We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Kimberly Oberheu a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Kimberly, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Do you take vacations? How do you keep things going – any advice for entrepreneurs who feel like they can’t step away from their business for a short vacation?
Vacations. Ahhh vacations. I”m a huge believer in these big and mini moments away. To restore, reconnect and replenish our hearts and minds. With a culture today that is over saturated in technology, it has never been more important to break away. And as a nature lover, connecting to natural landscapes is key. Prairies, oceans, mountains, desert all have a mental, emotional and spiritual impact that can be hugely effective for a personal and professional life.
There is fascinating data on how we realign with nature. Biophilia. That’s PFI ‘s passion. Bringing biophilia in and through every brand.
Biophilia, the name of the philosophy itself can be traced back to 1964, when German-born thinker Erich Fromm coined the term bio (life) philia (lover) to describe mankind’s innate attraction to all things organic.
“Even just a picture of nature, like a Hudson Valley landscape, will lower blood pressure and heart rate,” states Bill Browning, of Terrapin Bright Green. In October 2019, Browning and his co¬author Catie Ryan Balagtas helped publish a striking study: In a sixth-grade Baltimore classroom, they installed a carpet resembling prairie grass, wallpapered the ceiling with a palm-leaf print, and dressed the windows with silk-screened shades. After a year, the students performed an average of 3.3 times higher on test scores and showed greater stress resilience.
Vacations are a time for me to break from work but also reconnect to work. But on the visioneering side. It’s where I can dream, plan and create for the future without interruptions and with a lot of inspiration. I often make time for time to do nothing. That opens up space for a lot to happen. Quieting my mind to allow new thoughts and connections.
I am also a huge proponent of my employees truly taking their vacations. Please go do something new and have fun and come back refreshed. In the US vacations are often no more than 2 weeks, even if you get more than 2 weeks, it can be hard to take the all at the same time. Whereas, in Europe families commonly take a whole month off. I think we need to rethink our time off in the US. And re-invest in our employees. Connect to their families and nature.
Kimberly, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
We are a full scale biophilic studio, where we create corporate and private collections using plants. This can be full scale holiday designs for the holiday season, or moss walls, living walls, classic interiorscaping and more.
PFI, also known as Plants Forever Incorporated, is a story of two distinct women with strong entrepreneurial spirits born out of the soil of the south. The story of a mother and daughter and how their gifts when brought together have created an unparalleled reputation. Bobbie Pike, founder and CEO of Plants Forever, began in 1982, with three people she states, “Me, myself and I.” From personally choosing the plants, and all design details, to insuring top level service experiences, she established her company with a heart felt commitment to one item “service, service, and service.” Her success was seen by landing such Atlanta landmark clients as the jeweled Phipps Plaza, Lenox Shopping Center and Atlanta Gas Light Company.
While Bobbie laid the foundation for the company her daughter, Kim Oberheu, invested her energies in NYC and LA working with such productions and companies as The Academy Awards and Walt Disney Studios. Upon seeing Kim’s success and ability, Bobbie asked Kim to join her at the helm of Plants Forever 2001.
Now, Kim leads the company through branding, design and service garnering clients with global presence such as Coca Cola, Mercedes, Mandarin Oriental and Invesco.
Kimberly states “PFI’s job has become multi-faceted, assuring that a company’s internal brand is flawlessly executed throughout their corporate spaces. Knowing the brand and how to bring it to life is central to the overall reveal. We are designers and care takers who love branding, horticulture and holidays. With the creative concert of all three, we can produce something unique for any corporation in the world.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
Covid. March. 2020, my husband had just had a leg surgery, and as I approach my office, I had employees coming to me asking ” are we going to close our shop”?
Close? What? Heck no! Not unless the sheriff himself shows up. There is always a solution to a problem. There is always another angle to work to make a business work. We found out we were part of the buildings essential business (plants) and that when the holidays came, employers had to do something. They definity could not do nothing. So, we moved forward, no layoffs, no decreased hours. We put our heads to the ground, kept working hard and staying focused.
Lesson: Just because there is a lot of noise about something, doesn’t mean you have to let it play you. Listen, take in the most important notes, and then make your own music.
Any stories or insights that might help us understand how you’ve built such a strong reputation?
Do the work you say your going to do.
Be clear on your own voice in the marketplace. Don’t try to copy someone else.
Truly care about your clients. They can be very forgiving.
Follow up. Follow up. Follow up.
- Website: https://www.pfibranditgrowit.com/?doing_wp_cron=1645565544.3761699199676513671875
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/plantsforeverinc/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PfiBrandItGrowIt
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimberly-oberheu-b782142/