Small Biz Spotlight: Justin Sweet of The Wooden Fern
By: Courtney Sanders, Summer Intern
“It is better to jump and not wait, if it fails, you can always fall back on something else,” said Justin Sweet, the owner and founder of The Wooden Fern. He jumped head first into creating his company without regret. The Wooden Fern creates and sells ferns that are attached to different cuts of wood and can live on the wood instead of in the ground.
Justin grew up learning about plants from his mom and has been fascinated ever since. As the owner of his own landscaping company, this wasn’t his first time starting a business from the ground up. He started out hanging his wooden ferns only in his own home, but after guests always complimented the living art, he decided to share these pieces with the wold and so The Wooden Fern was created.
All of the wood used in his pieces are sourced locally in Charlotte. Once he picks out each piece, he then cuts the wood to add character and handpicks the fern he believes fits best with the piece of wood. After much trial and error Justin found that the best plant to use was epiphytes, which are the type of plants that attach themselves to the wood and grow without a pot. Justin is a seasoned business owner so he already understood the ups and downs of having his own company, but his biggest fear with starting The Wooden Fern was that people wouldn’t accept or like his products that he so passionately cared about. His creations are always evolving and the company evolves along with it. Justin has been selling products at Esther and Elsa markets for about a year now and we’ve loved seeing his company blossom.
We asked Justin for a word of advice for someone trying to start their own company and he responded: “if you have a passion for something, then pursue it”. While some markets are better than others, Justin simply loves sharing his art with the community. He thrives off of helping people create living walls for their home and is passionate about house plants. Be on the lookout for The Wooden Fern and Justin's ever expanding ways to display wooden ferns at some of the Esther and Elsa markets through the end of the year.