It's hard not to be inspired by the artists and makers of the Cleveland Flea. Brilliant, talented, creative. They're tough as bleepin' nails on their ways to making their dreams come true. We began The Maker Series to take a look — behind the scenes, beyond the booth — to see what drives our makers to do what they love and love what they do.
Q + A with Rachel DuFresne of Earth Philosophy
What does the term "handmade" truly mean? Most every maker lingers on that question at some point in time, and the answer is by no means black and white. Each company holds themselves to specific production standards which define the quality of their merchandise. To Rachel DuFresne of Earth Philosophy, handmade means understanding her ingredients from seed to sealed package. Her botanical merchandise is the product of her own hand-tended garden, offering her control over the healing qualities of Earth Philosophy's merchandise. Get to the root of Rachel's plant-based processes in our Maker Series interview below!
Cleveland Flea: What was your path to beginning your business?
Rachel DuFresne: I was a traveler and student of Botany. Being exposed to wellness habits in other cultures, France in particular, motivated me to create an essential oil product line that enhances our well-being while lessening our dependence on synthetic ingredients and environmentally detrimental packaging and processes.
CF: Why do you love what you do?
RD: I love having the control to shape my business around my own standards and philosophy of natural living; while providing solutions for those who share the same philosophy for their own life
CF: Why does Cleveland need a business like this?
RD: Any city removed from nature needs something that will bring that instinctive knowledge back to them. Earth Philosophy is the only local company in Cleveland that provides pre-formulated essential oil remedies, making the use of essential oils accessible to the wider population.
CF: Why is Cleveland a great place to launch and run a creative business?
RD: The community is exceptionally supportive of small businesses and Cleveland has so much talent that it makes the experience of building a creative business more energetic. Also, great soil just outside of a growing city.
CF: What's the best part of running your own business?
RD: The best part of running my own business are the challenges.
CF: What's your biggest struggle from a business standpoint?
CF: What are your goals for the business this year?
RD: I'd really like to semi-automate production with new machinery.
CF: Did you see yourself growing up to be a creative vendor?
RD: I thought I was going to become an ethnobotanist in someplace like French Guiana... I still see my self growing up to do that.
CF: What's the first big moment where you knew you were headed in the right direction with your business?
RD: The first year that I started turning a profit!
CF: Who inspires you?
RD: I'm so inspired by Mark J. Plotkin, PH.D., an Ethnobotanist and plant explorer.
CF: Have you learned anything about your business by participating in Cleveland Flea?
RD: I've learned about the value of word of mouth.
CF: What's your favorite piece of advice as it relates to your business?
RD: Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today!
CF: How would you hope to hear your business described by your dream customers?
RD: I no longer purchase over the counter drugs because Earth Philosophy consistently provides fresh & effective botanical products that have improved the quality of my health and the health of my family.
CF: What's one thing people would be surprised to learn about your business?
RD: I think that most people don't realize that I personally grow the herbs used to make our herbal oils!
CF: What's your favorite booth at the flea?
RD: Honestly, the coffee booths are my favorites because I rarely have time to make it myself the morning of the Flea!