Emily Howard is a young entrepreneur and the founder of Consider the Wldflwrs, a hand-crafted jewelry line produced in Nashville, Tennessee. Since starting up in 2013, Howard has expanded her services to include floral design, hired new staff and is currently working on opening a storefront to the public. Startup Southerner sat down with Howard to talk about her experience starting a small business, and about how Consider the Wldflwrs continues to grow.
Q: How did Consider the Wldflwrs begin? What inspired you to start creating jewelry?
A: Growing up I was always interested in arts and crafts of all kinds. One of my favorite things to do was to alter jewelry I already owned into something I would actually wear. In 2013, I began making vintage necklaces out of old watch parts, hardware and small pieces I would buy at the Nashville flea market. Some of the pieces in my first line were parts of costume jewelry from my grandma’s closet. When I first began selling jewelry online, I wasn’t expecting for it to turn into a full-time job, but after a couple months I was able to afford nicer tools, nicer metals and time to hone my craft.
Q: Tell us about your team.
A: Today we have a team of four people, including myself. I am the creative director. Jordan is our director of communications. We have a production assistant named Carly, and our newest addition, Shannon, is our graphic designer.
Q: How did the floral design services come about?
A: We started doing floral design workshops in 2013 around the time that I began renting a desk in a co-working space. The marriage of jewelry and florals was natural, thanks to our business name and thanks to the space we had to host our first workshop. Sometimes someone from our team teaches the workshops and sometimes we partner with local floral designers. It’s always a fun time.
Q: Your company partners with a community of craftswomen in Honduras, who are learning crafting skills so they can provide for themselves and their families. How do you support this community, and how did your involvement start?
A: Consider the Wldflwrs’ mission statement is to discover wild beauty and encourage thirsty hearts. My family goes on medical mission trips to Honduras twice a year, and during one of these trips I discovered a group of women who had been meeting to knit on a regular basis. They have passion, talent and the will to learn a trade that was easily recognizable as an opportunity. I presented the idea to teach them jewelry-making, and they were thrilled to learn. The average adult education in Honduras is at a sixth-grade level, and getting a job is nearly impossible in some parts. So, being able to teach them a trade to sell handmade goods is priceless. We support them by purchasing supplies for them and guiding them as they start their own micro-business. Our first lessons began in May 2014, and the women and their business has already grown since then. They have named their business Unison Made.
Q: What would you consider to be the most important lesson (or lessons) you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
A: One of the strongest lessons I keep close is to always know your “why.” I have been taught this lesson in so many different forms, but it is something I always fall back on when I am faced with an obstacle. “When you know your ‘why,’ you can endure any ‘how.’” In branding, they teach you to shorten your “why” to one sentence, but it’s extremely hard to do that when you are passionate about something. Our “why” is to spread hope, shine light and love people. Wild beauty isn’t tamable. We like to say that we design with simplicity in mind because our customers are unique. And they truly are. We don’t want to change them, just encourage them for who they are.
Q: Any new or exciting information you’d like our readers to know about Consider the Wldflwrs?
A: Yes! We are opening up our storefront to the public this month. Our storefront carries the Consider the Wldflwrs line, home accessories, Unison Made’s jewelry line and jewelry from a few other vendors. We look forward to welcoming our customers into our space.