Each month we showcase a different entrepreneur whose small business we’ve been following in our Brands that Bloom Series.
These are entrepreneurs that stand out to us with their authenticity and creativity. We reach out to them each month with our fingers crossed that they’ll be open to share their story with us, and every time they say yes, we are absolutely thrilled to hear their story.
This month’s Brands that Bloom feature couldn’t be a more perfect fit—and not just because her shop name is Bloom Studio.
Sierra has one of the first brands we started following on Instagram (@_shopbloom). The first thing we noticed is that she does story RIGHT. She talks about her days, she shares about her entrepreneurial journey, and she share posts she loves!
We’ve been watching as she has gained traction and has started to use her platforms to talk about things that affect her and connect with her audience.
And did we mention that her earrings are so, so cute? OMG.
She started with Etsy and has blown up on Instagram so quickly that we HAD to talk to her about it!
Interview with Sierra; Heart and Hands of Bloom Studio
Your Entrepreneur story. Did you always want to be a business owner? How did you decide on earrings & jewelry?
Most of my life has been spent trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up! I’ve always liked the idea of owning a business, but I didn’t know what the business would be.
I’ve always been creative, but I never thought I was good enough at anything to sell it. I always imagined doing something creative and selling it on the side of whatever career I chose.
I noticed the trend of clay jewelry, and I had experimented with polymer clay in the past, but mostly for little craft projects. Once I started making earrings, I started making them for myself, then for family and friends, and the opportunity to sell on Etsy just came naturally.
Almost 6 months later – here we are!
Share your brand story. What do you visualize the brand growing into in the future?
I started experimenting with clay in November 2018, but I didn’t want to jump right into selling my pieces. I wanted to make sure I took 5-6 months to really work on my technique. I wanted to learn about how to make them stronger, keep the edges smooth, and the clay thickness even. Looking back, I feel like I knew nothing back then, but I spent a lot of time trying different clay brands and baking them at different temperatures and times. I’m really thankful for that time before launching Bloom in May 2019.
I went back and forth between a few names, one of them being a name that my husband and I chose for a baby girl, but it didn’t feel right. A friend of mine told me one day that she felt like I was stepping into a season of bravery and that when she looked at me, she felt like she could see a bouquet of flowers blooming from the inside of my chest and out through the crown of my head. That day, Bloom just fit. It felt like it just settled into place.
I’m really inspired by women and sisterhood. I think that women can change the world just by ruthlessly supporting one another. I’ve met so many women and heard so many stories that started with a pair of earrings. My hope is that something as simple as earrings can help another woman step into confidence, body acceptance, and learn to love themselves.
As for the future, I already have already been prototyping some necklaces and wall hangings. This business has given me opportunities to partner with other artists to create something that captures both of our voices as artists. I’d love to work with some digital illustrators to create some designs for tees or crew neck sweaters. Who knows what will Bloom!
Your audience is a nice size and really engaged with you, especially on Instagram, how did you build such a loyal following for your brand? Any tips and tricks you learned along the way?
I’m really grateful for everyone who has joined in on my journey. My Instagram has only been active since the end of April, and I’m almost to 3,000 followers. Which is insane to me. I don’t think of followers in a way of popularity, but if a person follows me, I don’t take it lightly. Maybe I think of it too much, but when a person follows me, they’re saying “yes” to being included in my space and to my business.
With that said, I work really hard to create a welcoming environment for people who engage with me. I work hard to respond to every single DM and comment and when I do – I look at their page and learn their names.
I can get pretty passionate (my husband would use the word “ranty”) about the subject of growing a following, but it’s just because I get so frustrated with people who literally sell programs to teach people how to grow their Instagram pages, when in reality – the tips just resemble being a good human on the internet. Authentically engaging, posting the real stuff – not just the highlights, and creating relationships.
Since day one, I’ve never paid attention to the ever-changing algorithm, and I don’t post 3 times a day to “beat” it. I post often because I’m excited and I want people to see the behind-the-scenes and I want to let them into spaces in my life where i’m blooming and learning.
Social media doesn’t have to be as difficult as people can often make it. Post often, but “often” can mean something different to someone else. If social media exhausts you, you don’t have to fake it. Just do what feels right to you!
What do you struggle most with when it comes to your following? What do you find the most challenging aspect of running a business to be?
Bloom has taught me a lot of things. It has taught me how to be brave and do hard things (like opening a quickbooks account or designing a website or registering as an LLC). It’s taught me how to give grace to mean girls and fight for my business when I wanted to just throw in the towel, and how to build new friendships when I just want to stay home with my introverted self and watch Netflix.
I’ve had to learn how to manage my mental health alongside running a business too. I have clinical depression, which can often take a toll on my energy levels. The good days are fun-filled and insanely productive, but the bad days are often spent in bed or on the couch – and I’m learning that that’s okay.
Running a business when you struggle with mental health can be really taxing on your body – but it makes you so BRAVE! I’ve come to realize that I can be gentle with myself and give myself rest, but still work past my depression and bad days to create beautiful art and meet other talented artists. It’s been a journey, but I’m learning everyday!
Words of advice. Anything else you think may be important or useful for readers to know about growing a business?
My advice to any new business owner is to press into your passions – but don’t treat your passion as your guiding force. Passions will ebb and flow throughout the years.
I don’t want to work with clay some days. In fact – lots of days. But I love how my business has grown, the people I’ve met through it, and how it has taught me to be brave. I have a full time job as a barista, but Bloom sustains me and my family most months.
It’s about finding what you love, and choosing to do it even on the hard days when your passion feels like it might not be there anymore.
On days when I don’t want to dig into my clay pile but I do it anyway, I usually end up meeting someone, or finding a new design that I love, or achieving a color mixture that I’ve been dreaming about, and the spark comes back and I create some really beautiful pieces.
Press into what you love, but don’t forget to do the work – the blooming process is worth it!
You can follow Sierra and Bloom Studio on Instagram @_shopbloom and you can buy from her store at https://www.shopbloomstudio.us/shop
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