creative community

Creative Profile: Zen Succulents

When I first stumbled into Megan's store a couple of years ago, I was really excited to finally check out the store friends were telling me about. I was attracted to the cute handmade pottery plant holders and adorable succulents, but after the first purchase I was sold. I didn't just buy into the products--the plants and pottery and the like are all incredible quality--but you can get those things other places as well. I bought into Megan and her vision. Even the day that I went in to take pictures of Zen Succulents for this profile, it was so easy to fall into easy conversation with this boss lady. We talked about plants, the cultural significance of storefronts in cities, and the importance of smart business choices.

As much as I  love plants, I'm sometimes not so great at keeping them thriving or alive. But Megan has answered every question I have ever had about why my plants whether it was dropping her a quick message on Instagram or popping into the shop. She troubleshoots my plant ailments and sends me off with the doctor's orders. I love this shop and I can't wait to see how it grows. 

As some of you might know, Megan is about to open her second store front here in downtown Raleigh, so we thought no better time to give you a tour through her business, and if you keep reading you can get some sneak peaks into the store, opening July 11th!

History of Zen Succulents  

It really started as a terrarium and plant craft business with my mother and I for a passion in planting greenery that started at a very young age. It started as that in 2012 focussing on selling plant crafts, terrariums, focussing on succulents, all over the United States. But then that business really morphed into something else, meaning that we didn't just want to sell plants to our customers, but we also wanted to provide that education, that knowledge, that community as well. And that is what lead to the Zen Succulent to being that terrarium and plant craft business, but leading into a storefront in a workshop space, in a gathering space for likened people who love low maintenance greenery, love community, love caring for something other than themselves. in 2016 became in spot. 

What got you started in plants and plant care? What inspires you?

Honestly my mom. My mom has a passion for greenery and just working with her hands. She's a scientist by day and helps out with the business still.  She is a career scientist working forty years for the government, but over all that time she has always been very crafty. She still is. When I was five years old I remember her going to local craft fairs selling her hand made embroidery t-shirts. I always saw my mom having that 9-5 job along with a side hustle. I learned my plant care from her because she liked having plants in the house and we learned how to take care of them. Instead of our chores just being mowing the lawn and taking out the trash, it also included taking care of the living things around us. Things that inspire. me? My mom, nature, all the delight in color are the things that inspire me. 

Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business

What are some things that are unique to being woman of color business owner?

The fact that you're seeing something different than the normal. I don't like to say that my shop has a color. It is a little bit more gender oriented with the lighter pastels that tend to be feminine, but the first thing that people notice is this gorgeous painting painted by Rachel Campbell, a Durham Artist by way of New Zealand, and her name is Melinda. Melinda is a gorgeous Durham African American Woman that is up in age. Ms. Melinda had lived a lot of years, but you can see this woman is inspired and joyful and surrounded by her plants. I love that painting. It is so amazing to have that piece in the shop because it does give a sense of this is a shop created by someone not in the mainstream, but it also brings together the fact that we are able to do a lot as woman business owners. It is very inspiring to be a woman of color because there isn't really a lot of that within the realm that I am in so its nice to show a great representation of my culture as well as a female business owner. 

DSC_0593.jpg

What makes your plant shop different? What about your brand stands out?

As I mentioned earlier, the Zen Succulent really morphed from being specifically terrarium, plant crafts, and other ways to display plants to being that neighborhood plant shop and gift shop, giving that opportunity that was allowed to myself when starting my business of having maker's independent micro businesses that share a creative theme is outstanding. We not only provide those plants and those great giftable items but we also provide the knowledge to take care of those plants so that they are living past that day and you are building confidence within yourself to continue to maintain them. We're not only providing those great looking, fun plants, but also providing the knowledge so that you gain confidence to take care of them. Our original store in Durham is 400 square feet. It is not large at all. It is baffling that we are able to have so much in that space, but everything that is in there is intentional and has a purpose so that our customers don't feel overwhelmed and its also cozy, and we have what you need.  

Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business
Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business

How do you push yourself to learn more about plants and their care and go further with your business?

The big element is the plant care and plant knowledge base. This year we have become very interactive with our Instagram stories this year. Now every Tuesday we provide Plant Tip Tuesday where we select a low maintenance plant in the storefront where we tell you about the history, the care, also how you can style it in your home, and giving you more perspective of a plant that you might only see from a flat picture on the internet. We are trying to take this a step further on our blog which is revamped with out plants tips and knowledge. It's something we can catalogue. Customers would say 'we missed your plant tip Tuesday" so now we catalogue and put it on our Youtube Channel. You're never not learning when it comes to this. We are always picking up the latest books and talking to trusted growers and just finding out different tips we can trickle down to our customers. 

Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business

What is the hardest thing about owning this small business in the RDU area?

Really, our business is such a niche market. You have to remember we started our business in 2012 online. We were on the online platform Etsy when it was in the heat of things, but we also took leaps and bounds by being in local shops and taking on local pop ups and putting our products in  local stores like West Elm and Madewell. We were able to move our business and see what people liked as we continued to build capital and build our business. During that whole time from when we opened a shop in 2016, we were trying to build a following. We were immediately able to see what was selling and what was not, so that we could curate our store. We were also able to go into those craft fairs as makers, and then see our friends next door and see what they were selling and build personal relationships with them. When I opened up the store it was so awesome to call on friends for specific items to be in the stores. We were able to utilize the skills of where we were as makers and bring that to the RDU area. That's not the hardest thing of owning a business in the area. It's really just a rewarding thing. 

Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business

Describe your office space and what your most productive time to work is.

I am an early bird. My fiancé and I have a little puppy named Archer. So Archer and I are waking up at 5:45 and we start our day together by 7. That is my prime time because my brain is up and it is moving. I can shoot off emails and design ideas. I can go into the store front or green house before the traffic gets on the road and do a great deal of work. My workplace is the same cash wrap that our customers in Durham check out at. Its a lovely L shape cash wrap, my height. Its perfect height for me to pull out my laptop and my workbooks. My workspace is the store front where I can be inspired by the things around me. I can see what I need to order and see how the shop is morphing. 

Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business
Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business

What is your favorite plant or your favorite project that you’re working on?

I have worked personally on some amazing projects. I have had some stints working with the Home and Garden Television and their Instagram stories, even building a ten foot succulent wall which was an amazing and growing experience. We have also written a book called "Modern Terrarium Studios." All of those have been some exciting projects to work on. I would like to say that my favorite project to work on has also been the most stressful and that is working on opening up the storefront. 

The jade plant has to be, if I had to say, one of my favorites at the moment. It's sturdy and meant to bring good luck. It's party of the succulent plant so its so easy to maintain and it can grow super large. It's a forever plant. Very cool.

Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business

What’s the most tedious but necessary task in owning a business? How do you hustle through it?

It comes to delegating. Delegating tasks are a huge bit of growing your business. Delegating tasks allows you to do something you're really passionate about and put the things that are necessary on the plate of someone else that might take away your joy. For me it was hiring an accountant. I love looking at the numbers, but I would rather focus on building a beautiful store front and an online presence than looking at those details and getting all those papers together. As soon as the new year hits you are getting off that high from doing so well during the holiday season to all of a sudden "Oh my gosh tax season is coming." I found an accountant who only focusses on small businesses.

Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business

What are some goals you have for your business?

Goals are something I try to have as short term as possible. I don't know everything and I don't know how my business is going to go. I envision my business online at one point and that's what I made happen. I envisioned when the market was right to have a storefront and everything lined up. Really another goal has been to bring a little bit more of that to another area that our customers were coming from that we new if we brought it to them in a different experience, a larger storefront, it would provide more avenues for plants and taking it to that next level (hint hint Raleigh Storefront). I can't wait to share more of those goals soon (as in July 11th!).

Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business
DSC_0559.jpg

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in their small business? 

We started ours a little bit different than most. We didn't have a whole bunch of capital to start off with. We didn't max out credit cards. I didn't have one. I started the business when I was 24, shortly after college. Literally, the first order that was sold I used that profit from that to make the second one. Everything was a slow build for us. We only used the money that we had. That made me strap down to figure out exactly where I wanted to put that money so it wasn't frivolously going out the door. That slow and constant build really is something I would encourage a small business to do. I also encourage you to test the waters. We went to those craft fairs and went to those shops. At some of those fairs, even the disappointments, we were able to test it out in different markets. 

Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business

What do you use most for marketing? What is your favorite social media platform? 

It has to be Instagram. Our plants are just so visual. Instagram sums it up without even using words that goes across languages and barriers.

Sneak Peak of the new shop coming soon to Raleigh

Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business
Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business
Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business
Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business
Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business
Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business
Zen Succulents - Lifestyle Blog - Small Business - Creatives - Creative Consultants - Product Photography - Raleigh Creative Community - Raleigh Small Business

You can purchase Megan's terrariums, plants, and other gift items in both store fronts, located in Downtown Durham and Downtown Raleigh, as well as online. Be sure to support this creative and small business this coming week for the opening of the Raleigh Storefront. We hope to see you there! 

Durham Location: 125 E Parrish Street, Suite 100 A, Durham, NC 27701

Raleigh Location: 208 S Wilmington St, Raleigh, NC 27601 

 

Creative Profile: PupVenture

Meet Lauren and Alison 

I was lucky enough to meet Alison through an amazing Reddit Ladies Group (because Yes that is totally a thing) and discovered not only is she fun and amazing but she is a badass lady boss. As someone who is constantly on location for shoots I knew I needed a reliable, fun, and trustworthy person to take care of my pups while I'm away. 

These two are nothing short of amazing. They come to your home, walk your dogs, give them all the love and attention they need, throw ball, and send you photos and updates every time they stop by. If my pup's smiling faces on the screen are any indication of how much they love these two I know your pups will love them just as much! 

Interested in learning more - Read Below or visit their website here. 

raleigh dogwalkers - raleigh dogwalking services - north carolina creative community

 

How did you get started? How did you know you wanted to start this business?

We had known each other when we both worked in the DTR bartending community, and both needed a change. Lauren got work at a doggie daycare and a locally owned natural dog and cat supply store. Alison started walking dogs and doing pet sitting on the side. Over brunch one day we connected on our love of pets and our desire to start a business that treated pets as we would want ours to be treated - like family.

pupventure raleigh - raleigh dogwalking services -

What is the hardest thing about being a small business owner? 

Although it is a very rewarding aspect of owning your own small business, scheduling time off for yourself can be challenging. The thing people don't realize about a dog walking business in Raleigh is how much driving we do! Because we prefer to give a personalized experience to each of our clients and because of how spread out Raleigh is, we spend a lot of time in our cars!

raleigh dogwalkers - raleigh dogwalking services - north carolina creative community

 

What are some of the pros and cons of your business?

Pro: Hanging out with dogs all day

Con: Hanging out with dogs ALL DAY.

raleigh dogwalkers - raleigh dogwalking services - north carolina creative community

 

What is your favorite part about your job?

All the amazing pets we get to develop amazing relationships with and to hopefully enrich the lives of by providing a personalized service.

 

raleigh dogwalkers - raleigh dogwalking services - north carolina creative community
raleigh dogwalkers - raleigh dogwalking services - north carolina creative community

Tell Us about your services.

- Dog Walks - 30 minute walks that focus on good leash manners and exercise

- Drop Ins - 30 minute visits that are our response to pet sitting. We visit the dogs up to 4 times a day for personalized care, attention, exercise, and feeding.

- Overnight Camp - your pet comes to stay at either Lauren or Alison's house! Doggy Camp!

- Wedding Services - want your pet at your wedding or for your engagement photos, but still want to enjoy your day? We're here to help with that!

And all services include picture and updates sent to you!

 

raleigh dogwalking services - raleigh dogwalkers - north carolina creative community
Shark Attack Corgi -  visit his Instagram here. 

Shark Attack Corgi - visit his Instagram here. 

raleigh dogwalking services - raleigh dogwalkers - north carolina creative community
north carolina creative community - raleigh dogwalkers - raleigh dogwalking services

What are some goals you have for your business?

To continue to develop a clientele of pets that become a part of our extended family

 

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in their small business?

Be sure you love and have a passion for whatever business you start, because getting started is a lot of work so you must truly enjoy and feel fulfilled doing so.
 

north carolina creative community - raleigh dogwalkers - raleigh dogwalking services

What do you use most for marketing? What is your favorite social media platform?

We primarily use word of mouth marketing - networking the community and building trustworthy relationships with our clients who go on to recommend us to their friends, family, and neighbors. Our favorite social media platform is Instagram because it's fun and we get to share all of our incredibly cute furry friends with the world.

 

raleigh dogwalking services - raleigh dogwalkers - north carolina creative community
raleigh dogwalking services - raleigh dogwalkers - north carolina creative community

How can we book your sessions?

The easiest way to get in touch with us is to email us at pupventureraleigh@gmail.com or go contact us through our website at www.pupventureraleigh.com
 

To see more adorable pups check out their Instagram here. 
 

 

Creative Profile: Emily Guyer Design Co

Spending time with Emily is like drinking really good black coffee out of your favorite vintage thrift store mug, and that is quite literally what we did before diving into her photoshoot and talking through her brand. She has a way of making you feel welcomed, seen and heard within seconds of meeting. I have so enjoyed getting to know this lady over the past few years and watching her grow as an artist and business owner. She is fiercely passionate about creating excellent and beautiful content that is tailored to the individual and individual businesses all the while maintaining a commitment to her faith and her family. You can read a little bit more about her personal and business journey below! 

creative community - lifestyle blog - small business owners

How did you get started in graphic design? 

I accidentally fell in love twice at the end of my junior year in college– once to my now husband, Michael, who was moving across the country 3 weeks later… and the second was to graphic design.

As an Advertising and Public Relations major, I had to take one introductory design class to satisfy my degree requirements. This intro class was by far the most frustrating and difficult of my college career (and I cried the tears to prove it), but it ended up being the most rewarding and satisfying. This class ignited a new passion and purpose. Faced with blank art boards in Adobe Illustrator and a task to communicate a clear and unique message, an artist emerged inside me.

