Name: Sharie Connelly
Farm: GardenArt Succulent Nursery
Location: 830 Jessica Place, Nipomo, CA (not open to the public)
What they grow: Beautiful garden succulents, including custom water features. These popular succulent creations are made using reclaimed material, from recycled planters to driftwood, beach shells, gourds, and metal scraps.
Where to buy: Farmers markets including Wednesday in Solvang, Friday in Montecito, and Saturday in downtown Santa Barbara. Additionally, these whimsical creations will soon be featured on Etsy for purchase.
In season now: A year-round favorite, the custom arrangements make a unique gift for the upcoming holiday season.
Their story: Coining the term “upchic,” the Connellys have mastered the art of creating beautiful arrangements from reclaimed pieces. Big on recycling and green living, the company uses only recycled or reclaimed material for their unique arrangements.
“We love making something beautiful out of reclaimed materials,” said Connelly. “My husband is amazing at working with metal scraps to create something truly unique for our customers.”
In a few short years, the Connellys have turned a small home garden into a thriving succulent business. Popular with interior designers, wineries, and art fairs, their success comes from many years of trial and error.
“I like watching the plants change from one month to the next,” said Connelley. “Over the years we have collected succulents and really learned what makes them thrive. It’s exciting to see what emerges.”
At the markets, many customers will donate containers and other recycled material for their creations. Getting back to the days of bartering, the company rarely has to purchase any outside materials. Another unique element is their beautiful gourd arrangements, made out of hollowed gourds (also donated by a loyal customer).
“It’s like a big family here at the markets,” said Connelly. “This is what the farmers market needed — a lot of people are buying these as gifts. They like the creativeness and care put into each hand-made item.”