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We’re Growing: How Embracing Life and Mental Health Challenges can Positively Affect a Business with Callie, my Business Coach, Ep 170



I have been hard at work over the past years to grow my business and bring you better content and experience. We want to thank you for being a part of our journey and sharing your love for plants with us. This 2023, we are so excited to announce that we are rebranding into Growing Joy With Maria! In this episode, I’m joined by my business coach and friend, Callie England, to share with you the behind-the-scenes of my business, life, mental health challenges, the lessons I have learned, and why I’m rebranding.

In this episode, we learn:

  • [01:46] We are growing: Bloom & Grow is rebranding!
  • [03:02] Here's what's upcoming!
  • [04:13] Exploring wellness through the lens of plants
  • [05:32] Growing Joy with Maria: Keep Blooming and Growing Joy!
  • [06:48] Meet Maria’s business coach and friend, Callie England
  • [09:44] Maria and Callie's friendship history
  • [11:03] How Callie went from WallyGrow to coaching creative entrepreneurs
  • [11:47] Callie’s battle with cancer
  • [13:25] Maria and Callie’s first phone call – and the beginning of everything
  • [14:26] What makes entrepreneurship lonely?
  • [15:38] Women empowerment in business
  • [18:21] Bloom & Grow’s evolution from a passion project to a full-time career
  • [20:49] Securing sponsorships for your business
  • [22:19] Getting recognized in a plant shop!
  • [23:57] Getting through the pandemic as an entrepreneur
  • [26:22] Maria's concern about monetizing Bloom & Grow
  • [28:14] What Maria learned from working with ad agencies
  • [30:27] Keeping business and brand reputation in balance
  • [34:17] Maria's mental health journey through Bloom & Grow
  • [38:37] Healing your mind through plant care
  • [45:10] Authenticity and toxic positivity
  • [47:13] What can we expect from Growing Joy in 2023?
  • [52:10] Callie's creative process behind Growing Joy's rebranding
  • [54:12] The drawback of doing many things all at once
  • [54:42] Knowing when to say “No”
  • [57:18] How to get in touch with Callie!
  • [1:00:20] Sneak peek of the next Growing Joy With Maria’s episodes!

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Growing Joy: The Plant Lover's Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants) by Maria Failla, Illustrated by Samantha Leung

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Who is Callie England?

Callie England is a brand and social performance consultant for entrepreneurs and businesses, including beloved Bloom & Grow Sponsor, Wallygrow. Callie was one of the first people to believe in Bloom & Grow’s potential.

Throughout the years, Callie and I have ebbed and flowed in and out of each other's lives, and this year, Callie became my business coach. Callie is a true plant lady at heart in addition to being a genius brand expert.


Bloom & Grow: From a Passion Project to a Full-time Career

For OG listeners, you probably know that I was a full-time professional musical theater performer before I started Bloom & Grow as a passion project. I grew up obsessed with Broadway and performing onstage. 

When my contract with the Broadway show ‘Cats’ ended, I knew it was going to take time to find another gig. That’s when I decided to do 10 episodes interviewing plant experts to share the joy of learning how to care for them.

Social media, especially Instagram, helped me find listeners who shared my passion for plants. I had no intention of monetizing Bloom & Grow despite the expenses it incurred. To me, this podcast was a love letter to plants and to people who share the same interests.

I got some sponsorships when the podcast started getting more expensive. That's also when Callie and Wallygrow became a sponsor! 

In 2020, the pandemic had a major impact on Broadway shows. The theaters closed, and performers couldn't attend rehearsals or performances. This is when I was able to begin evaluating what it would look like to be a full time plant lady.


My Mental Health Journey through Bloom & Grow

With all the long hours, high expectations, and self-imposed pressures, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy mental state while running a business. I learned how to keep positive in the midst of anxiety and depression.

Being unemployed forced me to move into my parents' house with my fiance Billy, and our wedding was postponed several times. With the global pandemic and job insecurity, moving to different places was an extreme transition that took its toll on my well-being.

During such difficult times, I noticed that my plants were also not doing well. By this point, I realized I had to stop pretending everything was ok and get help. My plants reflected how much work I needed to do on myself. The more work I put into the plants, the better they looked and the happier they were. Similar to my realization that if I wanted to be happy, I needed to take care of myself.


What's Next for Growing Joy With Maria?

Rebranding is a difficult process, but it is absolutely worth it in the end. We’ll take everything Bloom & Grow, helping people learn how to care for plants successfully, and add more self-care and wellness to our brand. I’ll still be bringing you all of the plant care education—with houseplants and gardening—but I’ll also expand into holistic living!

So, in addition to the plant care education you know and love, we're doubling our podcast content from two to four episodes every month, and I’ll be delving into wellness through the lens of plants: exploring nature therapy, why plants make people happy, horticultural therapy, and more. 

Five years after the creation of Bloom & Grow, I’m taking the next step to accommodate this expanding curiosity within myself and society. When I started the show, it was truly to have the listeners learn alongside me. Now with both episodes on plant care and wellness through the lens of plants, I’m excited to continue bringing you fascinating, educational interviews with experts in plant care and wellness in order for us all to grow more joy in our lives.


Mentioned in our conversation:

Bloom and Grow Radio's first 10 episodes:


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