Recently, a good friend of mine has launched her business called "Flora by Fauna." Her name is Maria Kravets and she is someone I have looked up to ever since I was little. She's always been an inspiration, whether it be through her dedication to social issues, or her encouragement to define yourself in whatever way you want. She is the definition of a bad-ass. I interviewed her to learn a little bit more about her business.
1. Where did you come up with the name "Flora by Fauna?"
I was trying to think of something simple but catchy. Not too long so that people could remember it easily…I think using alliteration helps with that. "Flora" refers to any kind of flowers or foliage and "Fauna" refers to animals and wildlife. Since (technically) humans are animals, through my name I'm saying that I'm making some sort of goods with flora on them.
2. What is Flora by Fauna?
My pride and joy. She's come a long way and she's got a long way to go. Currently, it's a little online boutique (I only have seven different prints as of now but hoping to introduce more in the coming weeks!). I have somewhat of an inappropriate sense of humor and I LOVE plants and flowers so I figured, "Why not combine the two?" My favorite thing to do is use my creativity to make my everyday surroundings more enjoyable and fun to be in. And thus, Flora by Fauna was born.
3. What/who inspired you to start this business?
I think there were a few people who inspired me to do this. My parents, first and foremost. My mom is crazy intelligent and driven – both she and my dad worked extremely hard to create a good foundation for me and my sister. She and my dad built a life completely from the ground up in the US after they immigrated here from Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Besides my parents, my biggest source of inspiration is Beyoncé. I admire her drive and her work ethic so much. How she manages to do all she does is beyond me. She controls her life, she goes for what she wants, and doesn't take shit from anybody. Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed and unmotivated, I'll listen to her music or watch one of her videos and so pumped up and ready to go get what I want in life.
4. Are you running this business alone or do you have other help with it?
As of now, I'm running everything on my own – Marketing, Design, PR, Finances – are all me. I've had friends help me with things like testing the site or some emails but other than that it's a one-woman show.
5. Do you plan on keeping it print based or will there be other products you will make down the road?
I'm definitely hoping to introduce new products! My approach to anything is to lay a solid foundation and then make one thing the focus of my efforts, perfect it, and move on to the next thing. Right now, I want to design some more prints, improve my site, and better understand how to market my product to the correct demographic. Marketing is really going to take most of my time. After I get the hang of all of that, I'll look to add new merchandise.
6. How can others help spread the word about Flora by Fauna?
Social media! Since we're solely an online retailer (no brick-and-mortar) Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are my biggest marketing channels right now. If anyone wants to pin some of my prints to their board, wants to shout us out on their story on Instagram, or share our posts on FB, it would be a huge help. Also, follow @byfauna on Instagram and Facebook and Flora by Fauna on Pinterest.