*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.
Q and A with Sam, Sunshine Fields, New Jersey
“There’s such a disconnect now with the way we ‘should’ live our lives and the way we want to live our lives. I graduated college, received a degree, got a good job in a good city, and I’m sure to many that would be a total success story, but it wasn’t the end of mine.”
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: My largest passion is people- helping people and working with people. I think that’s partially why I wanted to start up my own businesses (so I could do that all of the time).
My two current businesses are Forest & Farm and Sunshine Fields NJ (both I’m working on with my other half and partner of 4 years, who totally also deserves credit)! His name is Matt.
Forest & Farm is our woodworking and home decor business. It basically started by us building all of the furniture for our first apartment together. Matt is an engineer, and I’m an artist. Together, we figured we’d DIY our way through everything (coffee tables, shelves, dinner tables, dressers…), and eventually, everything in our home became handmade! We wanted to share that with others, so we started wholesaling, retailing, and opened up our own Etsy shop. We are constantly doing custom made projects for people.
Sunshine Fields is a 115+ acre family flower farm (Matt’s parents primarily grow wholesale flowers there, but we decided to open up to the public for the first time ever this year!) The two of us planted pumpkins together, cut a 5+ acre corn maze together, and crafted all of the games and activities for this two-month long fall festival. Again, we wanted to share this with others. This farm is such a peaceful place, filled with beautiful flowers and family, and we felt it was so worth opening to the public.
Q: What were your younger years like?
A: As a young kid, I heavily enjoyed four (…well, five) things: art, animals, music, being outdoors 100% of the time, and being a tomboy. I had fears, but generally, I always identified myself as a strong girl capable of learning anything (from learning how to play guitar in middle school to learning how to skate in college.) There’s never really a limit to what you can do.
When I was 14 years old, I ended up entering a beauty pageant (pretty unlike my tomboy self) for Filipino-Americans in the US (I’m half Filipino, half Irish), and I ended up winning that thing. I’ve always felt sensitive talking about it, mostly because I never wanted to feel any sort of entitlement or be different than anyone else. I really only wanted to win to break this negative facade of pageants and complete the charity work. I think it was a huge pivotal moment in my teen years and in becoming who I am. I had this opportunity to actually do something. When you’re that young, and you fly to the Philippines, and you live out this dream of helping others and donating yourself and your heart to others, it’s a little wild. I’ve always had that in the back of my heart (this feeling of a desire to be a part of something greater than myself).
Fast-forward to me sitting at a desk in an office in the corporate world. It just couldn’t cut it for me. I had multiple internships and jobs in New York City. I left those for smaller non-profits, and I tried out a whole bunch of career opportunities. As cool as the experiences were, there was just something that never really felt right. I couldn’t shake this feeling that I could really do something and really start something, so I left those jobs to try to figure it all out. It’s still a little crazy to say that [laughs], but I figured it’d be worth a shot.
Q:What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know?
A: There’s such a disconnect now with the way we ‘should’ live our lives and the way we want to live our lives. I graduated college, received a degree, got a good job in a good city, and I’m sure to many that would be a total success story, but it wasn’t the end of mine.
If I had gone to college and if someone would have told me that starting up two businesses at 23 years old would be difficult and impractical, maybe it would have made me want to do it more (…maybe)! I mean, just to know that the thought would even possible at all would have been pretty cool. We should feel more empowered to do this. I think I’ve been going through this process of both losing and finding myself throughout the things that I’ve done. It’s really (really) hard to put yourself out there and chase an idea, or a dream, in a vulnerable state. It takes courage, and it’s underrated.
Q: What would you like others to learn from your story?
A: Take the plunge, and do what you like to do. You have nothing to lose. Trust me, literal blood, sweat, and tears and every penny I have has gone into everything I’ve done. I’m still terrified. It’s still really dang hard, but there is still nothing to lose (…& I should really take my own advice)! There is nothing more rewarding than doing it.
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