American Made Profile | May 6, 2015
Moss + Twig
For Lisa Yen it all started at the Renegade Craft Fair, a well-known exhibition featuring hand made goods held in large cities across the country. The one in New York had held Lisa’s attention for many years. “I kept putting it off, and about two years ago I decided I was just going to do it. I got together with two other friends, and we shared the cost.”
Lisa designed beautiful living terrariums in glass tubes mounted on Oregon Myrtlewood bases. Having a green thumb and being passionate about living things, creating terrariums just made sense to Lisa. The interest at the fair was great. “I got a lot of attention; even log artists took photos of my work”
Since then, Lisa has been making terrariums and so much more for her company, Moss + Twig. From air plants mounted on dried American-sourced wood bases to living moss necklaces and more, her products are clever, cute, and fun to own.
Lisa has a background in industrial design; and has always had a fascination with Chemistry. Finding terrarium materials includes searching for test tubes and jars at flea markets, thus merging two things she loves. Some things are just meant to be and for Lisa, Moss + Twig is one of those things.
Lisa handles all the orders, and the production, including cutting all the wood bases in her backyard. Prior work as a shop technician made it all easier for Lisa. However, when an exciting inquiry came in from her Etsy shop last year, Lisa enlisted friends, family - and her boyfriend – to help fulfill an extremely large order from retail giant Nordstrom’s. “They asked if I could do it. Whatever it took, I had to do it!” Making ten at once became making 1,000 at once. “It did great at Nordstrom’s.”
Challenges as an American-made Business
In the beginning, it was hard to get wood, even deciding what kind of wood. “Google is my guide for a lot of questions.” Thanks to the web, Lisa has found great resources for everything. She was able to purchase dead, dried pasticcio trees from an old farm, and has a close-to-home source for Elm from a grower upstate. “I like to think I am a problem solver.”
Advice for Entrepreneurs
“I come from an art background; many of my friends do to. They are afraid because they say they have no time, they have no money to start a business. Well, I had no time; I had no money. You might not know where it will start or where it will end, you just have to do it and see.”
“Get your feet wet, take any opportunity that comes to you. Take a chance because there is nothing worse than not knowing.”
Feelings on American-made
“I think it is a fantastic movement we are going through. There hasn’t been anything like this since the American Revolution. I love being a part of it.”
“The market is saturated with plastic and machine-made products.” Many of which aren’t even produced in the USA. “I designed my products with real materials — wood, glass, cork — to showcase these beautiful living plants.”
Credits // Author: Wendi Wendt - Photos Provided By: Moss + Twig