Hey 2017!

So much has occurred since my last communication. From an election (cough) that still has people scratching their heads to holiday celebrations where you hopefully had the opportunity to exhale and spend time with those that hold a special place in your heart. I’m not one to have new year resolutions, but I wanted to step out a little bit and try something new. This year is about tackling fears, saying and doing the things that cause me to pause because of my fear of the outcome. It’s amazing how much an once of fear can stop you in your tracks, even if it’s the fear of success. With that being said, here are a couple things that I have decided to do in effort to grow Esscents in this new year.

Ansanelli Productions are responsible for Jack of All Trades Market and Treasure Island Flea. These two productions are held in the Bay Area and are markets where you can go to shop for locally made items. In order to become a part of the Ansanelli family, you must fill out an application for acceptance. The thought of rejection gave me a reason to hit the pause button. But, with the encouragement of my younger sister (I’ll give her some credit) and after spending a day at Treasure Island Flea, I went home that day to fill out an application. Within that same week, I got the acceptance letter! YES! First hurdle crossed!! I then reeled in my excitement because getting accepted was just the first step, I had to actually pay for a booth. This meant commitment. Year of tackling fears, right?….Okay.

New Year’s Day, while sitting around the table with my family, I purchased a booth!!!! A whole, entire booth along with other beautiful creators :) On March 25th an March 26th, please come see me at Treasure Island Flea! I have a booth design specifically for these events that I'm beyond excited to show it off. I plan to have these two events (Treasure Island Flea and Jack of All Trades) as part of my regular pop-ups throughout the year as weather permits. In order to stay on top of where I will be, please be sure to check the website regularly. 

My plan was for Esscents to remain small, operating under a sole proprietorship. This was part of my 2-year plan :) I wasn’t planning on starting Esscents of Flowers for another couple years, but we all see how that worked out. After creating Esscents for what will be a full year in February and turning it into a profitable business, I will be moving it under a LLC. This is a huge move for any small business and it carries a hefty annual fee… Whoooo, there goes that word commitment again.

Lastly, in the event you didn’t know, along with operating Esscents of Flowers, I am also a wife, mother of two beautiful little boys and have a full-time job. My greatest fear of all is missing out on events with friends & family, missing baseball games, school events and more. Late 2016, I was beginning to get lost in my thoughts, telling myself that I wasn’t doing enough and that ultimately resulted in thoughts of inadequacy. I was tired, mentally and physically. Thankfully, I took some time off of work and was able to spend quality time with all my boys to re-evaluate everything. Naps helped with this :) After some journaling and rest, I was able to arrive at this conclusion - What I am doing, creating a business and taking the steps to go after my dreams are not just for me, it’s for them too. My two little boys are witnessing entrepreneurship. They see that it is absolutely possible to own your own business. I see that as a gift in itself. I want them to go for what they want in life as I’m sure a lot of parents want the same for their children as well. While it takes hard work and sacrifice, they see success. 

That was a lot, sorry for the rambling. Thanks for riding with me through this journey. Here’s to a new year, a year of tackling fears! 

Don't forget to check the website regularly for where Esscents of Flowers will be popping up. Also, follow me on social media - Facebook and Instagram!

Love and peace,

Ariana Marbley, Esscents of Flowers

Time is Flying By...

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I kid you not, the months all seem to fuse together, especially now that I’m keeping a running newsletter chronicling my journey of building Esscents of Flowers. Let’s just jump into it, shall we-

Over the past month, I faced some challenges with securing my regular pop-up location. I was at a point where I was scrambling trying to find a new location because I could no longer count on where I was popping up for the past several months. To be quite honest, as if I haven't been since the beginning :), this sudden change of events shook me to where I started to doubt the existence of the business. The reason I say that is because for months prior to popping up, I invested so much time into researching the market in the Laurel. I called, followed people in parking lots (no judgement okay…) and so on. The need for access to fresh flowers was there and I was going to be the one to provide it. But, even with all that, in one swoop, it was seemingly gone. What was I going to do now??? I was going to have to start from square one. The entire time I spent building a customer base, everyone now coming to the aLaurel asking for fresh flowers because of me…gone. 

