Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ellise Uyema, founder of Live Long and Plant, located in Seattle, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Live Long and Plant is a plant-centered lifestyle brand. We want to share the joy of plant ownership with you while giving you the confidence to joyfully add a member to your plant family and know it will live long and prosper. Live Long and Plant offers carefully curated plant gift boxes, fun and entertaining DIY terrarium kits, and handmade plant-themed home décor products.
Our typical customer is someone looking for a plant-centered gift, something new and inspiring, or even a DIY enthusiast. We love finding the perfect gift for your loved one and can even customize it based on your needs!
Tell us about yourself
My name is Ellise, and I started Live Long and Plant in 2019. I had been working in the corporate world for 8+ years and was tired of working for someone else's dream. I had attended a work meeting and the General Manager at the time said something that didn't sit well with me - she had talked about how she had to miss her children's first day of grade school because "Mommy has to go out and make the money." I couldn't envision a life where I had to miss my future kid's milestone moments, so I looked around my house to see what problems I had that needed solutions.
There it was - a pile of used candle jars that I had intended to upcycle but never got around to. It started with the simple question of, "What do I do with all my used candle jars?" and immediately I thought of plants since that's a passion of mine. My parents taught me how to plant and tend to a garden at a very young age, and I've tried to surround myself with plants wherever I went. After cleaning out many candle jars and creating succulent arrangements, I thought it would be neat to create a gift box with similar components for others to experience.
Fast-forward to 2022; our product assortment has expanded to DIY Terrarium Kits (both terra and aquatic!) and plant-themed home décor. All of the candles are handmade, each kit and gift box is packaged for the most part by me, and I even collaborate with local artists to create unique gifts for the shop.
I'm constantly motivated by the challenge of being a better version of myself every day. I like to problem-solve, so having a small business is definitely all about being scrappy and finding solutions. I'm also motivated by the idea that by building my foundation now, I can reap the rewards by getting back my time to spend with my future family. Finally, I absolutely LOVE helping others, whether it's through plant education or through assisting other small business owners with their hurdles. I'm currently building out a Business Coaching program that will be released later this year. I cannot wait to help others with their journey!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Financially, being able to hit 6-figures within two years was a huge accomplishment as a business owner, especially since I launched this business at the beginning of COVID.
Personally, my biggest accomplishment is seeing how far I can mentally push myself. I run this business while also having a very demanding full-time job, so trying to balance my work and business life is a constant challenge. However, I know that we are all capable of doing more and being better versions of ourselves, and that's what I have in the forefront of my mind.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There's nothing that can fully prepare you for the amount of work that comes with owning a business, and that's something I didn't realize when getting into the daily grind. The hardest part is juggling all of the business owner components, whether that's accounting, processing orders, inventory management, ordering supplies, answering customer inquiries, the list goes on and on! One thing that's helped me is creating a to-do list and then highlighting tasks that are a priority for the day. Once an item is complete, I make sure to boldly cross out or check it so that I can visually see the progress I've made at the end of the day!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Study and educate yourself on having an eCommerce presence, even if it's a small one! This is where people will discover what your brand is, who you are, and what products you sell.
- Find your small business community - this is pivotal, especially in difficult times. These people will cry, vent, and laugh with you throughout your journey. Make sure to surround yourself with people who will make you better and challenge you to think outside the box.
- Keep your WHY in the forefront of your mind. Why did you start your business? What is your end goal? This will be your motivation, especially during challenging times.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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