Natural Light on Rachael Cohen
CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEUR: Rachael Cohen
READING TIME: 3.5MIN
Rachael Cohen is the founder of Infinite Succulent, a brand dedicated to inspire and heal through botanical art, educational tools, workshops, and products that bring people closer to nature. I met Rachael about 3 years ago when I was the buyer and manager of FERN in Leucadia. We immediately hit it off and I was lucky to be able to host a few of her workshops and sell some of her botanical art at the store. Today Rachael has become a friend and client whose perseverance, creativity, and passion never cease to inspire me. In this interview she opens up about the journey of a self-healing practice that became a business.
Who are you? How did you get to where you are today?
Hi! My name is Rachael Cohen and I am the creator and owner of Infinite Succulent - a botanical styling and educational service, dedicated to reconnecting people with the infinite power of Nature, and ourselves. My background is as an Environmental Educator with a focus on ocean conservation and communication. I attained a Masters from Scripps Institute of Oceanography and have been honored to be employed at amazing institutions like San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
My mission then and now is to engage and connect others with the natural world. With Infinite Succulent, I am able to fulfill this personal mission by inspiring others to feel connected to nature through botanical art, and nature-inspired décor, including crystals, and through my writings. My first book Infinite Succulent: Miniature Art to Keep or Share was released February 28th 2019. I also Blog about the role Nature and working with plants plays in my journey toward self awareness and acceptance.
When and how did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
It was about three years ago, when I began playing with succulents as a form of therapy to deal with my anxiety, that my attraction to these adorable plants became a passion which then turned into an art and then, surprisingly, a business. The act of creating living art, along with therapy and a good treatment plan, really helped me climb out of what felt like a dark ditch of fear. I began making succulent art as an act of self-care and to give as gifts for friends and neighbors. Before I knew, my friends were hiring me to make living art for their friends and neighbors, and within a short year I began offering fun workshops teaching others how to create and care for their own succulent art.
Tell us about your business
Infinite Succulent is all about reconnecting people with plants and Nature in all their places and spaces. Beyond the aesthetic reasons - Infinite Succulent is all about the mutually beneficial relationships between plants and people. I strive to reconnect people with the infinite power of nature and the true meanings of being Alive on this planet through botanical decor and education.
What values are important to you and your business?
Being Conscious of People & Plant, Authenticity, Kindness, Beauty of Nature
What’s the thing you dislike most about being an entrepreneur?
The aloneness - feeling like all the tasks and the goals and the everything is all on me all the time. And if I don't do it - it just doesn't get done.
What’s your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?
Being able to focus on things that really matter to me and make me feel passionate and purposeful. Also being able to make my own hours and work my schedule around my family's needs as well.
I think the best thing that anyone—cities, businesses, corporations, and just people in general—can do to support local artists is to actually compensate them for their skills and services.
What has been your most challenging moment in business?
When I was in talks to open up a boutique and partner with some ladies on botanical styling - only to have them completely "ghost" me after many concept development meetings (so me giving them tons of ideas) only to find out months later that they decided to partner with a younger person instead, who could dedicate more time to their needs.
What has been your most rewarding moment in business?
Getting a book deal and writing my first book!
How and Why are you changing the world?
I am all about reconnecting people with Nature so that we all are able to preserve and protect our planet and ourselves. I work very hard to reduce plastic pollution and choose to use as many local sourced and sustainable materials as possible. When choosing vendors to work with, I will delve into their corporate policies and even their politics to ensure I am supporting other businesses that make it a point to better the world. I also plan on creating a lot more Conservation oriented content to share with my followers in the months to come. Additionally, every month I donate a portion of all sales to different charities that I believe are working toward a better world as well.
What’s the importance of your location to your business?
I work from a backyard studio so this doesn't pertain to me too much. I am lucky to live in an area surrounded by nurseries so I have lots of great suppliers of plants and plant related products all around me.
Favorite Business Tools
Favorite Creative Tools
Soil, Pumice, Charcoal, Moss, Driftwood, Succulents, Plants, Crystals, iPhone.
What are the 3 things you wish you knew before starting your own business?
Start with your own mindset and personal work.
You don't have to do everything on your own. Hire people to help you do the things you hate or feel terrible at.
Always be authentic to You and your values.
Are you a full time or part time entrepreneur?
I am a full time entrepreneur and also a full time mom. Which I guess makes me a full time everything with part time time restraints!
I also do some Environmental Education writing consulting on the side. I have worked with the San Elijo Lagoon on their curriculum and on the signage and exhibits in the Visitor Center. I am now doing some work for the Butterfly Farm in Encinitas.
Where do you normally seek inspiration?
Nature nature nature, and sometimes Pinterest (sometimes Instagram too). Hiking in wooded areas, and anywhere near the water, the ocean in particular. I love being up in high places, botanical gardens and zoos and museums too.
Is there a person, book, movie, album, or art piece that has influenced your life and work significantly? Who, what, and how?
The movie "Whale Rider" touched me deeply and still plays a large impact in my life. There are many people who have influenced me - my friend and mentor Ramon Montes, my dear friend Zoey Manson and the whole nursery of Barrels and Branches!
What are your thoughts about the current social media landscape in relation to small businesses?
Oh goodness - this really depends on the day!
This is a hard one to answer as I have only been on the local art scene for a few years. I think in some ways, with social media providing potentially huge platforms at our fingertips, now is a liberating time to be an artist. For example, Instagram provided me with career growth opportunities, as well as incredible collaborative partners, many of whom I am now blessed to call friends.
On the other hand, I think social media can be a detriment at times, since it can be hard to generate consistent sales opportunities through social media alone (at least in my experience), and it can feel like you are chasing the “likes” as opposed to the actual clients! And don't even get me started on the levels of inauthenticity and comparison that now shapes so much of the social media experience. I think the best thing that anyone—cities, businesses, corporations, and just people in general—can do to support local artists is to actually compensate them for their skills and services. That compensation can take many forms. It can be in exchange for products and services in kind or gift cards; opportunities to “pop-up” or provide exhibition or event space at no charge; and even public funding for art projects, programs and public service.
Who are other conscious entrepreneurs we should know about?
Stay in Touch with RACHAEL via
Facebook: Infinite Succulent
Pinterest: Infinite Succulent
Upcoming Events: InfiniteSucculent.com/events
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