Monday, July 21, 2014

2014 VRPS Members in the Community: Lisa Walker

Lisa Walker is a former VRPS member and worked at Hanover County Parks and Recreation as well as Roanoke City Parks and Recreation. She is a 2011 VRPS Outstanding New Professional Winner and recently left the profession to pursue her own business.  Most recently, Lisa has been providing services to Central Office as they transition to a new employment structure.

by Lisa Walker, VRPS Central Office

Interchangeable Magnetic
What is your business and how did it all start?
I own and operate Whimsical Expressions, and specialize in custom wood monograms and signs.  This whole adventure started back in 2008 while I was working with Hanover County Parks and Recreation. There I met Mary Ann Stamey, a fellow VRPS member, and she got me involved with paper crafting.  With her help we made just about everything for my wedding and from then on I was hooked on crafting.  That Christmas I made all my gifts and got so many compliments I decided I’d give selling my creations a shot. I started with just making frames, and that evolved into small signs which then evolved into my most recent venture of making wood monograms and larger custom signs. Although this all started as a side business, over the past couple of years it grew so much I had to make the difficult decision to leave my career with Parks and Recreation to pursue my dream full time.

What was your greatest concern or doubt, and how did it turn out?  
Swirl Initials
Honestly, my greatest fear was, and still is, failure. So far taking the plunge has been a great decision for my family and it’s going very well, but there is always that scary unknown factor when running your own business. Thankfully I have a great support group of family and friends that are always rooting me on.

How do you feel your involvement in the parks and recreation profession and VRPS have benefited you in your business?
If I never would have worked in parks and recreation, I would probably still be scared to death of speaking in front of people.  And let’s face it, when you are trying to sell a product, you really need to be able to speak with confidence.  One of the most beneficial programs I was involved in during my time in VRPS was the Leadership Training Institute (LTI). Here I gained the confidence to speak up, step up and be a better leader. These skills have contributed to me being a better businesswoman, and the friendships I’ve made over the years are an awesome bonus!  

24" Monogram
If you could choose one thing to happen for Whimsical Expressions in the future, what would it be?
Continued growth…and retirement to a tropical island! Ok, that’s two things but seriously, I would love to see my dream take off and to have a nationally recognized brand.

Where can people find/buy your products?
The easiest way is to visit my website My products can also be found in several stores in the Richmond area and I do a variety of shows and festivals throughout the year.

Lisa received "Best in Show - Original Hand Craft"
 at the Gloucester Daffodil Festival this past spring.
Display at The Stolen Pig in Carytown.

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