In Conversation with Avery of Beanstalk & Company
Beautiful photos of plants almost always stop me in my tracks. So when I came across Beanstalk & Company on Instagram with its beautiful photos of air plants, I just had to send a DM asking, “Do you take your own photos? They look great!”
I got a message back saying, “I do!”
Once I got that response, I knew I wanted to talk with Avery, the owner, and hear more about her business and learn the secrets to her gorgeous product photos.
Hello!! I’m so excited to talk to you. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your business?
Avery here, owner of Beanstalk & Company! While this is my favorite side hustle, I am primarily a Brooklyn-based designer, photographer, occasional comedian, and dog enthusiast.
I’ve been creating handmade air plant vessels since early 2018, and these tiny homes contain greens that have been selected with oh so much love. Each air plant vessel is designed with tubing or wire helixes that come with an air plant inside, all hanging seamlessly with fishing line. Terrariums and hand-potted goods are a fan favorite, too!
What inspired you to open up your Etsy business?
I had always wanted to open an Etsy shop! I’ll admit I had several accounts as a kid trying to sell handmade buttons, collages, jewelry, and little things your mom encourages you to craft.
As a graphic designer, I spend most days looking at a screen. Trying to balance creative energies, I try to physically make or work on something each day. With a love of plants and making things with my hands, I found a way to marry the two. Sharing these little creations with people brings such joy to my life (and apartment) and I’ve kept the business running all this time.
I think opening an Etsy shop or personalized website helps you to solidify your status as a maker while reaching the larger plant-loving market. The question I get asked most at markets is, “Do you have an Etsy or whatever?” Yes, always yes!
How did you learn how to take photos for your business? Do you have any go-to resources when it comes to learning how to take photos?
As a one-woman show, you have to become the whole production team, finance queen, poor intern, and a marketing expert. With a background in theater marketing, photography, and design, what could go wrong? (Lots of things, of course!) Even so, I’ve finally figured out how I want my business to be perceived online and on social media.
All of this works through photography and how you develop your voice on social media. I have my own camera and set aside time each week to photograph new pieces for review. Through trial and error, I’ve found the right formula for lighting, detail, and presentation.
My go-to’s: photograph with indirect lighting from a window, take multiple photos to show off the entirety of the product’s scale and features, and always use the same wooden surface as it’s become part of my brand.
What’s 1 thing you wish you learned in the beginning about photographing your products?
Girl, don’t take ANY photos with your phone!
I know it’s tempting and Apple touts a mean camera but put that away…Invest in something a little nicer that you can manipulate in a program like Photoshop or Lightroom. It makes all the difference to get that depth of field and lighting adjustment control.
Don’t have a DSLR camera? Find some friends who would be willing to help take pictures of your pieces or teach a mini photograph lesson!
What’s your process for photographing your products? Do you have a setup or system in place?
You bet! Natural lighting from the window, a wooden IKEA bar cart, off-white wall, and the hexagonal flooring in my kitchen. These two textures work beautifully with plants because they’re opposites.
When photographing your work, think about what medium you’re showcasing. Metals work well with wood textures, just like greenery goes well with varying colors of wood or deep gray stone. It helps to have the juxtaposition there so your product pops.
In what ways has photography been important for your business?
Photography is important for people to understand what your product is. The photos I use on Etsy are also used on social media, and I pride myself in curating a crisp grid on Instagram for audiences.
What’s 1 piece of advice you’d share with someone who is learning how to photograph their products for their online business?
Play around! Give each product the time and attention you would give to a human subject you’ve scheduled a photoshoot with. Feel free to experiment until you find that sweet setup or boss lighting situation!
Do you have any brands, social media accounts or websites that inspire you in your business?
I actually pull inspiration from fellow makers and industries outside of the maker’s market. It’s helpful to be informed on what other brands are doing. It just might help you with your page!
What’s your favorite thing about having your business?
The people! When I go to a market and set up my table, I love meeting new folks and explaining what these weird air plants have to offer. There’s always someone tugging their boyfriend over to the table, a little kid carefully poking a cactus, or a little old lady looking for a gift for her “grandson who just loves plants.” Watching an enthusiastic customer engage with your product and appreciate what you made is priceless.