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DIYer
Posted: March 8, 2020

Empowering Women, One Power Tool At A Time

Resourceful and creative. Determined and capable. Passionate and fearless. Female DIYers have taken over home improvement.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, and to empower more women to pick up power tools, we found a DIYer who truly inspires us. Meet Meghan Baker. Wife, mother of four, grandma of two, employee, business owner, DIYer, woodworker—and one of the hardest working women in South Carolina.

FINDING THAT ELUSIVE SPARK

After years of working and raising a family, Meghan of Sweet Aloha Designs needed to find her herself again—a hobby, a spark, something that would stir her soul again. She started by picking up abandoned furniture, painting and selling it on Facebook. She became a furniture flipper.

People in the area knew this about her and started dropping stuff off at her house. “They told me they saw this on the side of the road and said it reminded them of me and I’d say that’s fantastic,” she said laughingly.

Then out of the blue it happened. She describes the day like it was yesterday, “I was looking at an end table and thought, this is something I could build. I had no idea how to do it, but I knew I was handy and was determined to figure things out.”

She walked over to her husband’s old miter saw, which she never used before, and turned it on. That was it—she had found her spark.

First time I cut, it was like, oh my gosh, I love this, I don’t want to stop cutting! I started cutting small pieces like letters, arrows. I taught myself how to do different angles and degrees, how pieces fit together. I was creating, getting my hands dirty, I knew this was what I was meant to do.
FINDING THAT ELUSIVE SPARK
Since Meghan wasn’t born into a DIY family, she lacked basic tools and knowledge. Locals, including the mailman, donated tools. She watched YouTube videos, took wood crafting classes—it was crazy how it all connected for her. She created an Instagram account, which attracted other DIYers and woodworkers, including Izzy Swan of Makers Playground, an online social network for makers, who quickly became her mentor and dear friend.

INSPIRING OTHER WOMEN

Besides DIYing, Meghan loves inspiring her students, most of whom are women. There’s something magical about being all women in a workshop class. And with her knowledge, reassuring words and steady hand, many have overcome their fear of power tools.

“They come into the class scared. I give them peps talks in the beginning, in the middle and at the end of each class. I work with them one-on-one, putting my hands gently over theirs and telling them I’m not going anywhere. You’re going to do it! They get to pull the trigger and once they do, their energy goes WAY up. They feel empowered and can’t wait to do it again.”
INSPIRING OTHER WOMEN
So what advice does she give first time DIYers? “Get a mentor, take a class, just don’t NOT do it, because you’re scared,” says Meghan. “Just jump in and get your feet wet. Stay focused, stay positive. Enjoy the ride.”

ALWAYS SOMETHING TO FIX, ORGANIZE, BUILD OR CREATE

Meghan’s mind and body never stays still. She loves sketching her ideas and seeing them come to life. Journal A is filled with DIY home makeovers. Journal B is for the builds. Her priority project is a shed with all the bells and whistles—solar panels, lights, you name it. But her dream project is to build a huge workshop. (Currently she works out of a one car garage.)

“Maybe once I become an empty nester, I’ll build a big shop—would love the space and environment. I’d be totally fine living in a shack. Right now when I have a hard day, I sit under my miter saw and mediate. That’s my jam, I just feel great in that little cubby.”
ALWAYS SOMETHING TO FIX, ORGANIZE, BUILD OR CREATE

WOMEN ARE UNSTOPPABLE

As a female in a male-dominated field, Meghan acknowledges that many tools and accessories are geared towards men. Standing at 5’3”, Meghan’s tiny feet and hands make it tough to find steel toe shoes and work gloves that fit. And though her table top saw is a bit too high, she’s learned to adapt and push all the way through on her tippy toes.
WOMEN ARE UNSTOPPABLE
“Women have a natural designer’s eye,” says Meghan. “If we learn to use power tools safely, we would be unstoppable.”

So what’s up next for Meghan? Well, we heard she just purchased a welding tool. And maybe that she-shed isn’t too far away. There’s really no end to DIYing for this South Carolina dynamo.

We hope Meghan’s story inspires you to pick up a power tool and start flexing your own DIY muscles. You can follow her @sweetalohadesigns.

Happy International Women’s Day from your friends at HART.

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