Hello there and welcome to my very first blog post!
I decided today that I need to start blogging already, and it was also well overdue that I write up a nice little intro post to give some background on who I am, what I do and why I do it. So.. I'm just going to get right into it. Let's blog!
THE one and only.... Emily.
I've honestly never been a fan of my name. I hate it for being so common, but it made it easy to find keychains at souvenir shops as a kid so that's a plus I guess?
I was born in the 90s and grew up in northern New York state, the part where the weather sucks 9 months of the year and the snow banks can reach 10+ feet tall. #IYKYN
Growing up, I only had a few friends but LOTS of things that I was really really into: music, crafting, and computer games to name a few.
I started playing piano at age 6, followed by violin, oboe, alto and tenor sax, guitar, electric bass, lap harp (yes it counts) and ukulele. I am by no means very good at any of them except for saxophone, but I was always pretty good at composing elaborate melodies and arrangements for various instruments.
Aside from my musical endeavors, I found myself getting wrapped up in various crafts to the point where I would INSIST my parents take me to Michael's to get everything I needed to make whatever new art form I had discovered. Origami, painting, crocheting, sewing, felting, polymer clay miniatures... you name it, I have probably tried it!
Fast Forward to my High School Years
I was the sort of band geek who... writes a full 28 part composition for the senior band and doesn't even get voted "most musical" by their peers who don't know they exist. Regardless, music was my biggest passion so I auditioned and was accepted into the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Little did I know, 60k+ a year in tuition was NOT going to be in the cards for me so I ended up moving to Cleveland to enroll in a special articulation program instead.
College & Big Girl Choices
Don't get me wrong - I LOVED being in music school. The program was small and I was given opportunities many others probably wouldn't have had. I learned so much about music, audio engineering and myself as a musician. I also learned how much it sucks to not have any money and what it's like to be homeless. I wont go into boring details of how it all went down, but essentially I ran out of money and decided I needed to just "get a job" so I could continue to live. At this point I had already decided I no longer wanted to attend Berklee, despite being offered a significant scholarship, and that it was time to consider what had always been plan b - business. Music just wasn't the same for me when it was no longer just for fun, and I came to terms with the fact that I lacked the discipline it would take to ever really make it in the music industry.
First Real Job
When I dropped out of school, I was briefly working at a Dunkin' and local thrift store to make ends meet. Over the course of 3 months, I applied for over 120 jobs and only had a handful of interviews, most of which ended up being for scammy MLM jobs that I didn't even get. I reluctantly signed up with a temp agency, and ended up landing my first "data entry" job at a small local manufacturer for a whopping $11/hr. I quickly assumed more duties at this company, where I remained for a little over 4 years. By the end of that time, I had been involved in almost every aspect of the business at one time or another and had relocated with them to the Detroit area to be part of the marketing team.
However, after months and months of waiting and not being taken seriously I eventually decided enough was enough, and decided it was time to move back to Cleveland.
So... what the heck is all this plant stuff about???
Right right, I almost forgot. When we originally moved to Michigan, there just so happened to be an absolutely amazing greenhouse literally on my drive to work. That, coupled with the house we were renting that had some decent sunlight in it, led to the development of my love for plants. (Let's be real... it's an obsession at this point!)
I don't typically buy into metaphysical ideologies but I do think the universe was up to some special stuff in the summer/fall of 2021. I was really into plants, hated my job, and desperately wanted to find a way out. I can't remember what I was doing when it hit me... but I do remember it hitting me like a lightbulb above someone's head in a cartoon.
The real reason my little "crafty businesses" had failed in the past was because I never took them seriously, and they were all over the place. I didn't have one single hobby - I liked to bounce around and couldn't commit to just one. It's almost impossible to brand that and turn it into a business, but... what if there was an underlying theme? What if there was some aspect of the business that united all of my hobbies and interests and made them into a collection? What if everything related to plants in some way, without being actual living plants themselves?? I also realized there was a serious lack of products on the market for people like myself who like more than just monsteras, and I knew that was where I wanted to focus my efforts.
All at once the clouds parted, and before I knew it I was brainstorming a name, building a website, designing and redesigning a logo and planning my first show. A few months after that, my social media started to take off as I was moving back to Cleveland and telling my old job to kiss my ass. The stars truly aligned!
A badass lady-entrepreneur was born, and For the Love of Foliage with her
Life Now as a Business Owner
Now, almost a year later, my life is so different than it used to be. I have way less money but so much more freedom, flexibility and happiness. I spend my days making products, creating social content, and spending time with my family and friends. There have been a lot of tears, both happy and scared, but I've never once regretted leaving my prior employment. I feel like I am finally where I was meant to be, building my own legacy and creating beautiful leaf earrings to be enjoyed across the world!
I have a long list of goals, but at the top is to get myself out of debt and start to really scale my business. I plan to hire help so that I can focus more on building a business and less on just making products. If things go according to plan, you will see FLF products in more shops across the country, being represented by influencers across the world. Who knows... maybe I will even open a brick and mortar!
Interview with Voyage Ohio Magazine