Author's note: I’ve deployed the use of superfluous exclamation marks peppered randomly throughout this first blog post to let you know that I’m either mega excited or slightly unhinged. The truth is that I’m probably a bit of both. Starting a brand requires a certain bit of wild abandon, so that checks.
~Oh, Hello There~
Hello and welcome to my very first blog post! Maybe we know each other already, but if we don’t, allow me to introduce myself.
I’m Laura, the unexpected founder of Cloverland. A spanking new lifestyle brand that creates beautifully decadent coconut-soy wax candles and other products (coming soon!) in celebration of homebodies everywhere.
When I'm not focused on my Cloverland duties, I'm an occasional writer, beginner salsa dancer, fragrance/scent aficionado, and burgeoning plant mom.
I also love bath bombs, long walks on the beach, pink starbursts, and gazing up at the moon. Just saying.
This blog will follow my journey as a woman-owned founder, navigating my way as a new brand in a hyper-competitive sea of cutthroat corporations and celebrity-backed brands.
I've been deeply inspired by the authentic magic of start-ups, women & minority founders, artists, creators, and small purpose-lead brands, so I know that I'm up to the challenge.
There will be mishaps and blunders, of that I'm certain, but I promise to keep it real with you, friends.
In today’s – very. first. blog. post! – I’ll talk a bit about the early days of Cloverland, which has been a journey 490 days in the making.
Not like I’ve been counting or anything …
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. First things first.
Tell me, are you feeling~
If not, that’s okay! That’s why Cloverland exists. To create those sensations.
How about this.
Sit back, settle into your happy space, maybe grab a snack, definitely light a candle (you knew that was coming), and hang with me for a bit.
It’s story time.
For the past twenty-something years, I spent time, energy, and hustle building my career within the corporate space.
After completing my undergrad at night while working full-time during the day, I was on a mission to round out my experience with new skills every time I left one company for another.
I learned. I absorbed. I listened. I grew. But it wasn't enough.
Not only was I not getting the opportunities that I wanted and in my opinion, deserved, but deep down, I longed to be a creator of some kind.
I wanted the chance to grow more. I wanted to do something more meaningful. And I wanted to make my mark on the world in a bigger way. I just didn’t know what that looked like.
But one thing was certain.
Resting on my laurels? Never!
At the very beginning of 2022, a career opportunity crossed my desk that was incredibly appealing.
Let me paint you a very vivid picture. Imagine this.
A life-changing (!!) pay raise, the title that I had been waiting for, unlimited vacation time, an exciting brand / product line, and … la piece de resistance.
The chance to work exclusively remote.
So I did what I do. I rolled up my sleeves, did my homework, and I went in hard for this opportunity.
Can you guess what happened next?
I think you know …
Rejection. Ugh. I ended up getting passed over for this dream opportunity.
I’m not being dramatic when I tell you that I cried for a solid week.
After emerging from my sad little Cheeto-crusted nest on the couch, I brushed myself off (literally) and asked myself a question that would change the course of my life.
Why can’t I just create my own candle brand?
That annoying little naysayer voice inside me laughed uproariously. I found my backbone and said it with more conviction.
Seriously. Why can’t I? What’s stopping me?
The answer came roaring in from the universe.
~An Idea in Bloom~
I’m going to skate on past the financial stuff for today.
I know some of you are going to be saying, “but Laura, surely there is more to this than just sitting on a fluffy cloud and daydreaming about the brand. What about the spreadsheets, and projections, and start up cash?”
Oh, you adorable folks. Don’t despair.
There will be a lot more to say on this subject in other blog posts.
There may even be … gasp! Spreadsheets. We will math that math.
But not today. Today, I’m just going to focus on the creative side of the story.
Where did I leave off …
Ah yes. Now that I asked myself the question of “why can’t I just create my own brand”, I spent weeks fortifying my answer through researching the market, analyzing the numbers, and just some good old-fashioned soul-searching.
