I am beyond excited to introduce the next feature on the blog, for a few different reasons. Have you ever just watch one of your friends thriving in life, living it to the best, the fullest?! I messaged my friend on Instagram telling her how proud I was of her and her current endeavors. Then it hit me, one of the most exciting ideas I have had to date. I was going to feature her on the blog, and partner with her for something extra special! Dying to know what the extra special idea is? Read the full post to find out! It is worthhhhh it, I pinky promise. Anyway, enjoy meeting my friend Abby! :)
This is Abby. We met around 2014 when we pledged together for a business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, at Kent State University. Immediately I could tell Abby was a force to be reckoned with, in the most positive way. Anyone that meets her can tell she is a strong-willed, highly motivated individual. She has a personality that is so pure to match. She took on the VP of Marketing position within the fraternity, went to school full time, AND had her own photography business... can you say boss babe?!
As long as I have known Abby, she has always been so positive about life and truly believes you get out what you put into it. I couldn't agree more.
She graduated Kent in Spring of 2016 with a degree in Managerial Marketing. She worked at a company in the marketing department for awhile, but now she does marketing coordination for small businesses, still runs her amazing photography business, and.. oh yeah! She just started another business!! Which is the reason this post is titled Happy Little Succas.
Happy Little Succas is her most recent business adventure, and to be honest, the cutest business adventure too. The name alone has me sold. (I am such a succa for word play, get it?...) I fell in love with her business, and had to tell her, so I messaged her on Instagram. When I decided to ask her if she wanted to be featured on the blog, I already had my list of questions for her ready to go. I was so happy she agreed to the feature, and I immediately sent my list of 1548962 questions to her, and she answered them all. When I asked her about Happy Little Succas, and what inspired her, the answer was not what I expected it to be. I don't know what I was expecting, but still.
"When you google "What to get my photographer friend for her birthday" a list always pops up and there are lens mugs on there for a nice $10 gift. Well, I don't drink coffee, but I have now been gifted 23 of those lens mugs, which I absolutely love. But, the collection became so overwhelming that I needed to figure out how to use these instead of just having them collect dust. A normal person would probably have gotten one succulent on a random Thursday to see if they could keep it alive. I think I saw a picture of a succulent on Pinterest and I'm like "well that's the cutest thing I've ever see" and I went out to my local nursery and bought, I think 15. It didn't take long before they were out of the dumb glass mason jars I had, and into the lens mugs! Anyone who came over would comment on how fun they were and it got me to thinking about other containers that might be fun to house them in. I have an old camera collection that I find at antique stores. When I started getting more interested in succulents my focus shifted more towards "I wonder if I can put a succulents in this" and it turned into a continuous hunt to find the cutest containers.
After about a year I found that I had about 40 in my house.. I couldn't even sit at my dining room table because where it was located had just the perfect light and the plants are much more important than where I eat my dinner. Then, at 2 am one night, you know, when most of my crazy ideas are hatched, I thought "ummm I need to sell these! They have brought me so much joy but I would really love to share them with others as well!" I started doing a lot more research about each type of succulent, how much water it needed, the size it could grow to and the amount of light it liked to thrive.. and through some trial and error I had 20 that were absolutely ready to be shared.
I wanted to convey to my potential clients that it's not just a plant. It's alive, it needs love, and they all have a different personality. So, I came up with the idea to name them and present that as being "adopted" instead of bought."
Abby explained all of this over email, and I swear I can just see her smiling and being so excited about every detail. I asked her how many succulents she current;y owns, because if you have a succulent company, you are bound to have at least 1 or 2... "I own 68 at the moment, 40 of them are for sale. The non-sale ones are in containers that I have acquired from different parts of the globe, from California to Stockholm. I live in a two bedroom apartment and I have over 120 plants, I am absolutely obsessed with huge leafy plants and vines. I pretty much live in a jungle." And what a beautiful jungle it is.
So, a little bit more of a background on Abby and her entrepreneurial endeavors stems back to 2011 when she started her photography business.
Needing an internship for senior year of high school, "...being the annoy overachiever that I am, I decided to get one my junior year instead. I learned that I don't have crazy "artistic" ideas for wedding photography, but that I am more concerned with stress levels and overall happiness that my clients experience; all while focusing on setting up situations for genuine emotional reactions for me to capture. I am all about making sure my clients take a moment to appreciate the moments that they in front of them instead of being shuffled around the whole day and the day ends up going by too quickly. Learning I had this skill early on really launched my business full steam... that and I was on the year book staff, and went to every. single. event. and uploaded them to Facebook the same night."
