Boss Lady - Natalie Freeman

Several months ago, ok, maybe a year ago, I was inspired to start a blog series called "Boss Lady". The mission behind Boss Lady is to inspire young women (and men) to follow their instinct/talent/passion and become entrepreneurs. 
My team and I are reaching out to all the woman owned businesses that inspire and amaze us on a daily basis. We will start with a brief background, then dive in to the nitty gritty of running a business, what keeps them inspired, and everything else in between. 

 

Hi, I’m Natalie! I live on a small hobby farm with my husband, Luke, in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

I still can’t quite believe this is my story. And of course, my story wouldn’t be what it is without my life partner. I met my husband in a local park the third day of college. We both came to the University of Missouri from Arkansas & quickly became friends. That friendship grew into a lifelong admiration for one another & soon enough, we were hitched! We were 19 & 20 at the time, but we had a lifetime of shared goals & dreams.

Throughout our dating & early years of marriage, I blogged. At first this was just a simple way of sharing my life with family & friends from my hometown of Cabot, Arkansas. Eventually this knack for writing & photographing our life grew into a lifestyle blog, Natalie Creates (natalienoack.blogspot.com/).

Once we graduated from college, we moved back to our home state & quickly found a plot of land we could call home. We lovingly called this place Freckled Hen Farm. With a small savings account, we slowly began renovating our ranch-style house into a cozy farmhouse (#freckledhenfarmhouse).

As we renovated, I shared the process on my blog & Instagram (@nataliecreates). Folks began falling in love with our simple, approachable style & charming farm life. We decided to launch a new business, Freckled Hen Farmhouse, inspired by our life on the farm.

Now we own & operate an online general store (www.freckledhenfarmhouse.com) and full-time brick & mortar shop in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It’s such a gift to wake up each morning & inspire folks to cultivate a richer, more meaningful life within their own homes.

 

  1. Give us your elevator pitch. Freckled Hen Farmhouse is a modern day general store brimming with refined home provisions & quality farm supplies.

  2. What is your business? Freckled Hen Farmhouse

  3. When did you start your business? In 2016, but it’s been a business in the making for many years before that.

  4. What inspired you to make the leap? I knew this was my life’s work. I had always wanted to own a shop that created a sense of community. And that’s what I am now doing.



  5. What helps you get started each morning? I cannot function without coffee & my to-do list.

  6. Tell us about a day in the life of running your business. I do a whole lot of everything. From shipping online orders to scrubbing the bathroom floor at the shop, there’s nothing I do not have my hands in. On my best days, you’ll find me balancing online commitments - creating newsletters, connecting with influencers - & responsibilities at the shop - helping customers & managing our small staff.

  7. What keeps you motivated? I love that there’s always a mistake to learn from & more work to do. While that might sound exhausting, I find it exhilarating. My work doesn’t just pay the bills. It refines me & teaches me daily. I also love the freedom of being my own boss. I’ve learned over time that I lead well.

  8. Describe your dream day. My dream day would always involve a beach.



  9. What is your greatest strength/super power? I can often see the good in just about any situation. My cup is always half full.

  10. Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat? Instagram forever. I’m a very visual person & I love capturing the beauty around me.

  11. What do you do in your free time? I love to travel with my husband. It keeps me inspired & broadens my world. We go on 2-3 large trips a year. We’re headed to Puerto Rico in May!

  12. If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it? I’d hire my husband full-time, start an artisanal bakery & build a barn to house our little general store & bakery duo.



  13. What’s the biggest risk you ever took; how did it go? We took out a small business loan to launch Freckled Hen Farmhouse. For months, I barely slept a wink, worrying that we made the biggest mistake of our lives. Thankfully, I’ve now learned that the risk of not acting on your dreams is far greater than the risk of failing.

  14. Name something you hate doing but have to do for the good of your business. How do you make it tolerable? I am not tech savvy & I would rather die than manage our finances. Thankfully, my husband & I are complete opposites. He loves numbers & is a whiz at problem-solving. He picks up my slack daily.

  15. How do you handle discouragement? Discouragement is just part of it. Keep moving forward, friend.

  16. Which iconic person inspires you? Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ve read every book she’s ever written & I loved her podcast, “Magic Lessons.” She’s brilliant.



  17. Do you have a favorite, inspiring quote? “Everybody needs beauty, as well as bread, places to play in & pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” - John Muir

  18. Who are you in your next life? Lorelai Gilmore. Stars Hollow, sign me up!

  19. Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business? Take time off for you & your family. I am a better boss, business owner & human when I’ve had time to rest & really live outside of my work life.

  20. What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs? Ask lots of questions, don’t ever assume you know everything. Connect yourself with a community of fellow entrepreneurs, don’t go it alone.

 

All photos by Nikki Toth

 

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Boss Lady - Sally Mengel

Several months ago, ok, maybe a year ago, I was inspired to start a blog series called "Boss Lady". The mission behind Boss Lady is to inspire young women (and men) to follow their instinct/talent/passion and become entrepreneurs. 
My team and I are reaching out to all the woman owned businesses that inspire and amaze us on a daily basis. We will start with a brief background, then dive in to the nitty gritty of running a business, what keeps them inspired, and everything else in between.  

