Continuing is Harder than Starting

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I started Wildflower Roots jewelry back in 2015, right after I spent a year living in India working for a social enterprise, Purpose Jewelry. That year in India was spent designing jewelry lines for Purpose Jewelry and working alongside women who are survivors of human trafficking. I had never “designed” jewelry or possessed many jewelry making skills when I arrived in India, but when I left I knew this would be a craft I couldn’t give up. Designing jewelry for me was the creative challenge I needed as an artist. I had painted, crafted, sculpted and dabbled in every other artsy category you can think of most of my life. Discovering jewelry design was the greatest by far. Coming home from living abroad, especially India, was an adjustment, but deciding to keep making jewelry by starting Wildflower Roots was my best decision yet.

Wildflower Roots is simple, everyday jewelry for the everyday woman. The everyday mundane can feel unglamourous at times and yet seasons of life can alter, shift, and change in heartbeat. I live most of my life thinking about what season I am in and miss the unexpected everyday moments of joy, love, and kindness around me. What I love about wildflowers is that they bloom in unexpected seasons, they have roots that are often tough and strong, they are flexible with the wind, populating everywhere. Wildflowers are mainly weeds but they are beautiful ones. My season in India had me clinging to my roots and holding even more tightly to my ultimate root, Christ. During the hard seasons, fun seasons, and seasons of big uprooting change, my roots were what mattered the most. And I can tell you from my professional, plant lady experience (insert sarcasm here) that roots grow inch by inch, steadily and slowly, everyday. I want Wildflower Roots to be a reminder that goes beyond the art of making jewelry and to actively represent the beauty in the mundane of everyday life.

After a couple of years of working part time with Wildflower Roots, I wasn’t able to pay for my bills solely on jewelry sales. I got a full time job working at FLDWRK, a local coworking space in downtown Fullerton. I fell in love my job at FLDWRK and did my best to keep moving WFR forward as much as I could. Last year, I was engaged, planning a November wedding, working a fulltime job and trying to keep up with the demand of WFR. Once December 2017 arrived I was done. I needed a BREAK from WFR. I can’t tell you how guilty I felt. How immediately I felt behind in the jewelry business world, no longer able to keep up with those doing their businesses full time. My husband is my biggest fan and was worried I was quitting, but I felt peace that it was only for a season. The Lord provided a house for us to rent (and we left behind our teeny, tiny one-room backhouse for good). Not only did this new place have all that we had prayed for, but it had one additional blessing. In this house was a spare room and I excitedly began dreaming of creating a new space for Wildflower Roots.

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Over the course of June and July, I created my own little business plan to utilize Instagram in a new way. I turned the spare room into a mini studio and started sketching. Continuing is harder than starting. But I am here showing up as much as I can. Wildflower Roots doesn’t have a website or a Fall/Winter product line, but what Wildflower Roots does have is limited edition jewelry pieces and Instagram Story Pop-Up Shops that happen twice a month. I am so glad to be putting myself out there again designing and making jewelry, all while at my own pace. That break was exactly what I needed in a season where I thought I was done. I’m so glad I stepped back and took a new creative look at my business. In doing this, I realized that instead of trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing, I can go at my own pace, in my own way, and it doesn’t have to be BIG or wow everyone all the time. Whenever, I get caught up in seeing others smashing the jewelry game, I celebrate and admire them all, while reminding myself that I am in a different season. It’s good to feel my roots growing again.

– Meredith Galipault
Founder of Wildflower Roots
(Photos by Kayci Decker)

Interview with Anna Laura, Founder of White Flag

White Flag is a home decor company aimed to spark conversations about Jesus Christ through simple designs inspired by biblical truths. It is an organic way to help you share what you believe with the people who visit your home or office. Their flags are designed to beg the question, “what does that mean?” and open the door for a conversation.

You have a story to tell, a testimony of where you have been and where God is taking you. When you purchase and proudly hang one of their flags, you are opening the door to conversation – be brave and share your story.

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Anna, we are so excited to hear your story! Tell us a bit about yourself.

Thank you so much! I’m so honored you asked me to be a part of Artfully Seeking! I’m Anna. I’m originally from Kansas City, Missouri but grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. I currently live in Nashville, Tennessee with my husband, Andrew, and my three kids – Brooklyn, Justice, and River Wilde. My home is a revolving door of animals and is constantly full of plants and books. Handwritten letters, flowers wrapped in paper, sleeping with the windows open, French oldies music, and Autumn are a few of my favorite things. I’m an 8w7 on the Enneagram, I ask a lot of questions, and I love to tell stories. And finally, I’m the founder and creative director of White Flag — a lifestyle, home decor company that makes handmade, linen flags aimed to spark conversations about Jesus Christ through minimal designs inspired by Biblical truths.

How did you develop as a creative throughout your life?

