B2B ID: Corina Miller, the Botaniste
NAME: Corina Miller
JOB TITLE, COMPANY: Owner, the Botaniste, Easthampton
WHEN THE BUSINESS STARTED: 2006, in Manhattan; I opened the shop in Easthampton in February 2012.
WHAT YOU DO: I am a florist and decorator, and the operation has expanded into an eclectic florist and treasure/secondhand shop with items that include objects and outfits from my other world as a singer and actress.
THE MARKET: People who enjoy plants, flowers and good-quality clothes, upcycled objects and furniture.
HOW YOU REACH OUT TO IT: The shop has this wonderful area out front on Main Street, where I can be outside working and enjoying Easthampton. The storefront organically changes week to week, and that seems to draw people in. Social media keeps the operation connected with friends and clients in New York, London and elsewhere as well as in Easthampton. I constantly take photographs and develop musical video showcases of the shop. Press is also an incredibly effective way of reaching people, as is branding.
WHAT FINANCING HURDLES HAVE YOU FACED AND HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED THEM? I pay people to help keep things organized, which saves money in the long term. I have a great team of student interns. I also love working with what is already there, letting that guide what I use to decorate or use for an arrangement. I enjoy glamorous frugality; that makes a big difference.
KEY TO SUCCESS: I see beauty and purpose in everything. Working with secondhand treasures influences how we display or upgrade them; that’s part of the magic.
CHALLENGES: I’m half English, and most of my family’s in the U.K. Ideally I would like to spend at least half my time there, while remaining connected here. I’m devising ways to gracefully do this since I now have a shop to run here.
MISSTEP YOU LEARNED FROM: A cluttered area slows down operations, and I’m lucky to have had wonderful people step in and help me work through areas that got wildly chaotic. We continually enhance the shop so that we can be more efficient and creative.
WHAT OTHERS COULD LEARN FROM YOU: The British are not wasteful. My grandmother instilled that in all of us, and I strive to conserve resources even if in a slightly eccentric fashion. Leather patches on elbows? That came out of not being wasteful, the best kind of cool.
WHO HELPED MENTOR YOU PROFESSIONALLY? All of the women in my family, my best friends and many others, among them Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS SEEKING BUSINESS SUCCESS: Embrace obstacles as best you can. If something feels too hard, there’s a better way to enjoy life and apply your strengths. Trust your inner voice, encourage others, have courage to live the life you want to have.
PARTING THOUGHT: I promote a style I like to call “Pre-apocalypse Chic.” If we actively conserve now, taking moves from our grandparents, we delay eventual conflicts due to diminishing resources. Why buy brand-new things made to look old? Conserve. Choose established pieces of quality and character, and use creativity to improve them.
B2B ID is compiled by Janice Beetle Godleski, owner of Beetle Press in Easthampton. Beetle Press offers writing, editing and graphic design services. www.beetlepress.com. To suggest a subject for B2B ID, email Godleski at firstname.lastname@example.org.