Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Guingona.
Hi Sarah, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
“Belief in your creative capacity lies at the heart of innovation.” –David Kelley, Founder of IDEO and the Stanford D.School
My childhood was wrought with trauma. Homelessness, abuse, neglect, abandonment, I went through all of it and by the time I reached high school, I was a complete mess. I found refuge in art and writing but usually kept my work private. My dream was to become a writer or an artist but I lacked the artistic confidence to pursue those goals. Children of childhood trauma often report low self-esteem and that was certainly true for me. My earliest experiences negatively impacted my self-worth, as a result I felt that my work was undeserving of attention.
The urge to create never left me. I continued to paint, write, and dabble in different mediums but I still thought my creations were never good enough. In 2010, I met my husband and we started our family. I began to work very hard to heal the wounds in my mind and heart. I knew that, more than anything else, I never wanted my children to suffer because of what I had gone through. I was determined that the ghosts of my past would stay in the past. I did yoga, went to therapy, read personal development books but the process would take years and years, healing has no endpoint.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, I was let go from my marketing director position working for a local plastic surgeon. I qualified for unemployment and decided to take some of that money and create a business in a medium I had become passionate about floral preservation. After preserving a few bouquets for my friends, I fell in love with the process and the idea of creating little time capsules for joyous life moments. Starting a business in floral preservation was difficult but not because I didn’t know the mechanics of starting a business or how to market that business, but because I lacked confidence in myself. My self-doubt was crippling and I had no idea how to overcome it.
Entrepreneurship requires resilience, confidence, and thick skin, all of which I lacked in the beginning. As I navigated my healing process, I began to see value in my talent and I began to truly believe in myself. You know that saying “perfection is the enemy of progress”? My confidence came from letting go of perfection, from gaining momentum, honoring and being grateful for everything I had and everything I was in that moment. Once I landed my first commission, and I had that “Oh my god” moment that comes when someone else loves your work, that was and is truly one of the best feelings.
I still suffer from CPTSD and have implemented tools and cognitive behavior techniques that help me in my life, art, and business.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
In the beginning, I was working at night because during the day I was helping my kids with virtual school. So I was also sacrificing sleep and my mental health. On my grumpiest days, when I slept two hours or less, my husband would ask, “Are you sure this is what you want to do?” I would consider the question seriously and reply “Yes!” I decided to believe in myself and my business. Intuitively, I knew this is what I meant to do and I have received so much confirmation since then. Believing in myself and my business was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Another challenge has been letting go of numbers. In business, you have to focus on the bottom line and make sure that your expenditures are outweighed by profits. This is tricky when your work is your passion because if you get too hung up on the numbers then it starts to create stress around something you love. The trick is balance, pay attention to your accounting to be smart but not to be greedy. Pay attention to your marketing to make sure you’re reaching people and branding appropriately, but not to get hung up on vanity metrics. Have a monetary goal in mind but be realistic, you might become a millionaire but is that really your sole why? If so, maybe revisit your priorities in life. Life is about more than money and your business should be too.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Lily and Loam is my floral preservation business. I specialize in creating keepsakes with flowers from special life events in the form of decorative, wearable, or functional art. The lily represents growth, purity, freedom, progress, and development which are the core values of my business. My intention for creation is pure, meaning it isn’t just for money, the primary intention is to bring joy to people’s lives. By using my creative talents and expressing myself, I am raising my energetic vibration and thus lifting those around me. Loam is a type of soil that is good for growing which is really where my business started, from my own personal growth. I believe my success is due to this core belief that growth comes from the purity of intention. Creativity thrives without pressure so adapting this belief has really allowed my creative juices to flow because I am working from an authentic, truthful place.
My art is my healing, they are inextricably intertwined. The journey for each of these creations is so personal for my clients and for myself. I love getting to know each person and their story. The connection and community that has been created is as important as the art itself.
Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
Perhaps it is a cliche, but deciding to believe in myself is the most important and risky decision I have made in my entrepreneurial journey. My natural talents and creative abilities were attributes that I used to take for granted. I downplayed them thinking that everyone could do what I did because it came easy to me. Believing in yourself is a decision we all must make before investing in our dreams. It’s a conscious decision to move from “I want” to “I am” especially as a creative. “Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it,” Sylvia Plath wrote in her journal while at Smith College. “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
- Investment starts at $300
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.lilyandloam.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lilyandloam/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lilyandloam
Katie Wood Photo Company – https://www.instagram.com/katiewoodphotoco/ Florists who’s work I preserved – Arrangements by Rachel – https://www.instagram.com/arrangementsbyrachel/ Bantam and Bloom – https://www.instagram.com/bantamandbloom/ Rose Bay Floral Co. – https://www.instagram.com/rosebayfloralco/ Earth Child Florals – https://www.instagram.com/earthchildflorals/ Sydney Beasley Florals – https://www.instagram.com/sydneybeasleyfloral/