I grew up around music. My dad is a professional musician, so creativity has always been a part of my life. I started playing piano and taking singing lessons when I was younger. I used to love writing poems and songs. I also loved to draw and paint, and had sketch pads nearby throughout most of my teenage years. I experimented with videography and photography, as well. Really, whatever I could get my hands on! I moved to Nashville in 2012, and then started gravitating towards creating apparel and accessories, something I had never done before. At the time, it was just a way to make a little extra money, but it ended up turning into a clothing line that focused on custom denim and t-shirts. Eventually, I burned out and ended up laying that company to rest in 2015 during a really difficult season of my life. At that point, I spent a bit of time just focusing on my family until White Flag came to life in 2017.

I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason to my creativity. I don’t gravitate to one form or stay in one lane. I just enjoy creating, whether it be music, drawing, taking photos or creating tangible products, like clothing or home decor. The art of creating and bringing something to life is a beautiful process and I’ve always chased after it.

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How did the idea for White Flag form?

I’m a very visual person. For some people, God speaks audibly…for me, I think God speaks through vision. I’ll have ideas or I’ll see a glimpse of something and it will plant an idea or seed in me that slowly comes to life. White Flag was one of those visions! I remember vividly seeing a man walk into a room with a white flag hanging above a mantle and being overwhelmed with the love of Jesus. Truthfully, it didn’t make sense to me at the time, so I let it sit. A few months later, that vision was still present in my mind. I remembered a story my grandmother told me about her childhood during the war in Germany, and how she had to wave a white flag to surrender to the bomber planes above her home. When that memory came back to me, I connected the vision I had to that story. White flags are the universal symbol of surrender, and when I think of surrender, I think of Jesus. How we surrender to Him and the story He creates for our lives. In that moment, I knew I wanted to create white flags that symbolized surrender while sparking conversations for people to share their stories.

What I didn’t realize was that it was subconsciously rooted in my own desires as a kid, which is absolutely crazy to think about, because it’s proof that Jesus was laying the foundation for White Flag long before I knew it. It’s something I wished I had had when I was learning about Jesus for the first time — a gentle and organic way to ask questions and experience God through storytelling, rather than preaching at people or sharing the Bible verses we have memorized.

I think storytelling is the most powerful vehicle to share Jesus! Mark 4:33 says, “He was never without story.” I’m terrible at memorizing anything, but that verse has always stuck out to me. Jesus was the master storyteller, and I think there’s something to be said for that! When people ask me about White Flag, I always say this — you can argue with someone’s faith, you can argue with someone’s religion, but you can’t argue with someone’s story.

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What has running White Flag taught you about entrepreneurship?

Self-care is important. Entrepreneurship is a constant hustle. There will be days where work needs to be done, but you can’t do that work well if you’re running on empty. Take time for yourself, even if the decision feels unnatural and forced. You, and your company, will be better off because of it.

What is the most difficult thing about running a business?

I think it’s different for everyone, but for me, it’s always been the numbers. Spreadsheets are not my spiritual gift and I get overwhelmed pretty easily when I have to do payouts or budget for the business. Haha!

Thankfully, my husband just joined the White Flag team and has taken over that aspect. But that has always been something I’ve struggled with.

What is your favorite part about what you do?

The unexpected. I love that every day looks and feels different. I also love meeting new people and hearing stories of how White Flag has inspired them or brought joy to their lives. There’s something so magical about being WITH someone as they share their story with you. These days, those kinds of moments are few and far between, and happen mostly on a screen. I never want to take those for granted.

IMG_1718PC: Krissy Leigh Creative

What is your vision for the future of White Flag?

I’m so excited for the future of White Flag! I have a little notebook, I carry with me everywhere, that I write all of my ideas in. I can’t give away too much, but we’ll be doing limited edition partnerships with musical artists, taking on some new, non-profit partners, and working on a coffee table book of stories rooted in White Flag and surrender. There’s also some branding changes happening in the near future that I can’t wait for everyone to see.

Do you have any advice for creatives trying to make their dream happen?

Welcome change. When you’re creating something from the ground up, you can be so protective of it to the point that you sometimes prevent it from growing and evolving organically. What you thought it was supposed to look like, may not be what God had in mind at all. I’m learning to trust the process and welcome change, even if it feels uncomfortable. That’s where the beauty happens — if not in tangible ways that you can see at first, it’s certainly happening in yourself. And lastly, remember the “why.” Sometimes, all the elements of owning a business or chasing a dream can get a bit overwhelming and it’s easy to lose sight of the “why.” Remember WHY you are chasing this dream and why you started this business. Staying rooted in that is so important and will keep you connected to yourself, God, and your purpose.


