Sole proprietor Symphony Astoria founded SoCal Succulents with the intent to bring her community together while maintaining the flexibility to be active in her daughter’s life. After just one year in business, SoCal Succulents is thriving and doing just what Symphony intended: bringing the community together. With dreams of opening a storefront location one day, she shows no signs of slowing down. SoCal Succulents is one of the runners-up in this latest Nav Small Business Grant Round, and were kind enough to chat with us and tell us a bit more about their business.
When did you start your company?
I started my company about a year and a half ago in Fallbrook/Rainbow, California.
Why did you start the company?
My company was founded with the strong belief that family interaction is of the utmost importance: being a working mom with a young child, it became imperative for me to show my daughter that to be successful, you don’t just have to work your life away, you don’t have to compromise, to sacrifice things and people you love: as long as you have the strength and willpower to get your hands dirty (pun intended), believe in yourself without a shadow of a doubt, and have the courage to make your own changes!
What makes your business unique/different?
Nowadays there are so many companies that are focused on changing the world on such a grand scale. Recycling, solar energy, veganism, you name it! I have found that the biggest changes start on the smallest scale: in the home, with individual people. With families and friends.
When a group of folks get together and has no idea how to spend their time, and end up on their phones in the same room, we want to get their hands off the touchscreens and into the dirt! When parents pick up their kids and have no idea what to do with them after school, we want to be the place they KNOW is open on a schedule that fits theirs. When friends want to get together and get crafty while they catch up, we are that cute niche company that lets you get creative without the cleanup!
How did you get the money to start the company?
Saving slowly! Investing money I didn’t have, spending all of the extra money right there, and making smart choices when it came to marketing and collaborating with local businesses in order to further my business objective.
What’s the most challenging thing about running the company?
The fact that everybody thinks that when you have your own business, it means you have more free time. The ability to make your own schedule. The truth of the matter is, if you do get to make your own schedule, but only after so long. The first few years of getting a business off the ground is grueling, and requires a lot of time, patience, and persistence!
What’s the biggest challenge your business is currently facing?
The finances to facilitate the expansion that our business so desperately needs! We are getting more orders and requests for events than we know what to do with, and winning this Grant means that we will now be able to facilitate these requests with ease.
How will you use the prize money from Nav?
The $1000 is an amazing amount to have bestowed upon my business! That money will go towards creating a warehouse and greenhouse setup, that will, in turn, allow me to propagate my own material, and provide a constant and stable location for my community to attend community events, etc.
What do you love most about your business/having your own business?
I love the challenges, to be honest! I love being forced to grow and evolve, to become innovative in regards to marketing and products, and I love having the opportunity to connect with my customers and community on such a personal level!
How do you manage cash flow in the company?
The combination of carefully managed checking accounts, accounting, and QuickBooks assistance during tax seasons and quarterly assessments.
What’s the most rewarding thing about running the company?
Where do I start? Seeing all of your hard work and persistence pay off: that you were able to set yourself a goal, and not just stick to it, but flourish through it and create something both lucrative for yourself and beneficial for your community. I love getting my family involved, seeing my daughter takes such interest in starting her own company and helping with ours, it’s a wonderful way to bring my family together and teach them both responsibility and proper business practices!
What’s the biggest mistake you made when you were starting the company?
Advertising too early, before I had the supply to meet the demand: I did not know that there was such a craving for this kind of business where I live, and I completely underestimated the amount of people that wanted to utilize my services.
What’s the smartest thing you did when you were first starting out?
Probably the same thing as #12: advertising a LOT. Where I live, business is competitive, so every pizza company is in competition with each other, every grocery store, every florist, etc. My community, and the most of northern San Diego County, runs on word-of-mouth, so by advertising the heck out of my company and flooding the market with my product, I was able to grab to get growing attention of the community, and therefore provide myself a stable pedestal with which to continue building my business
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Make a plan and PLAN FOR EVERYTHING.
Prepare for failure but don’t anticipate or expect it: you get what you put into your company, and that includes your positivity and intentions!
Save. ALWAYS have monetary savings and a stock of inventory/product/etc.
What’s next for your business?
There’s only one way to go from here: UP! They say the sky is the limit, but we have walked on the Moon: I intend to take SoCal Succulents as far as it can go!
This article was originally written on May 14, 2019 and updated on January 27, 2021.