Hi! I’m Angie! I was born and raised in Southeastern Wisconsin and while the winters here are my LEAST favorite, I do LOVE the changing seasons and I’ll probably never live in another state. (yes, I’m a Cheesehead for life!) I graduated from Milwaukee Area Technical College in 2000 with an Associates of Applied Arts in Commercial Art and again in 2003 with an Associates of Applied Arts in Interior Design. I am the owner/creator of Beyond Basics Design... I'm a procrastinating perfectionist with a dream... a coffee-loving designer/artist with a passion to create meaningful, lasting art that brings smiles to the faces of as many people as I possibly can! I’m the designer behind the designs, the artist behind the art, the maker of all our signs, the photographer, the website designer, the marketing manager, the accountant/bookkeeper, the customer service specialist, the inventory manager, the shipping manager...you get the idea! I do ALL the things… but I definitely do NOT do them all alone!
I married my amazing husband, Aaron in 2001. (I cannot even believe we'll be celebrating 20 years this year!) He is my rock, my workhorse, and my supporter. (more on him in just a bit) In 2015, we purchased a second (vacation) home on Lake Sherwood in Central Wisconsin. We call it the “Harwood Happy Place.” Someday this will be our only home, but for now, it’s just where we spend relaxing weekends on the water and some extra time with our closest friends and family… It’s also where Beyond Basics Design really began!
I started by creating a few “happy” signs, and that quickly became an obsession! First, there was "Harwood Happy Place" which led to "This is our Happy Place" and "Why Limit Happy To Just an Hour?" - over the bar cart, of course! (we’re Wisconsinites… we like to drink!) And after making a few other random signs, I thought I was finally finished when I completed our "Lake Life wall o' signs"... a collection of 20 signs in total!!! But, oh was I wrong! All of these signs prompted a couple of custom orders, which turned into a few more personalized signs... and then a whole bunch more! It was THEN that I realized that I not only enjoyed making signs that made ME happy, but that I really do have a PASSION for creating products that MAKE OTHERS HAPPY!!
There’s those squirrels I was talking about! Sorry... and thank you for hangin' in there with me this far! But what you're about to read is the best part! (and the whole point of this blog post) It's about my team, my tribe, my family, my EVERYTHING!!!
Meet Aaron - Master Technician by day, my SUPERHERO by night! He is, and always has been, by my side every step of the way. He picks up the wood boxes from our supplier, breaks them down, and cuts them into ready-to-use boards. He cuts and assembles those boards for your signs and while I do “all the pretty stuff” to finish all the signs, he keeps me company in the workshop, AKA: our garage (which he has completely and selflessly given up for the sake of this business). He is always willing to run out and get tools, materials, supplies, etc. - often before I even realize that they’re needed. When there’s an event/craft show, he travels with me, unloads the trailer, helps with set-up and tear-down, then packs up and reloads the trailer for safe travels back home. (thoroughbred workhorse, right?) Besides all this, he is also my goofball - making me laugh when I’m too serious or stressed, my problem solver - offering practical solutions when I (physically or mentally) cannot see past a challenge or obstacle. He keeps me on task when I get “squirreled” and he gets me OUT of the garage (and my own head!) to keep me balanced... to truly enjoy our family and everyday LIFE outside of BBD!
Meet Kennedy - My amazingly smart, talented, beautiful (inside and out) daughter. A first-year student at Boston University, enrolled in Kilachand Honors College as well, pursuing a dual degree - BFA in Painting and BA in History of Art and Architecture (while maintaining the 4.0 GPA that she earned throughout high school!) An unbelievably talented artist, she currently manages her own Instagram and website in addition to work for BBD! She’s my organizer (my squirrel-tamer)... My digital designer/genius, social media and website coordinator, writer, blog editor, social media contributor, and content designer. She also handles file management as well as photo editing and organizing. She just gets me... She sees my vision, breaks it down, organizes everything and does it all with style, ease and grace. She really is beyond extraordinary! She makes me feel like I can accomplish anything! ...and with her help, I believe I can too!!
Meet Al - My dad! A Vietnam veteran, a retired Industrial Mechanic (after 44 years in the industry!) and an avid (not to mention skilled and talented) woodworking hobbyist. He’s my mentor for the love of wood... He is able to see the beauty in wood like no other. He creates one-of-a-kind products including candle holders, log-slice coasters, wall art and centerpieces from driftwood and other unique woods we come across. He’s a master of the bandsaw, supplying the parts to create our log-slice owls and snowmen, wood slice banners and wall art, and hand-cut states for our “HOME” signs. He taught me how to use a miter saw, bandsaw, sanders, and even a hammer! (hold the handle at the end or he’ll threaten to cut it off!) In addition to all his contributions from his workshop, he also has the role of Sales Associate for many of our events.
I'm so excited to continue sharing more about Beyond Basics Design with you all! Follow along to see inside the business, behind the scenes, and the all-around chaos and creativity that is... beyond the basics! Thanks for taking time to meet the team. Subscribe to the blog below so you never miss an update!