Inspiring mom: Kim Sanders of Art with Nature Design

Categories   Moms + Motherhood

Today we’re kicking off a new column over here on Cakelet. Having a creative business and being a mom isn’t always easy, but it’s such an inspiration to so many women who dream of doing the same. We thought we’d take the opportunity to profile some of the really talented women and moms we know and let them share how they seem to do both with ease and grace. (Spoiler alert, it’s so not easy!)

We’re starting with Kim Sanders, a floral designer and the proprietress of Art with Nature Design. Esther Sun took some beautiful photos of her home studio and adorable kiddos recently and we thought you’d like to see. Kim is also a member of our guide for weddings and parties over on 100LC!

Business name: Art with Nature Design

Date/year started: 4 years as a solid business, before that I ‘played’ with flowers for many, many years.

I started Art with Nature as a way to stay connected to plants and flowers even though I no longer worked in the nursery industry after starting my family.  I grew up in the nursery world and then I married a nurseryman, so flowers and plants will always be important to me.

Where do you work?

We happily work from my home. Our garage is back behind the house and has been tailored into a nice workspace. There’s always room for improvements, and this is not a glamorous job, only the final result is!  I briefly rented a space to work and meet with clients, during a year that I felt that I needed to separate home from work. But it was the worst mistake I ever made. Rent is one thing, but then there’s all the bills that come with it! I got too big for my britches and thought I could handle it. Once my lease was up I quickly moved back home and I have been happy ever since.

What was the inspiration or impetus to start your business?

Oh boy, where do I start.  My heart will always be in the garden. Lots of my free time is in the garden. When I first started working for myself it was pure passion… and as the economy changed so did my business sense.  It quickly became a real job, and I needed to make money, plain and simple.  I’ve learned one important thing in this incredibly competitive industry….patience.  Not only with my family, my clients, my employees, but also those BIG things and dreams that you want to happen right away. They don’t happen right away, but in time they will, with patience.

How has it changed as your children have grown?

When I started my business my son Henry was 4 and my daughter Helen was 2.  It was hard at first….long days in the studio, gone on Saturdays and Sundays. Let’s just say my husband was not pleased.  He has since then sucked it up for the most part, but not all the way, yet.

One of the best parts of my work-at-home situation is that our elementary school is a 2 minute walk away. This makes it really convenient when someone forgets their lunch or homework. Or if I want to volunteer, I’m usually readily available and that makes me happy!


As my kids grow up (faster than lightning) it becomes increasingly easier to manage my time between my career and being a wife and mom. I think I’ve come pretty close to figuring it out, for myself. Here are a few things that make this whole thing work for me:

I work from home with lots of offsite storage (stuff and piles everywhere makes me crazy).  I am a very proud home owner and my clients love seeing me for who I really am.  I’m very open about being a mom and I find that people are very respectful.

I have a great staff and I’ve be so fortunate.  My assistant is the kindest, sweetest person; I couldn’t do this without her… she’s like family to us all.

My mother-in-law is amazing, she helps me so much and I’m so grateful for her flexibility. And she has rad style too.

Baby sitters, been lucky here too… college students are wonderful.

I couldn’t live without a housekeeper. Never, never. At least once a month.

I’ve started taking workshops with premier floral designers….it’s my ultimate indulgence.  I’ve only recently starting doing this and it is tremendously important to me as an artist and to connect with others in my field. In fact social networking has brought me closer to my fellow designers more in the last 6 months than in my entire career.

I’m not afraid to ask questions….I’m so done with trying to figure out things on my own!

Finally, I LOVE what I do, I LOVE flowers, I LOVE that each and every bride or event is different from the other, I LOVE to teach and inspire, I LOVE to share my experience and knowledge with anyone. Besides all that I LOVE my husband Brad more than anything in the universe, I LOVE and adore my children more than words can say.

Thanks so much for sharing Kim, and for the beautiful photos, Esther!

We’ll also be seeing Kim at The Cream Event next month. So excited to see what she dreams up. And super excited for the party! It’s such a good time, if any of you are interested. Tickets here.

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Social Love

kim sanders (@artwithnature) on Feb 21, 2013

Up close and personal with me and the kiddos on @100LayerCakelet today with @esthersunphoto:)

Laurie (Fleurie) on Feb 21, 2013

Great, inspiring story! Kim, your work just gets prettier all the time. So many of us home-studio florists have the same issues, thank you for sharing your story.

lisa jackson (@good_on_paper) on Feb 21, 2013

Love this new Inspiring Mom series via @100LayerCakelet Lots of pretty pics to drool over too /

Aly Morford on Feb 21, 2013

Kim, What an inspiring story, it is so nice to read something that you relate so closely with! It is a daily challenge to find balance in such a busy job, but you are an inspiration to all of us fellow florists and working mothers, you really have it down :) Thank you for sharing this with all of us! Your work and style is truly beautiful!!

Monique R Kennedy (@mrkologie) on Feb 22, 2013

Inspiring mom: Kim Sanders of Art with Nature Design #undefined via @100layercake

Kim Sanders on Feb 22, 2013

Thank you 100 Layer-Cakelet for the beautiful post and letting me share about my experiences.....I am constantly inspired by other mothers in similar rolls and all their tales and adventures!!! peace, love, flowers:) hugs, kim

Joel Maus on Feb 22, 2013

love this. I know Kim personally and she has a true, good heart and is open and honest about who she is and what she does. This article is great in showing that and I can say that she is as good a person as she sounds here. Kim is an inspiration to me and I'm not even a florist... but I am self employed and have kids:) ...and love plants. I especially liked the 'patience' part. In this day and age, and in this biz there is a pull to be the biggest, best, most well known in your field and when you get to impatient bad decisions may be made that hinder growth or destroy it altogether. With patience, working hard, treating people well, and staying happy and nice can build a solid foundation with unlimited possibilities. Great point Kim!! Great photos Esther!

ellie on Feb 25, 2013

what a lovely post, thanks cakelet!

Quinn on Feb 26, 2013

Kim! You are an inspiration. I am a small etsy business owner and mom to three kiddos. I grew up with parents who owned their own flower shop and I saw how much work went into it. This post spoke to me! Love the BALANCE really does take a village! xoxo

Karen on Mar 3, 2013

Really enjoyed reading this, and I can really relate! thanks for a great post. :)

Burleigh physio on Jun 21, 2013

Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be ok. I'm absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

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