The focus of the Starting Small series is to introduce you to some amazing individuals who have built their own businesses from scratch. They are full of passion, life, and love. Once a month, we feature a new business owner, and pick their brain regarding how they started their business, advice for those who have/wish to have a business themselves, how they making time for themselves, and most importantly, which they love most about being a small business owner. I hope these individuals will inspire you, motivate you, and fill your heart with as much love as they've filled mine!

Tell us your story! How did Mint & Birch come to life? // I started making jewelry as a little girl. But in 2012, I wanted to make my mother-in-law and my mother something special for Mother’s Day. I wanted something to encapsulate the beauty of motherhood, and also be a customized present that would be special. It was a huge hit, and eventually my friends asked for them too. Eventually, word spread and I was starting to outgrow my selling venue, which was only Facebook at the time. I opened up a website and never looked back. Mint & Birch is something that I am incredibly proud of, but I could have never gotten it to where it is today without the support of family, friends, fellow businesses and customers! And I am so grateful for it!
What was the process like for deciding on a business name? How did you decide on "Mint & Birch"? // When I first started, my name was “Woodland Owl Trinkets.” What a mouthful, right? When I added bar necklaces, I realized that I needed something more simple! That summer, I taped up the blank canvases with painter’s tape and let him [my son] go at the canvases with mint paint! When I peeled back the tape, it looked like there were birch tress on a mint background. Mint & Birch was born! 

I love that my business name was inspired by a story that I can tell my son one day. He absolutely loved painting those canvases, and I think his love for art really stemmed from that experience. And that’s my goal with my jewellery- I want it to tell a story. From the packaging, to the customizations that each person requests, I want my customers to feel like their order is something that reflects a small part of their story!

When did you first realize that your dream of starting a business was a tangible reality? // I don’t think there is one specific point in time where I realized that this business was more than a “hobby” than a true source of income, as it happened gradually. However, the first time that I sold 140 orders in less than 12 hours was when I realized that people do really love my shop and that it’s something that I should be proud of! Another thing I should mention is, I realized that this was becoming  a reality when I stopped relying on only social media for sales. Today, we drive sales from customers sharing with others, word of mouth - both local and global, etc. We have much more momentum than when we relied only on social media! 

Describe a typical day in your life! How do you incorporate your family + business + personal time into your day? // Oh boy. This is a tough one. I will admit that I don’t have a very structured routine. I like to go with the flow. This can be great, but sometimes can cause me to become very unorganized! I have 3 kids under 5, and they are still needing my constant attention. I try to work downstairs in my office during the day for about 5-6 hours, and then spend the rest of the day with the family. After the kids go to bed, I will work on emails and try to watch a movie with my husband while weaving nests. I know it’s all very vague, but I feel like it’s impossible for me to set a routine because the needs of my business and my kids are always changing. However, it is something that I am working on for this year… if anyone has the golden answer to how to balance being a parent/spouse/shop owner, I would be all ears! I think it’s a never ending balance that always fluctuates! 

What inspires you daily?? How do these inspirations translate through your products? // I am inspired by my friends and customers! A lot of my new pieces, like my teeny heart date stamp, are inspired by my friends. I LOVE giving jewellery to my friends especially when someone is getting married or having children. I usually try to make them something new each time, so I am challenged to create something that is unique to the person that I am making it for! As strange as that seems, I’m also inspired by home decor. For example, my calligraphy font was inspired by those beautiful rustic hand painted wooden signs. I had my own set of stamps created to look like each letter was not only stamped on each bar, but also painted! 

What has been the most rewarding experience since beginning your business adventure? What has been the most challenging experience? // The most rewarding thing about running my own business is the connections, friendships, and relationships that I have formed. I have been so touched by everyone’s kindness and willingness to help each other out. (Thank you for featuring me!). I joined Instagram 2 years into my business, so I was a little late to the game. However, whenever I reached out to collaborate even as a little baby shop, many shops welcomed me and were so willing to work with me! I will never take that for granted and hope to return the favour to other shops!

The most challenging experience so far is balancing work. Ever since last year, our demand has been higher than our ability to put out orders. We’ve had to begin hiring employees. That brings a lot of things to work through because it’s something new and scary! I’ll admit that as a perfectionist, it makes me a little nervous to hand over tasks to someone else. It’s also difficult because I try to employ stay at home moms who need a little extra cash, but of course, scheduling is difficult because babies get sick, husbands work, etc. Scheduling is something that I am working on this year! 


Favorite Quote? // Be the change you wish to see

 Favorite way to unwind and de-stress? // Stamping necklaces! There is something so inherently satisfying about pounding a hammer!


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