 

creative community - lifestyle blog - small business owners

What inspires you?

A lot of different things inspire me as an artist. I am a Christian, and God is the origin and definition of beauty, order, and peace. He is the supreme creator and artist, and we are all made in His image. I love delighting in and worshipping God while I work, knowing that I am reflecting Him and being who He created me to be. Also, I am a wife and mom and I often am inspired by everyday life at my house. I look for beauty here. I look for opportunities to wonder at the grace found in the four walls of my home. Out of an overflow of this joy and wonder, I create. I also, look at beautiful things to inspire me. If I’m stumped on a design, I’ll often peruse the catalogues of Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Minted, Gracelaced or Magnolia Market and wait for inspiration to strike again. I love researching the New York runway fashion trends and eagerly await Pantone’s release of their color of the upcoming season. My husband laughs at me because often I look at layouts and color choice on billboards and advertisements while I’m around town and consider how I would do it differently. I comment on font pairings and obviously hate Papyrus .  I’ll also wander down aisles of bookstores or libraries and look at book covers for inspiration.  (PS- I totally judge books by their covers and I won’t read a book with an ugly cover). I keep a notebook close by, and I jot down thoughts and layouts for the project I’m working on for whenever inspiration strikes

 

creative community - lifestyle blog - small business owners
creative community - lifestyle blog - small business owners

What is unique about being a female business owner? 

I started my freelance company out of a desire to use my gifts, help meet financial needs of my family, and also maximize time at home with my daughter.  I suppose one of the greatest tensions I feel is the juggling act of “doing it all.” I want to love my family well, help take care of my home, and be the primary influence in my daughter’s life while also growing a business. The lines often get blurry between home and work (because I work from my home), and I can struggle with feeling the pressures of not doing any of it well. My faith has helped me with this though. I have learned over the past few years to be grateful the grace God gives me each day and accept my limitations.

Emily-55.jpg
creative community - lifestyle blog - small business owners
creative community - lifestyle blog - small business owners

What makes your designs different? What about your brand stands out?

I am passionate about infusing my love for beauty and commitment to excellence with my client’s brand and vision. As a graphic designer, I am hired to help other organizations accomplish their vision. Honestly, I often say that I am hired to be silent and yet loud. I am hired as their designer to make their company look great, to communicate their message effectively, and help their dreams be accomplished—in that sense, I am silent. I try to study them, listen, and ask good questions to draw them out. I enter the trenches with my clients and perceive the brand that they can’t even articulate and try to capture it in a design. No one should look at my finished product and say “Oh, that’s so Emily Guyer.” Instead, they should say, “Wow, look at that company!” However, while I am to be silent, I am to also be loud. Over my ten years of designing, I have developed a keen eye for modern, fresh design that my clients come to me wanting to infuse into their brand. Wide-set type, lots of white space, powerful photography and neutral colors with subtle pops of watercolor florals or thin-lined geometric elements… these are things dreams are made of for me  These are the things that often work their way into my designs with my clients.

 

Emily-76.jpg

How do you push yourself to learn more about your craft and go further with your designs?

Honestly, I accept new projects designing things I’ve never created before! It’s terrifying, but it’s so rewarding. If I’m nervous about attempting a new type of project, I spend a lot of time researching it online and admiring other creatives’ work online. Then, I put my hand to the plow (or the mouse in my case) and get started. I won’t give up until its something beautiful, compelling, and accomplishes my client’s vision.

 

creative community - lifestyle blog - small business owners
creative community - lifestyle blog - small business owners

 

Describe your office space and what your most productive time to work is. 

I have 2 office spaces—one is the dining room of my home that I’ve turned into a studio and the other is some local hipster coffee shop that has pour over Ethiopian coffee (usually Jubala or Black and White Coffee). My home office is my favorite space. My desk is an antique that I scored at  Goodwill with a stroke of good luck, and my walls are covered with artwork that I have designed (PS- I sell my artwork here). I typically work best from 10:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. or 2:30-4:30… because, let’s be honest, my daughter is at preschool or napping during that time. Haha  I have to work efficiently whenever and wherever time comes.

 

What is your favorite thing to design or favorite project that you’re working on?

Asking me to tell you my favorite thing to design is like asking me to tell you my favorite child! I can’t do that—I really love it all. But, here’s a project I’m working on right now. This month I’m designing conference materials for a women’s conference in Oklahoma. I love this project because it’s right up my alley. I’m honored to get to be designing all of the pieces for the conference, and I love getting to ooze all of my femininity out on an event for women only! I am using all of the calligraphy, florals, and rustic farmhouse charm I can.

 

21551853_10103748108442988_2020197650579829108_o.jpg
16107136_754057004744415_8729655370072798566_o.jpg

What’s the most tedious but necessary task in owning a business? How do you hustle through it?

Finances!! I’m the creative and really struggle managing the financial side of the business (which is one of the most important parts). Luckily, my husband is a huge help in this area and often helps me stay on top of it all. I do all of the invoicing and receiving payments from my clients, and he helps me with taxes.

16107136_754057004744415_8729655370072798566_o.jpg

 

What are some goals you have for your business?

I’d love to develop a team. Because I am a Christian, I am passionate about helping others grow in their relationship with God and also in the gifts He has given them. I have a dream of one day bringing on interns, designers, and other creatives where I am training them in excellence in design and honing their craft, while also discipling them to love God in all areas of their life. I want to build a team that serves local churches, ministries, and missions agencies with communication and design needs while also freeing up my employees to follow God wherever He is leading them. The beauty of being a designer is that you can work remotely and design from anywhere in the world. 

 

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in their small business?

Try to find your own gift, voice, and style. Don’t just create what everyone else is creating or doing because it’s popular or may make a little bit of money. Be you and create or work from your unique passions, gifts and styles. Don’t just open an Etsy shop and make replicas of what you see others making. You are undercutting their creativity and yours. Work hard and hone your craft. Create from a unique place of conviction (what do you really love?) and personal expression (what do you have to say?). You don’t have to be perfect or the best. You will develop and grow over time. But… you don’t have to be the same as that person to be successful. 

 

Open Book.jpg
creative community - lifestyle blog - small business owners
creative community - lifestyle blog - small business owners

What do you use most for marketing? What is your favorite social media platform? 

Most of my marketing is from word-of-mouth—clients or others who recommend me to someone needing a graphic designer. I love Instagram and use it often, but usually my posts are about my life. I occasionally post about my work on Instagram… usually scenes from whatever coffee shop I’m camped out at for the day.

How can we buy your products? 

You can view my portfolio or get in touch with me to talk about a design project by visiting my website: emilyguyer.com. If you’d like to purchase the artwork and other products I sell with my best friend, Lauren Weir, at Words Worth Noting visit wordsworthnoting.com.

