This interview is part of the Lady Boss Hostess Series
Mara Tyler of The Farm at Oxford is co-hosting the April 2017 edition of Lady Boss at Chhaya Café in Philadelphia. Tix available here.
Let's get to know her
Q: What's your current guilty pleasure?
A: Buying too many plants, binge watching Black Sails and of course, WINE!
Q: What are you listening to lately?
A: 90's Smooth R&B on Spotify — reliving my glory days!
Q: What's your favorite app or resource of the moment?
A: NOAA weather app, farm nerd!
Q: Who are you crushing on?
A: I honestly can't think of a person! Probably my spring blooms, haha. One track mind!
Q: Current mantra (or phrase, or Affirmation...)?
A: If you dream it, you CAN do it. Cheesy, yet I believe it's true.
What makes her a boss
Q: Tell us about your business.
A: We have a boutique cut flower farm in Southern Chester County called The Farm at Oxford. Growing unique and unusual flora and fauna, we love to sell to our local designers for their weddings and events. We also offer a bouquet share CSA to locals who want fresh flowers on the regular in their homes.
Q: What accomplishment are you celebrating right now?
A: Every spring, I feel this immense amount of stress as the weather warms and suddenly we have 50,000 things to do and not enough time or hands to do them all. It's very intense and somewhat short lived and affects my sleep patterns because I dream about all the things that aren't getting done. However, this year we actually feel pretty on top of things! We are heading into year three of the business and we have a lot of infrastructure and processes finally working properly, and this is causing me WAY less angst and stress than typical. Of course, I reserve the right to freak out in a few weeks when 150 bareroot roses arrive and need to be planted out immediately, but for now we're feeling pretty good.
Q: What keeps you motivated?
A: I love flowers. I've always been calmed by looking at them en masse on roadsides or in a garden even as a girl. They bring me mental peace and happiness and anytime I feel like there is something ugly going on in the world or around me, I look at the blooms and know there is beauty and wonderfulness happening as well. If you had asked me if I'd be flower farming at age 42 in Pennsylvania when I was 21, I would have told you that you were a special type of mad. But this is where life has brought me and I believe in fate and things happening for a reason, and I surely believe I was meant to bring beauty and happiness to others by way of our blooms.
Q: What's one tip you want to share with other entrepreneurs?
A: Be open minded. Have a vision but don't worry too much about having a strict or set goal. And don't be too structured in the way that things will shape up. I am very type A but one thing I've had to do in this business is let go of some of the control because Mother Nature is my business partner and she's a mean one sometimes. There's only so much you can do, but to be sustainable and not burn out a few years in whether it comes to money or time or mental health, you have to allow some room for change and be ready to adapt the business if things aren't going the way you planned. There is always room for a changing plan.
Q: Why should others join us for lady boss?
A: Flower farming can be a little isolationist and I'm really not a big extrovert. I love the opportunity to get out of my farm shell and come talk business and brainstorm with other lady bosses like me. Chances are even if we are in different industries, we all bring a level of some expertise to the table — sharing that with each other and keeping communication flowing is important.