Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Haley Fitzgerald, Founder of Spruced Plume, located in Jackson, WY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Spruced Plume’s mission is centered around whole animal use. As a bi-product of hunting, this company creates wearable art out of feathers and hide. From hatbands and magnetic hat pieces, called plumes, to bow ties and pocket feathers, there is a variety of product offerings. I, Haley Fitzgerald, the sole owner and artist at Spruced Plume, am an avid hunter and hunt to eat. I cared deeply about whole animal use and butchery and needed to find a way to use the feathers and hide of the animals that I hunted for consumption. Where I was once throwing away the beautiful bi-products of my hunts, I found a way to repurpose feathers and hide, demonstrate respect to the animals I hunt, as well as find a creative outlet for myself. All of my feathers and hide are sustainably sourced, as I have a hand in every part of the process of sourcing the materials that I use. From the hunt to field dressing and curing or tanning the skin and hides of both birds and large game to then creating the products, I am deeply involved in the process as a whole.
Tell us about yourself
I am a conservationist, outdoor junky, and animal lover. Spruced Plume embodies and perpetuates all of these aspects of myself. Being in the backcountry and interacting with the landscape and wildlife is my version of mental health care. I absolutely love animals, and I do my very best not to contribute to the unethical practices of farming for mass consumption by eating primarily game meat. Hunting allows me to know exactly where my food comes from and reduces my carbon footprint. You can’t get more free-range, non-GMO, or organic than game meat. As hunting was already embedded in my lifestyle and I craved being in the backcountry, finding a way to use the whole animal sustainably and have nothing wasted is such a gift for me. I hope to inspire others to become more in touch with the process of what they are consuming, whether it be food or consumer goods.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been continuing to see through the lens of my mission and vision as I make business decisions. I have not and will not stray from small-batch as I do not buy feathers, so what I have on hand is what I use to create products. The products that are being made and purchased are made with the utmost integrity, and I will never jeopardize the quality or the ethical alignment of my company.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I have made so many mistakes as a first-time business owner, and so something that I am consistently working on is celebrating my wins. Wins of any size, small, medium, or large, I do my very best to slow down and acknowledge them. Everything happens on the right timeline, so when I reach a milestone, I celebrate it before I move on to my next goal. This has cultivated gratitude for my own hard work and for those who are supporting my art and mission.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- What is your Why? Ask yourself this before you commit your time, money, and soul to a new venture. Make sure your business is in alignment with your beliefs.
- Organic growth is better than rapid growth. Growing sustainably brings you a customer base that is invested in what you do and will bring you the demand that you can handle.
- Marketing and communications are always worth investing in. Storytelling and visuals that capture the spirit of your company and products are great ways to establish who you are and what you are doing. No one knows why they should invest in your business or product unless you tell them.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
On top of creating products that can be purchased through my website, I work with hunters to make products out of the feathers from their own hunting adventures, and I do bulk custom orders for weddings and corporate or team gifts. I also love working with other artists and makers in limited-series collections. If you would like to receive announcements, stories, and discounts from Spruced Plume, please sign up for my e-newsletter at sprucedplume.com.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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