How a Booming Business Grew From a Love of Gardening

Freya's Garden of Earthly DelightsAfter 15 years as the owner of a successful pet sitting business, Michelle Swiniarski was ready for a change.

Indulging her love of herb gardening, Michelle launched Freya’s Garden Of Earthly Delights from her family’s hobby farm in suburban Cleveland.

“My herb garden is my passion. I grow LOTS of herbs,” Michelle said. “I was looking for ways to justify to my husband why I needed him to build me more raised beds. I love farming and this was a business that is easy to incorporate into my farming lifestyle.”

Fortunately, Michelle’s husband played along and Freya’s was born. We recently caught up with Michelle via email to learn more about her transition from pet sitter to web entrepreneur.

The DRIVE: Thanks for joining us, Michelle. When did you start Freya’s? 

Freya's Garden of Earthly Delights pet sitting

Michelle Swiniarski of Freya’s Garden of Earthly Delights

Michelle: I started my business about three years ago. I had a successful pet sitting service for 15 years. I just closed that business this past February to pursue Freya’s Garden Of Earthly Delights full time. It was very tough to say goodbye to all my critter clients and I still keep in contact with a few. On the other hand, I get a lot of joy from creating herbal products from scratch that people enjoy.

The DRIVE: How did you make the tough choice to close the pet sitting business? 

Michelle: My pet sitting business was very lucrative with a guaranteed income stream that covered many of our bills. It was a leap of faith to pursue my fledgling bath product business. It was very scary. Honestly, I wouldn’t have had the courage to do it except my husband kept telling me he knew I could make it a success.

The DRIVE: That’s great support! What are your business goals for the next year? 

Freya's Garden of Earthly Delights by Scott's Marketplace

Some four (and two) legged friends on Michelle’s farm.

Michelle: Currently, I am generating 80% of my revenue from art shows and festivals and 20 percent from online sales. My goal for this year is to reverse those numbers. I would like to sell predominantly online and supplement with a few good local shows each year.

The DRIVE: Which brings us to Scott’s Marketplace. What’s the biggest benefit you’ve enjoyed by working with Scott’s? 

Freya's Garden of Earthly Delights soap

Soap from Freya’s Garden of Earthly Delights

Michelle: To me, the biggest thing I want is a stress-free positive selling experience with support. And Scott’s Marketplace gives me that. I’m a “refugee” from another online platform that had too many technical issues and wasn’t very supportive.

With Scott’s, I immediately felt peace of mind. The energy here is great, upbeat, and positive and everything runs so smoothly. I made a sale within a couple weeks of opening my shop!

The DRIVE: Thank you for saying so! What one product are you especially proud to offer via Scott’s Marketplace?

Freya's Garden of Earthly Delights Herbal Bath Teas

“Just water, sunshine, and love.” — Michelle’s recipe for growing these herbs for her herbal tea bath product.

Michelle: My herbal bath teas have become very popular. I love making them as it gives me a chance to play with my herbs (and justify those extra raised garden beds I talked my husband into making). I create each of my blends using different herbs and flowers from my garden. I currently make four varieties and I plan to create a couple more varieties this year.

The DRIVE: Is there anything else you’d like to add about your entrepreneurial journey? 

Michelle: To be truly successful, you must enjoy what you do. I am fortunate to work at a business I love with total support from my husband. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story.

The DRIVE: Thank YOU for joining us, Michelle. And good luck with the gardening!

Leave your questions for Michelle of Freya’s Garden Of Earthly Delights below.

About the Author

Matt Simpson

Matt is a freelance writer for The DRIVE blog with expertise in digital marketing, social media, and copywriting. He's active in the #yesphx startup movement and has been recognized by AdWeek, Mashable, and more for digital innovation. Visit Matt's website or follow Matt on Twitter.

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