Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Wilde.
Vanessa, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My mom and I shared a passion and vision for creating communities that celebrate equality, peace and friendship. She grew up as a strict Catholic and she raised me in a Hindu ashram. Our varied beliefs, upbringings and subsequent dismal of our religious upbringings, led us both to question how we can create a more unified and peaceful world, inclusive of all beliefs.
One year before my mother passed away from colon cancer, she created the very first Peace Tree Ornaments. They were originally crafted from round wooden discs with colorful stickers of the most influential religions. During the holidays, she created a traveling Christmas tree and took it to various storefronts around San Diego. During the final holiday week, her traveling tree filled with Peace Tree Ornaments stood tall in the main entryway of the University of San Diego’s Hall of Peace and Justice.
My mother was thrilled that so many friends and passerby took notice and fell in love with her interfaith ornaments.
A few years after her passing, I began to think it was time to resurrect her ornaments. Our political climate has become very divisive and I felt like it was time to share a message of peace and friendship once again. I took her little wooden discs to a local laser shop owned by a guy named Dave. He loved the idea and helped me recreate my mother’s original designs into ornaments that have a wide appeal and several materials and color options.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Peace Ornaments has certainly had its ups and downs. When my mom created the first run, she sold 12 sets. 6 years later, when I decided to dust them off and test the market, I sold over 150 sets in the 5 weeks before Christmas. This is a business has a very personal history with the potential for positive global impact.
In 2017, I struggled with the idea of growing it beyond our personal story. I didn’t want to lose the connection with my mother and so I’ve tip-toed around growth for a while. I also struggled with finding the right “target” market for my product. Based on my research while selling at Farmers Markets and two years of sales, it’s a challenge to pin-down who to narrow my marketing efforts to.
From a manufacturing perspective, I’ve been so fortunate to have found a laser shop who gets my vision and not only supports the vision, is on point with suggestions from new designs to materials.
For entrepreneurs focused on products, sourcing materials and manufacturing can be challenging. For me, it’s been very easy and I’m very grateful
Please tell us about PeaceOrnaments.com.
Peace Ornaments are interfaith ornaments that celebrate equality, peace and friendship. We sell individual ornaments or in a set of 13 which includes the major world religions, plus a few symbols that celebrate inclusive, peace and love.
Our ornaments are laser cut from wood, solid acrylic and mirrored acrylic. I had no idea what I was doing when I first started and so I relied on my laser guy to make a few suggestions. It was the best decision.
I’m most proud of actually taking the steps to bring Peace Ornaments to life and to see how they are received in the market. I am proud of the Etys reviews, in addition, the hundreds of local friends and customers who send me pictures of their ornaments hanging from lights, curtain rods, chandeliers, car windows, travel journals, cat and dog collar accessories and so many more practical and hilarious uses.
What sets Peace Ornaments apart is a)no one else is doing what we’re doing, like we’re doing it b) our customer service. No matter how busy we are, every customer receives a hand-written thank you note and if any ornament is damaged in shipping, we’ll try to ship out the day we receive an email notifying us there was an issue. We want our customers to feel good about their purchase experience.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have resurrected Peace Ornaments 3 years earlier.
- $6.50 for individual Ornament
- $54 for Set of 13 Ornaments
- Website: www.etsy.com/shop/peaceornaments
- Phone: 8583820995
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/peaceornaments
- Other: www.peaceornaments.com