Folks, let me assure you- if anyone can make something out of nothing... it's me.
Well actually, I suppose saying it that way is the real problem. There is never actually Nothing. Rather, there is always something in what is seemingly nothing... it's just a matter of seeing it.
Needles to say, for anyone who isn't already familiar with my story here at Blackspring Farms... here's a quick overview of events leading up to now:
When Covid hit, I was a union stagehand with IATSE and my two kids went to elementary school in Memphis. Work stopped, the kids were sent home. Frustrated with virtual school we started homeschooling, and when the opportunity presented itself for us to move out of the city and into the county, we took it.
The kids enrolled in school out here in the country and they loved it, and I gradually accepted that
1) I probably wouldn't ever go back to theater work
2) Unemployment would eventually end and I'd have to figure out some way to make money
3)I really needed to be home when the kids were, and available to take them to school and pick them up if I need to,
4) self employment was the only feasible option other than going back to school and getting some kind of a degree, which would take forever (and I still owe student loans from the first attempt so I couldn't actually afford it...)
5) I had a lot of grass to grow on the 1 acre of sunny land I lived on.
In my early twenties I worked on an organic farm for a while and I got some experience with growing crops to sell. I had sort of want at the time to try my hand at growing cut flowers but as fate would have it I found out I was pregnant and gave up my farming life shortly thereafter, something that I remembered one day after we moved into our new house in the country. It occurred to me that flowers would be an easy thing to grow and sell that could potentially pay for my gas into the city and back... so I started my first year last year as Blackspring Farms, an LLC.
I offered weekly and monthly flower delivery all summer, and it did indeed pay for my gas! At the time I was still doing other side work, organizing for people and doing little handy jobs here and there. But as the summer came to a close I continued to get more orders, even though my flowers were. coming to a close for the year. So, I told my potential customers I could make and deliver wholesale flowers rather the ones grown in my own yard... it was a hit! And as it went, last Christmas I got the website for the farm together and I offered delivery subscriptions for the Spring. I got enough orders that I was able to let go of all my other side work and take on my new life of flower growing and delivering full time, and by spring of this year I was a full time flower farmer and deliverer!
The Spring turned into Summer seasons this year were a great success, great in the fact that I could afford, although barely, to stay afloat solely from the profits of flower farming. In need of as much income as I could muster, I started promoting Pop Up Sales at various businesses around town every weekend. I also started making flower crowns out of fresh flowers at the end of July, something that I could sell at festivals and other events where flower bouquets are sort of awkward to carry around. A success!
As fate would have it, one of the sales I had was at Cafe Eclectic, a locally owned and very cool coffee shop in Midtown Memphis. After the sale was over, the owner of the shop, Cathy Bolden, told me about a little space available in part of the building that wasn't being used, that would be a great little space to sell flowers in. She showed me the space and indeed, it would be perfect! As we talked she also told me about how she desperately needed to organize her stop room to accommodate all of the things that had haphazardly collected in the little space we were looking at, and I volunteered that I used to be a professional organizer.
Before long, we worked out a deal. I would organize her stock room and clean out the Shop Space in exchange for a month or two of rent, and I could open my very own little store in the space!
And so, that's where we are at here at Blackspring Farms.
It's taken a lot of work to get the space ready and clean, but alas, it almost is :)
In addition to fresh flowers, our new brick and mortar space will also have clothing, and jewelry! We'll offer workshops on soap making, chapstick and lipgloss making, salves and lotions. We'll also offer music lessons and a weekly podcast!
Needless to say, we're on a promising road. I say we but really, I mean me... because I do most of the work. My kid are age 8 and 12, I'm divorced, and my boyfriend lives in Nashville. I don't have any family money, I don't have any savings, and what I make delivering flowers is, in addition to child support, my only income. We live on a shoestring budget. Opening this store is, to say the least, a real struggle, but not impossible. Thru resourcefulness and helpful friends it is possible.
And so, I thought I would share my journey with anyone who is interested. And share my determination with anyone who is in need of inspiration. Anything is possible with a will to succeed.
I'm hesitant to send out the newsletter with the grand-opening date, but I'm secretly planning on October 22nd and 23rd as the Great Beginning of this spectacular new chapter of Blackspring Farms.