When Leslie Scoutten’s oldest child started high school in 2016, she knew that before too long, all four of her kids would be leaving home. Her corporate job didn’t leave her much time to spend with them, so after discussing matters with her husband, she decided to dive into her own business.
The year before, Leslie, who lives in Brentwood, had started an online business called The Scoutten House, more as a hobby than anything else. The website originally offered mostly handmade personalized items. But with Leslie now being able to devote more time to her business as well as her children, The Scoutten House really took off. The website now offers home and wedding decor as well.
“When I got into the wedding market, it really changed things for me. What’s trending right now is more of a rustic, outdoor wedding feel, and a lot of my products have that feel,” Leslie says.
She personally makes all the products she sells. She roams lumber yards looking for the right woods, which she sands and stains. Leslie also scours local hardware stores and other shops to find exactly what she needs for each item.
“From start to finish, the product is homemade,” Leslie says. “That might sound like a lot to some people, but for me, I’m a natural DIYer, so I love making things. I don’t know if I would have it any other way. That’s what adds to the quality of each item and how unique it is; this is something I have taken from scratch and made.”
She learned skills mostly from watching her father, who had a shop in their backyard where he would do woodworking. As a teen, she actually helped him build a deck.
Leslie keeps an eye on trends in home decor and weddings and can immediately recognize whether it’s something she can make. She then decides if she also can offer it at a competitive price. She also watches a lot of HGTV to get ideas and really loves when customers bring her their ideas.
“One of the things I really enjoy is working with my customers. They pitch me their ideas, I create a digital proof, and then there's a back and forth until we get to the point where we’re seeing the same thing,” Leslie says.
She estimates that at least 30% of her current products have come from customers' ideas. Many of these creations become staples for The Scoutten House.
Leslie also makes seasonal items. Fall, in particular, she says, triggers porch decor. So, she gears a lot of her fall items toward outdoor decor, such as “Hello, Fall” or “Welcome to Our Patch” signs. For Christmas, she gets overwhelmed with requests for personalized gifts because most customers are buying for others rather than for themselves.
Although she has customers from all over the country, Leslie is really looking forward to working with more local customers and getting to know the people right in Brentwood. She even offers local pickup, or she can ship anywhere in the U.S.
“I feel so blessed to be working my dream job that allows me the ability to spend more time with my family,” Leslie says.
To view Leslie's possibilities and products, visit The Scoutten House.