Chamber Insider Blog

SBA Finalist Spotlight: Watermark Woods Native Plants

Thank you to Watermark Woods Native Plants for answering a few of our questions.
Congratulations on being named a finalist for Main Street Business of the Year!
The 24th Annual Loudoun Small Business Awards will be on November 1, 2018 – Tickets/More Info Here

1. Tell us your story of how your company got to where it is today?

When we bought our property in Hamilton we not only wanted to live in nature, but we wanted to be good stewards of the land. In learning how to take care of our little bit of Loudoun, Julie volunteered with Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and the Audubon at Home programs it became clear that making native plants more readily available to the people of Loudoun County was the way to make a difference in our community.  We were able to have a business and promote sustainability at the same time.

A watermark on paper is a faint impression on paper, which is how we hope our footprint appears on this earth.  Don’t leave a mark, leave a watermark.  Our mission is to make it easier for the folks in Loudoun to change their foot print to a watermark.

2. What would it mean to you and your company to win a Small Business Award?

The recognition would be two fold for Watermark Woods.  First a Small business award would reinforce that we have built a business which is making an impact and is valued in Loudoun County.  Secondly, it would be a big win for the local native plant and wildlife movement.  Having a business which focuses on nature win a professional award would validate the message that our ecology is just as important as our economy.

3. If you weren’t running your own business/working at this business, what would you be doing? 

If I were not growing plants for other people, I would be growing my own plants.  I do love working in the yard and enjoy having a nice looking yard.  I have to be honest, my own landscaping could use some attention. We spend so much time working with the plants that it is easy to neglect your own yard.  It is like the carpenter whose own house is falling apart.

4.What book are you reading right now? / What is your favorite book?

I am currently re-reading Bringing Nature Home, by Doug Tallemy.  It is about why biodiversity and native plants matter.  I try to re-read it or parts of it occasionally because it relates so much to my business, and also to the world we live in.  I think it is a must read for all citizens of this planet.

5. If you have 24-hours off, and your family was out of town, what would you do?

I think I would tidy up the house knowing it would stay clean for 24 hours.  Then I would be sitting on my porch enjoying all the wildlife while a reading a book, sipping some adult beverage.

6. What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?

Eye contact and a smile.  It really does make a difference.  Looking people in the eye and having a friendly face elicits a certain amount of trust.  Sometimes it can also pull a story from a person.  It really helps us connect with customers.  I would say most customers are now considered friends, we have so many people who will stop by just to chat or spend time with the plants and aren’t even looking to purchase.

7. What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?

I really wanted be a trash collector. As a kid I thought it would be so fun to hang off the back of that truck.  I still think it would be fun for a day, but it has lost a bit of the magic.

8.  Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?

My husband. No matter what crazy idea I come up with he always says ‘go for it’.  Every step of the way, he is there saying yes and providing muscle.  Secondly, my parents not only did they plant the nature loving seed long ago,  they also taught by example.  I watched them both work full time, raise children and they always gave back to the community.  The balance of work, family, faith and community is one of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned.

9. What is your favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County?

Loudoun is a very unique business climate.  The people in Economic development, our public servants, chamber of commerce, other business people and others,  make Loudoun a supportive and educational place to do business.   I think our business community is quite outstanding. Also, in Loudoun, our demographics make doing business fun.  We have the urban east side and the rural west, so it is challenging and rewarding to help people from such different landscapes find ways to bring nature to their home habitats.

10. If you’re not in the office where can we find you?

Outside or at the movies.

11. What is your favorite weekend activity in Loudoun County?

The Loudoun tours.  Spring/Fall farm tour or the Artist tours.  There is so much to see in our county.  When the farmers or artists open their venues it is like special sneek peek to see and learn about the rural businesses.  In fact last fall we took a break from being on the farm tour so that we could do the farm tour.  Loudoun farms and artists are incredible.  This year we will be once again a stop on the farm tour and look forward to welcoming people into our little slice of wildlife habitat in Loudoun.