Today we’d like to introduce you to Leah Remacle.
Hi Leah, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I guess I could say it started with a concussion, covid, and my two sisters.
My sister Nikki had a debilitating concussion back in 2017 that left her confined to a dark room with her eyes closed for over a year. Her husband brought her flowers every week and that was the one moment of joy she would feel. It sparked something in her and she knew she was going to get better and that flowers would be something she wanted to work with. In 2019, her husband found a doctor who could help her in San Francisco. She slowly started to get better and she dove into flower farming by taking an online flower farming course through Floret Flower in Washington state. The timing of Covid couldn’t have been better. She finished the course and during the lockdown, myself and my sister Abby, who was in California at the time, stayed at Nikki’s house and hunkered down. Abby and I showed up to a huge pile of dirt in her front yard. For the next three weeks, we transformed her backyard into a cut flower garden on an eighth of an acre. During the time of building the garden, we lived in a dreamy state of hoping to someday have our own farm to grow flowers on. After the lockdown, Abby went back to California and I went back to Denver. I was still daydreaming of flowers. Growing and creating with them. When Nikki called to tell me she may have found a farm, I couldn’t believe it! Without a doubt, I knew this is what we were supposed to do. The farm resides on a historic farm in Colorado Springs that is now owned by Colorado Pikes Peak Community Foundation that keeps the farm protected from commercial development. We got the farm in January of 2021. The farm had been sitting vacant for five years due to a water contamination in 2015 which left the previous farmer having to shut down his organic produce and animal operations, so we came to the farm with weeds to our knees covering the whole area which is about ten acres.
Even though the water is contaminated and can’t be used for food, we knew it would still grow beautiful flowers. Our first moments of dreaming up the farm and making it anything we wanted, we knew we wanted to involve community, healing, and moments to pause in a place of beauty- flowers, earth, and the outdoors. Not only was Nikki healing from a concussion, Abby and I were dealing with some addictions that only got worse during 2020 covid. We both sobered up in 2020 and three sisters and a farm was just beginning of a beautiful wild ride. A year and a half into the start of our flower farm dreams, I can honestly say that EVERYTHING we dreamt of for this farm is coming to life. We are now growing flowers on an acre with plans to grow on two acres, we hosted our first music and flowers festival- a very 70’s vibe, we have a farm store that is stocked with things we make on the farm, garden goods, local honey from our farm, eclectic finds and more, we have You-Pick days where people can come and pick flowers and where we see so many smiles. We host workshops on how to make so many different things from the flowers we dry from the farm. We host weddings and events, photographers can bring clients to capture forever memories in the flowers, and we have a wonderful volunteer program where we see friendships being made and shelters bring people to enjoy the quiet beauty of the farm. The whole experience up until now has been nothing short of spectacular.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I think for anyone to embark on something so big and starting from the ground up, you have to have a frame of mind that nothing will go smoothly. We definitely clunked our way through our first year. We did almost everything two or three times, sometimes four, before we got it right…and we still do! I think that some people who start a business do it for the money….and you want that! But the first thing we think about with everything we do is for the people and what we are creating in the community. Everything we have done so far has been a LOT of work, but it’s never been hard.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’ve been a creative since a very young age and always knew that’s what I had to do. I have been a hairstylist for 22 years and I’ve done everything I wanted out of this career. I’ve worked New York Fashion Week, done editorial work, have been a mentor and taught education and have always loved working behind the chair which I still do one day a week in Denver.
What I’m most proud of now is that I’m able to do the two things I loved most about doing hair and that is education and teaching someone something new. I now host workshops at the farm teaching small groups how to make something unique and cultivating their creativity. I see creating as a sense of well-being and I find that people are so creative when given their own unique freedom to do so. Some people have this deep desire to create, but not everyone has the tools or space to do so. I provide everything for them and set the setting in a fun, inclusive, open environment where I walk them through how to make it and then open the floor for them to make it exactly how they want. It’s not a place where we follow rules. That’s how I like to learn and create so I know others are like that too. What I find is that people leave feeling a sense of creative accomplishment, wellness that feeds the soul, and definitely, some friendships made. It’s a wonderful feeling.
Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
Early on, before we were certain we had the farm, I really wanted to explore floral design and how that all works. There are so many Youtube videos out there, but I’m such a hands-on person so I reached out to a flower shop in Denver that I really admired, The Perfect Petal, and asked them if I could just come and shadow for a few days. They allowed me to do so and I learned so much in that time. I asked all the questions I had and they received everything so well. I worked right alongside them and I was even able to make a couple of arrangements for people! That was so much fun. My advice is to find people that inspire you and put yourself in their scope. For me, it was offering free help in exchange for knowledge.
For networking, I’m still not the best all the time and I know I have to get uncomfortable to do it. I’m kind of a breadcrumb networker. I put little things out there enough to where I think now is a good time to go in for it. Sometimes it works and other times, it just stays as breadcrumbs. I always follow my gut on something and it might take some time to make the connection I want, but it usually finds a way. When something is meant to happen for you, it will be effortless. If there is a lot of pushback, it might be a sign that it’s time to find another way.
- You-Pick flowers $25 all you can pick
- Workshops $65-$100
- Volunteering FREE!
- Website: gathermountainblooms.com, venetuccifarm.org
- Email Address: email@example.com
- Instagram: @gathermountainblooms
- Facebook: Gather Mountain Blooms Venetucci Farm
Photo credit: Liv Gurizz