What I've learned from 2016

People are crazy about rocks, almost everyone collects them.

Tons of people are afraid of killing plants or will say that is all they do to them. Guess what, me too, I killed two only yesterday.

Adults often enjoy putting a plastic creature in their terrarium as much as the kids do and spend even more time picking out the perfect one.

There is a lot of information about terrariums out there that over complicates them or is wrong. It's a plant in a jar, have fun with it and don't over water it.

People gravitate to my mess, if I have a clean table and a dirty table where I have been working they will choose to sit near my mess.

I was surprised by the joy I experience working with the teenagers that come in or the amount that would come in.

The amount of time I spend thinking about the business is astounding and often overwhelming. 

I did not anticipate how meaningful terrariums would be as a gift. I am blown away hearing the stories people come back to share about giving or receiving their terrariums.

Kids are really careful, I have had kids of all ages come in plus big birthdays and I cannot think of one time when glass was broken. Me on the other hand....

I was thrilled to use my data at the end of the year and see that more than 1,100 terrariums are now part of our world.

I am enjoying having a full year under my belt.

I am enjoying having a full year under my belt.

Keeping My Head Up

What an amazing start to the morning!

I have been feeling overwhelmed lately with the unknowns of owning and running my own business. It's been a slow process getting my information/concept out there. I have days that are really good, meaning lots of customers, and I feel excited. Other days it will be slow with little to no one stopping in and I get really discouraged. As a single mom trying to make a living to support myself and daughter, my life, so to speak, is in the hands of my customers. I constantly wonder if I am heading down the right path, is it being difficult because I am making the wrong choices or because it is simply a hard process? Sometimes it seems as things go so smoothly for people it makes me feel like, "What I am missing?" The help and support from my family and friends makes it possible for now but the amount I rely on them is overwhelming to me. I am so thankful but feel like there is no way I can show them how much it means to me. Then with all the help that they have given if the store doesn't work then I feel like I have let them down. So the waves of pressure and emotions I go through can be very encompassing.

One thing that I didn't count on when planning the store was the connections I would make with my customers. On my sign outside the store it says 'An Exclusive Jar Gardening Experience' and that certainly has been holding true. Coming into my store is not your everyday shopping experience. First it is very personal to me. It is my idea, my work, my creativity, my thoughts, my efforts, so what you see is me. We are all trying so hard at life and have so many different directions that we are being pulled. When people come in it is not what they expect, partly because there isn't anything like it around, but here there is no pressure, any level of creativity is embraced, you are allowed/encouraged to make a mess and are surrounded by natural things such as plants, dirt, stones and moss. People relax and share stories with me as they browse around or are making a terrarium. As they reconnect with nature they are reconnecting with different parts of themselves and I get to share this experience with them. In how many stores do you have that experience?

This morning I had two wonderful encounters. First was at home with a neighbor, she encouraged me to be more open with the blog which really spoke to me today. I spend so much time trying to be brave and hide if things are being rough yet I find so much comfort when I make a connection from reading or listening to someone sharing their experiences. So I thought I would give it a shot being more open on the blog here.

The second encounter was a customer that had a moving experience stopping in the store. We had a wonderful conversation and my time talking with them and their encouragement was an amazing way to start the day. That connection I made was special and gave me strength. After reflecting on that visit and as I write I feel like this idea of a store didn't come to me to simply benefit me but could be the start of something bigger, I don't think I can even grasp where it is going to go yet. To top it off as I started typing this today the song on Pandora was by Ben Howard called "Keep Your Head Up." Again it couldn't be more fitting. So I am going to keep my head up and be patient as I see where this journey is taking me.

I am happy to talk to you, show you around the store and guide you as you create.

I am happy to talk to you, show you around the store and guide you as you create.

A terrarium can be a special to you or as a gift.

A terrarium can be a special to you or as a gift.

Let's talk about Terrariums!

While terrariums might seem like a new trendy way to keep plants Dr. Nathaniel Ward came upon the idea almost 200 years ago in 1827! He was a fern lover but because of the pollution London had at that time they failed to thrive in his yard. One day when studying a cocoon in a covered jar he noticed a fern growing. Dr. Ward continued to experiment with this miniature greenhouse concept and he called them fern cases which then turned into Wardian cases and then terrariums. With the discovery of Wardian cases horticulturists were finally able to successfully bring back sensitive plants from their native lands to study. The cases protected the plants from changing environment as they traveled on the ships. By the 1860's Wardian Cases were very fashionable in Victorian homes and the rich had no limits and would make beautifully elegant ornamented cases to hold their plants.

In our modern day we no longer need to protect them from the elements, instead they are a great way to keep plants in an low maintenance way that fits our busy schedules and windowless offices. Terrariums are relaxing project to do in the winter when craving some green life. They are a delightful way to introduce children to gardening, allow apartment dwellers to have their own green-space or let someone that feels they have the touch of death when working with plants to have success!

Gardening is proven to have wonderful health benefits but many areas, such as Rochester, have a very short growing season and require significant space. Meanwhile, building a terrarium can happen anytime of year, are kept indoors and are small so that opens the window for who can keep them. People don't always have desire to keep a large outdoor garden or lack the yard space but terrariums allow for enjoyment of a garden without the space or commitment a garden typically needs.