Sally
Photo by Jacob Slaton Photography


Sally Mengel of Loblolly Creamery
Sally and I met several years ago when I moved back to Little Rock. We have teamed up on several special events and have even collaborated on an ice cream cone charm exclusive to Loblolly! If you have ever met Sally, you know she is a treat to work with! Literally!!

I think I was meant to make and sell sweets. One year for Halloween when I was a kid, I dressed up as a candy salesman and I have never turned away desserts, never. Sophomore year of college I started a student-run coffee cart. It still runs today and it has upgraded to a kiosk. I started to work at an ice cream store as well in Atlanta during that same time. These two jobs were the inspiration and foundation to start Loblolly Creamery. Loblolly did not start as an ice cream business. It kind of just snowballed into it. It started as an off-shoot of The Green Corner Store. The owner, Shelley Green, gave me the opportunity to start a small soda fountain in the front of the store. Thus birthed Loblolly Creamery. Oh yeah, I have two awesome parents. I grew up in North of Boston and Saint Louis for most of my life. I have a dog named Moo. 


  1. Give us your elevator pitch. Loblolly Creamery is a small-batch, handcrafted ice creamery based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Everything is made from scratch using local, seasonal, and fair-trade ingredients. We have a traditional soda fountain in the heart of the SoMa neighborhood, we cater with our solar-powered ice cream mobile, and we sell our ice cream at grocery stores, cafes, and restaurants around Arkansas. We also make handcrafted French macarons, marshmallows, and baked goods.

  2. What is your business? Ice Cream!

  3. When did you start your business? In November 2011 we made our first ice cream for the 1st Annual Arkansas Cornbread Festival. We purchased our ice cream machine the day before. It was Buttermilk Ice Cream that we topped on our caramel cornbread. We won the nontraditional cornbread category. We opened the Soda Fountain on April 1st, 2012.

  4. What inspired you to make the leap? There was no locally-made, locally-sourced ice cream and I love ice cream. The history of the Lincoln building also inspiring. The building was built in 1905 for Dawson Drug Store. It was a pharmacy and soda fountain till 1967. I wanted to bring the history back of the soda fountain with handcrafted ice cream and sodas.

  5. What helps you get started each morning? COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE and my dog, Moo.

  6. Tell us about a day in the life of running your business. I get to the Loblolly Kitchen around 9am at the latest. I get organized for the day with the kitchen crew, check our orders, and then I get to churning ice cream. I churn ice cream till 2pm and then I may have a team meeting, sales meeting, or event planning. I may have an event in the evening and work on the Loblolly ice cream truck.

  7. What keeps you motivated? Getting to be creative with flavors, collaborating with other businesses on events and pop-up menus, and my kick-ass team.

  8. Describe your dream day. Other than visiting another country or going on a road trip. An ideal day off would look like: Sleep in, putter around the house, maybe go for a long walk, hike, water hole swim, soccer game, or bike ride, a meal on a sunny patio with friends or my family, and then end the night with a movie with my boo Michael.

  9. What is your greatest strength/super power? My laugh, its loud.

    pint picture

  10. Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat? Facebook for events, Instagram for inspiration.

  11. What do you do in your free time? Play pick-up soccer, water my house-plant collection, visit other dessert shops (research), support my friends in local bands or art shows, hang with Moo and Michael.

  12. If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it? Yippeee! I would become a USDA dairy and start to pasteurize raw milk so I can make goat and cow milk ice cream with Arkansas dairy. Maybe even invest in a dairy farm and have our own Loblolly herd.

  13. What’s the biggest risk you ever took; how did it go? Besides starting this business with little food manufacturing, financial, and business know how? Hmmmm...probably purchasing a 20 year old food truck sight unseen. It was a huge risk to invest but I think it has paid off. We can be part of people's weddings and parties, vend at festivals, and take our ice cream all over Arkansas. But it took almost a year to renovate and fix up the truck. It was a learning lesson. Also, pay your taxes on time. That is a risk.


    ice cream truck

  14. Name something you hate doing but have to do for the good of your business. How do you make it tolerable? I hate book keeping, excel spreadsheets, food costing, basically anything with numbers other than a recipe. I needed help (badly) and I hate asking for help but I did. Now we have a CEO, a book keeper, and other Loblollians that keep up with food costs and sales numbers. Asking for help has gotten easier because I have a great team that wants to help Loblolly. Also listening to music and making fake deadlines help with any computer work that I have (most of the time).

  15. How do you handle discouragement? Deep breath

  16. Which iconic person inspires you? Badass women in the food scene inspire me like, Jeni Britton Bauer, Christina Tosi, Alice Waters and Nigella Laweson.  I love how they have bold and unique voices with their food. They have strong missions that they carry out with their food and they continue to innovate with their flavors. Also, Dominique Ansel is inspiring with his inventive desserts (i.e., creator of the cronut). For good reading about the food business, I look to Ari Weinzweig's books about his business, Zingerman's.  

  17. Do you have a favorite, inspiring quote? 'Diva' is a female version of a Hustler -Beyonce

  18. If you could choose anyone to pick as a mentor, who would you choose? Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream or Beyonce.

    scoop

  19. Who are you in your next life? A Toucan

  20. Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business? Find me time. Ask for help. Be flexible.

  21. What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs? Start slow. Invest in a bookkeeper. Learn how to cost and don't charge too little for your services. Make sure it is a passion, almost an obsession and a love.

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