Lynn Lilly has a glue gun and she’s not afraid to use it … to make wonderful, one-of-a-kind crafts. After all, she is the CEO of Craft Box Girls, a lifestyle destination site for making do-it-yourself simple for everyone. In fact, Lynn is so into DIY she helped launch a national DIY Day earlier this month on April 2. She was inspired to start CBG after encountering creativity, arts and technology while traveling in Tokyo; and now, besides the CBG site, she helps DIY newbies and experts alike create custom designs with her TV segments and column for SouthernLiving.com. Learn more about Lynn Lilly, our newest FACE of Atlanta, and why she recommends always having a glue gun close by.
You are a crafting phenom. What made you take the leap from a standard office job to become an entrepreneur of all things creative and DIY?
My entire life, crafting, DIY and entertaining have always been a hobby. About three years ago I got the itch to turn my creative passion into a career. Three months after I got the itch I was laid off from my corporate job, which clearly was a sign from the craft gods that I was meant to follow my dreams and start the journey of building the next big do-it-yourself lifestyle brand. Since the day I was laid off I have worked harder than I could have ever imagined … but never could have imagined loving my job so much! Not only do I get to do what I love, but I have an amazing team that is so talented and makes my job fun.
How did you end up living in Atlanta? What were you most surprised to learn about the city after moving here?
My family moved to Alpharetta when I was 6 years old. I grew up in Alpharetta and went off to college at Auburn University. As soon as I graduated I moved to Buckhead to take in all the culture Atlanta has to offer. I currently still live in Buckhead with my husband and three furbabies and am surprised by how Atlanta continues to change and build new niche neighborhoods. After living in the city for the last eight years, I still discover new neighborhoods, parks, restaurants and local gems every week. I truly believe Atlanta is one of the best cities to live [in], start a business and build a family!
What would you tell someone who is too afraid to get into the crafting world? What’s a good project for beginners to start out with?
Before I launched Craft Box Girls, I did not consider myself a part of the crafting world. I was just a girl who liked to create and make things. I launched Craft Box Girls as a destination for everyday people to discover simple DIY projects and dabble with creating without feeling overwhelmed.
One of my favorite starter projects (and most popular on our site) is the Upcycled Frame to a Coffee Table Tray.
What are three tools every self-respecting crafter should have in her toolbox?
Hot glue gun, Mod Podge and washi tape
Where in Atlanta do you go to hit up crafting materials and supplies?
My go-to stores for supplies are Binders Art Supplies and Frames, Sam Flax, Michaels Craft Stores, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware and Paper Source. One of the best parts about being a DIYer is that the world is your canvas.
Who are your role models and why?
My role models have always been my parents. Both are very creative, have an amazing work ethic and have dedicated their lives to the well-being of their family. My dad is a general contractor and can build absolutely anything, and my mother is an amazing baker who started Sugar Lilly Bakery, a mobile bakery serving delicious and gorgeous cupcakes, cupcake jars and desserts.
Describe Craft Box Girls.
Craft Box Girls is a multiplatform, do-it-yourself, lifestyle destination to discover DIY projects, kids’ crafts, party how-tos and simple recipes. From content discovery on our website, social media and Apple TV application, to daytime television segments to our upcoming craft book to workshops and events like National DIY Day and future product lines, Craft Box Girls is aiming to build a DIY lifestyle brand that touches every aspect of a woman’s life.
Make us regular folk feel better and tell us about your biggest/most hilarious craft fail? (BTW, we love Pinterest Fail.)
I have had many hilarious crafting fails, but I think one of my favorites is when I was trying to make a watercolor-dipped terra-cotta pot for a how-to video. I painted the pot white with patio paint, with the thought that the pot would be outside so I wanted it to be weather resistant. When I started dipping the pot in the water colors they kept beading right off the pot. I was so confused until one of our team members started laughing. Patio paint is waterproof, hence watercolor paint beads right off of it. Clearly, that video did not get out of production, but I now have a beautiful white terra-cotta pot on my deck!
What does it take to launch a national movement like this month’s DIY Day which took place earlier this month?
National DIY Day (April 2) sparked from the idea of getting people to put down their phones, get together with friends and family and create. Our COO, Rosanna, started kicking around ideas and quickly realized there was no DIY Day. We quickly took action by building a website, launched social media handles, started the trademark process, picked a date and started spreading the word to all of our friends, family, bloggers and CBG audience around the world. We personally reached out to our favorite craft brands and bloggers asking them to participate, and we continually shared social media content promoting the day. The results were amazing. We sponsored events in Atlanta and Birmingham, and we have thousands of people on social media sharing their favorite DIY projects using #diyday and #nationaldiyday. We can’t wait for next year’s event to be even bigger!
Can you share a few Atlanta boutiques that offer handcrafted products that we could visit … until we get comfortable making our own items?
We are huge supporters of the maker movement and love supporting local makers. I personally love The Beehive and Crafted Westside. I am also a big fan of the Indie Craft Experience, which is a series of craft fairs that feature makers from around the Southeast selling their products.
You’ve done many television appearances on NBC’s “Atlanta & Company,” as well as others outside of the city. Please share some of your on-camera beauty tips and tricks with us.
I am pretty basic when it comes to makeup and hair. I am a real person, so I think it is important to have the same look on camera and off camera. Now that I am on NBC’s “Atlanta & Company” weekly, I tend to sneak into the green room to get tips from Nyssa Green, my favorite beauty expert. These are a few of the basic beauty tricks in my weekly television routine: I always wear heels to help with my posture, I wear fake eyelashes to help my eyes pop since they are small and I darken my eyebrows so they look fuller after years of overplucking.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Never stop learning. There is something to learn from every situation you encounter and every person you meet.
What three things can you not live without, excluding friends, family and faith?
My iPhone, lip balm and my hot glue gun (or glue in general) … I can fix and make anything with a hot glue gun!
Thank you to Lynn for sharing more about herself, her passion and what the heck washi tape is. We’re all prepped for next year’s DIY Day!
And as usual, thank you to CatMax Photography for the wonderful photos!
Please follow us on Instagram … we’re having all sorts of fun over there! @styleblueprintatlanta