Terrarium building is a fun activity for all because it's simple, you have your own space to be creative with and the maintenance is minimal. It is important for our souls to experience connections to nature and planting your own little paradise is a wonderfully uplifting experience. Playing in the dirt boosts your mood and the living plants help promote calmness and relaxation pair that with the ease of care and it's basically magic in a jar for your spirit!

How's Business Been?

Jardin has been open for almost 4 months now, time flies for sure! It is crazy to look back and see what this place looked like only five months ago. A huge thank you to all the people that have been the first customers, Jardin has now had over a hundred customers and has sold over 500 tiny plants! There still are days that no one stops in which anxiety ensues. Then other days that have many customers and exhilaration fills the air.

At this point I have gotten to know so many of my customers I would like to include a little bio about myself. My name is Kathleen Rullo and am the owner at Jardin. The idea came to me over two years ago while brainstorming ideas when another year of substitute teaching loomed ahead of me. As a certified teacher for Childhood Education and Special Education in grades 1-6 and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction I eagerly anticipated filling a position as a teacher but years of substitute teaching were taking its toll and I needed to find something else. When the terrarium idea came to me I sat with it for about a year. Then I started to pursue it with the help of a mentor and LOTS of research. Being a single mom put the weight of the world on me to make sure that I did my very best to make this endeavor be successful. This spring I ran my self ragged between finalizing items for the store, teaching and single parenting. June came, the lease was signed and things were kicked into high gear! It has been great and I have enjoyed every day, even with the worries that come from starting and running a business. My favorite times are the conversations I have with customers while building their terrariums or when they come believing they are not creative then watching them proudly admire their terrarium when they finish. I love plants and teaching people so this has been a wonderful combination and I am thankful everyday for all the support my family and friends gave me to get here. All the people that have taken a chance by coming to Jardin, checking out what it is and spreading the word I appreciate your time and am very thankful for your business!

Here's to success continuing to grow!!!

Kathleen by the retail terrariums.

Kathleen by the retail terrariums.

Kathleen's daughter peeking through a huge terrarium. 

Kathleen's daughter peeking through a huge terrarium. 

Fairport is Fantastic!

Fairport is one of the greatest little villages to visit or live in. It could be because it has the only walk in terrarium studio but there is so much to do, see and eat here too! Within the strip of Main Street between Whitney Road and Church Street you will find a little something for everyone. There is amazing restaurants that often have live music in the evening and outdoor seating, diners, cafes, pizzerias, places to get home made ice cream, gelato, and frozen yogurt, consignment stores, a used book store, tool thrift store, craft store, pharmacy, gift shops, paint your own pottery, make your own terrariums, dollhouse miniature store, hair salons, spas, gym, brewing company, library, dollar store, bike store, music store, boat rentals and rides, meat market, local groceries, chocolate store, sewing store and so many more businesses that would cover almost any need you might have. Plus Fairport has the Erie Canal that runs right through it with a lift bridge and the canal trail that you can bike, run or walk along for miles and miles. There is an excellent Farmers Market every Saturday from May thru November. Festivals abound here in Fairport as well, with Canal Days, Fairport Music Festival, Oktoberfest and Scarecrow Festival to name a few. Come visit this great village!

A beautiful summer night over the Erie Canal as you cross the bridge.

A beautiful summer night over the Erie Canal as you cross the bridge.

Full moon rising during the Fairport Music Festival.

Full moon rising during the Fairport Music Festival.

Terrific Terrariums on Display

When you first walk into Jardin browse shelves filled with terrariums of all sorts. Take your time as you look around, see if you can find some of the tiny surprises the terrariums offer. Each are for sale so if you find one that speaks to you or know who would love it as a gift, it's yours! Or use it as inspiration as you create your own. Plus there is an amazing giant terrarium with dinosaurs for kids and kids at heart, see if you can find all the dinosaurs hidden inside.

Jardin's storefront from the street.

Jardin's storefront from the street.

Jardin's unique display featuring open and closed terrariums and a hanging string garden.

Jardin's unique display featuring open and closed terrariums and a hanging string garden.

Stop in and check out that GIANT terrarium!

Stop in and check out that GIANT terrarium!

Terrariums of every shape and size.

Terrariums of every shape and size.

Ready for business!

The hard work has paid off the place looks great! Jardin is ready for people to come and get dirty and be creative and have fun!

Checkout counter and a relaxing spot to browse some books to get ideas for your terrarium. 

Checkout counter and a relaxing spot to browse some books to get ideas for your terrarium. 

Pick your plants and your jar to take to your table.

Pick your plants and your jar to take to your table.

Tables have all your supplies to make your own little world. The soil, stones, moss and tools are all within arms reach. Then leave the mess and enjoy your creation!

Tables have all your supplies to make your own little world. The soil, stones, moss and tools are all within arms reach. Then leave the mess and enjoy your creation!

Tables before and after

Making terrariums needs a lot of space so big tables custom made were in order, 4' x 8' sheets of plywood to be exact.  Then blue tables make everything fun so blue stain was used to give them the finishing touch.

Tables made in house.

Tables made in house.

Finished product!

Finished product!