Funny how, at least in my mind, I counted myself out. Thought, “Well, that was a fun ride.” I went through this for a few days and then decided to get out of my feelings. I moved from this funk and into action. I needed a couple days too see the value that Esscents of Flowers added to not only my life, but those that purchased flowers from me on a regular basis. I’ll spare you the details, except for one very important one. I was able to connect with a fabulous human being and business to host Esscents of Flowers on a regular basis. So, in case you haven’t heard, Esscents of Flowers will be popping up in front or inside of (weather dependent), The Laurel Cyclery, located at 3715 MacArthur Blvd. every 1st, 3rd and sometimes 5th Saturday! Literally, ten feet away from where I once was. Come check me out and do some browsing while you're a it! Also, be on the lookout on Esscents of Flowers website for additional pop-up locations. 

The job training pilot is still in full effect! With the willingness of my niece, I am much closer to envisioning how I want this program to look. She’s been learning quite a bit and has also been experiencing a level of growth and maturity. Being out in front of everyone, with no where to hide, she’s had to step outside of her comfort zone and converse with her customers. I’m hoping this will start the process of building the necessary job, communication, etc. skills needed as she progresses in life. This is exactly what the program is intended to do. The objective of this job training program is to provide basic job skills to young ladies who reside in Oakland. As you can probably tell, staying rooted in Oakland is extremely important to me. I know she’s not going to like this, but thank you Za’Ryah for being a great student as well as an amazing teacher :)

Last, but definitely not least, I have been needing to grow the events side of the business. I now know how to run a successful pop-up shop, and with that I realized that I needed to place more focus on acting as a vendor for events. With the holiday season coming up and wedding dates being set for the next couple of years, I needed to tap more into this market. I realized I needed to spend a little bit of money in order to do this. So, I signed up to be a member a of a couple black business owner directory websites, BAOBOB and Bay Area Black Market. I also decided to splurge just a tad on Facebook Ads. I would also like to ask you, yes you, to pass my name along. If you know of anyone needing beautiful floral arrangements for any event, please send them to our contact page on the website. Thank you!

There you have it good people! In closing, I just want to say Keep Pushing, the journey is worth it!

Follow me on social media!!! See links below.

Love and peace,

Ariana Marbley, Esscents of Flowers

 

August Happenings!

It’s really hard to believe how fast time is moving. I really do feel like I just sent out my last blog post a few short days ago. As I’m writing to you, I’m sitting at my kitchen table listening to music, preparing my brain to release all the thoughts I would like to share with you. There continues to be so much goodness, which is such an amazing thing. What I enjoy the most from these newsletters, though, is you coming up to me or mentioning during a conversation how much you enjoy reading these newsletters and how much my journey resonates with you. That gives me so much joy, thank you!

This past month, two major things stood out -

  1. Events

  2. Advertisements

Esscents of Flowers had the honor of being apart of a couple notable events within this last month. The first event was providing arrangements for Kapor Center Social Impact’s red carpet event dedicated their lovely space in Oakland. It was such an honor to be apart of this event and a great learning experience all around. I was able to make connections with amazing people that I have never met prior to this event. Please check out my Instagram page to see pictures from this event!

The next event I did this past month was MAJOR... Esscents of Flowers was chosen to be the floral vendor for a very special wedding. This gave me a glimpse into what it would be like to work in the wedding industry and also provided me with so many lessons. What are some of the lessons you ask?

  1. You always need more time than you think. Planning is so essential. But, what I have learned is with all my planning, I need to allow for some additional time in conjunction with what I plan. The reason this is so important to me is because, once I start operating my my creative space, I come up with several ideas and want to act on them all. I get inspired by how a flower looks in a certain position or propped up next to another flower and I start to divert from my original vision. Once I realize this, I have to reign myself in, and by this time, I have spent about thirty precious minutes chasing another look. I’m working on this :)

  2. Be confident in my design(s). I am good enough, I can do this, I will do this and it will be perfection!

Check out the pictures from the wedding on the Esscents of Flowers website!

