Kirstin Larkin is joining us today on the blog to share more about her GORGEOUS shop. She and I first connected through the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network and this girl is the real deal. Her light, authenticity and spirit have inspired me since the first post of hers I read. And I’ve been looking forward to this feature of her story and beautiful handmade decor (& more) with you all!
But enough of my chatter. Let’s meet our guest!
Kirstin’s favorite motto:
I strongly live by the phrase: “Live life to fullest because it only happens once”. After all I have experienced in my short life I have realized how quickly our lives can be taken from us. Tomorrow is not guaranteed so I would hate to miss out on creating one or ten thousand rad memories.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself, where you grew up and your family?
I grew up in south Texas in a beach town called Corpus Christi. The sun shined brightly in this wonderful town and there was always some type of body to water to swim in. I fell in love with the water at the young age of nine months old when my parents put me in baby swim classes.
When I was not at the beach with friends I was usually with my grandparents. I was very lucky to grow up with both my grandparents and great grandparents. I believe being around them every weekend helped mold me into a kind, caring person. We were a strong family unit and still are to this day.
Even though my parents divorced when I was in elementary school they remained very close. I hated that I could never get away with anything because they would always check with the other parent to see if it was ok if I did something. Looking back now I feel grateful to have parents that stayed friends despite their differences and always still excepted each other as family.
When were you first diagnosed with your chronic illness? What effects has your illness had on your life?
My whole life change one May morning in 2010. I woke up and immediately felt something was wrong with my body. Minutes later I fainted and the rest is history. I went from being completely independent and living the normal 21 year-old life to then becoming bed ridden depending on my mom for total care.
We searched and searched for a diagnosis, but no doctor knew what was wrong with me except one nice man at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. He immediately diagnosed me with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and then a few months later I received the diagnosis of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders to hear it was not all in my head, but I still could not help but mourn the person who I envisioned I was going to be. I am thankful my symptoms have become more stable, but I still find myself getting frustrated that my body functions differently, causing me to have many limitations.
How did you come up with the name for your shop?
The name ‘Nature Bound’ was created during a very low point in my life. At the time I was home bound for several months due to my chronic illnesses. The only outings I could have were ten minute visits to my backyard. I would sit under the warm sun and meditate to the birds chirping, and wind blowing. In these quiet moments outside, I realized how nature was helping me in my process of healing. Since I had such a strong shift of acceptance and grounding during this time of my I life, I decided that those two words had to be the name of my small business.
What inspired you to open your shop?
Back in 2012, I decided to open an online shop after receiving such positive feedback from small feathered headbands and necklaces I was making from found feathers in my backyard. It first started out as a hobby to help stimulate my brain since I was house bound, and my friends, family and strangers loved them!
Hearing everyone’s positive feedback help relight my fire inside that had extinguished because of my new life with medical problems. I was sparked with passion, inspiration, and desires once again which was such an exciting feeling! People and the earth both helped give a piece of me back so I was inspired to make art that would push others to look at nature differently.
How do you manage running a shop while fighting illness? Do you have others who help you?
Running Nature Bound while fighting several chronic illnesses can be very difficult! This is a one woman show and sometimes it can be very hard to do everything by myself. At times managing all the tasks and never ending to do list is tough so I always give myself at least two week window to complete any project just in case my body decides to be naughty. My health is always my first priority so if it not doing well then I will close the shop until I am well enough to work again.
What advice or encouragement would you give to someone who is thinking about opening their first shop?
I would anyone who is thinking about opening their own small business is to just take the plunge and just go for it! We are the kings and queens of self-destruction, and can come up with a million excuses why our shop is not ready for the public. The reality is, your shop will never be perfect. You will constantly be learning something new like how to take better product photographs, or a better way to advertise your store or describe your item. So your shop will always be changing in relationship to your growth.
Anything else you want to add or share about you or your shop(s)?
One of my many goals with Nature Bound is to reuse as many supplies as possible from the natural elements I source to my packaging materials to show that there is still much life left in items we are taught to think of as trash. Instead of discarding a bird feather or letting wood rot, I reshape & mold it into something new. It is my goal to inspire you to take in all of the elements that surround you everyday and tred lightly in the process. Hopefully my pieces will encourage you to be at peace, and appreciate all the small beauties that this world offers us while adding warmth and love to your home.
Special Discount for Living Grace readers!
Kirstin has generously offered a 15% off coupon for you to use in her shop! Use code KAMI15 from now until December 15, 2016. Christmas gifts, anyone?!
What’s your favorite item from Kirstin’s shop? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!