Creative Profile: Amy Richards Illustration

The moment we stepped into the magical, whimsical office of Amy Richard's Illustration we knew we were in for a treat. When I was working for a local Mexican restaurant I actually stumbled upon her "Taco" illustration and reached out to feature it on their Instagram page. From there I saw her at a few Sola pop-up markets and immediately fell in love with her designs. 

We are so honored to have her as our February creative and if you go to her page and sign up for her newsletter you'll gain access to her monthly desktop calendar backgrounds. 

amy-0824.jpg

How did you know you wanted to start this business? How did your craft come about?

Towards the end of college, while working on my art education degree, I got really into children's book illustration. I knew then that while I planned to teach, ultimately I was an artist first and would find a way to work towards that as my main gig.

creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog

What is the hardest thing about being a small business owner?

For me it is taking breaks. Even the stuff I don't really like doing (i.e. finances, tax stuff) I don't really mind doing, if that makes sense. I think its because its all mine, its my thing that I have worked to build and even if its just entering my monthly info into my finance spreadsheets, I'm still pretty content to do it. I have a hard time putting the work down—it's pretty much always on my mind, especially ideas for what I will create next.

creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog

Tell us a little bit about your design themes! What draws you to the elements and mediums that you use? What inspires you?

I started using watercolor about 5 years ago now. I loved the look of it, it wasn't quite as popular as it is now and I didn't really know any other artists in the area that were using it. As soon as I started I was hooked. I love the way that it can be used to create super broad strokes that look light and effortless or the way I can apply it in a more detailed way, as with my pet portraits. My favorite subjects are flora, fauna, & food!

creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog

Describe your office space and what your most productive time to work is.

My studio space is as whimsical as my art. It is somewhat the aesthetic of the bedroom I always wanted as a kid. The walls are the softest shade of sea foam green and I get incredible lighting from two windows that sandwich my desk. I have lights, colorful garlands, art, greeting cards, photos, notecards, patches, and all kinds of treasures adorning the walls that keep me inspired. One of my favorite things is an old photo of my mom, me at 2 and my godmother who has passed, but was one of my and my mom's fav people ever. There is pretty much always a dog or two or three snoozing under my desk—I don't know how they all fit! I love working from home and do my best work for illustrating first thing in the morning.

creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog

What is your favorite piece and why?

I think the pet portraits are my favorite. I am so attached to my 3 pups and I love creating something for customers that is so personal and can be enjoyed for a long time. Recently I have been commissioned to do more and more memorial portraits which is makes me feel pretty humbled. The fact that folks trust me to create something so special is really pretty neat.

creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog

What are some goals you have for your business?

One of my main goals for 2018 is to finally finish and self-publish a children's book I started 4 years ago. I have recently come up with some new directions for imagery and being that its a picture book, the illustrations have to be just right. I have completed/ about 50 illustrations so far and am re-working about 70% of them again this year. Some of the illustrations I'll be recreating for the third or fourth time! I am also working hard to find new wholesale partnerships both locally and regionally.

creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in their small business?

As a creative, the work load is about 30% creating and about 70% other stuff (marketing, biz things, emails, newsletters, social media, filling orders, etc.) Be prepared to put in the time to learn and make mistakes. Everyone has their own journey- mind definitely looks less like a straight line and more like a tangled ball of yarn! That is where the good stuff lives, in the journey. Also be kind. This community is small and you never know when a connection may come around again in your life.

creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog

What are your most effective marketing tools? What are some Things that drive your business?

Recently, after about a year of dread, I started a monthly newsletter and I am totally loving it! I thought a lot about the kind of content I was willing to subscribe to and am striving to make my connections with people authentic and informative. We can't control the algorithms of social media but we can control things like our own website domains and newsletters. Folks in the maker community that I admire made their newsletters into types of 'clubs' which seemed really fun to me and that is how I came up with the "Sloth Mail Club."

Illustrations for a children's book Amy is working on. 

Illustrations for a children's book Amy is working on. 

creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
amy-0862.jpg

Where can we buy your products?

The easiest place to find the widest variety of products would be in my Etsy store. You can currently find some of my products at Relish Cafe, Sola Coffee, Artspace, Bulldega & Ollies.

creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog

Is there anything else you'd love for your audience to know about you? 

I'm a big believer in the power of a simple greeting card in someone's mail box to brighten their day. I come from a family of card senders and my Mom taught me the importance of snail mail correspondence, especially in an age where people can be too busy to send a text. I really think card sending and writing notes by hand is a lost art. I am also a believer in the necessity to surround yourself in your space with images that move you and keep you inspired.

creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog

Don't forget to check out Amy Richard's Illustration website, Etsy shop, or follow along on Instagram. 

If you want to get to know Amy a little better why not sign up for her SkillPop class this month on February 13th and take home a floral watercolor painting! 

creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog
creative community - amy richards illustrations - lifestyle blog

Creative Profile: Maragaret Hennessey

We were so excited when we reached out to Margaret Hennessey about being featured on our page and she said Yes! As we were venturing down the local maker rabbit hole we stumbled upon her gorgeous leather bags and her upscale look book and thought "Wow - now this girl has some serious, high-fashion talent" 

It was a snowy day when we stopped her her home and studio in Durham to check out her designs, learn more about her process, and see how it all comes together. Check out her feature below and shop her products at 

http://margarethennessey.co/

handmade leather bags - raleigh maker - lifestyle blog
handmade leather bags - raleigh maker - lifestyle blog
handmade leather bags - raleigh maker - lifestyle blog

How Did You Know You Wanted to Start This Business? 

I have always been happiest when making things with my hands, and have had an entrepreneurial spirit since I was a kid. A friend and I started a polar fleece hat business in sixth grade, and a year or two later my cousin and I started a handmade chapstick business! I have sketchbooks going back to elementary school that outline handmade business schemes, and my family recently discovered a letter I wrote in sixth grade, from the CEO of M.C. Hennessey & Co. (a.k.a. me) to my customers, describing the myriad craftspeople (all me) who created a variety of products to please their customers. We all had a good laugh when we found it, but it's also so clear in reading it that I've had this bug for a very long time. 

Even though I've always been in the business of making things and figuring out how to sell them, I didn't start working in leather and canvas until about two years ago. I was working full time and had a long commute, and I realized that I needed a regular creative outlet in order to feel more like myself. So I started developing simple designs for bags, and pretty quickly I realized I wanted to make it a business. I jumped right in, had some false starts, and about a year ago started working in earnest on building an all-leather handbag brand.

handmade leather bags - raleigh maker - lifestyle blog
handmade leather bags - raleigh maker - lifestyle blog
handmade leather bags - raleigh maker - lifestyle blog

What is the Hardest Thing about Being a Small Business Owner?

So many things are hard, but I think all of them can be summed up by the idea that no one is telling you want to do. Of course, that's also the best thing about being your own boss! Still, motivation is hard. There's no one telling you that you have to start working at a certain time, or how to prioritize the many demands on your limited resources, or what direction to head in long term. It's hard to stay motivated even when I'm not seeing success, and often I spend a lot of time working on something that doesn't pan out the way I'd hoped. But I try to give myself a break and look back at how far I've come as a result of many tiny breakthroughs that came from a whole lot of effort.

