MOORESVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – What started as a family project has turned into a nationally-recognized brand. 10 years since its start, owner Natasha McCrary reflects on all that has gone into 1818 Farms a success.
“Its a huge milestone for us,” she said. “When you look back, this was just going to be a family experience and we were going to do a little agritourism destination and over time now, we’re reaching so many people across the world with our products.”
The idea came from McCrary and her husband, Laurence wanting to teach their three kids and their friends the importance of sustainability and business.
The farm houses sheep, chickens, and a goat, just to name a few animals. McCrary also hosts tours, workshops, and produces handmade gifts; many, using some of the thousands of flowers grown on the farm.
She said now is a great time to work with flowers, as the consumer mindset is shifting in more recent years, to ‘grown, not flown.’
“It offers a great avenue for someone like me, who can — maybe I don’t want to drive a combine and have a field of cotton, but I can have 15,000 flowers out here growing and still take that beauty to customers out in the Tennessee Valley,” McCrary said.
Her business ventures also include home, bath and beauty products.
“Every product came out of a need for myself. Whether my cuticles are bad because I don’t like to wear garden gloves or my skin’s dry from being out in the elements. So we started doing that the first season after that when produce was finished because mainly I had to have a way to feed the animals and pay for the electricity,” she said.
Now, 1818 products can be found in about 500 stores across the country. Her ingenuity, even snagging her “Amazon’s Woman-Owned Small Business of the year.” She said she couldn’t do it without the help of her team.
“We worked so hard for years, and really it was as much for them as it was for me,” she said.
She did that, all while navigating the pandemic. They were forced to stop their events like garden club, Sheep Shearing Day and field trips, but it allowed McCrary a new avenue to teach. She launched an educational Youtube channel, that now garners thousands of views.
“That was a way for us to reach people and still achieve that mission of education and so the Youtube channel was a great way to do that.”
Now, she’s expanded.
“I’ve started with an expert on Bloom TV so I really want to try to pass my knowledge to people around the world, and continue with the Youtube channel to educate people on the beauty of flowers and products that are great for your skin.”
She’s not stopping there. She is in the midst of creating new products too as part of the farm’s zero-waste mission.
“This year in 2022 we’re launching the new part of our business called botanical eco-printing. We’re using a lot of the flowers that are grown here that were dying beautiful silk scarves. We’ve also started pressing our flowers. In past years we’ve sold dried flowers and we’ve used them in botanical wax sachets, but now we’re taking it a step further where we preserve the flowers by pressing them. Then they’re set into acrylic. Could be plates, could be a pendant, could be a coaster or a piece of art.”
At its core, education is one of the most important parts of 1818 Farms’ mission statement. While McCrary said it is being carried out in a completely different way than she originally planned, she wouldn’t change a thing about the past decade.
“No matter what plan you have, it may take another path and you may end up in a whole different direction. Because I just wanted to do something with our family and now, I just think of how — it has affected our family but also people across the United States,” she said.
To learn more about 1818 Farms, click here.