IMG_1702Connect: instagram.com/mywhiteflag // Shop: www.whiteflag.org
– Written by Olivia McCash

Yonder Studios

Yonder is a line of canvas goods, tea towels and t-shirts printed, designed and created by Julie and Justin Nardy. Yonder started in 2013 when Julie created the first ever Yonder tote. She has been a seamstress for over 20 years and holds a BFA in fine art with emphasis in photography, painting and installation art.

The backbone of Yonder is individuality and craftsmanship. Their bags are made of heavy duty canvas and use up-cycled materials in their construction. Each bag is unique on purpose. T-shirts, tea towels and fabric are all printed by hand with great attention to detail. They use eco-friendly water-based ink to help ease the impact on the environment.

At the end of 2015, Julie found herself yearning to take Yonder in a new direction and use patterns in her work. By early 2016, she had started talking with her husband, Justin, about ways she could integrate silk screened patterns into the line.

Justin joined the Yonder team and started working with Julie on patterns and printing in mid 2016. Justin not only prints Julie’s designs, but has added his own touch to the Yonder line with his t-shirt designs. Justin brings over ten years of screen printing experience with him. All of the patterns are designed and printed in their home studio.

Along with being a screen printer, Justin is also a successful musician and designer. His band, New Tongues, can be heard here. Julie is a co-founder of the Berlin Bazaar, a yearly art experience in Columbia, Missouri.

Question & Answer with Julie

Why did you start your business?
I have been trying to “start” my own business for a long time now. In my 20’s I had different versions of businesses that I thought would last: I made pouches and hip bags for sale when I lived in Winter Park, Florida. I had a business with my best friend making pouches and totes when I lived in Austin, Texas. I’ve been sewing since I was a kid. I went to school for fine art for 8 years and when I emerged in 2006 I fell right back into sewing and I haven’t looked back since.

In 2015, I created a tote which would lead to the current line I make for Yonder. I wanted a new tote bag and I unknowingly made a pattern that I’m still using for almost all of the bags I sew. In 2016, I decided I wanted to add patterns to my work. My husband has over ten years of experience as a screen printer so I started talking to him about working with me. Today we make bags, pillows, pouches, and tea towels that have patterns that are all original designs. The Yonder line wouldn’t be what it is without him and I’m so over the moon that I get to work with him in an artistic capacity.

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How did you learn to run your business?
I never took a formal class perse, but I’ve been on the buying and inventory control end of retail for almost my whole adult life and I feel like that has helped immensely. I have a knack for business and for some reason things like inventory and cost and stuff comes easy to me. I’m also really enthusiastic about marketing, so I jumped on that immediately.

What’s the most difficult thing about running your own business?
The most difficult thing for me has been learning to say no when I need to. It’s so hard to realize that in order to have longevity in a business you also need to have a life outside of your business. In the first year I probably sewed 6 days a week on top of a full time job for the better part of the year. I have now learned to slow down, to give more realistic deadlines and to spend more time with my husband doing non business related things. The crazy thing is that this year has been one of our busiest, but I’m working smarter, not harder.

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What’s the most rewarding thing about running your own business?
I think for any creative, knowing that you can make money off of your art work is a huge. I went to school for fine art for eight years and I always told myself that I’d have to have a “normal” job. I definitely still work another job, but I can also see where the more time and energy I put into Yonder, the more I will get out of it. So if I ever did want to take this to another level, I could feasibly do that.

What advice do you have for others who are starting their own businesses?
The best advice I could give would be to have a pretty clear and concise concept before you dive in. The thing that really helped me was to limit my ideas–I’m usually all over the place. It has helped our line to be more cohesive and that has been huge. I wish someone had told me how to say no more often (just in general!), because I think it would have saved me a lot of stress in the past few years.

To stay up-to-date with Yonder’s events and new work, please visit their Instagram account. If you would like to shop their products, click here!

Drift & Loom

My name is Angela Norton and I’m a 19 year old who decided to create an online business. You may think I’m crazy to start a small business while trying to manage studying, a job, and a social life, but my answer is “why not?” We have our whole life ahead of us and there’s no need to waste our time waiting for the “right timing”. Drift & Loom is a tapestry business I created to help make your space a little bit more like you.

Drift & Loom started as an idea in May. I’ve always wanted to create a small business, but told myself I need to wait till I’m 30. One day, I decided to do something about my dreams and put them into action. So, here I am starting a business at the age of 19 and in the middle of college.

Some battles I’ve faced while pursuing this business was trying to tell myself that I can do this. I don’t need a degree to create something I love doing. I just need to keep remembering that wherever this may lead me, there is a plan in that route.

In the next few years, I hope to see myself expanding my products and being creative with the talents I’ve been given. I hope to also inspire others to go after their dreams. Just know, it’s never too early or too late to do something you love.

For more about Drift & Loom, please visit: www.driftandloom.com

Words & Photos by Angela Norton // Additional photos courtesy of Drift & Loom