Meet Tanya – founder, designer, creator. Tanya started a small succulent business, Fringe & Flora, last year in November 2016. We started by asking her a little bit about how she started up her business and what lead her to this field.
I’ve made many flower arrangements and potted plants for my own yard but wanted to create something on a smaller scale that people can have in their homes, offices, events, or give as gifts and become part of/enhance their home decor.
I started by choosing my pots and planters. I’m very selective about what type of pots I use- I want them to be beautiful and special but simple enough to allow the plants to shine. As well, I wanted to provide selections for many different tastes and decor styles. Succulents seemed like the obvious choice of plants to use because they are so beautiful, unique and diverse, and are relatively easy to care for and can be made to suit any space. It wasn’t easy to find a supplier for them since they don’t grow well in Alberta, but luckily I found a local nursery that I source most of my succulents from and occasionally will bring some in from BC. If only we had the weather to grow succulents year round, I would be in heaven!
Next came months of creating arrangements for family and friends to see what worked and what didn’t. It was a huge learning process and involved many sleepless nights, but I eventually came up with a cohesive collection which was photographed for my website. I decided to work with a local photographer/designer, Jillian Schecher, which was so helpful and such a positive experience.
Then we asked Tanya to tell us a little bit more about the specifics of her brand. What the early stages of building her brand looked like, what her creative process looks like now, and how she collaborates with her clients to make each creation unique and authentic. This is what she said …
When developing Fringe & Flora, I knew what look and vibe I was going for but I just didn’t know how to translate it into a brand. I decided to work with a local photographer/designer which was so helpful and such a positive experience. She helped bring my vision to life and create a brand that is truly “me” and shows what I offer, as well as keep me inspired and gave me confidence during the tough times when I wanted to give up.
Fringe & Flora arrangements are made-to-order and each one is unique. Customers can browse the collections of arrangements on the website, fringeandflora.com, and choose which style of arrangement and planter they like. From there, I have them fill out an order form with specific questions, for example how many succulents, if they want one larger or multiple smaller ones, colour palette, the décor style- to get a sense of what they want. Customers can be very specific and know exactly what they want, but often they give me full control to create something special for them.
I also receive requests for arrangements through social media and email. Often a person will like something I’ve posted on Instagram and message me to order something similar. I’m very open to all forms of inquiries and love working with clients and hearing their ideas, making it a collaborative process. Some of my nicest arrangements were created because of requests and feedback from clients.
Once the client places the order I will plan their arrangement and choose the perfect succulents. I try to keep a selection of succulents on hand but will always go out of my way to find just the right ones for that specific arrangement. Sometimes this means ordering something in or shopping around locally The whole process can take up to a week but if someone needs something on short notice I always do my best to have it ready for them. I offer delivery to the Edmonton area for a small fee, or pickups at my downtown studio at no charge.
Sometimes a person has a special container that they want used for their arrangement. I’m happy to do custom orders, as well as replanting a Fringe & Flora planter if the succulents start looking tired and need to be refreshed.
I have done a few pop-ups around the city and will open up my studio on the occasional weekend so people can stop by and shop some pre-made arrangements. The best place to get the scoop on what's going on with Fringe & Flora is probably Instagram (@fringeandflora).
We asked Tanya what she likes about her job and asked her what her favourite part of being an entrepreneur was. We also chatted with her a little bit about the life of an entrepreneur and how she is able to maintain a work/life balance. Here is what she had to say ...
My absolute favourite part about this job is creating something for people that they love and that makes them happy. I feel honoured when people choose me to create something that they will have in their homes or gift to loved ones, and I get so happy picturing it as something they display in their homes and that brings them joy.
I also really love the planting and gardening aspect and getting my hands dirty- it’s so therapeutic to work with and the plants and the dirt and have contact with nature. No matter how stressed I am, after making an arrangement I always feel better. Visiting the greenhouses for inspiration and to get supplies is also pretty sweet perk of the job.
Finally, love being able to be creative and the process of planning out the arrangements- which succulents will look best together and go in which planter.
It’s so fulfilling to see the final product after all the planning and hard work that goes into each one and people can know that every single piece is made with love.
Maintaining a work/life balance is definitely something I struggle with because I am a perfectionist and tend to feel like I have to be able to do absolutely everything all the time, and having your own business can be incredibly busy. Sometimes I have to force myself to take time away from work, to hang out with my husband and dogs, see my wonderful family and friends, work in my garden, or to just have time to myself, and have realized that I'm better and more productive if I do these things. It also might sound cliche but eating healthy and exercising (especially barre) make a huge difference. Whenever I leave barre I feel energized, more balanced and less stressed. I'm also trying to be more mindful and focus on the present and have recently started meditating which has been a game changer.
And finally, as always, we talked about community. How the YEG community influences her work, her business and her product and also, as an entrepreneur in Edmonton, how she works alongside other locally owned and operated businesses.
The Edmonton community has had a huge influence on what I do. I think our city is so special in that its residents really appreciate locally made goods are so supportive of local business. I feel so lucky every single day to live and work in YEG and be part of such an amazing group.
I've had nothing but positive feedback and support from other local business owners, makers and vendors that I've worked with or met at various shows and events. There is such an amazingly talented group of people who live here and work so hard at their crafts and rather than competing, it's like everyone wants each other to succeed.
The group who has had the biggest impact on me by far though are all the customers I've had the pleasure of meeting. I'm constantly blown away by how kind and supportive everyone is, and it makes me appreciate what I do so much and keeps me motivated to work harder and do better.