Vendor Highlight – Dirty Business – Kokedama

Spring Bada Bing is less than two weeks away! We will be highlighting two vendors a day until the big day so you have the chance to get to know some of the awesome makers who will be with us at the show.

Richmond Craft Mafia’s Spring Bada Bing – at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

April 29th 10am-5pm

Meet Peggy from Dirty Business – Kokedama

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How did you get started making your products?

I got the love of plants from my father. I watched and helped him in his greenhouse and learned how to care for many plants. As an adult, I have my own greenhouse, and plants have always been a part of my life. When I saw my first Kokedama, I knew I had to learn the art. And now I am addicted.

Do you have any new products debuting this Spring?

Instead of always placing kokedama on ceramic plates or hanging them from a hook, have started mounting them on different substrates. I am using local trees such at locust, hackberry, and sycamore. The plants show very nicely and are easy to maintain.

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Tell us about your process.

I start with healthy plants. That is the #1 thing I look for. I make my own soil to wrap the roots, then I use a variety of mosses to hold the soil in place. That moss is bound with a natural fiber twine or string. Choosing how to mount or support the kokedama take an eye. You have to match the plant to the dish, or determine if it should hang or be mounted.

Do you have any long term goals for your business?

As well as doing marts, my plants are displayed for sale in a store in Norfolk. I would like to expand that presentation, as well as have a second store to place my kokedama in. I am working with the owner of that business now and hope to expand my exposure this summer.

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Of all of your products what is your favorite and why?

Choosing a favorite plant is like asking which of my 5 children is my favorite. But ever since loosing my dad’s 40 year old jade, I have had somewhat of a fetish for jades of all types. With over 1,400 varieties my collection is just getting started.

What is your most popular product? Why do you think it’s so popular?

I have tried to keep track of what kokedama sells the best. People seem to go with the trends so now I am selling a lot of succulents. Ferns seem to be popular. I have a lot of repeat customers not because they have lost their plant but because they enjoy them so much they want more. I think kokedama is becoming more popular as a way to display plants now because of its uniqueness. They are also perfect for apartments and small places due to the fact they do not grow like they would if they were in pots.

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Which of your products is most time consuming to make and why?

Succulents are sometimes difficult due to the fact they do not have big root systems and the soil tends to fall away from the plant. I feel like I need 3 hands when trying to work with some of the varieties.

What drives you to continue making? Who/what is your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from my love of all plants. While working with soil I would find myself smiling and just did not know why. After doing some research on soils I learned of a bacterium in soil that effects the serotonin in our bodies. And we all know that serotonin works to regulate anxiety, happiness and mood. So I will always want my hands in the dirt! Hence the name, Dirty Business.

Tell us about your most memorable day as a maker?

I think it was my first Crafted at O’Connors. Though I took what I thought was ample stock, I sold out 3 hours before the show was over. I learned a lot that day. I learned what I do is very popular now. And I also learned to take 3 times what I think is enough!

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What is the biggest hurdle you have overcome with your business?

Keeping good stock on hand. I can not grow enough plants to meet the demand of my sales. So I have to buy from area greenhouses which means I am always on the lookout for the healthiest plants I can find. I want plants that are perfect which is not always easy to find. Transporting is getting difficult as well. I can not stack anything, so packing my vehicle is becoming a challenge.

Do you support any important causes with your business?

Cornhole for the Cure- Breast Cancer Awareness

Do you have any pets?

Yes, a wonderful yellow lab named Topaz.

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