I’m thrilled to introduce Salem mom, Lesley Branton to you today! Lesley is the owner of the cutest DIY studio in Beverly, Hammer & Stain North Shore. I had the pleasure of connecting with Lesley last year, during the height of the pandemic, and getting to try two of her Grab & Go Craft Kits. They were really fun to do and it was easy to achieve a professional-looking finished product. Keep reading to learn more about Lesley and how she’s grown her business along with all the fun things you can look forward to at Hammer & Stain this summer!
Where are you from originally and what town do you live in now?
I grew up in Lexington, MA and currently live in Salem, MA.
How many children do you have and what are their age(s)?
I had my first child in September 2020 (pandemic baby). She is 7.5 months old.
What’s your favorite family activity on the North Shore?
We have 2 dogs, so going on hikes as a family or to the beach during the off season, to let them run, is something we love to do!
Where’s your favorite place to eat and/or shop on the North Shore?
I have a lot of favorite restaurants in Salem & Beverly – I love the tacos and tropical drinks at Bonefish Harrys on Cabot St (makes me feel like I’m on a tropical island). If it’s cold and dreary I love to go to Kokeshi in Salem for a hot bowl of noodle soup. And probably the place I order from most for lunch is Wrapture. (I’m obsessed with their wraps & salads).
As far as shopping goes I try to keep it local and shop in Salem or Beverly, but I can’t lie…I also frequent TJ Maxx/Marshalls/HomeGoods for good deals & steals!
You’re the owner of Hammer & Stain North Shore. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to open the studio.
I graduated college and landed a job at a diamond jewelry company in downtown Boston. I ended up staying with that company for 11 years (I mean when you work with diamond jewelry every day, it’s hard to leave!) until my husband got offered a job down in South Carolina and we decided to make the move. It was time for something new and felt like the right time to take a year and try to figure out, “what do I want to do when I grow up?”
While in South Carolina I went to similar DIY workshops and studios and fell in love with making projects from scratch and being crafty. When we learned we would be coming back to the North Shore area I couldn’t stop thinking about opening my own DIY studio instead of going back into the corporate world. So I did a bunch of research and turned what seemed to be a crazy idea into a real dream and became part of the Hammer & Stain family by opening my own studio in Beverly!
Where is Hammer & Stain North Shore located?
We are located on Cabot Street in Beverly – 296A Cabot Street – in the same block as Little Italy and Organic Garden Cafe and one block away from The Cabot.
What types of projects can people make at Hammer & Stain?
Anything and everything that is home decor! We offer a whole range of projects that you can customize – wood signs, serving trays, doormats, pillows, cozy blankets and even ceramics! If you don’t have time to make the project yourself we have lots of pre-made signs/projects on hand that are for sale and a whole section on our website of projects we can make for you.
Do you have a favorite?
My favorite projects and designs change monthly, as I’m always releasing NEW projects/designs. But if I had to choose one it would probably be our cozy blankets – I’ve made 3 for myself and 2 for my daughter. 🙂 Even the dogs love them!
What skill level is required to complete a project? Are they easy for both moms and kids?
What I love most about our projects is that you DON’T have to be “crafty” or “artistic.” All of our designs are painted onto projects using vinyl stencils that can be customized (names/dates/etc.) to create a one-of-a-kind project! Because we use stencils, it also allows kids to make a projects that they love. We’ve had 3 year olds come with their parents to our Open Paints and create a mini sign from scratch that turns out awesome.
Do you host events in addition to the workshops?
At the studio, we host many workshops and events. We have our monthly public workshops where you sign up ahead of time and pick your project/design. We host private parties (current min 6 & max 15 people) where you can have the studio all to yourselves, with an instructor that will lead you through making your projects. Great for a fun ladies night out, corporate team bonding, or family outings!
Our Kids Birthday Parties are also really popular – you can host your child’s birthday party with us and everyone who attends gets to make a custom sign. We even bring in pizza from Little Italy. And last, we host Open Paint and Grab & Go Craft Kit events (usually every other Saturday) where you can drop in and create a project with no reservation needed (projects start at $8) or pick out projects to bring home and we will package everything up for you (paints/stains/tools/materials/directions).
Tell us a little more about your upcoming Summer Camps.
This is the first summer we are officially open, since last year our doors had to be shut because of COVID. I’m so excited to be offering Kids & Adult Summer Craft Camps! I grew up going to arts & craft camps and can’t wait to host my own version at the studio.
Our Kids Craft Camp is one week (Week 1: July 12-16; Week 2: August 9-13), Monday through Friday from 9am to 12pm. We will be creating 2-3 projects each day and will have a pizza party on Friday. With registration kids will receive their own apron and canvas bag (to decorate) and a Hammer & Stain water bottle.
After releasing our Kids Craft Camp info I had a lot of adults reach out asking if there would be an adult version, so we made it happen! We will be hosting two different Adult Craft “Camps” (one in June and one July-Aug) that will meet every Wednesday at 7pm, for 4 weeks in a row. Each week will be a different project (signs, doormats, ceramics, clocks etc.). Our June Adult Camp is almost sold out, but we still have seats available for our July-Aug one!
As a new mom and business owner, how do you balance work & motherhood? Any tips?
I always go to sleep at night wishing there was more hours in the day. My biggest tips for running your own business, keeping your sanity and enjoying motherhood are:
- Keep a to-do list on you at all time. I use my phone or pad of paper and brain dump there so I can sleep at night.
- Schedule days off. This one is hard but SO necessary – I usually have Sunday & Monday as my days off where I stay out of the studio and only check my email once or twice.
- Schedule “ME” time! For me, this includes working out, getting my nails done or a massage, and meeting up with friends.
- I really try hard to enjoy the time I have with my daughter (and pups) and focus on being with them. I love to take long walks now that its nicer out!
What is the best piece of mom advice you ever received?
Be able to laugh it off and follow a sleep program. Sienna was sleeping through the night at 4 weeks!
What’s your favorite thing to do when you need some “me” time?
I have a few favorites: get in bed and take a midday nap, get a workout in, or just head to TJ Maxx and browse!
Visit hammerandstainnorthshore.com to see all the projects available, along with Lesley’s upcoming events and workshops. You can also follow along with Hammer & Stain on Instagram @hammerandstainnorthshore and Facebook @HammerandStainNorthShore.
This post is sponsored by Hammer & Stain North Shore.