Hobby Idea Leads Women to Start a Business for Making Money While Having Fun
Although gathering with friends to talk about ideas for starting a company isn’t always fruitful, two Brooklyn women found that doing more than talking can result in a sound business. Childhood friends Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow reconnected later in their lives. Their joint hobby activity eventually led to the formation of Twig Terrariums.
The entrepreneurs started their business in 2010 to sell both ready-made and customized terrariums plus provide terrarium kits and how-to workshops. But they didn’t start out to establish a company. After the women were reunited by a mutual friend, they gathered for craft nights. Their creations included a variety of items such as greeting cards, bookmarks, and finally terrariums.
After realizing they could create various terrarium themes, Inciarrano and Maslow embarked on selling their handiwork. Just because starting a business arrived by accident doesn’t mean the founders took shortcuts. They pursued a professional path by consulting with college professors about specific horticulture. In addition, they considered several variations for a company name and logo design.
After starting as a home-based business, the company eventually moved into a 900 square foot combination storefront and studio. The terrariums are also sold by over a dozen retail establishments. Inciarrano and Maslow financed their business with a small amount of personal investment. They now have three employees and no debt.
In 2011, the women entrepreneurs began selling online. Careful selection of a company name assured that the domain TwigTerrariums.com was available. The website offers 19 products for shipment anywhere in the US. Ready-made terrariums sell for $45. Terrarium kits sell for $15 to $25. In addition, customers send photos of concepts for custom terrariums. Prices for some of the special requests have run into the thousands of dollars.
The primary market for Twig Terrariums are middle-aged mid-income families. But word-of-mouth popularity of the product has also caught the attention of New York City’s hip youths. Inciarrano and Maslow report that profit quadrupled after the first year of operation.