 

Tell us a little bit about your design themes! What draws you to the elements and mediums that you use? What inspires you?

I love working in high-quality leather because it lasts forever and gets more beautiful with time. Since I'm designing investment pieces that people will carry for years, I aim for silhouettes that are classic and refined, while still feeling fresh. I love minimalism in sculpture and painting, and want to design pieces that are just right, with nothing extra. I'm excited to be moving into some new colors for the spring and releasing a new piece, the Mini Crema, which is inspired by the Crema shoulder bag from my fall collection, but pared down to just hold the essentials.

handmade leather bags - raleigh maker - lifestyle blog
handmade leather bags - raleigh maker - lifestyle blog
handmade leather bags - raleigh maker - lifestyle blog

Describe your office space and what your most productive time to work is.

I do a lot of my computer-based work at my dining table, which is a nine-foot long farmhouse table that my brother Tom and I made out of salvaged wood. My dog Mabel and my cat Jeremy are always nearby keeping me company! I tend to do most of the logistical/business/marketing work in the morning before heading out to my workshop a couple hours later. I renovated a large workshop in my backyard a year and a half ago, and that's where all the bag-making happens. I have two industrial sewing machines, a rivet press, and some big work tables for cutting leather and finishing the pieces. Having the workshop has made this whole thing possible, and just having a space like that for projects is my childhood dream come true! I love it.

maragaret hennessey - handmade - bag designer - lifestyle blog
maragaret hennessey - handmade - bag designer - lifestyle blog

What is your favorite piece and why?

I was slow to get on the fanny pack train, but now the Cashew is the bag I carry every day. I love its curved lines and the fact that it carries just what you need. From a design perspective, I think I'm most proud of the Crema shoulder bag. The curved zipper is really striking and unusual, but the bag still looks classic. Several people have told me it looks and feels like a vintage Coach bag, which I love to hear of course.

 

What are some goals you have for your business?

Right now I have one person working with me on making some components of the bags, but I'm still the primary production person. I would like to get to the point where I have a small team so that I'm overseeing the day-to-day production of the bags. That would give me more time to experiment with new designs, do some custom work, and continue developing the business side of things. I have a few more pieces of equipment I'd like to invest in to help with production, but I always want to keep things small so I can monitor quality very closely.

maragaret hennessey - handmade - bag designer - lifestyle blog
maragaret hennessey - handmade - bag designer - lifestyle blog
maragaret hennessey - handmade - bag designer - lifestyle blog
maragaret hennessey - handmade - bag designer - lifestyle blog

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in their small business?

Keep going, and don't look too far in front of you too often. Growing a business is all about taking a small step every day. You have to keep the big picture in mind of course, but on a practical level, you only need the big picture to help inform the small daily decisions you have to make. It can get overwhelming and discouraging to compare where you are currently to some grand vision of where you want to get. Instead, just do at least one small thing to move you forward every day.

maragaret hennessey - handmade - bag designer - lifestyle blog
maragaret hennessey - handmade - bag designer - lifestyle blog
maragaret hennessey - handmade - bag designer - lifestyle blog

What do you use most for marketing? What is your favorite social media platform?

Instagram is the best place for me to share, because it's so visual and generally positive. I work really hard on keeping my website current and polished, with help from my partner Robert Oliver, who did the photography, and Sarah and Erica at Tandem Collaborative, who have helped me develop my brand and strategize next steps. I have a goal for the spring to continue to build my email list and be more intentional about sending newsletters regularly, because that's how I reach my most dedicated customers. Since I have a product that most would see as an investment piece, marketing for me is really about developing relationships over time. Someone might find me through Facebook or Instagram, engage in conversation with me via comments, visit my website a few times, eventually get on my email list, and then, if the moment is right, they will buy a bag. So, I view Instagram and Facebook as a way to find a larger audience, but that's just the first stage in what's often a fairly long process to an actual sale.

maragaret hennessey - handmade - bag designer - lifestyle blog

Where can we buy your products?

Right now, my website is the place to go. I am exploring some wholesale opportunities as well, but that's a bit down the road. I did several craft markets around the holidays, and may do more in the future. But right now, I'm focusing on growing my online presence and directing potential customers to my website, which I keep up to date with all the offerings.

maragaret hennessey - handmade - bag designer - lifestyle blog
maragaret hennessey - handmade - bag designer - lifestyle blog
maragaret hennessey - handmade - bag designer - lifestyle blog

Creative Profile: Tierra Sol Studio

We couldn't believe when Seana and Yair of Tierra Sol Studio reached out to us to take product photos. These are BIG LEAGUE makers who we have been loving on for quite some time now. One brisk fall morning I go to venture out and take some photos for their feature in the LA Times gift guide (How cool right!?) and check out their in-home studio, and learn all about how these are the best plants for plant killers. 

 

Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade

How Did You Get Started in Succulents: 

We started Tierra Sol Studio in January of 2014 because we couldn't keep plants alive. I wanted plants in my writing space while in grad school since I spent all my time researching and writing at home. Our apartment had little light and we had little experience with plants. I started experimenting with plants to see which could survive lower light and my long trips out of the country for field work. We found the many succulents did not do well indoors even though people are told succulents are hard to kill, many of them were easy to kill. We began researching plants, their natural environments, and how to best replicate those natural environments inside a home. 

Our goal is to provide forever plants. We grow the hardiest plants possible in a greenhouse we build to adapt plants to indoor light, we make our planters to replicate desert environment, and experimented to find the perfect way to create hand mixed cactus and succulent soil. 

Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade
Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade
Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade

What is the Hardest Thing About Being A Small Business Owner? 

The hardest thing about being a business owner is that once it goes from hobby to business most people end up spending more time on their business than they can on the creating. But the great part is that once a business takes off, it is possible to hire people to do that busy business work more and more. 

Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade
Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade

Tell us about your Design Themes? What Inspires You in Your Work? 

Our planters tend to be very minimal because we want the plant to be showcased. Each plant takes years to grow and we want to respect it and show it off. We started by designing our dream look in our home and then pulled our designs and colors from our personal style. Sometimes we create planters to go with specific plants we have grown but we use a combination of drawing and direct on clay design experiments. 

 

Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade
Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade
Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade

Describe Your Office Space & Your Most Productive Time To Work: 

We have a clay studio, plant packing area, shipping area, and greenhouse at our home. Having the different spaces makes us really productive because we can move around, not feel crowded when our assistant is here, and nothing ever feels repetitive. It also gives us space to hang out with our toddler. Our most productive time is on the days when our son goes to his grandmothers or after he is in bed, but we love being about to work during nap and bed time and have extra time to hangout with him during the week. 

Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade
Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade

What Are Some Goals You Have For Your Business?

Our goal is to move into a workspace out of our home once our baby starts kindergarten and we want to increase our production so we are able to take on more wholesale. 

Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade
Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade
Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade

What is your Favorite Piece and Why? 

Right now my favorite piece is our Lucette Cactus in a cylinder planter with blush pink and rich blue. (Shop it here) When I made this design I instantly knew it was one of my top favorites. 

Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade
Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade
Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade

What Advice Would You Give To Someone Just Starting Out In Their Small Business? 

Finding out what makes you different as a person so that you can build a business that is unique to you. Our business is not like any other because we thought about our lifestyle and goals and how to design products that people can only find with us because they are personal. I would recommend trying to get to a point where people see a new piece of your work and they know it comes from you. 

Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade
Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade
Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade

What Are Your Most Effective Marketing Tools? 

Our most effective marketing tool has been Instagram. We can get weird on Instagram and really connect with our followers. That is where we name and post about the needs, names, and personalities of our plants. 

Check out their Instagram here - 

Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade
Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade
Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade

To learn more about Tierra Sol Studio or to shop their products go to their website at 

www.tierrasolstudio.com

Tierra Sol : Creative Community : Handmade

Creative Profile: Linda Creative

I met Linda  a little over a year ago when I sat across from her drinking coffee and discussing photography packages. I had the honor of photographing her and her husband's wedding last June, and it has been one of those client relationships that has come full circle. I noticed at her wedding that all her favors and invitations were made by hand and she had some beautiful art pieces to display as well, and I realized that Linda was an amazing artist. Ever since the wedding we have kept up with each other's creative happenings, so I am beyond thrilled to be featuring her today. 

If you have spent at least five minutes with her, you will quickly learn she has a kind and encouraging soul. Her care for people is directly reflected in each piece that she paints for people. When I got to her house this Saturday morning, she had coffee ready and we talked for about a half an hour before even taking out the camera. Not only does this girl have great taste in Netflix shows and herbal teas, but her taste in colors and art is absolutely stunning. Meet Linda everyone.

DSC_3295.jpg

How Did You Know You Wanted to Start This Particular Business? 

As a beginning teacher, I felt that I was struggling to find my identity. I felt like I was constantly treading water trying to learn and teach. Although I love teaching science, I felt that I needed something that allowed me space to be creative. Painting and drawing allowed me to lean into a practice that calming, and that helped me reflect on places, people and memories. When I painted a church for a friend’s wedding, I knew that I only wanted to help people reflect on happy memories as often as possible.

DSC_3297.jpg

What Makes You Stand Out Among Other Businesses? 

My watercolor paintings are a reflection of a memory; I love using bright, warm colors and impressionistic brush strokes to help my clients remember that special place or memory. It is not quite realistic or stylized because I feel that memories are also somewhere in between. Because I love nature, I love to focus on trees, landscapes and skies, and am constantly challenging myself to experiment and find new combinations of brushstrokes and colors.

How Do You Identify Weaknesses in Your Craft and Business? What Do You Do To Lean Into Your Weaknesses and Challenge Yourself? 

I still practice basic skills in a sketchbook I have, such as value and color mixing, but to truly challenge myself, I try to paint a fish or work on my National Parks series. Fish are incredibly challenging to paint because their colors are nearly iridescent and seem to change with the slightest change in light. The National Parks series I am working on tests my attention to detail and timing, and I love painting in a small space.

DSC_3310.jpg

What Is Your Busiest Season? How Do You Balance It All? 

I reflect often on how many paintings I am able to undertake and if it is overwhelming or not. Because I work full-time as a high school science teacher, I have to manage my time well, especially around the busy holiday or wedding seasons. From October to late November, I typically take 2-3 times as many orders as I normally would during that same two month time period. I put myself on a schedule and then put on some music to focus on days that I paint after school.

What is Your Favorite Project or Piece That You Have Made or Currently Selling? 

I am in love with my National Parks series, which is not currently for sale. They let me venture into small worlds they hold. Recently, I have loved the Timeline Portraits - they are similar to the National Parks in structure (a small circle watercolor painting), but I love how they showcase a relationship and its special moments in a very different way.

DSC_3309.jpg
DSC_3330.jpg

Describe Your Office Space and what Your Most Productive Time to Work.

My office space is my dining table because I have the best morning light and view. My backyard is mostly grass and trees, and I can hear birds singing through the windows. It is incredibly peaceful in the morning. Saturday mornings from 5am or 6am to about 10am is when I am usually the most focused and productive.

What's the Most Tedious but Necessary Task in Owning Your Business? 

To be honest, I would have to say social media marketing. I was late to the smartphone and devices game because I’m old fashioned and still love books and waiting in line at the post office. I also hate being on my phone. I try to compress my time and take several pictures for Instagram and save the posts as drafts, or schedule posts on Facebook. My primary and favorite way of marketing is Instagram, because it is so visual and real-time.

What Drew You To Working with Water Colors? What Inspires Your Creations? 

Watercolors are not as forgiving as other mediums, such as acrylic or oil. I loved the softness of the images created by watercolors, and how I had to learn to lose a little control when working with them. You really have to work with the water and pigments, and learn how to marry both without using too much of one. I am truly inspired by nature and how it interacts with us - shadows falling on a lawn, the reflection of trees in a window - you’ll see a lot of green, blues and yellows in most of my work.

What Goals Do You Have for Your Business? 

I have a set number of commissions per month (between 4-6) that I try to reach. This allows me to meet my costs and continue purchase of materials for new projects. Beyond that, I try to meet my personal project goals, such as the National Parks series. I would love to complete an acrylic series this year also.

What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Someone Just Starting Their Small Business? 

I would say your small business should be a reflection of you. I feel that every painting or piece of writing I complete for clients has a little bit of my heart in it and is an authentic representation of my style and my personality. It is very difficult if you are trying to emulate or imitate something that isn’t you.

In honor of Mother's Day, Linda is offering 15% off all water color orders. The promo code is COPPERBOOM. And the first three people who can guess where the code is from will get 25% off. Comment below! 

Creative Profile: Event Espresso

How did you get started? How did you know you wanted to start this business?

Event Espresso’s owner, Casey Marburger, was working at a coffee shop in St. Louis when a customer called and asked if there was a way she could cater their wedding. She said “of course not!” But after thinking on it, she purchased her own espresso machine and called them back to say she’d make it work! Having an art degree, Casey always knew she didn’t want an office job and wanted the creative freedom to do different things everyday and meet new people.

What makes you guys different? What about your coffee and company stands out?

It’s very simple to work with us...we literally bring the coffee shop to you, all we need is an outlet. Our baristas are friendly and productive-we bring a palpable, positive vibe to our events. We also give back to the community and use coffee that benefits the livelihood of others.

 

What is the hardest thing about working for a coffee catering company in Raleigh?

Since we are a catering company, we don’t have a set location or agenda. We travel all over for events and have tight schedules-sometimes the mornings are very early and the days are very long! 
 

What drew you to the coffee business? What inspires you?

Our team truly loves the art and taste of coffee. When you work at a coffee shop or with coffee in general, clients become an extension of your family-you start to learn more about people as a whole. You really learn who you are by communicating with others.

How do you find creativity in your coffee business?

Creativity comes in all forms. Each of our events are unique and some customers want something custom or different, so we are constantly being creative and exploring new ideas with clients.

