Our Qs + As series features current, past and quite possibly, future clients. We’ll be digging a little deeper to learn about their passions, inspirations, and brunch orders.
4th-generation farm owner from Arkansas and the Farmer-in-Chief of Farm Star Living, Mary Blackmon left her internet media career in order to save her large family farm from being sold. She returned to her roots, and this city girl was soon a farmer. Her new love for agriculture inspired her to build Farm Star Living and the subsequent Farm Star Living app, which shines a spotlight on farms and farmers, provides a national directory of their locations with suggested fun activities, and includes with health tips, seasonal recipes and videos to celebrate farms, farm-fresh foods and healthy living.
Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t in your current role?
A: My former career and passion, before I took over the family farm, was to empower people to take better care of themselves. In 2002, I created Spa-Addicts, the first discount website for the spa industry, as spas were still seen as a luxury. If I had not become so passionate about my family farm, farming, and creating this world of farm-fresh foods and healthy living, I’d still be encouraging me-time and self-care through spas.
Q: What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
A: “Learn how to listen.”
Q: What is the best compliment you have received?
A: Whatever you touch turns to gold. I’m currently holding my breath & crossing my fingers!
Q: Where do you find your creative inspiration?
A: I am inspired by regular people – just our typical unsung heroes and everyday folks who are often overlooked or underserved. This rallies me to go beyond myself in order to make a difference to them and others.
Q: What is the last picture you took on your phone?
A: My lil fur baby, Lady Mae.
Q: What was the biggest roadblock you faced when starting your career?
A: Probably the start-up process itself and having to create something new versus repurposing something that already exists. You have to dig deep as you inevitably must put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears into your vision, which might take awhile for people to fully comprehend. Oh, yes, and money. There’s always that, too!
Q: If you were able to send a one-sentence note to your 13-year-old self, what would you say?
A: “It’s ok to be different.”
Q: What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Q: What’s the best thing about living in Atlanta? What’s the worst thing?
A: Best thing: I’m near my brother and his family and in a city where I feel is home. Worst thing: I miss being able to take a 4-wheel ride on my farm on the border of Arkansas and Louisiana, the view of the ocean that I had in LA, and the mixing and mingling with so many people and cultures when living in NYC.
Q: If you could adopt any brand slogan as your own, which would you choose?
A: “Just do it.”
Q: What is your personal indulgence?
A: Baked Chocolate Goods – cookies, cakes, brownies – you name it.
Q: How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
A: No two people are alike so I don’t really view it as competition. I view it as unique differences. Businesses in my field are often derived from people just expressing their own unique ideas, styles and passions. There’s plenty of room for everyone.
Q: Is there anything else you want us to know about you?
A: I am truly both a city lady and a country gal, wrapped up into one. I love glamour, but I love the country. I love people, but I love to be alone. I have a huge heart and am a softie, but I’m not afraid to be tough when I need to be.