I went back through every reason not to do it. In transparency, there were a good many! (Slightly unhinged alert.)
So of course, the only natural next step was to do it.
Creatively, I didn’t want to take another step forward without selecting the brand name and all that goes with it.
It was a must that the name resonates with the essence of what I wanted to create.
When I thought about what the yet-to-be-named Cloverland could be or should be, I knew that I wanted to create a brand that celebrated the homebody way of life, one that prioritized self-care and self-love while also being a responsible corporate citizen.
I kept coming back to that collection of words that I shared in the beginning of this post.
Cozy. Comfortable. Unabashedly Yourself.
The brand name itself had to sing those words.
Easier said than done. The original brand name that I fell in love with was taken, both from a trademark perspective and from a web domain perspective.
Silly me for not checking first.
But okay, first lesson learned. Check the trademark registry and available web domains before getting attached to a brand name.
Back to the drawing board I went.
After a particularly long week spent brainstorming and coming up empty, I poured myself an XL glass of wine and let my playlist randomize.
First song up: Etta James, “At Last”.
I have heard this song about a zillion times before. I love Etta James.
In my past life, I was a wedding coordinator and this is a pretty popular first dance song.
Needless to say, I could recite the lyrics backwards and forwards, upside down and rightside up.
Please excuse the theatrics, but in this moment, it was like I was hearing it for the first time.
My ear immediately caught the lyric: “wrapped up in clover” and the light bulb went off.
This turn of phrase described exactly what I was envisioning for my brand: an absolute state of happiness, prosperity, and wellbeing.
I scrambled for my laptop, nearly tipping over my wine in the process, and checked the trademark registry.
Okay good to go. Then checked godaddy.com for the domain availability. Also good to go.
Was this it? Were the stars aligning?
After doing some more research for several more hours, I felt assured that this was it. I could feel it in my soul.
Cloverland was definitely my new brand name.
~The Essence & Ethos~
Creating a brand from the ground up is a bit like falling in love. Those fluttery, hopeful butterflies. That completely blinding euphoria.
All of that and more, swirled together. Then you let go, step over the imaginary edge, and you let yourself do it. You fall.
And that’s what I did. I fell in love with creating a thoughtful and intentional candle brand.
One that inspires you to find a place where you can be fully comfortable, completely cozy, and absolutely safe to be your weird, beautiful self without judgment. And most importantly, one that would give back to the community.
If I were to sum up Cloverland’s essence with two words, it would be: homebody vibes.
I celebrate staying home with gusto and want my space to reflect my ever-changing mood and style.
What better way to do that than experiencing gorgeously scented coconut-soy candles and the illuminous beauty of their candlelight?
By now, you know that the concept of Cloverland started to bloom from a feeling.
The feeling of being at home.
I have always felt like my most authentic and weird little self at home. It’s where I could always go to rest and recharge, nested away from the chaos of the world.
And I genuinely want the same feeling for you. Actually, I want this for everyone. I want everyone to have this feeling.
Let me hop on my soapbox for a minute.
Cloverland must be an extension of not only my own values, but the values of the community.
I’m a big believer in the power of compassion and good deeds, both on an individual level and on a corporate level.
Brands must be committed to leaving the world a better place than when we found it.
And how we can do that is through more transparency, responsibility, and community. Not just leaning on some low energy inauthentic social content.
No, I’m talking about walking the walk and weaving that intention into everything.
Cloverland is defined by the belief that everyone deserves a place to call home.
While it’s very early in our journey, as the founder, I am personally committed to giving back at least 1% of revenue toward charitable organizations that help underserved communities combat the housing crisis.
I’ve talked with a few wonderful charitable US-based organizations who help first-time homebuyers navigate the homebuying process, help at-risk youth build financial literacy to help crush financial inequality, help survivors of domestic abuse secure a safe and happy home for themselves and their children.
These are just a few examples of how I envision Cloverland following through on our giveback commitments.
I’m so very excited to share more with you as the journey continues!
Every purchase counts. Every purchase helps.
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