A New Year (Part 1): Looking Back
There's nothing quite like the beginning of a new year that makes me feel simultaneously reflective of the past and excited to plan for the future. So much has happened in the past 4 years since I planned my very first cut-flower garden with the intention to sell flowers.
This photo of me and my oldest is from 2019 when my first spring bulbs were emerging after a long winter. photo: Mary Madeline Photography
I absolutely love creating these seasonal floral arrangements for all of you and the ones you love. Thank you for trusting me to deliver a little floral beauty and for supporting my little business. It’s my third try on starting a business and three years later I feel like I can say with some confidence that I think I’ve found my thing.
The first business I started was more than 10 years ago. I read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver and decided that we should definitely be closer to the food we ate. We moved onto a farm and rented a mother-in-law suite. The owners had a small pig, chicken, and turkey farm and rented some of their land to a vegetable farmer. We moved there because we wanted to learn about farming and raising animals and see if it was something we wanted to do. We ended up taking over the pigs, turkeys, and chickens because the owners couldn't keep going with it. This business checked the boxes of working with the land and animals and doing it in a sustainable way.
Eric and I in the spring of 2013 on our little farm in North Bellingham. I was pregnant with our first kiddo, and we were learning so much in such a small window of time. Photo: Sustainable Connections
We learned so much about starting and running a business during that short time of being farmers. I didn't do a lot of the farm work but was responsible for branding, marketing, sales, finances, and ordering supplies. We ran this little business in the after hours of our full-time jobs until our first kiddo came—6 months after that, we decided that it was not something we could keep doing as new parents.
My next little business came a few years later, when I was working part time in social work, with two little ones now, and trying to find a way to quench my creative needs and my entrepreneurial inclinations. I'd worked in a bead store in college and had the tools and skills to make jewelry, so I started a jewelry business that reused components from vintage or out-of-style jewelry to create something new—harnessing my loves for design and sustainability. I stretched my marketing muscles by creating a brand and social media presence for my jewelry and sold at a local consignment shop. While this business was fun and I had a small amount of success with it, it ultimately lost my interest. It wasn't varied enough and I realized I wasn't even wearing jewelry anymore thanks to all the tugging and grabbing of tiny hands.
Another reason I lost interest in making jewelry was that I found something else I enjoyed far more. Flowers were slowly taking over my vegetable garden and I couldn't get enough of YouTube flower arranging tutorials. My library book pile was filled with books about growing and arranging flowers. I took a workshop from flower farmer Erin Benzakein of Floret Flowers, and jumped onto the most beautiful bandwagon I have ever had the pleasure of joining. This little business is really not so original. There are small flower growers popping up all over the world. The local flower movement is as strong as ever and continues to spread like seeds in the wind.
I have gained so much from learning and growing in the garden alongside my partner and four kiddos. photo: Kaylin Pinkett Photography
I feel lucky that I've found a business model that checks the boxes that I need it to. Having the freedom of working from home and being my own boss is absolutely essential for me. This creative and sustainable business that keeps me connected to the earth beneath my feet and surrounded by butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds is truly the sweetest thing.
Thanks for reading this far and I hope you are having a lovely new year so far! Read A New Year (Part 2): Looking Forward.