When it comes to advertisements, I am very proud to share that I am now advertising with WeddingWire!!! Yes, thee WeddingWire almost every soon-to-be bride and groom goes to to research how to plan their wedding. Crazy, right? I am also on Yelp! So if you’ve purchased something from Esscents in the past, please visit the site and leave a review! I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that Esscents of Flowers is real, let alone searchable!!!  

Last thing! With the new logo, I was able to redesign my business cards. Let me know what you think!?

This is really the last thing, I promise :) Esscents of Flowers will be having a Pop-Up Shop this coming Saturday, August 20th. We will be located at 3719 MacArthur starting at 8am. Grab a bite at Sequoia Diner, then come buy yourself a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

Until next time :)

Love and peace,

Ariana Marbley, Esscents of Flowers

July Newsletter

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As always, I like to greet you with the growth of the business, so let's jump right into it! The Esscents of Flowers business plan is still coming along and...yeah, I’ll leave it there. If you read my last newsletter, you got a pretty good glimpse into how that is coming along for me. If you have not read my last newsletter, YOU ARE MISSING OUT… Go read it at  https://esscentsofflowers.com and then come back. Don’t worry, I’ll wait :)

I’ve updated the website a bit, the latest addition was an “Event Inquiry Form.” Stating that, leads me to my next bit of amazing news - I have been acting as a vendor for events and I currently have a couple events scheduled in the near future... like within the next week!!!! Ahhhhh!!! It’s such a beautiful thing to know this is absolutely happening.

Esscents of Flowers kicked off its pilot job training program as of Saturday, June 09, 2016. In doing this, I am able to tackle a couple of things -

  1. Write this portion of the business plan effectively, having the ability to pull from experience

  2. See what I need to do when I officially implement the job training program


Providing on the job training while operating the pop-up shop was a moment of growth for me just as it was for the young lady receiving the training. Communication was key and vital to the successful execution of each sale, especially during the busy moments. Luckily, I didn’t scare Ms. Za’Ryah Woods off too much as she will be back this coming Saturday, July 23rd! Being in that moment allowed me to once again recognize the importance of the mission behind Esscents of Flowers. We are focusing on building a better tomorrow and a major part of that is investing in our youth.  


Esscents of Flowers finally has an official logo (scroll up)!!! There was a little back and forth with the graphic designer after I asked for feedback via Facebook groups and close friends. After a couple rounds, I made the decision based on popular demand and it felt good. Check it out on my Facebook and Instagram page. I plan on implementing it into the website someway pretty soon.

So, I have been having conversations about the future plans of Esscents of Flowers. I am proud to announce that the next major step in the business is to purchase a truck so I can pop-up anywhere within Oakland! That’s right, Esscents is going mobile! The truck will look very similar to a food vendor truck, only it will be equipped with the necessary items to distribute fresh flowers. Exciting right!!! Please be on the lookout as I will be looking to start my kickstarter campaign by the end of this year into early 2017.

Whewww, okay. I think all this will most definitely hold you over until next month. If you so happen to need an extra dose of Esscents of Flowers, please come see me in the Oakland Laurel District this Saturday, from 8am - 2pm.

 

Until next time :)
 

Love and peace,

Ariana Marbley, Esscents of Flowers

Esscents of Flowers June Monthly Newsletter

There’s been a considerable amount of growth with Esscents of Flowers. From updating the website to preparing a business plan and everything in between, like coming up with a thirty second elevator pitch. A lot, right? Let’s start dissecting each of the items I just mentioned. Ready???

 

Understanding what content to put on the website to make the visitor want to stay can be challenging. As the developer, you have an idea of what information you want to display, but that may not necessarily be what the viewer may want to see. I really had to nail down the important details of what I believed was important for my future clients to see. When coming to Esscents of Flowers website, seeing photos of flower arrangements is important and should be a given. I also want for the viewer to see the reason behind Esscents of Flowers, the Mission and Vision are the real reasons I took this leap. Esscents is so much bigger than I. It’s about bringing beauty into the community, creating and nurturing my relationship with my clients and providing mentorship and basic job skills to young ladies which will equip them with the tools needed to successfully propel them to the next phase of their lives. If I can get this through to the viewer, then I have successfully completed the task!

