a couple weeks ago I was there and the shows that were on before mine were ESPN and football NFL, football sports memorabilia, I'm saying all the words because I know so much about sports. Two guys that were guests are hosts on ESPN and former professional football players. And the three of us sat around talking about the Barbie movie for about 45 minutes. And it's just this weird, um, I have eaten food prepared by Wolfgang Puck out of his hand, um, because he's been on before me.
[00:27:31] Jimmy Buffett, rest his soul, has been there a couple times. Martha Stewart was on there for, you know, a while, so just the random weird celebrity sightings or like people you meet in the green room or I met an actual prince one time when I had not showered or put on makeup because he was getting a coffee. So it's just a really cool, it's the most surreal business ever, but it's a blast. It's the best.
[00:27:57] Jennifer Wilson: Now, how often do you fly down to Florida and have that grueling schedule?
[00:28:01] Beth Kingston: At least once a month. So I live there like for five days a month. Um, in March, we're there every week. And in October, we're there twice. Um, and then we're off. We're actually off November, December, I might go down for a hot second, but it's usually every month. And then some months more than once.
[00:28:24] Jennifer Wilson: And is that schedule like usually planned out well in advance? Or are there last minute.
[00:28:28] Beth Kingston: Oh, yeah. Oh, no, it is. Well, it is well in advance. We we have, you know, another thing that I think people don't realize, so we've already got our January products, our projects for January 2020 have already been bought, ordered. Um, our March stuff, stuff for March 2024 is due next week. So we're, we're way out, um, as far as ordering and It's creating and scheduling and such. Way far out.
[00:28:57] Jennifer Wilson: Would you say, is that the same for other products? Whereas like, you know, there's a lot more say examples needed in a craft domain versus selling a mop.
[00:29:10] Beth Kingston: Right. I, I think it probably is just because with some things the QA testing is much more strenuous. You know, I'm not selling anything electronic or edible or, um, you know, clothing when you have to have all the different sizes or make sure the materials not flammable or whatever happens with clothing. Whatever concerns there with clothing.
[00:29:36] But I think it's that far out for pretty much everybody at HSN. Because of all the stuff that goes in on the back end. Yeah, and then before we go on air too.
[00:29:45] Jennifer Wilson: Ah, thanks for sharing so much. Like, I.
[00:29:47] Beth Kingston: It's the best.
[00:29:47] Jennifer Wilson: It's, it's such a, because it's not something I've experienced, it's just other than as a customer, um, it's just fun to hear about.
[00:29:56] Beth Kingston: It's a whole, it is a surreal, it is a surreal job. But a cool, such a cool one.
[00:30:02] Jennifer Wilson: Now, I want to shift gears a little bit. You, one of the things you're known for is DIY storage, especially displayed in brilliant rainbow fashion.
[00:30:10] Beth Kingston: Oh yeah!
[00:30:11] Jennifer Wilson: Various items.
[00:30:12] Beth Kingston: ROYGBIV girl, ROYGBIV is life.
[00:30:15] Jennifer Wilson: Can you share some of your most like functional or visually appealing or maybe both solutions from over the years?
[00:30:22] Beth Kingston: For, for craft supplies? Cause I, I, everything I own is ROYGBIV, I wish I was lying. My clothes closet is ROYGBIV, my nail polish stuff ROYGBIV, my photo props, I'm looking at it right now is ROYGBIV. I might have a problem. Anyway, so craft wise, ooh, my favorite, my favorite of all time is, because, because of the military, we moved around a ton. And I love ribbon. Like rolls of ribbon. And so we bought white plastic gutters, and, I stored my ribbon, it's, you know, they're open, gutters open at the top, so I stored my ribbon, and you could just pull the ribbon edge over the side, and so you could just see all the beautiful ribbon colors lined up together, and depending on where we moved, we could just change the length of the gutter.
[00:31:10] Um, but it was almost like, not almost, it was a decorative piece. Because it was so pretty but it was also so useful and everyone loved it, like in every craft room I ever had people thought it was so cool. And I just I absolutely loved it. Um, and then the set were big antiques people um, I am also looking at it right now as I talk, so we found a giant wooden um, dog food storage barrel from the 1920s, that's bigger around than like a outside trash can.
[00:31:42] And, um, I use it for all of my faux floral stems. And so, it's like the world's largest bouquet in the corner of my office, but it keeps everything organized. So like, this week when I'm starting to set out my fall stuff, I can pull out my orange stems and my yellow stems, and it's just a really cool, I like to see things so that I know I have them. And that's like that those two are my favorite probably of all time.
[00:32:10] Jennifer Wilson: How do you balance the visual appeal versus like needing lights and all the fun tech stuff that we need to have in order to take pretty pictures and do videos and all that.
