How did you get started?
My journey to starting Fernweh Home was somewhat convoluted, but I think that's often the story when it comes to discovering your true passion! My entire life I have loved styling and creating spaces. I was that kid who would spend hours making houses and decorating rooms for Barbie Dolls and my beloved American Girl Dolls. When I was in middle school I received my first Pottery Barn Teen catalogue in the mail and it was seriously a life changing event. I became obsessed with decorating my room...but in a way that was very different from most of my friends at the time. I was constantly moving things around, it drove my parents nuts! In high school I became very into photography. It's funny because looking back I always had those creative tendencies but I think often when we're naturally good at things we have a hard time acknowledging it could be a real skill or even our purpose. I had the mindset that if something was that enjoyable it couldn't possibly be my career. In college I majored in Graphic Design which felt like a good fit at the time, but after graduation I just felt totally lost. I loved the creative aspect of my degree but couldn't figure out where I'd fit in a corporate work environment. For about 6 months I did odd jobs and was at the point where I began applying to grocery stores, the mall...some of the same places I'd worked in high school! I had literally $3 in my bank account and no direction. Sitting at my kitchen table one night I decided to take a chance and resurrect a long time dream of opening a little shop (online for now of course). Thanks to the support of my amazing family I was able to launch a simple website selling 15 different Falsa Blankets (which I was currently obsessed with)...and a little over a year later here we are!
What has your biggest hurdle been with your brand?
I think my biggest hurdle with Fernweh Home has been discovering that sweet spot (still a work in progress) of remaining a professional business but also being able to share my authentic self and heart. At first I felt like for people to buy from me I had to constantly be convincing them that I was the best out there and so much bigger than I actually was. Recently I was reminded that people really do LOVE to buy from people and often those things that you might view as a failure or insecurity is what makes you real and relatable. For example, rather than just selling or sales pitching on Instagram, sharing my true story and inviting people to be apart of it has helped me stand out and make real, authentic connections. Fernweh Home is a small business in small town Indiana run with lots of help from family, no fancy office, no beautiful work space…those things that I thought would take away from my credibility have actually helped people fall in love with my shop!
What influences you and where does your inspiration come from?
I LOVE things like Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. Just browsing so many beautiful images and ideas can really get my creative juices flowing. But also, actually stepping back from my business and just fully engaging with life! Never underestimate what a road trip, a coffee date or even turning off your phone for a while can do for your mental sanity and creativity. I get some of my best ideas while walking my dogs or going on bike rides with my mom. A lot of what influences my work is actually travel and the outdoors. I’ve been blessed to visit 12 different countries and even if a certain place doesn’t inspire my work in an obvious way, but I think having those experiences inevitably shapes you as a person and your work by extension.
How do you maintain work life balance?
Especially in the beginning finding a balance between life/work can be really tricky because you have to wear SO many different hats. What’s helped me the most is narrowing my focus and figuring out what is really worth my time and energy…and what isn’t. Most of my first year was spent feeling like I HAD to take every single opportunity and work 60+ hour work weeks in order to make my dream and business a reality. Recently I’ve been working to maximize the things that consistently work well in the shop and truly work smarter not harder. Giving yourself the permission to say no sometimes is SO freeing and helps avoid burnout. You absolutely have to have some of what I call “normal person activities” in your week. Scheduling things ahead of time like yoga classes and even lunches or evenings out with friends really helps provide structure and gives me a stopping point. Even simple things like reading a book before bed or actually leaving my phone off for a while really helps shift my mindset from work and the never ending to do list.
Where do you see your brand going within the next five years?
My main tangible goal is to have an actual storefront/workshop! Beyond that I'm actually not sure but I feel very positive and excited about that. Fernweh Home is exactly what I need in my life right now but things can change so much and I have so many interests. I think I’ve learned principles and values that I will carry with me always and into any future endeavors (and I’ve definitely fallen in love with entrepreneurship) but I could see my business actually looking very different. Like I said before I’ve always loved interior design and even considered going back to school for that. As cliche as it sounds I’m really just excited for the journey and open to any possibilities!