Welcoming creator, designer, and builder Emily Johnston this week to the blog. Not only is she those three things she’s also a mom, wife and carpenter from Tennessee helping to find new ways for you to step away from the Kallax and store your records in reimagined ways. When she’s not busy chasing a two year old, she (along with her husband) own and operate an online business specializing in custom designed and hand made vinyl storage displays called WaxHouse Co.
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
It’s sort of a funny story how I got started… I guess the simple answer is milk crates. They take up a lot of floor space and aren’t too easy on the eyes taking up half of a room. So I thought there has to be a prettier way! At that time, my husband and I were living and working on the west coast building displays for special events. We had some left over materials piling up in our garage, so one day I’d had enough of the milk crates and built a “box”. And that’s where it all started… A simple box
What is a day in the life like?
A day in the life, well, first things first… coffee!!! Then I walk to the shop at the top of a hill in our back yard and spend the rest of my day designing, building and creating furniture for my fellow vinyl lovers and collectors. I really am living the dream I never knew I had until it was mine.
What has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
In my never to be humbled opinion, the coolest thing I have ever worked on are all the custom pieces I’ve built for the people who’ve come to me with nothing more than an idea. I take their ideas and my hands make them a reality. To me, it’s like magic in real life. Taking “nothing” and literally building it into “something” that my customers (or as we like to call them House Guests) can love for a lifetime.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
The hardest part for me has to be trying to save our clients money. I don’t skimp when it comes to my materials. I only use the highest quality materials available that fit our designs. I am always thinking about, and sketching out new designs to offer our products at most anyone’s price point.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
My advice to anyone who wants to get into this is… DO IT!!! Get out there and get dusty. make mistakes and earn from them. I love healthy competition too! I’m no expert, everyday is a learning experience.
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
YES! My first introduction came when my mom married my step dad, I was 10. He had a collection of classic rock records that I was never allowed to touch. His line was “These are for listening, not touching” (something I catch myself saying to my daughter on a daily basis). So, I guess that’s where it all started for me, years ago when I had to look from afar. When I moved away from home and across the country, I could always find a piece of “home” in a record store. Bit by bit, my little collection grew. A few years after I moved to the west coast my parents drove out to visit me for Christmas. In the trunk of their car was my step-dads entire collection with a bow and my name on it. I literally burst into tears. I suppose, to me, vinyl records are more than just music.
Vinyl is home. Vinyl is love. Vinyl is someone who cares about me, and my interests enough to give me the treasures they spent their life collecting.
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.
I just hope the resurgence keeps on a truckin’. Of course, for me, music is life. I hope to see more and more small labels and makers. Less big box corporate, cookie cutter stuff. Profits for the people, not the share holders. I am always most excited when I discover a new band I’ve never heard of.
What hobbies / things do you enjoy doing outside of work?
My hobbies outside of work are reteaching myself to see the world through the eyes of a two year old, reading, and taking care of my organic, GMO free vegetable garden. I absolutely love to grow my families food from seed to harvest, cooking and preserving. There’s a saying “Growing your own food is like printing your own money”. I enjoy seed saving, seed swapping, and giving seeds away. A tiny seed mixed with a little dirt, water and sunshine can go a long way in creating a sustainable life for my family and our planet.
What is your favorite music genre or band right now?
I couldn’t pick a favorite band if you offered to pay me! My favorite genres are all over the board, too. But, my top would have to be psychedelic rock, closely followed by classic rock, classic country, bluegrass, and old-timey Appalachian music. Also, if I am in the right place at the right time, I will happily dance to EDM alllll night long!