[00:32:19] Beth Kingston: Yeah. We we have all of those things so we we had to turn my studio we had to have my studio rebuilt into a TV station during COVID. Because we filmed from our house for two and a half years. Um, so we had a new ceiling put in and we had, you know, all this extra plugs for all our tech stuff. So that stuff gets moved around a lot.
[00:32:41] Um, it, it always stays up with, I mean, as I'm looking at it right now, I've got two cameras on tripods, two big lights on trip on their, um, stands. And then I've got like, uh, our box is over on one of the rolling tables. So everything moves. I think that's a, that's a real trick if you are someone that has like, a space that you're trying to make multiple things at one time, um, everything rolls. So even my studio tables roll, my desk rolls, everything rolls.
[00:33:12] Because then I can move it and make it what I need it to be, and where I need it to be, and if I need lots of space or something, I can sort of manipulate the room, but everything, everything, everything, everything is on wheels.
[00:33:26] Jennifer Wilson: Now, was it, was it easier or harder to film at home than it was going to the studio?
[00:33:31] Beth Kingston: It was, emotionally it was harder. Because I missed all my friends so much. Um, physically, it was easier because, you know, if I, if I was on at noon, and then not until four, I could do a load of laundry, or I could take a nap. Or I could let the dogs out. Or, um, as crazy as it sounds, and I think I'm probably not the only person to say this. As terrible as quarantine was, and as much as it devastated this country for the crafts industry, it was a boom because everyone was home.
[00:34:11] HSN I think had their best year or two years, in decades. Because everybody was home looking for a way to occupy their time, rediscovering crafts they had done in the past, or always wanted to try and didn't have the time. It was harder because it was stressful and you know I missed everybody and we were worried about all the things. But, um, physically it was easier. My, my husband, who, again, was in the military for 20 years and now does finance, had to learn how to, um, video, be my video guy. So that's why everybody knows his name now is because for two and a half years I would be talking to him while I, you know, I would say, oh, Don, Don Kingston, can you, Zoom in on this or hey, Don Kingston, can you, you know, pop up and show my face? So it was, I couldn't have done it with him. I don't know how other people did it. Um, but we made it, we figured it out and are still married. It's a miracle. It's such a miracle.
[00:35:16] Jennifer Wilson: It's yeah, it's so interesting how that time shifted things. My, my dad is a big, uh, vintage sports car dealer, mostly on eBay, and that also had a huge boom. So there's something about, you know, obviously hobbies at home, we suddenly had more time for the things. And I just, I just hope it awakened enough of that spark of like, we need this in our lives to see that continue.
[00:35:41] Beth Kingston: I hope so. I think there was, and I don't know if this was the same for your dad. When, when things started to lift, um, our numbers went way down. I mean, way, way, way down. But also emotionally, I was like, you know what? I don't want to talk about crafts right now. I want to go out to dinner with my friends. I want to go see my brother and his kids. I want to, you know, go to the park. Um. I think we're sort of getting back into the rhythm of it and now with the holidays coming and people are going to be inside more, I think it's sort of a cyclical thing, but yeah, I feel like people have made more time for themselves since then and I'm glad about that.
[00:36:19] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Well, we have the ongoing kind of mental health fallout from that too. And I think that's, it's been important to have those things that we do for ourselves. So go back to storage just briefly. Uh, we often see a Dream Box featured in your background. Also, of course, styled fully ROYGBIV. Like, I mean, it's really to the max. What do you love about having a ready to go storage solution versus one that you created from the hardware store?
[00:36:47] Beth Kingston: Um, I, I love my Dream Box. I, the only issue for me, and this wouldn't be an issue for a normal human being is, um, I can't label anything, because then it doesn't look good for TV. Uh, because every other thing in my life is labeled. Even if it's in a clear plastic bin, um, you know, I used to be one of those people that was like, I'm just going to put everything in clear plastic because then I can see what it is. No, you can't. You can't tell whether this pile of this clear plastic box has 12 by 12 green paper or this 12 by 12 box has, you know, eight, eight and a half by 11 green paper. You just need to label everything. Um, and so having the pre done storage where I can't label things because it needs to look clean for work.
[00:37:36] Jennifer Wilson: Mm hmm.
[00:37:37] Beth Kingston: Is, is a downside. Um, but everything else in my life is labeled to the nth degree. Because that's how I stay organized and that's how I remember what I have. So, yeah, I love, I love the, the organization. I love the fact that everything fits and you can mix and match and change the shelves around. Um, the only thing I would change is I would, I would label, label the bejeebies out of everything. My label maker is my best friend.
[00:38:06] Jennifer Wilson: Are there any other kind of limitations or frustrations maybe for the lay crafter who doesn't have that same problem?
[00:38:13] Beth Kingston: You know, it's funny because, um, when I first got it and was talking about it, I had many people be like, well, that's not going to be enough for me. I have too much stuff and I wanted to be like, Girl, do you really think you have too much stuff, more stuff than me? Like, I do this for a living. Do you really think that I don't also have a lot of stuff?
