By Kathleen A. Schultz Daily Gazette, Sterling, Ill.
The Rutherford gals are big fans of HGTV and Pinterest.
So when the opportunity arose 2 months ago to start a family business, the Dixon women decided to indulge their creative sides.
Farmhouse Rustique, the business Natalie Rutherford started with her mom and sister, Ann and Nicole Rutherford, sells homemade signs at Reubin's Relics antique shop at 1112 S. Galena Ave., and on Facebook and Instagram.
The artsy trio also designs furniture and holiday decor -- shabby chic, primitive, slightly industrial or country farmhouse, or any combination thereof.
They'll do free in-home decorating consultations rife with advice on how to spiff up your living space, and monthly DIY workshops are in the works.
Their goal: inspiring others to take pride in their homes through the art of decorating, Natalie Rutherford said.
"Our journey began with the simplest of beginnings. What began as a simple hand-painted sign for one of our own homes has turned into a beautiful and thriving endeavor," she said.
"We get a lot of inspiration from watching HGTV's 'Fixer Upper' with Joanna and Chip Gaines. We really hear our customers, just like they do. We offer the same kind of decor they do. We also get inspiration from the Shanty2Chic sisters, Pinterest and Etsy.
"If you see a sign you like elsewhere, we can probably recreate it."
The turnaround time for a custom sign is about 2 to 3 weeks; and for a customer furniture order, about 3 to 4 weeks, she said. "We want everyone to be able to decorate their homes at an affordable price, which is why ... our prices are, 99 percent of the time, much lower than any price you find online."
Still, the idea of starting a family business took root online. They tested the waters on Facebook and Instagram, and went public with the business on Sept. 1, after a resoundingly positive response.
Natalie, who has a bachelor's in hospitality and tourism administration and event planning management from Southern Illinois University, hopes Farmhouse Rustique will be a success, giving her the green light to start an event-planning business, too.
"It's been fun to run all the marketing and business operations for Farmhouse Rustique and incorporate my degree in it," she said.
It's also wonderful having the opportunity to give back to the community, and to encourage shoppers to buy local, she said.
"It's always an adventure for us. From getting the most unique custom orders to being called to go to help take down a 150-year-old barn -- it's never a dull moment, and we are extremely grateful for that," Natalie said.
HERE'S YOUR SIGN Farmhouse Rustique specializes in welcome signs, wedding signs, seasonal signs, growth charts, centerpiece boxes, buffet tables, farm tables, blanket ladders, any piece of shabby chic furniture with chippy paint or a slightly distressed look, chalk-painted items ... you get the idea.
Visit Reubin's Relics, 1112 S. Galena Ave., or find Farmhouse Rustique on Facebook, or farmhouserustique815 on Instagram. Custom orders are no problem; email [email protected] to get in touch with the Rutherfords, to place an order or schedule an in-home consultation.
They'll also be selling signs, furniture and wreaths from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 5 at the Dixon Elks Lodge, 1279 Franklin Grove Road.