 

Coming up with an elevator pitch was…. a flop. It’s okay, I can laugh about it now! While sitting in my business accelerator class. **I’ll go ahead and give a quick plug for Uptima Business Bootcamp here. If you are sitting on an idea and would like to launch it into a business, do yourself a favor and act on that instinct. Through Uptima, you have the opportunity to network with so many wonderful individuals who are also exploring and acting on turning their idea into a business. Invest in yourself.** I’ll resume :) That particular night, we had to develop an elevator pitch and present it to the class without reading what we wrote down. I failed, to say the least bit. The only reason I am laughing about it now, is because I took my feedback to heart and also watched my colleagues go through their pitch. I went home and worked on my elevator pitch that night until I got it right. So, the next time you see me, please ask me about my elevator pitch. Constructive feedback is always appreciated!

 

Business plans, business plans, business plans… Where do I begin? Without giving you the long story, I’ll just say I am truly being challenged here. There have been multiple nights where it’s just me, my computer and my lamp stand while everyone else in the house is counting sheep. Coming up with the true details of every aspect of the business is a big challenge for me as listing every component isn’t my strongest suit. I’m more of a “Big Picture Thinker” than a “Detail Oriented” individual. I see the idea as fully functioning and frequently fail to go back and pencil in the details that it would take to make that idea successful. For example, in the Products and Services section, I would list a job training program offered to young ladies as a service Esscents of Flowers is providing. When in actuality, I need to list the specific components of that job training program. What does it look like? Is it measurable? Who is it benefitting directly and indirectly? While I am almost to the point of pulling my hair out, I understand the reason to be so detailed. I need to know exactly what I'm offering and why, I also need to be able to articulate that to others.

 

So, at the beginning, when I told you Esscents of Flowers has been experiencing a steep learning curve, this is what I was talking about. I really hope that wasn’t too overwhelming, but I want to bring you in on this journey with me. Stay tuned, I can’t wait to tell you about how I plan to move Esscents of Flowers into the next phase. It’s going to be so exciting, I promise!!!

Until next time :)


Love and peace,

Ariana Marbley, Esscents of Flowers

Staying Up To Date!

I have been mad at work, steadily chomping at the bit to make Esscents of Flowers a sustainable floral business. Since the first pop-up, I have had so many beautiful encounters with different individuals that either offer encouragement to continue or offering an opportunity to work with/for them. 

I had an enlightening conversation with an event planner recently and we discussed how amazing it is to know what you want and make the decision to act on it. I mean, seriously, what is it that you have been wanting to accomplish? Whether it’s deciding to finish a small project at home or deciding on which move to make in your career...to say that you're going to do it and ACTUALLY DO IT??? How gratifying would that be?!! Amazing, exhilarating, liberating, right? I have had many recents encounters, where I am reminded just how much of a blessing it is to have a clear enough plan to take the next step, even when I can't see the entire staircase.

Okay, okay back to business at hand. I have been lucky enough to have a steady pop-up location, right in front of Sequoia Diner @ 3719 MacArthur Blvd. in Oakland’s Laurel District. I couldn't ask for a better location. Although the dates may vary as to when I will be at that location, I continue to keep the dates and times updated on my website, www.esscentsofflowers.com. If you are ever in the area during one of my pop-ups, please don’t be shy, check me out :)

Mother’s Day went by as smooth as it could possibly go, especially for it being the first time offering pre-orders and delivery. I had the great fortune of working with Piikup. Pickup is a web and app based, worker owned local delivery service with a farther reach than a courier service. They have a mission to strengthen communities from the inside out by providing opportunities for working class individuals to supplement their income and support small business. Our two businesses were able to partner together in a short period of time to deliver all Mother’s Day pre-orders safely and on time with satisfied customers.

So many beautiful opportunities are on the horizon and I can't wait to share them with you as they begin to unfold! Also, with the graduation and wedding season upon us, I’m hopeful that business will start ramping up soon.

If you know of anyone needing flower arrangements for a special event or you are hanging around Oakland on a sunny Saturday, come through the Laurel. Post your pictures on Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtag #EsscentsOfFlowers.

