Creating beauty from nature is what led our NJMOMpreneur of the week, Amber Kornet into signing up for floral school to ultimately turn an impossible dream into a reality: Designing special and memorable arrangements with her own business, Amber & Earth. Five years later, after knocking on doors and never losing hope, she’s created a thriving, award-winning business with an at-home studio where she gets to do her favorite thing—grow and play with flowers for events. In between weddings (she does 30 a year!), raising a 3 year-old and teaching workshops, Amber gives us advice how to find time for your home-based business when the laundry’s piling up, how networking can change everything and the NJ shore spots where she and her fam go to get close with nature.
featured image via Jen Chavez of The Helpful Rabbit
Creator of Amber & Earth & NJMOMpreneur Amber Kornett
NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Amber: Amber & Earth is a floral design company that specializes in weddings and events. I don’t typically offer singular “special occasion” arrangements, because I really want to focus on my bride and grooms and event clients. I offer one-on-one consultations at my home studio. I design floral pieces inspired by my love of nature and customized to each individual. I do not overbook myself, which means I never take more than one wedding or event in a day and never more than 2 in a weekend. I am a small studio business, so you get all my designs and all my attention.
Find the time and do it. When you’re a busy mom who is lucky if she has time to get a load of laundry done or have a minute to take a shower, starting a business can seem impossible. But it’s not.” – NJMOMpreneur Amber Kornett
NJMOM: What inspired you to get into your line of work?
Amber: My love of flowers goes back decades: I’ve always adored them and thought they were just magical. After my husband and I got married, and I was given the gift of time when my ultrasound tech job went from full time to part-time. I decided to take a leap of faith and enroll in floral design school in NYC. From there, I just started designing for anyone and everyone. My first big break was when my friend’s sister let me design the flowers for her wedding. Even though I had no photos to show her, she gave me her trust. After the wedding, I put the photos of my work on the internet and the rest is history.
NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
Amber: It’s so hard to pick one thing that I love most, so I’m going to share a few: I love working with couples, hearing about their wedding dreams and being a part of the team of people that brings their vision to life. I’ve also gotten into teaching design workshops—when a friend asked me to teach one at the Asbury Park Bazaar, I said yes without hesitation, and now I teach them all over Monmouth County. Another favorite part is being able to “play” with flowers. I can surround myself with these beautiful little forms of life and design them in a way that makes people happy and brings joy. My passion for flower arranging is accompanied by my love of gardening. I have a huge cut flower garden in my backyard in Howell, where I grow flowers that I use in my designs. Lastly, I am so grateful that I can do all this from my home. I run my business right from my home studio and it works—I can be home with my son and be almost a full-time mom while I follow this dream which helps support my family.
NJMOM: What is your background in your business expertise?
Amber: When I decided to take the leap of starting this journey, I enrolled myself in the NY School of Flower Design in Manhattan. It was an extensive course that taught me so many skills, like basic flower care and design tools and techniques. It was a lot of information and big investment, but it was worth every penny and second. It jump-started this whole thing and got me even more excited to follow this venture.
NJMOM: What are you most proud of in your career?
Amber: Amber & Earth started in 2013 and like any new business, it started slow. There are times that leave you feeling discouraged and unsure. I am proud to say that no matter what obstacle presented itself, I persisted and continued on. I took every opportunity that knocked on the door and slowly, my business grew through word of mouth, networking events and putting myself out there. I started with six weddings a year and now I do 30. I’m proud to say that Amber & Earth won “Best of The Knot” two years in a row and “Couples Choice” on Wedding Wire. We sell out workshops and I’m on a path to continue this growth, all the while raising a rambunctious 3-year-old boy.
NJMOM: What is something few people know about you?
Amber: Not too many people know that I sing. My husband is a musician and music is such a huge part of our lives. I even recorded an album years ago, and would love to sing at local bars and restaurants around the shore with my husband on guitar. Maybe one day!
NJMOM: What can we expect from you next year—personally and professionally?
Amber: Personally, I am hoping to get better at taking more time for myself and practicing better self-care. This is something I am not good at and I want to improve. Also, I am hoping my family will grow, but that’s out of my hands—I put my trust in mother nature and what will be, will be. Professionally, I am hoping to expand my business by booking more workshops and weddings where I’ll have the opportunity to continue designing and creating floral installations, including ones I’ve never created before. I also want to do more styled shoots with other local vendors. I have so many big ideas that I want to bring to life.
