Chamber Insider Blog

Small Business Finalists Spotlight: Watermark Woods

Julie Borneman, owner, Watermark Woods
Register Here for the Loudoun Small Business Awards, November 2, 2017

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

We have always known we wanted some sort of a small business as well as good stewards of the land. As we volunteered with Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and the Audubon at Home programs it became clear to us 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.

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 strong business based on sound business principals.  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 sends a 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 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 reading Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai.  It is the Loudoun ‘1 Book, 1 Community’ book for 2017. November 8th the Author will be in Loudoun to discuss her book.

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

Sleep in, then work in the yard and garden. Then go to bed early.

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?

Embarrassing, but I really wanted to drive the trash 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 planted the nature loving seeds long ago.

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

Loudoun is a very unique business climate.  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 there is so much to see and learn.  In fact this fall we are taking a break from being on the farm tour so that we can do the farm tour.

 Visit their website! Watermark

 Register Here for the Loudoun Small Business Awards, November 2, 2017