#WesternWomenWednesday Sierra Tinker, The Rusted Roan
While indulging in Instagram's trademark approach of bringing people together based on interest, I came across @therustedroan. Major props because their algorithm nailed it for me! Sierra is a fun wife, mom, and boss babe with a serious creative streak and an eye for business. The more I get to know her, the more common ground I find.
Truth be known, Sierra was part of the inspiration for this entire series! Lamenting over our early years in business, sharing why our happiness was more important that the corporate gigs we had been in, and the hard stuff most new business owners don't realize, it hit me. What if Branded in Ink could help create new business networks and share the inspiring stories of those women that broke through? I am not sure that any small business owner ever "arrives" but they do find a certain confidence when their brand finds its tribe.
Sierra has a tribe by being authentically herself and making some pretty cool stuff along the way!
1. Name, Age, Location.
Sierra Tinker, 30, Flournoy, California (Pop 140, Northern California)
2. What is the name of your business and what do you do?
The Rusted Roan. Western inspired upholstered furniture and home decor.
3. What inspired you to start your own business?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but after having my son, I was determined to stay home with him while still generating income. My husband and I bought our fixer-upper house with a small remodel budget. I began making most of our home decor and refinishing furniture pieces for each room then one thing just led to another. I really love refinishing furniture and the flow I get in while doing it, but I have a hard time sitting still and wasn’t being challenged enough. This is where the upholstery came in. Upholstery can be difficult but you’re always moving and always problem-solving. The western theme just went along with our lifestyle. Sometimes I like to mix it up and throw in some fun Farmhouse or modern pieces, but it seems I always go back to my favorites like hair on hides, Pendleton Wool and western prints.
4. Tell us about the time you questioned yourself for taking the self employed journey.
Some days are hard and nothing with self employment is guaranteed. Starting out and building a business from the ground up can feel like an uphill battle at times. At one point, I really missed going to work for someone else, clocking in, doing my job then clocking out and going home with a guaranteed paycheck, but there was no fulfillment there and I felt like I was wasting the creative gifts I’d been given. I had to remember WHY I started this journey in the first place. Self employment is a constant juggling act, but if it’s worth fighting for, it’s going to unbalance your life to some degree.
5. Your animals are regular props and comedic relief in your photos- tell us about them!
HAHA which ones?! I feel like we have a funny farm half the time! We have a few AQHA cow horses and cutting is my passion, but our horses are expected to be able to do a little bit of everything… rope, ride outside, etc. We have a small herd of cattle, chickens, barn cats and working dogs. They pretty much run our lives but we wouldn’t have it any other way. You get to know everybody through my Instagram Stories, it’s almost inevitable. I love using the animals to stage my furniture pieces with. Dodge, my roan horse, was part of the inspiration for my business. He is usually the one you’ll see with my pieces of furniture and he’s absolutely miserable to pose for photos. He has no problem letting you know he’s being incredibly inconvenienced posing for photos!
6. You do such a great job at sharing your life through Instagram Stories! Any secrets for other ladies struggling with what to say?
My Instagram Stories are pretty much shot from the hip, but they’re real life. You’ll catch some behind the scenes in my studio and what I’m currently working on, family life and how we spend our days off, our herd of animals or even something off-the-wall like me trying to catch the neighbor’s chicken in the dark. My take on Instagram Stories is they’re a chance for your followers to get to know you, in a sense. Don’t be afraid to show people who you really are. Sure, you may lose some followers but they aren’t your people. You’ll gain those who have a true interest in what you have to offer.
7. What advice would you give to someone considering self-employment?
Do it debt free and build in little increments if you have to. Then it really is YOUR business and you aren’t a slave to some lender. There’s enough things to worry about when you’re just starting out in your business venture. Staying consistent has to be equally important though. As long as you keep moving forward a little bit every day, no matter how slow, you will eventually make it to where you want to be. That goes for big goals and small goals. Lastly, get a business coach. It can be a person who is ahead of you in business and coaching you one-on-one, a coaching group, or even a book or podcast. A business coach will help you reach your goals and streamline the process of getting off the ground in much less time and with a lot less effort than if you flounder around and try to figure it all out yourself.
8. What do you listen to in the shop to keep you motivated and pass the time?
Oh where do I start?! It varies from day to day and with the piece I’m working on. I am a huge podcast junkie. There are so many great ones but Jen Hatmaker has to be my hands down favorite. She can have me in stitches or sobbing in a hot second, and she is such a philanthropist. Rachel Hollis is another favorite. I also love audio books, and have a habit of listening to a handful of books at once, switching it up throughout the day. My husband laughs because I can’t read fiction books, they stress me out. I’m all about the nonfiction. Some days call for just music and might start out with artists like Tom Russell or Marty Robbins then swing to 90’s hip hop and R&B.
9. How has social media impacted the success of your business?
I’m not sure where my business would be without social media! It’s unbelievable the amount of power social media has. Because of social media, I’m able to have my studio out here, where we live, instead of a Brick and Mortar shop in town. It has also allowed me to easily reach customers in other states and make friends who are scattered throughout the U.S. and in other countries. Without social media, it would be much more difficult for me to reach my customers, especially because of my more specialized market. Social media has also connected me with other refinishers, textile suppliers and people in my industry I would have never met otherwise. If it weren’t for social media, I would have also been clueless about the ease of shipping pieces of furniture around the country. It’s really amazing what the platforms can do for a business.
10. What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote of all time is, “Though she be but little, she is fierce!” - William Shakespeare. In business, you have to be fierce in accomplishing your goals in order to get to where you want to be.
Are you loving Sierra's style and story as much as we do? Feel free to ask her a question below, share this post with your friends, and by all means, FOLLOW HER!!!