"I have a lot to be thankful for for the community that supported me when I decided to strike out on my own. I never thought that I would be working for myself one day, but with their kind words of support I was about to crunch the numbers last July and find that I could! Leaving my "cushy" job was the best thing I've ever done."
Leaving a "big girl job" to pursue her passions, one of the bravest things I can think of. I can only imagine how exhilarating it is too. She says, "...within my businesses, each one has its best parts. With photography, it's capturing those moments with the moms that are my absolute favorite. Moms are always behind the camera and dad tends to get the best moments captured. So to be able to get some for mom, is just the best. A lot of them message back and tell me they just cried tears of joy while going through them. With Happy Little Succas, it's when, what looks nice to me also touches someone's else heart and style and they send me pictures of how their Succa fit perfectly within their lives. And with marketing, I just know how hard it can be to have a successful business, and I really enjoy being able to use my skills to help small businesses within my area get a leg up on the big corporate competition."
So, with that being said, her day to day schedule is pretty awesome. "I get up at about 8 every day, garden for an hour, answer emails and then make some breakfast, then I edit pictures, work on marketing projects, make updates to my websites and edit some more pictures. If it doesn't rain I have 3-6 family photography sessions each week and those start about an hour and a half before sunset.. after those I come back home and work more until about midnight." When asked about her days of... "hahahahaha is my reaction every time I read that question. But honestly, because I set my own schedule and work from home I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. So I'm always up for a hike, going to craft fairs (more times than I can count, I end up at hobby lobby), reading in my hammock on my patio, or hanging with family and friends, every Tuesday is game night! It's my goal to get to all 50 states before I'm 30. I have 12 more to go within the next 5 years. So, I spend a lot of my time off dedicated to traveling and creating memories and recharging that way."
Her ultimate goals with all of her businesses is to find 25-30 acres that can be turned into a barn venue for weddings and work retreats. It would have cabins for the bridal parties or to be rented as Airbnbs, also a couple golf holes so that the groomsmen have a fun activity to do in the morning. The barn would be painted a different color on each side, to match any bride's color scheme. The bridal cabins will have at least 3 perfectly lit stations for hair and makeup, to make their mornings run smoothly (most brides are cramped inside someone's kitchen or hotel room.)
Then about 12 other little things to truly make it a one stop shop for any couple looking to have their wedding there. We are so bombarded with choices these days because we are all connected through social media, it becomes very overwhelming to make the decisions. She wants to help make her couples' wedding day something to look forward to instead of being "excited that it will be over."
The property would also have a sunflower field, wild flower field, ever green tree farm, apple orchard, pumpkin patch and vineyard for the most picturesque backgrounds while also having the ability to be apart of the community that surrounds the property. People can come pick pumpkins, cut down their Christmas trees, sample some wine or even make homemade apple cider.
Abby would like to live on this property and have her own studio in the back so she can continue taking pictures of newborns, because that is really where she finds her joy with photography.
Next to that studio, she would want to have a very large greenhouse as well where she can propagate all her own succulents and hopefully get Happy Little Succas to the next level of spreading the joy of gardening. And she would also like to start making her own containers; made out of wood, metal or 3D printed.
Okay. You made it through the entire post, CONRATS! Are you ready for the "something extra special" yet?.. Since Abby and I go way back, we both have our own creative passions, I asked her if she would be willing to team up to do a GIVEAWAY!
Yep. My first ever giveaway! Abby was gracious enough to donate a Happy Little Succa to be included in the giveaway, and I am also including a Starbucks gift card! But, that is not the most exciting part to me.. I am also including the first ever A Ginger Life merch!! A t-shirt to be exact. Eric had 2 made for me out of the kindness of his heart because he wanted to support my dream. (Ladies, get you a man like this.)
So, all in all the giveaway consists of a Happy Little Succa, Starbucks gift card and A Ginger Life t-shirt! Click here to enter! Winner will be drawn Monday, June 10, 2019
Hope you enjoyed reading this, hope you have fun with the giveaway- more info on A Ginger Life merch coming soon!