Maggie Pozorski (left) and Stefanie Lin (right), founders of Oh! You’re Lovely.

Photo courtesy of Oh! You’re Lovely

Who knew a passion for wooden flowers could bring former schoolmates back together? Though Stefanie Lin and Maggie Pozorski were just acquaintances when they were in class together as kids, they’ve now become not only good friends, but also business partners united in a new-found passion for a unique craft material.

The two women launched their web-based business, Oh! You’re Lovely, last year and they’re committed to sharing a niche product they both adore, knowing that crafters everywhere will love it just as much as they do.  Although the two women live more than 1,000 miles apart and rarely see each other in person, they’ve managed to make their vision a reality.

Lin and Pozorski grew up in Wisconsin where they went through school together. Pozorski moved to North Carolina after graduation. Lin stayed closer to home. Then the internet and a shared love of crafting brought them together again. Pozorski had been operating a small fiber arts business, Lin was into mixed media and was doing weekly Facebook Live events where she created crafts for home décor. Pozorski and daughter Ember joined in those Live events.

Spring Nine.

Photos courtesy of Oh! You’re Lovely

And then one day Lin discovered something truly special while clicking around on Pinterest on day in 2017: sola flowers. “I’d been in a rabbit hole of craft projects when I came across a wedding blog featuring sola flowers,” she says.

Sola – or shola wood as it’s also called – is found mostly in India and Thailand. One of the lightest woods in the world, sola is often compared to balsa wood. The stem of the sola plant is cut into thin sheets which are then used to create flowers, all by hand. The wood was originally used to make decorative toppers for bottles of oil because of its ability to diffuse scents. Then someone discovered the wood took dye well.

 “The flowers feel almost like foam,” explains Lin. The simplest way to dye them is with diluted acrylic paint though there’s a wide range of things people can do with the product. In addition to being low-cost, sola flowers are sturdy, and Lin maintains they’re adding a welcome freshness to the floral industry.

Although she’d seen sola flowers previously at Hobby Lobby, until then she’d not really been struck by them, but this time when she saw them on Pinterest and realized she could dye them that’s what really turned her on. She not only liked their versatility, she liked that they were eco-friendly, too. “You just touch them, and you become hooked,” says Lin.

Spring assortment.

Photo courtesy of Oh! You’re Lovely

Pozorski fell in love when she saw Lin’s first project using the flowers. “I have been crafty my entire life but these flowers, I knew, were very special. I felt like the possibilities were endless and that excited me,” she says.

The Shift to Manufacturing

By January of 2018, the women decided they needed to get into the sola flower business and began looking for a manufacturer. Pozorski, who’d been the vice president of a product-based business had experience managing the supply chain and dealing with international suppliers. Lin would be the face of the company in charge of content creation social media, trying out products, and creating graphics.

Lin was already running Oh! You’re Lovely as a décor website with a floral vibe and had a clientele that included wholesale customers and gift shops so she just pivoted the company to focus exclusively on sola flowers. “I was ready for a change, so I simply switched my Facebook and website focus to sola flowers,” she says.

Oh! You’re Lovely currently carries more than 60 different types of flowers plus a variety of craft supplies that can be used to create décor pieces and arrangements. The company’s customer base includes brides and DIYers plus bridal, home décor, and other small businesses. Many of the small businesses have been started by brides-to-be who come back after doing flowers for their own weddings.

Wedding-inspired assortment.

Photos courtesy of Oh! You’re Lovely

Growing Pains 

They also have a wholesale site servicing more than 400 accounts. They ship across the US as well as to Canada and some international locations. Both Lin and Pozorski often work 60+ hours a week but they love what they do. They have four part-time employees and say they could still use more.

“But not till we find a bigger warehouse … these are the growing pains we’re having now … we need more help but can’t accommodate them till we have a bigger space,” says Lin. The warehouse is near Pozorski, in North Carolina, since she handles the shipping and packaging.

Meanwhile, Lin is in the process of building a 20 x 14 ft. studio space at her home in Wisconsin. It’ll be a stand-alone building that will allow her five children, aged 4-12, to better understand that she’s working when she’s outside of the house. Once that space is ready, she’s expecting to hire an assistant as she works to increase the number of videos they produce.

Lin only visited North Carolina once to see the warehouse space. Other than that, their entire working relationship is over the internet. “We joke that we talk to each other more than we talk to our spouses,” says Lin.

The women use a variety of tools to communicate throughout the day including texting and online message applications. They use Google Docs and Dropbox for images. Asana works well for customer service issues, and they may start using Planoly for Instagram. They also both use Pinterest and maintain secret boards to share inspiration for future projects.

Facebook plays an integral role in their business. They hold two events a week on their Facebook page, one is on Tuesday mornings, the other is “Crafting after Bedtime” on Thursday evenings. They offer challenges and flash sales in their Facebook group and Lin likes to play with product and push outside of the box during the live events.

A selection of springtime florals.

Photos courtesy of Oh! You’re Lovely

“There are no mistakes. You simply learn from them and do it better the next time,” she says. In fact, she likes going sideways with projects, showing customers that even experts make mistakes. Recent projects have included a funky junk wreath and mixed media paintings.

Supporting other small businesses is one of Pozorski’s favorite parts of what they do. “I love seeing the women who buy from us be successful at their own businesses. I am very excited to see that grow!” she says. 

Lin adds, “We have lots of dreams of collaborations with everyone from cake decorators to wreath makers. We want to get more people aware of this product. It’s a very niche community but it’s a growing niche.”

Oh! You’re Lovely recently made the top 100 list in the recent FedEx Small Business Grant program. Though they didn’t win a grant, that was not a bad placement out of 13,000 applicants. The future looks bright for this flower-making duo.

As well as their Facebook page, Lin and Pozorski have a Facebook group, Put a Flower On It. You can also find them on Instagram and YouTube.

Email Lin and Pozorski at info@ohyourelovely.com

Pauline Clark

Pauline Clark

contributor

Pauline Clark is a Canadian writer, scrapbooker and self-confirmed blog addict. When she’s not writing articles or hosting scrapbook retreats, she’s catching up on all her favorite blogs. Email her at pauline@paulineclark.com.

Oh! You’re Lovely Offers Gorgeous Sola Flowers for Every Occasion

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