[00:38:32] It, um, the great thing about it is it forces you to purge a little bit. Because I decided, you know, when I was doing it, I have one , little pull out drawer for, like, I have one for red paper, and I have one for pink, and I have one for Halloween paper. And if it didn't fit in the one bin, I really didn't, I didn't need four bins of Halloween paper I really could just deal with one. And I think going back to our album problem, I have always been, you know, like, Oh, but I love this Halloween. What if they never make Halloween paper ever again? What if I can never in my lifetime find Halloween paper? That is not happening. That's not going to happen. So sometimes you just gotta let go. You just gotta let it go. So pre fitted, pre made storage, does force you to purge. You have to be willing to purge if you're not willing to purge don't do it. Because you'll just get frustrated.
[00:39:29] Jennifer Wilson: I mean, that's an important kind of conversation to have with yourself. Really about any storage solution, whether whatever you're buying. You know, this is a fixed size. Is it really going to fit in there? And that's also why we need to kind of count our stuff before we buy the storage solution to make sure that it is going to fit. Um, have an idea.
[00:39:48] Beth Kingston: Get a good inventory of what you've got before you dive in deep.
[00:39:52] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes. So this is kind of another topic as well. You have a brand promo video on your website. It's really short. It's a couple of years old now. And in it, you mentioned that women have commented, you're so lucky your husband lets you do this.
[00:40:06] Beth Kingston: Oh yeah, oh yeah.
[00:40:08] Jennifer Wilson: As a fellow business owner, I've certainly had similar comments from strangers as well as family. Um, what kind of assumptions do you want to debunk about business owners and even everyday crafters in this space?
[00:40:22] Beth Kingston: Like first thank you for reminding me that that thing, that thing is like so old. Don't look at, don't anybody look at it before I get it, before I get it fixed. But that's, I mean, that's sort of one of the things going back to what hats do you wear. Is when you are a business owner doing all the things. There is a never ending list of like, yes I need to update my YouTube video and I need to update my About Me on my website and you just don't, things just get in the way.
[00:40:49] Jennifer Wilson: That reminds me, I created our YouTube trailer for our 10th anniversary of Simple Scrapper and now we're at our 15th. So, I'm in the same boat.
[00:40:58] Beth Kingston: You and I can both hang up and, um, do nothing but YouTube videos the rest of the day. Uh, I think, again, going back to people, people, especially in this space, who are business owners, a lot of people write it off because they don't grasp how much money is out there in the industry to be made. And I think that does a disservice to, I have a friend who is in the sewing, industry and, you know, just another, arm of the craft industry and she has invented a couple of tools and her business has really taken off. And she and I talk all the time about how she really still struggles with even, you know, moms at her kid's school thinking that like, she's just got this fun little hobby on the side. And she doesn't have a full time plus job, and she is also trying to raise kids. So I think women actually do it to each other just as much. Um, is women are running actual businesses that employ other people and require 50, 60, 70 hour a week. And I think that's something that, I don't know if it's in every industry, but in this industry specifically, I think because so many people do do it for fun. Or so many people are like, you know, oh, I have an Etsy shop and I sell, 10 things a month. They assume everyone's job is like that. And that's not the case for people who are, you know, running these large, small to large craft businesses.
[00:42:28] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, you think you start out thinking, oh, I get to make things all day, and then you end up learning about tax structures and all these like weird things that you never thought you would need to learn about.
[00:42:39] Beth Kingston: Fun ever again. Um, the other thing I think is, uh, is a miss and I do believe this is across industries. Um, cause I hear this sometimes from brands, is your social media numbers do not equal dollar signs. And what I mean by that is I've got a lot of friends in this industry who have a hundred thousand followers, 200,000 followers, you know, half a million followers on YouTube, whatever. Um, but when we get down to fi, and I've got, you know, what, 17,000 followers on Instagram. But my business is making and selling products and that's where I make my money. Um, I think people automatically, and that's just the, life we're living these days, I think, with, you know, TikTok influencers and whatever, um, your social media numbers do not equal dollar signs. Those are two totally different things. Sure, you can make money on the Kingston Home. You know, I make, I make a decent living working with brands on, you know, we just finished renovating our deck and I worked with 84 Lumber and they were fantastic. And so the money is okay, but it's not the numbers that you see on Instagram and YouTube and TikTok that bring in the dollars necessarily. I think a lot of people don't get that.
[00:44:04] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, it's not a it's not a one to one correlation type of situation at all. So.
[00:44:09] Beth Kingston: Correct. You are correct. And the other, and then this is not a mis, this is not a misunderstanding or a, um, assumption, but one of the things I think this industry doesn't talk about enough and where we really need to circle our wagons is, um, bringing younger people in.