Describe your office space and when your most productive time to work is.

Our “home base” is our sister shop, Grounds Cafe in Wendell, NC. Our team meets here for meetings and to catch up as a group with the shop guests. While we’re here, we make ourselves lots of lattes so our most productive time to work is anytime the caffeine hits :)

What are some goals you have for your business?

We’d love to continue expanding throughout the country. We have on-call baristas in nine U.S. cities and would love to keep building our team! We would like to continue to streamline our process and keep advancing with modern technology to keep things easy for our baristas and clients. We also want to be able to share our wealth and give back to the community as much as possible.

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in their small business?

Be patient. Say “yes” to everything. Be passionate. Hire good/loyal employees. Treat your employees well, even if you think you can’t afford it.

What do you use most for marketing? What is your favorite social media platform?

We love Instagram! (@eventespressocatering) We serve vastly different events and visit many interesting places, so it’s great to have a virtual scrapbook of our venues. We’ve served in private jet hangars, high-end resorts, whiskey barns, outdoor bonfires, you name it!

Where can we get your coffee / How can we book you?

Our coffee is hand roasted by The Raleigh Coffee Company. We are directly partnered with Dos Ninas Importers, a family owned coffee farm in Santa Rosa, Guatemala. Shoot us an email through our website www.wecatercofffee.com or contact our Business Development Manager, Ela, directly with some details about your event. We’ll get back to you with a personalized package as soon as possible!

Anything else you want to add?

Keeping up with growth has always been the biggest struggle. Stay on top of it and stay focused, but know when to relax. Keeping your mental health is how you stay successful!

Be sure to check these guys out for any of your catering needs, and they are running a special for all of our Copper readers! Mention Copper Creatives when purchasing your catering packages, and you will receive the Iced Drink menu add-on for FREE! 

 

Creative Profile: Windblown

I stumbled into Rachel at a pop-up shop outside of Sola's coffee shop one Saturday morning and bought her now retired honey comb necklace (you can still get the honey comb ring!) on a whim. We quickly found that we had more than freckles and red hair in common; it turns out both our husbands attend the same seminary, and we are both creatives figuring it all out.  When we started CC,  I knew I wanted to feature her,  and when I awkwardly emailed her about the possibility she actually remembered me, from that pop-up shop and was on board. That's the thing about this wild-haired, joy-filled creative soul. She's extremely personal and sincerely genuine. 

I walked into Rachel and her husband's vintage-eclectic home at 8:30 AM, Rachel with a toothbrush in one hand and a french press in the other. She poured us some coffee, hers in her go-to party cat cup (that I couldn't help feature), and we got started...and enough of me talking. I'll leave the rest to Rachel.

 How did you get started? How did you know you wanted to make Wind Blown a business? 

I began making and selling jewelry when I was in middle school. I had learned to make jewelry from a sweet lady in a tiny bead shop up the road, and began selling jewelry because I was raising money to go on a trip to Italy. I had my brother design me a logo and place it on top of a pink and purple color palette. I put my $8 earrings on small business cards that said “Earrings by Rachel” HA! I was so bold, selling wherever I went. I even sat outside our local grocery store on a Sunday and made hundreds of dollars selling my earrings for my trip! I walked into little boutiques with confidence and walked out having sold inventory to store owners, with cash in hand! (I often try to tap back into that middle school mentality. Fear of people is foreign to little ones!) 

Fast forward to college aged Rachel. I continued to make jewelry all those years and got a job at a boutique in Wrightsville Beach called Hallelu. I began selling my work in the store and the response was extremely positive. I created a website and termed my business Wind Blown. This was 2012. I moved, graduated college, and got married and continued Wind Blown, all the while attending pop up markets when I could. It was just something I could never get away from. My hands LOVED creating new designs, organizing displays for my markets, and the response was always encouraging. Wind Blown was always my dream job and being able to pursue it full time was the goal. 2017 is the year that goal was realized and I was able to focus solely on Wind Blown. I spent the last year and a half desperately trying to find a “big girl job” that would pay the bills and have benefits. I channelled all my frustration into working on Wind Blown, trying to grow it and get it to the point where it could meet our families needs. I am thrilled to say that as of 2017 Wind Blown is my FULL TIME JOB! It doesn’t even make sense that I get to do this for a living, but I am incredibly grateful. Also my husband is a CHAMP for supporting me all of these years and helping make this dream a reality. I could NOT have done it without him. #WilliamRocks

Windblown Jewelry - Creative Profile - Creative Community

 What is the hardest thing about being a small business owner?

Focus! There are so many hats to wear and your to-do list is always a mile long. It is essential to prioritize and be very flexible when running your own business. I am the owner, technician, web designer, marketer, sales rep, model, administrative assistant, and janitor…I could keep going. HA! 

Ironically this is one of the elements that is also so exhilarating about running my own business! I love the fast paced environment that I have to keep up with. I am always having to learn and adjust, which I much prefer to doing one task over and over. 

Tell me a little bit about your design themes! What draws you to the elements and mediums that you use? What inspires you?

Brass and gold have my heart! It could be because they look good with my coloring (holler back redheads!), or because they are just the most beautiful :) . I have stopped even trying to make things with silver because it just doesn’t speak to me the way brass and gold do. All of my designs are built around simplicity. I love how easily a few lines or curves can become a beautiful piece of jewelry!

Windblown Jewelry - Creative Profile - Creative Community

What is your favorite piece and why?

This is a tough question! I love all of my pieces and that is why they came into existence. All of my jewelry is designed in such a way that it adds effortless style to your look. Which is one major reason I enjoy wearing my jewelry. The line goes with everything, so it creates this easy throw it on in the morning situation which is good for me because I don’t have much time or thought to spare in the morning! 

If I had to focus on one piece, I would say the warrior necklace. The horizon was my literal everyday necklace last year and this year I have switched to the warrior. Something about it makes me feel bolder, like a go getter, slightly ferocious even, which is necessary when building a small business. It makes a statement without being obnoxious and I feel like a boss when I put it on. 

The Warrior Necklace

The Warrior Necklace

The Horizon Necklace

The Horizon Necklace

Describe your office space and what your most productive time to work is.

I do most of my work out of our studio space in our home. It is nothing fancy but is all I need to escape and delve into the creative realm! I occasionally work out of the craft center at NC State or Pullen Arts Center-both have metals studios. I am a big fan of going to coffee shops to work when I am doing administrative work so I don’t get distracted by the laundry that needs to be done or that dust bunny in the corner. I also love people, so being out and about feeds my soul. MORNING is my most productive time. I haven’t always been this way, but the older I get the more of a morning person I have become. I separate my tasks out so that the most mind intensive tasks like emailing, ordering, scheduling, outreach, etc happen in the morning and then save making product for later in the day when I need a mental break. 

Windblown Jewelry - Creative Profile - Creative Community

What are some goals you have for Wind Blown?