NJMOM: What charitable cause are you most passionate about?
Amber: I am very passionate about environmental causes and charities. The plastic pollution in our oceans is terrifying—we are losing species of animals—that we need to work harder to protect it. I’m also concerned about factory farming, which is not only harming the environment, but it’s harming us. I am very passionate about hunger—so much food goes to waste every single day around the world, while there are children going to bed hungry every night. This is an imbalance that needs to be rectified.
NJMOM: Who is your role model? Why?
Amber: Dr. Sylvia Earle and Jane Goodall are my environmental role models for sure! Dr. Sylvia Earle was one of the first female marine scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She has created this amazing conservation effort to save the world’s oceans from over-fishing and pollution by creating “Hope Spots.” They’re like protected national parks but in the ocean. Entrepreneur role models are all around me. I see other women that I’ve met through networking kicking ass in their field and they all inspire me. Every single one.
NJMOM: What is the best piece of advice your mom (or parent/role model) ever gave to you?
Amber: Never lose hope. Hope that your dreams will come true, hope that your business will succeed and thrive. It’s impossible to predict or determine the future, so why worry about it? What will be, will be. Just give it everything you’ve got and don’t half-ass it. If you’re going to do it, then do it 100%.
NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by? Why is this quote so important to you?
Amber: There are many but the one that sticks out the most to me that I think of repeatedly is…
Our prime purpose in this life to help others. And if you cannot help them, at least don’t hurt them.” – Dalai Lama
Positive human interaction plays such an important role in living a happy and fulfilled life. We were made to be around one another. The experiences we share and have with each other, I believe, determine our happiness and health. Kindness is key. Kindness and compassion. We need to help one another and lift each other up.
NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family?
Amber: My husband and I were both born and raised in Monmouth County, so I feel like there are so many things to do here. We love going to our favorite beach, Island Beach State Park, where we buy an annual season pass. We also take our 3-year-old to Jenkinson’s Boardwalk to visit the aquarium and kiddie rides. Wildwood is another favorite: My parents took my sisters and me there every year for a week in the summer when I was younger. I’m hoping to continue the tradition with my family as well. I also love to hike and kayak in the great parks in Monmouth County. Kayaking at the Manasquan Reservoir (which is only a mile from my house) is the best, and Hartshorn Woods Park in Highlands is a great hike with amazing views.
NJMOM: What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Amber: The love! I have never experienced such an enormous emotion that is so beautiful and overwhelming before. The love I have for my little man is unlike anything, and I thank my lucky stars every night for his beautiful life. I love seeing the world through his eyes. He is so much fun and is completely non-stop (what 3-year-old boy isn’t?) and it’s exhausting but so amazing.
NJMOM: What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey?
Amber: My two favorite restaurants are on the same street in Atlantic Highlands. When my husband and I lived in the Sea Bright we would eat at Copper Canyon for Mexican food (the best margarita you’ll ever have!) and Kunya Siam for awesome Thai food. I love taking River to Dorbrook Park in Colts Neck and the Manasquan Reservoir for fishing. When the weather is bad, we head to Play Cafe in Sea Girt and Magic Sky Play in Manalapan. I’m also a big fan of Babes in Business. I have been a part of this amazing women’s networking group since they started, and the friends I’ve met and connections I’ve made through them are incredible. I met two friends there, Ashley and Diana, who just started a beautiful studio together in Point Pleasant called B&B Studios. Ashley sells her handmade jewelry and Diana sells her hand-poured candles. If you’re a local babe in business, you need to check this group out and come to their next meet up ASAP.
NJMOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
Amber: My family and I live in Howell. We love visiting the beaches of Asbury Park, Island Beach State Park and Wildwood Crest in the summer, and in winter, going up to Mountain Creek in Vernon.
NJMOM: What advice might you have for a fellow NJMOMpreneur who is just starting out?
Amber: Find the time and do it. When you’re a busy mom, if you barely have time to get a load of laundry done or have a minute to take a shower, starting a business can seem impossible. But it’s not. Come up with a schedule for yourself. Get a whiteboard and write down times during the day for yourself that you will dedicate to your business. Put that whiteboard in an area of the house where you will see it every day. And whether it’s 5:30AM before the kids get up or 11PM after they go to sleep, take that time to work on your ideas and goals. Just a little bit of time each day will help you get closer to where you want to be.