IMPRESSED by nature
Born and raised in the Boston area, I am one of five children, who run the gamut from teachers to engineers. Many of us have followed our father’s entrepreneurial lead at one time or another–from selling beer brewing supplies to creating chalkboard art and, of course, pressed flower jewelry. Personally, he’s inspired me to be as creative in my business as in my craft and reminded me that every opportunity is worth considering. From a young age, I enjoyed creating with my hands and held a deep love for the botanical world, both of which I brought into my first career as an elementary school teacher. In 2008, I moved from Boston to San Francisco seeking adventure and significantly better weather! What I found was a land filled with awe-inspiring natural features and a burgeoning makers community. Within a few years, I had established a thriving vegetable and flower garden in my backyard and began experimenting with preserving flowers and creating jewelry with them. The lens through which I viewed the world quickly shifted. I began to notice each botanical element as I walked through my day and realized that the Bay Area was a perfect environment to foster my new hobby, and soon-to-be life’s work. Over the next five years, I continued teaching, moved to Oakland, married my partner of eight years, and have continued my love affair with this beautiful part of the country. For the last 15 months, I have been fully focused on my business, IMPRESSED by nature, and it has been an incredible journey of growth and learning. I find immeasurable joy in working with plants each day and look forward to dreaming up new ways to evolve my business that not only suits my lifestyle but also fills a need in others’ lives.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
IMPRESSED by nature evolved organically from a desire to preserve the beauty of nature in a wearable form. When I began making floral jewelry in 2011, I was inspired by the unique character of each petal and determined to find a way to highlight those botanical details. Using alternative materials–lightweight plastic and earthy copper–IMPRESSED by nature’s designs have an effortless feel, which allows the flowers to take center stage. Each piece of jewelry begins on a locally grown plant–sometimes even from my own garden. Once harvested, the plants are pressed for four weeks. They are then sealed in a durable plastic and the jewelry is made using hypoallergenic copper findings. In 2015, I added DIY flower pressing kits to my line for all to enjoy creating with botanicals. Whether a nature lover at heart or inspired by memories of Grandma’s garden, my products aim to connect people with the beauty of nature. Environmentally sustainable practices have logically become a cornerstone of my business, including, using as little plastic material as possible, harvesting local and seasonal plants and preserving them naturally, and using recycled or salvaged paper for packaging.
Currently, I create two seasonal jewelry collections each year, and I present and sell my designs in online and in-person wholesale and retail markets. With a wholesale focus during the last 2 years, my products are now carried in over 75 stores in the USA. In addition to these collections, I offer custom wedding services, including wedding day accessories and a unique bouquet preservation package.
In the future, I hope to continue growing my brand and business in a sustainable way. With a Kiva loan, I am excited to maximize my production potential and streamline systems in order to envision the next evolution of my brand.
What is the purpose of this loan?
IMPRESSED by nature has been up and running since March 2012 and has grown each year since then. I have personally funded each endeavor along the way and now that I am relying on my business to support me, I am seeking working capital in order to continue this growth. Here are the ways your loan will support my business:
I have worn all hats at all times since IMPRESSED by nature began–entrepreneur, manager, maker–and while I love the diversity of these roles, I have come to realize that I need support in order to continue growing. I have identified a set of tasks that, if delegated, will free me up to work on growth tasks, like outreach, product development, and marketing. I plan to use half of the loan, $5,000, to hire an assistant for production, packaging, and shipping.
Once freed up to focus on marketing, I plan to spend $2,500 on reaching new and current markets. I recently debuted my DIY flower pressing kits at the NY Now wholesale show and they caught the attention of new retailers, such as toy stores, garden centers, and stationery shops. I look forward to marketing the kits to these markets as well as their customers this holiday season. In addition, I am working with a marketing consultant this fall to help pitch my jewelry to blogs for spring 2017, and I will continue to advertise my wedding services for the upcoming engagement season.
I spent the last two years pushing into the wholesale market and had great success with both individual outreach as well as exhibiting at trade shows. These events cost $3,000+ and with added travel and lodging expenses, most of the shows end up running $5,000. I plan to use $2,500 to help lower my business debts so that I can continue participating in these shows.
Years in operation: 3 years – 5 years