Every so often, Elizabethtown resident Beth Kingston receives a text from her mother who comments on how nice she looks that day, even though Kingston’s parents live in Springfield, Virginia.
The text typically follows a broadcast of Kingston as an on-air personality on the Home Shopping Network, where she is a craft expert representing clients who sell products on the channel.
“It’s the weirdest job,” Kingston said. “It’s such a cool job.”
Her TV role developed as her previous career in social work shrank.
Kingston began a crafting career through a friend of a friend who worked with a scrapbooking company. At first, she was paid in product only.
“I always liked it as a hobby,” Kingston said of crafting, pointing out her mother and grandmother did a lot of crafts.
After some expansion, department changes and a need for an on-air personality arose in the company, Kingston found herself representing clients on HSN. One of the clients she represents is Xyron, the company she had worked for.
Among Kingston’s appearances are “Scrapbook Memories” on HSN, “Create & Craft TV” in the United Kingdom, “Balancing Act” on The Lifetime Channel and The Shopping Channel in Canada. Additionally, she has written craft articles for www.tlc.com and is host of a series of crafting videos.
At her website, www.kingstoncrafts.com, she maintains a blog, which includes tips for crafting projects. Among her blog posts is one involving another client, Cricut, a manufacturer of personal electronic cutting machines and products for creative projects.
During her journey, Kingston has done a variety of projects including do-it-yourself, kids’ crafts and repurposing furniture. A recent project involved repurposing and decorating an old drafting table.
Most of her work, she said, tends to be given away.
Homemade cards are among the most popular crafts, and they fall into that category. They are popular crafts because they generally make the recipients happy, Kingston said.
“I don’t think I’ve ever given a card and someone said, ‘That makes me sad,’” she said.
Getting an idea from her husband, Don, she even helped develop a line of men’s greeting cards and created a company for it called Paper Hatchet.
A military spouse, Kingston said her husband has been supportive of her career, which involves a bit of travel because HSN is based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Don even has appeared in an ad with her and on blogs, becoming a celebrity of sorts in his own right, she said.
In her role as an HSN on-air personality, Kingston has had to get used to being on live television. Although she had appeared in videos for a company prior to her HSN role, that allowed her to do a number of takes if she didn’t get it right the first time.
Not so on HSN, which always broadcasts live.
“I’ve had to learn to watch my mouth because I swear like a sailor at home,” she said.
On the other hand, Kingston said she doesn’t change her personality for television. She said the biggest compliment she receives is when she meets a fan who tells her she’s just the same in person as she is on TV.
Don said his wife uses her success to help others, such as coaching new on-air guests. Additionally, he said, she helps and encourages others, especially women.
“Beth is very talented when it comes to identifying great creative ideas, and she has used that to help others build their business,” he said.
That, Don said, has resulted in many friendships.
“I think that attitude of hers is infectious, and that is why she has made so many friends, not only in the craft industry and on HSN, but even in the many neighborhoods we have lived in as we have moved around the past 17 years,” Don said.
The role, Beth said, did mean leaving behind her career in social work, which she had for about 10 years.
“The one thing I miss most about social work is that I felt I was making a difference,” Beth said. “To make up for that, Don and I do a lot of volunteer work.”
Case in point, she said, is the work they do helping the Okolona Women’s Club in providing money for a veterans’ homeless shelter as well as cards and other items for clients.
Although becoming a craft expert was an unexpected turn for her, it is one Beth embraces.
“I never forget how lucky I am,” she said.
Robert Villanueva can be reached at 270-505-1743 or email@example.com.
A FEW FACTS ABOUT BETH KINGSTON
- City of birth: Chicago.
- Favorite music: Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holliday and country.
- Favorite TV shows: “The Walking Dead,” “Major Crimes” and police and medical shows.
- Favorite authors/books: Rick Bragg, Pat Conroy and mystery.
- Favorite movies: “Love, Actually,” “Pride and Prejudice” and Star Wars and Star Trek movies.
- Hobbies: Traveling, “thrifting/junking/yardsaling” and food, because she and her husband, Don, are “hard-core foodies.”
- Pets: Bizzy Bee and Baloo, two Great Dane mixes.
- Where to find her: Among other places, www.kingstoncrafts.com and www.thepaperhatchet.com.