[00:44:30] Jennifer Wilson: Mm. Yes.
[00:44:31] Beth Kingston: Because the age, I mean, the HSN customer tends to be an older white woman in her 50s, 60s. Um, and I think for a while the planner industry sort of tickled, tickled people's fancies and brought people, younger people in. But, you know, young, young people, I sound like I'm 80, um, younger people don't print out their photos.
[00:44:56] Like that, I don't think they even know that that's an option. So we've got, you know, the six midshipmen that live with us on the weekends and our nephews that just moved out here and between them, they're the youngest is 19 and the oldest is 23 of all the kids. So I have a very interesting target market or target audience to ask questions about.
[00:45:15] Um, they don't, they might have a baby album that their mom put together, but otherwise they have never seen a book about themselves. And when they want to see pictures of themselves as kids, they have to, like, ask their mom to send them a photo, text them a photo or whatever. And my nephews were, my mom is an avid scrapbooker. Their mom was not, and my mom made baby through childhood books for the boys, and when they come to visit, even at 20 and 22, they love to , sit on the couch and physically look through these books that are all about them, that were made by somebody who loves them, that they can just, you know, turn the page and ask questions, and you can't do that from a phone. But somehow, we're missing passing that importance on to the younger generation. So if we could figure out a way, whoever figures out a way to bring, bring the youngins back.
[00:46:20] Jennifer Wilson: So basically we need to get Haley Bieber to be a scrapbooker. and then everybody will do it.
[00:46:26] Beth Kingston: Correct. Somebody, somebody's got to do it. But I think that's what this industry is missing is, kids these days don't even know the feeling of looking at themselves in books. And so they don't know why it would be important to do it for their kids as they start having kids of their own, if that makes sense. I want to find a way to I'm gonna I'm gonna fix that problem. I'll get back to you.
[00:46:53] Jennifer Wilson: That's a hard challenge. And I think we all need to work together to figure out what are the strategies that are going to work. What can we learn from maybe other, other industries, other domains about how they're reaching young people.
[00:47:04] Beth Kingston: Like crochet and knit. All that stuff is having this has had this amazing resurgence. But that's you know you can crochet your own clothes, and you can you know knit a blanket while you're on the subway. And it's just not quite the same for scrapbooking, and I just, I think about it probably unnaturally a lot because, again, you know, I've got a bunch of 20 year olds that live with me and when they come downstairs and see what I'm working on, they're like, what is that?
[00:47:31] Like they don't get it and they don't get the importance of it.
[00:47:35] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.
[00:47:37] Beth Kingston: It's so interesting.
[00:47:38] Jennifer Wilson: For sure, for sure. Yes, I think we could talk just on that for, for a long time.
[00:47:43] Beth Kingston: We'll just have 17 more podcasts where we talk about all of the things.
[00:47:47] Jennifer Wilson: Beth, you are so delightful. Can you share where we can find you and what we can expect from you in the coming months?
[00:47:54] Beth Kingston: Oh my, this has been so fun. I could talk about, we could talk all day. Um, so I'm the Kingston Home. If you like DIY and home decor, um, the Kingston Home on all. Channels, even TikTok, even though I don't know how to use it. Uh, we just, we're currently talking about our deck because we've been working on our deck for about five months and are just finishing that.
[00:48:16] Um, I also am doing something really fun with Silhouette and by the time this airs, I will be able to talk about it. But that's all I can say about that right now, but it's very exciting.
[00:48:27] Jennifer Wilson: I will try to link to whatever Instagram post you have about it.
[00:48:30] Beth Kingston: Oh my gosh, it's gonna be so good. Um, on Kingston Crafts, that's also on all channels, um, we just launched our Falloween collection on HSN two weeks ago.
[00:48:42] Um, we launched our Christmas collection in July, and some of that stuff's already sold out, so we're very proud and excited about that. And we also, speaking of scrapbooking, um, just partnered with our friends at Page Maps, and we're starting, we're doing a monthly sketch challenge, and we started. Um, September 1st.
[00:48:59] And people can win prizes, and we're gonna share everybody's projects, and I'm very, very, very excited about that. So, I think those are the two exciting, those are all the exciting things I have going on. And apparently figuring out how to get young people to scrapbook again. That's my new, that's my new project.
[00:49:14] Jennifer Wilson: Only just a few small things.
[00:49:15] Beth Kingston: Fixing my YouTube video!
[00:49:17] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, the list will always continue.
[00:49:21] Beth Kingston: Right, it's never ending.
[00:49:22] Jennifer Wilson: Well, again, thank you so much for spending time with me.
[00:49:25] Beth Kingston: Oh my gosh, thank you, this was so, so, so wonderful.
[00:49:27] Jennifer Wilson: And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to scrapbook your way.
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