If you asked 7 year old Rachel what she wanted to do when she grew up you would have heard an emphatic, “run a cash register!” One of my favorite pretend games was store and there was nothing I loved more than hosting each guest in my room, stocking various items and checking them out. A dream/goal for Wind Blown would be to have a retail space where I could sell Windblown product along with other talented local makers! Perhaps a studio space where I could host workshops and give private lessons!

Windblown Jewelry - Creative Profile - Creative Community
Windblown Jewelry - Creative Profile - Creative Community

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in their small business?

Do not compare yourself or your business with others! It steals joy SO quickly! Instead, focus on your business and how much you enjoy what you do. It is good to remember that success is easily seen, but the hard work and long hours that it took to get there are often masked. I make it a practice to thank God for every single sale and new opportunity which helps me remain grateful and at peace with where my business is! 

Windblown Jewelry - Creative Profile - Creative Community

What do you use most for marketing? What is your favorite social media platform? 

Instagram, Instagram, Instagram! I LOVE Instagram. There is something so fun about the visual emphasis that Instagram allows and promotes. Every time I post I feel like I release a tiny little art project. Instagram also allows me to keep in contact with my customers and followers in a really organic way, which is great! 

DSC_2335.jpg

Where can we buy your products? 

Other than my website, my main shops in the triangle area are The Makery in Durham, and Ramble Supply Co. in Raleigh. Ramble is a beautifully curated minimalist store front in downtown Raleigh. The Makery is very “Durham”: more vibrant, community oriented etc. You can also find my work through Covet Atelier, an online shop based in Charlotte and Kleur in Winston Salem. 

I also participate in many pop up markets locally. I can be found in Raleigh/Durham almost every weekend! To keep up with where I will be next just follow me on Instagram or check out my website events page. 

Windblown Jewelry - Creative Profile - Creative Community
Shop Windblown - Creative Community - creative Profile
Shop Windblown - Creative Community - creative Profile
Shop Windblown - Creative Community - creative Profile

If you love these amazing pieces as much as we do, you can shop Wind Blown and with any purchase you get a gold slim ring absolutely free with our promo code COPPERCREATIVE until the end of March!

Make sure you when stop by her shop and pick up one of these gorgeous pieces and your free ring to post a picture of you sporting your Wind Blown original and hashtag it #coppercreativestyle to be featured here!  Our favorite item? The warrior necklace. 

Stay tuned in the coming weeks to get an exclusive behind the scenes home tour! You're not going to want to miss Rachel's thrifty vintage and ecclectic decor. 

Creative Profile: Swallow Hearts

For our April - Artist Feature I wanted to spotlight a talented jewelry designed named Meg also known as Swallows Heart.  Born and raised in NC - her minimalistic, nature inspired designs resonated with me as both and artist and a stylist. Her pieces work so well with everything and are reasonably priced - a statement piece for any budget. 

When I first reached out to Meg about answering a few questions for us - I was thrilled when she responded yes and even more thrilled with the packages I received after I placed an order to feature her work on Three Region. 

I received this lovely note from her along with a few pieces I couldn't wait to wear! But I wanted to show you more than just her jewelry but to really discuss her as a person, her brand, and what inspires her to continue her entrepreneur journey. 

How Did You Come Up With The Name Swallow's Heart? 

 

The swallow is a symbol of always returning home safely to a lifelong love. Before technology, sailors would know they were almost home when they would see the welcome sight of flocks of swallows flying ahead- birds that never flew too far from land, their home. The word “home” has changed a lot for me over the past five years, as I’ve lived in North Carolina, Georgia, Alaska, Arizona, and now New York. I’ve learned, though, that home is always who you’re with, not where you are. That is unchanging, that is constant, and that is my heart.

About the Brand: 

 "Swallow’s Heart is a collection of whimsical, nature-inspired, affordable handcrafted jewelry designs. My goal is to create jewelry that encourages girls to get out and explore! Whether it’s a farmers market, a favorite local coffee shop, a flight to a new destination, a festival, a downtown scene, anything! I want girls to feel free-spirited and adventurous and alive when they put on a handcrafted Swallow’s Heart necklace."
Swallow Hearts Jewelry - creatives in the Community

What Inspires Your Work? 

My primary inspirations are nature and adventure. The mountains are my happy place, which is why they are incorporated in my logo. I feel alive and inspired when I’m in the mountains! When designing jewelry, I definitely gravitate toward natural pieces, like gemstones and arrowheads and leather. I love working with those materials.

How Did You Get Started In Jewelry Making? 

I actually started jewelry-making as a hobby in college, so I am self-taught. It was a creative outlet for me. I would create jewelry for myself (I’ve always been a DIYer) and family/friends. After being nudged several times by my close friends, I finally opened an Etsy shop, and so it began! I participated in my first handmade market in Boone, just as we were preparing to move to Georgia. I had so much fun meeting and interacting with customers face-to-face, and my friends and family were oh so supportive! That market really set my focus for continuing to participate in local markets in western GA and eventually Alaska.
Swallow Hearts Jewelry - creatives in the Community

How did North Carolina inspire you and your designs? Do you feel like every time you move you take parts of that environment into your design process?

Although I no longer live there, North Carolina is in my blood. I first began designing jewelry in the mountains of North Carolina, and really, is there anywhere more beautiful and inspiring than the Blue Ridge? The artsy, thriving, small, mountain life of Boone was the perfect place for Swallow’s Heart to take flight.

What Is Your Favorite Piece You've Ever Made? 

I think my favorite piece would be a recent necklace- the black obsidian arrowhead necklace! I am a sucker for arrowhead pieces.

I actually purchased this piece and I absolutely love it as well! It was a must have! Buy it here! 

Swallow Hearts Jewelry - creatives in the Community


How Do You Distinguish Yourself From Other Jewelry Makers?

I like to keep my jewelry designs unique and affordable. I believe in being budget-conscious, so I always try to keep that in mind when designing new pieces. I also gravitate toward a minimalist approach- less is more in my book.

How Do You Spend Your Time When You're Not Working on your Business or Creating New Designs?

My husband Sam and I love to be outside and travel with our 3 huskies, Luna, Kaia, and Sioux (pronounced “Sue” - he’s a boy named Sioux, named after Johnny Cash’s song). We found our passion in dog mushing while living in Alaska, so when there’s snow, we really enjoy taking the dogs out on the sled in winter months… and during the rest of the year, we hike and camp as much as we can. I also love thrifting and exploring local farmers and flea markets and new small towns. Basically, any kind of exploring and adventuring is the best!
Swallow Hearts Jewelry - creatives in the Community


 

 

Any Advice for Young Entrepreneurs Who Are Trying to Fulfill Their Dreams within a Creative Industry?

Know yourself, know your style. Don’t get too caught up in what others are doing… it’s true what they say; comparison is the thief of joy. Pour your whole heart into what you love and align yourself with those who believe in you. And don’t forget to always be grateful and generous! No one gets anywhere alone. :)

 

 

 

 

We are HUGE supporters of Swallow's Heart and we hope you will be too. Go over to their page today and buy as much amazing jewelry as you can to support this local, handmade business with deep roots in North Carolina! We can't wait to keep up with Meg in her journey.