Before the twinkling lights and inflatable holiday characters appear in local neighborhoods, there is one decoration that tends to show up first—the holiday wreath.
Hanging on front doors everywhere, they can be dusted with fake snow, covered in glitter or customized with a family initial, but they all signal the start of the celebratory season. Yasmeen Shields, owner of Yasmeen’s Sassy Wreaths, can’t help but get excited when the cooler temperatures roll around.
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It’s time to get to work. It’s wreath season. She’ll host DIY workshops for dozens of groups across NoVA, popping up at local breweries and wineries, helping eager holiday decorators create their own wreath to show off to families, friends, neighbors. And she’ll find herself making custom wreaths for customers across the United States, shipping them from Loudoun County to holiday lovers everywhere.
We spoke with her about the origin of her business, why wreaths have become her forte and the upcoming holiday season. Highlights from our conversation, below.
Starting back at the beginning, how did you get started making wreaths?
It seems like a lifetime ago. Before relocating to Loudoun County nearly seven years ago, I lived in Austin, Texas, where door-swag is a big deal. I fell in love with home decor and entry-way decor while living there. I taught myself how to make different types of wreaths for the seasons and holidays. My first batch of wreaths weren’t the prettiest but I was much better after several Pinterest fails.
Why did you decide to start Yasmeen’s Sassy Wreaths?
Making wreaths for individuals or bulk orders is where my brand started, but with all things, there must be growth. I decided three years ago to expand by teaching workshops in the NoVA community and allowing attendees to be creative by making their own handmade wreaths. This also allowed me to put down deeper roots in my local area. I really enjoy being social, creative and creating a fun, easygoing environment for all who attend.
Is making wreaths and hosting workshops now your full-time gig?
After creating a web store, I turned my hobby into a full-time, home-based business. In my previous career, I owned a full-service wedding and events firm. I’ve always found myself passionate about visual creativity. And as a mom of two amazing children, creating my own brand allows me to control my work schedule and be an example to show them the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.
What is it like to be a creative business owner in Northern Virginia?
My business is unique. It allows me to stand out from the rest. I’m proud to be an African-American female artisan. Putting my roots in Northern Virginia has allowed me to partner with innovative nonprofit organizations, award-winning wineries and breweries, local clubs, chapters and teams, as well as business chambers and many diverse individuals. NoVA is a community that truly supports small business and recognizes emerging markets.
What’s your favorite part about wreaths and wreath designing?
I enjoy making wreaths and using it as one of my creative outlets. It makes a visual statement about one’s style or interest. It also allows me to use different materials and techniques, which I continue to learn.
And when it comes to the custom wreaths you have made in the past, do you have a favorite?
I truly have so many favorites that it’s hard to choose just one. The fall and winter are my favorite seasons to be inspired for new designs. What will always be memorable are the wreaths that I donated to the Loudoun County Habitat for Humanity nonprofit organization. To be able to create designs for families who have experienced hardships and overcome hurdles to become homeowners will always warm my heart.
You have quite a few make-it-yourself workshops planned this season. What is it like for you to bring those experiences to the community?
It’s exciting to be integrated in the NoVA community by offering hands-on DIY events. The “Wreaths & Wine” and “Wreaths & Brews” workshops allow attendees to explore local vineyards, breweries, event spaces and restaurants. I’m lucky to be in an area that offers so many great locations to partner with. The workshops are also a perfect match for charitable fundraising which I’m passionate about.
What is it that you love about wreaths, and what do you hope your products and workshops bring to people?
Wreaths are beautiful and pleasing to the eye, and I love to create for my customers. It makes me happy that they choose to proudly display or give them as a gift. Being a small business owner, I value my relationship with my customers. My workshops are an experience that people choose to attend. I’m always humbled that by the community’s support by joining the events. I want them to enjoy themselves in a fun, laid-back environment.
Why do you think wreaths really make a statement around the holidays?
When it comes to holiday wreaths, outdoor decor truly is just as important as the indoor decor you hang up inside. Yasmeen’s Sassy Wreaths are a stylish yet easy way to instantly up the ante when it comes to your holiday decor. Whether you attend one of the popular wreath workshops or opt for a custom design, I guarantee wreaths can speak to one’s individual holiday decorating taste, style or theme.
How can readers order a wreath or join an upcoming workshop?
My website offers a variety of designs ranging from burlap, deco-mesh and grapevine creations. I offer local pick-up and can ship nationwide. Those interested in DIY workshops can sign up through my website, or find the event postings on my Facebook page. Come join the festive fun!
Plus, here’s a holiday decorating tip: Wreaths aren’t just for doors! They look beautiful displayed on mirrors, over a mantle or in windows.