DIY duo: Sycamore couple to be featured in Menards commercial

When Michelle and Ryan Knox of Sycamore decided to build a new planter box for the front of their house, they never thought that their post and pictures would go viral online – or that it would lead to an appearance in a Menards commercial.

Their post and pictures of how to build a monogram cedar planter box has been pinned almost 100,000 times on Pinterest and has been shared more than 158,000 times on Facebook. Their business, Ellery Designs, now has more than 17,500 followers on Instagram.

The couple and their 7-year-old daughter Camryn were recently filmed shopping and building the planter box for a 90-second Menards commercial that will appear streaming online before other videos, including on YouTube.

“The planter turned out better than we thought, but we never thought it would be so popular online,” Michelle Knox said.

“We had an old planter that was falling apart, so we wanted to build a new one that was different. I love monograms, and Ryan had the idea of building a monogram planter. We added soil and flowers, posted pictures and saw it take off online.”

Ellery Designs was started in 2014. “Ellery” is a combination of their first names. In addition to creating and making designs at home, both Michelle and Ryan Knox have full-time jobs.

“I started making wedding invitations and birthday parties in 2008, and with my love for DIY and decorating and Ryan’s woodworking and building skills, we started Ellery Designs,” Michelle Knox said. “Handmade items and interior design are my passion. I have always loved scrapbooking and decorating for holidays and just being creative.”

The design team started small by remodeling their kitchen and redecorating their house. They began to take pictures of their décor and post DIY instructions online. Soon, they started selling personalized signs on Etsy, shipping them across the United States and gaining recognition for their work.

In addition to appearing in the upcoming Menards commercial, Ellery Designs has been featured on Martha Stewart, Hostess with the Mostess, Style Me Pretty, iVillage, Kara’s Party Ideas, Tip Junkie, Living Locurto and Baby Lifestyles Magazine.

After receiving hundreds of requests for the monogram planter boxes, Michelle and Ryan Knox plan on creating customized boxes that can be ordered and purchased online.

“We want to expand the business by designing and building new things,” Ryan Knox said. “Michelle is constantly rearranging and redecorating the house, and I help with designs. I always have ideas in my head. We want to create things that are unique and different, something that hasn’t been done before.”

Michelle Knox said she already has ideas for new designs and can’t wait to start decorating for the next holiday.

“My main goal is to share my ideas and help people decorate while on a budget,” Michelle Knox said.

“It would be amazing if through my designs, I could inspire people to give decorating and being creative a try.” 

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