Welcome to 2021 with Goddess Directory! After a short holiday break, we're back, ready to tackle the new year, and more invigorated to share new small shops + connect with the creators behind them than ever. If there's anything you're looking to see, feel free to send over your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know on Instagram at @goddessdirectory.
Today's interview is possibly the longest in the making and a personal favorite of mine. I've been fortunate enough to not only own a ton of pieces from Femme De Bloom, but also get to know the person behind the brand, Melanie, both online and in person. Melanie was one of the first people I thought of when I started interviewing people for Goddess Directory. Over a year later, I'm excited to share that she's finally being featured. As you'll learn, Melanie is just a *little* busy.
Started while she was in school earning her doctorate - that's Dr. Melanie to you - and still running full speed while she now works full-time, Femme De Bloom is full of Disney magic, a variety of aesthetics, and all-around adorable earrings, brooches, and other accessories. She just launched her Sweetheart and Rock the Dots collections, so it's the perfect time to get to know her and her brand. Enjoy!
My pick: it changes daily, but the felt hearts are too cute!
Q: Let’s start from the beginning. Can you tell me a little bit about the process of starting your business? What made you want to do this and how did you turn your idea into a reality?
A: I actually got the idea to start an Etsy shop in 2014, when I was in the 1st year of my doctorate program for Clinical Psychology. Since I had to quit my job for the full-time program, I had a lot saved but was thinking of flexible ways to generate some income. Creativity has been a huge part of my life since childhood and I always made Christmas gifts for friends and family. After making some personalized ornaments the year before, my friends had encouraged me to try selling them so I made a couple samples, took some photos and started an Etsy shop just to see if anyone would be interested! I really had no idea what I was doing! I did know, though, that I really loved making the ornaments and that they made my friends so happy when they opened them, so I hoped to share that with others.
Q: What was your first product to take off or find enough success that you were encouraged to do more?
A: The ornaments I mentioned in the first question were a HIT! I ended up selling out several times and had to go on the hunt for more supplies because I kept running out! I honestly couldn’t believe it. I had an absolute blast making the ornaments, connecting with customers, and packaging orders. I didn’t want it to end! So before the holiday season was even over, I was thinking of other things I could start making beyond just the ornaments, which is when I started making jewelry and other accessories. If you told me then I would still be doing the shop long after I graduated and became a Psychologist, I don’t know if I would have believed you but honestly, I can’t imagine not having it in my life!
Q: What were your friends and family’s reactions to you starting a business? Were you nervous to share it?
A: My friends who I made the ornaments for were super encouraging! They were the ones who really planted the idea in my head in the first place. Overall, I feel like I had a lot of support with the ornaments! I was pretty nervous to share about the jewelry though because I had these ideas in my head that were hard to verbalize. My husband (who was my boyfriend then) and I joke about a time on the phone where I was explaining some of my ideas to him for expanding the shop and he was like, “hmmm, okay….I don’t know it’s just hard for me to see it. Just don’t spend too much time and money on it because you’re in school.” As I look back, he was just trying to protect me and be cautious since I already had a huge commitment of being in a 4 year program but at the time I was so mad and I yelled at him and cried, haha! Now, Mr. FemmeDeBloom, as we call him, regrets saying it and says that he’s glad I didn’t listen to him. I will say though, that in a way his doubt actually fueled my motivation to prove him (and perhaps my own self-doubt) wrong. Owning a business, creating, and putting those creations and ideas out into the world is one of the most vulnerable things a person can do and I am so thankful for how this process has shaped me.
Q: How challenging has it been to balance a full-time job (and for a long time, school!) with running a business?
A: QUITE CHALLE