Her Story with Elizabeth Hendricks: How She Found Herself on Martha Stewart's Radar
In a recent, "Don't Keep Your Day Job," podcast episode, host Cathy Heller, interviewed TED Talk speaker, author, podcaster and firefighter, Shelli Verela. In that interview, Verela said that too many people get stuck in looking for their passion. Instead of asking yourself that question about what your passion is, she recommends to ask yourself what are you curious about without judgement and how do you want to feel.
Without knowing it at the time, Elizabeth Buckner Hendricks did just that when she decided to take the leap into her family farm where she's been able to create and continue to grow (pun intended) a business and life she loves.
Check out this week's Her Story Spotlight below to find out what it's like building a business with family, how it got it's start, and how the hustle paid off and landed her on Martha Stewart's Wedding's Top 10 List!
1. A dog mom to my 4 year old Chihuahua, Bobby.
2. A little obsessed with working out and recently became both a spin and barre instructor. Any bad day can be fixed with a super intense 20+ mile spin class.
3. A self-proclaimed perfectionist. This makes me great at what I do, but it also makes me a little crazy. There’s nothing worse in life than mediocrity.
4. I enjoy playing piano although I wish I made the time to play more.
5. Guilty pleasure: Gas station hot-dogs. Totally gross, I know.
Where you can find her:
Tell us a little about your business, Three Toads Farm:
We are farmer-florists which means we are florists that grow everything we use in our unique bouquets - the flowers come straight from our greenhouses or flower fields. 100% locally grown floral design. If we have to source a few flowers we try to do so from another local grower. We recently received a mention as one of Martha Stewart Wedding’s top 10 farmer-florists in the USA. This absolutely blew us away because we are a tiny little operation.
We take on about 12-15 weddings a year. We are quite unique in that we only take one 1 wedding per day. Most florists cram as many as they can in one day, leaving each bride not their first priority. We strive for absolute perfection and want each and every wedding we take on to show that. After all, it’s their most special day.
We also do various on-the-farm workshops each summer which are almost always sold out. Guests get a peek behind the scenes at Three Toads Farm, strolling the flower fields with a Three Toads Farm Old Fashioned and then learning to create one of our signature farmer-florist masterpieces.
We also have a line of gourmet jams and conserves which we have in about 15 stores throughout Kentucky. Our best-seller is Ambrosia Conserve with Bourbon which also doubles as an Old-Fashioned mixer. We can barely keep this one in stock!
How did it get it’s start? Did you know this is what you always wanted to do?
If you would have told me 10 years ago I would be where I am, I’d laugh. I’ve always been involved in this business , but it wasn’t until 2013 when I jumped in and created a full-time position for myself - that’s when we started doing weddings, workshops and expanding the amount of flowers we grew, both in quantity and variety.
What is it like to work with your dad? Any tips you have for any of us who are thinking about starting a business with someone else?
This is something that works out beautifully for me and my father. We are basically the same exact person - which does mean we can butt heads from time to time, but it’s always simply work-related and we rarely ever get ‘mad’ at each other. We get along great and can communicate without words most of the time. There’s something to be said about working with your dad. Your dad is the person you always want to make proud.
So, I feel like to some degree I’m always pushing myself even further, which is a good thing. While this does work for me, I will tell you it’s not for everyone. Working with family is very tough for some people, and it can sour relationships unnecessarily. I would think long and hard before considering running a business with any family member.
What is challenge you have you had to overcome to get where you are now with your business? How were you able to overcome that or what are you doing now to overcome that’s working?
I must admit that I am somewhat of a workaholic. I love what I do, and it’s my life. This business is my baby and sometimes that means that I can neglect other relationships in my life. Balance between work and personal life is a struggle. I once read that the road to success can be a lonely one, and there might be some truth to that.
What is the main key to helping you get to where you are now?
Work hard and hustle. Owning your own business is super tough - you literally work 24/7. It takes a lot of drive, self-discipline and true grit. Also, work outside of your comfort zone. Do things that make you scared, this is where the magic happens.
What advice would you give to other women looking to start their own business?
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. You can do any damn thing you want. And if you want it bad enough, you will. “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.”
What are some business resources that help make life easier/better?
The American Specialty Cut Flower Growers Association is a great source for anyone who may think they want to start their own farmer-florist business.
What is a book(s) and/or podcast you would recommendation for others looking to start or grow their business or just for general positive mindset motivation?
Slow Flowers by Debra Prinzing
What are common mistakes you see small business owners make when it comes running a business and what tips do you have to help?
Being afraid to take a risk.
Saying No. Say yes, and figure it out later.
Poor communication. If you can communicate well in life with others, it will take you further than a college education.
For those of us who want to try and create our own, DIY florist masterpiece, what’s your secret recipe or guide that we need to know?
Come to one of my workshops! ;)
How can people find out more about you and your businesses and how you might be able to help them?