We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Lora Calcara. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Lora below.
Hi Lora, thanks for joining us today. Can you walk us through some of the key steps that allowed you move beyond an idea and actually launch?
Launching my new creative business involved the brave decision to put my existent business on pause in order to change in the new direction I was envisioning. I was unsatisfied with my botanical art business in it’s current state but I was also attached to the income and to what I have build by now. Then I finally realized that the daily maintaining of that business is diverting my energy and intention to change. I had to come firm with my decision. I closed my Etsy shop and I spent 6mo in shaping and scaling up my new flower preservation business. It was 6 full months focused solely on business development and now I am finally seeing the fruits of my work. I had to trust the process and believe in the positive outcome. It is still botanical art but my focus is on custom work mainly preserving wedding bouquets and other special flower arrangements.
Sometimes you build something and you can go on repetitive mode. People think that this is only true when working for somebody else but that is true for your own business too. My botanical jewelry was great but I was itching to develop my new idea of preserving flowers in frames. I am so happy I took that leap.
The hardest part for me as a small business owner was deciding to hire up specialists. I used to do everything myself, from logos to business cards to every little detail of the business. Now I was determined to work with people who are good at what they do. That helped me a lot to move forward faster and with confidence. Yes, you have a bigger investment, but you will look more professional and ultimately get your company where you want it to be. So that’s what happened: I hired a marketing specialist, a web site builder, copy writer, you name it. I also invested in participating in big trade shows. I had a lot of fun designing and building my presentation booth. I think the main word is determination. I used to drag new tasks that where unfamiliar and seemed like too much work to figure it out. They were huge stoppers. Now, I just plow thru them. Because i am inspired and what i do feels right, it also feels easy. All I need now is more time. As a mother of two young kids, juggling my own business and my personal life sometime is challenging. And i am learning that balance is important.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers?
How do I tuned to be a full time flower preservationist? I have been pressing flowers and putting them in resin jewelry for the past 6 years. I had a successful Etsy shop that gave me a sweet extra income as a home stay mom. I would walk canyons, beaches and neighbourhoods, always collecting new flowers, plants and nature finds. I was creating miniature nature landscapes, encapsulating pure magic in locket like botanical jewelry. Working with flowers had enchanted my heart. It’s like living in a magical world. I had great time sharing my creations and connecting with the community while selling at local art and craft fairs. About a year ago a friend showed me some framed botanicals from an Etsy shop in Russia. She was inquiring if I can make something like that for her salon. This sparked a new idea and I wanted to give it a try. What was magical and made it happen is my husband’s skill as a woodworker. He was able to make custom frames in the size and shape she wanted. We were both amazed at the work we did together. And that was it! It was poppy season of last year and we made a lot of frames with poppies. Those were a hit on Etsy. I posted my new work on this new app called Shop my Porch. A day later, I received a call from a local woman. She says: “I just got married and I really do not want to throw away my bouquet! Can you help me?” I was like: “If you trust me, this will be my first wedding bouquet preservation attempt.” And she did! The result was so masterful. She cried, when she received her piece, which was accompanied by some jewelry with bits and pieces of her bouquet too. The feeling of bringing joy to people and the thrill of saving precious flowers from the bin, this is my everyday driver, my biggest inspiration for my work. I get in my studio every day with joy and antisipation for every new creation. Being a team with my husband is really giving us a lot of freedom in our work. We stand out form our competitors because we make our frames from scratch and we can offer the biggest variety and customization in size, shape and materials.our frames are unique.
We are very efficient and we probably have the fastest turn around in the industry.
We are already working on expanding our services to offering wedding signs, table numbering, escort cards, everything pre and post wedding with pressed flowers.
I also started offering workshops on framed botanical art and resin jewelry. For those, collaborations with local botanical business like Carlsbad Flower fields and the Botanical gardens have been great.
The opportunities are unlimited!
Can you talk to us about how you funded your business?
The scaling up of my business would not have been possible for me without joining the trading service Itex. It is a trading system where you can sell your products and services for other product and services. When I did not have money to pay for a service i paid thru Itex. I had my marketing branding done thru Itex, my copy writing, social media training, branding video and so on. It has been truly amazing. That was my way of funding the business: selling my jewelry on Itex and using the money to trade it in.
Is there a mission driving your creative journey?
My mission in life and with my business is simple: adding more joy and beauty to the world. When I create I am in a state of flow and joy. I am elevated. It is an energy the world needs more of. I create so to shift the focus to the small, beautiful things in life which stir imagination and nurture the soul. Flowers are magic and i help preserve it and spread it.