Love and peace,

Ariana Marbley, Esscents of Flowers

Pop-Up

It's been a full month since you've last learned about the latest with Esscents of Flowers and so much has happened! Above everything else, Esscents of Flowers had it's first pop-up shop in Oakland's Laurel District!!! YES! A pop-up shop!!! Can you believe it?! The entire experience was surreal, Esscents of Flowers is officially a business and not just a concept. 
 
Going into the day was a bit nerve wrecking as you never know how your idea will be received. I had a mix of butterflies and shivers from the morning dew, but I continued... I set up my flower stand, preparation table and arranged the flowers accordingly to be sold. My first customer came and wanted 2 arrangements! 2, right off the bat!!! While arranging, I was able to engage in conversation and it was beautiful. What I envisioned, me becoming one with the community while providing a service, was beginning to materialize. With each passing customer, I was able to experience something similar. There was a true connection being established and my heart had a permanent smile :)

The next week, a group of us had to provide our MVP's during demo night for our business accelerator program, Uptima Business Bootcamp. Several business owners that recently gone through the program attended for the sole purpose of providing constructive feedback. One person in particular made a comment that will forever stay with me and I'll share it with you because it was that powerful. She said, " No matter what happens, you can't undo what you've done. Taking the first step is huge." I'll just let that sink in...

You see, I understand I am still in the beginning stages, but so much has happened just to get to this point. Establishing a business is no small feat. It takes persistence, drive and an unlimited amount of faith. I'm amazed at the process, yet so excited for the future.  

Please take a minute to visit my website, www.esscentsofflowers.com, to stay up to date with the latest pop-up information and more. You can also contact me via email at info@esscentsofflowers.com

Love and peace,

Ariana Marbley, Esscents of Flowers

What's Going On With Esscents of Flowers?

Esscents of Flowers has quickly been blossoming as a business! A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to identify customer segments, talk with potential customers and truly develop a business centered around the needs of the community and those that reside in within.  It was nerve-wrecking approaching this part of the business development phase. Having to be completely open and vulnerable about a passion you hold in your deepest inner being and allowing people, sometimes unknown, to give feedback can be scary... by the way, "scary" is such an understatement. I already had it in my head that my idea(s) was going to tank and not favor well in the community. I was experiencing a mini-episode of self-doubt.   
BUT... I have to tell you, after my first interview, I felt like a pro! Businesses, residents and everyone in between either offered some exceptional feedback that either caused me to pause and rework some ideas and/or my ideas were embraced as is. I was walking on cloud nine because of the value talking to people offered! 

Going through with this exercise allowed two things to happen:


1. Esscents of Flowers became stronger. The business was able to be further developed around the needs of the community. 
2. Sharing my business plan with complete strangers and asking for feedback MADE me grow exponentially.

Needless to say, this train is still rolling down the tracks. I'm now scheduling pop-up shops in the Laurel District in effort to start getting the business' name out there. Please check my website -  www.esscentsofflowers.com to search for upcoming dates and events.

Thanks for all your continued support and feedback. Looking forward to seeing you in the Laurel!

Love and peace,

Ariana Marbley, Esscents of Flowers

Buckle Up - It's Going To Be An Exciting Ride!

Welcome! Thank you for agreeing to come on this journey with me. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Let me give you some background - For the last several years, I have been struggling with how to live out my vision and passion. I grappled with the idea of fusing these two together to make it work for not only my family and myself, but for the community I grew up in as well. I always knew I was put on this earth to give something of myself in order to benefit the life of another...but what was it???

Some time had passed and I finally arrived at my vision and passion... Esscents of Flowers was born:

Vision - Open a flower shop so I can positively contribute to the world by spreading joy, love and beauty to individuals in the surrounding community.

Passion - Service... Through Esscents of Flowers, I will have the opportunity to employ and empower young ladies of the community that I will be serving. My service will be providing young ladies with jobs, communication skills and possibly development opportunities that will launch them into world properly equipped and ahead of the curve.    

Is it going to be hard work? YES...Late nights, extremely early morning? YES and Yes...Sacrifice of time, moments and so on? All the YESES in the world. But, in the end, it will be worth it. I will have the chance to say that through my vision and passion, I was able to inspire someone to follow theirs!

Stay on this path with me, see how the business evolves and spread the word!

Love and peace,

Ariana Marbley, Esscents of Flowers