MLTWY: Sweet Root Village

Mornings Like These With You
Feature No. 03
Sweet Root Village
Alexandria, VA

This morning I had the privilege of joining the talented ladies of Sweet Root Village in their studio in Alexandria, Virginia. Not only am I taken by Lauren and Rachel as individuals, but their studio space sent me into a permanent state of awe. The thrifted and carefully chosen dishes, lush and fragrant buckets of peonies, roses, and eucalyptus, in accompany with other charming interior touches gave me tons and tons of inspiration. When thinking up inspiring local creatives to get to know and introduce to you, Sweet Root Village was one of the first names that came to mind. I reached out to the girls and asked if I could come and observe a morning of theirs and they were happy to share their space for the morning.  

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MLT: Sweet Root Village! Tell me a little bit about yourselves!

Rachel: Well, living a crazy, hectic, beautiful life. Working with my best friend. I have a husband and a baby and we live not far from here. Lots of family.  My "fam-fam" (laughs)… Yeah! Life is crazy! I'm trying to keep up, get with the flow, trying to take it all in. 

Lauren:  I need more coffee! (laughs) I'm newly married and super excited about it. I just moved and I'm now living in Eastern Market in DC. It's a new adventure. This whole year has been a year of new adventures. I left my job back in March so I've been full-time at Sweet Root almost all year. It's been quite… every adjective ever. Wonderful, crazy, stressful, exciting, draining, exhausting, thrilling, but incredibly rewarding. I don't think I could ever work for anyone else! Working for myself is the best thing. A perk of the job is… I got to have my best friend do my wedding! 

MLT: What were you two doing before starting a business?

Rachel: At the time I was planning my own wedding… Still in college, living with my parents, and at one point I worked for Total Wine. I quit that job while I was pregnant and here I am! 

Lauren: I had two jobs… marketing and at a flower shop. I had those two jobs while in college. While in school, we started Sweet Root Village. At the time, it was on the side. It wasn't what it is now! 

MLT: What was the breaking point before starting your own business? When did you know it was time?

Lauren: We kind of fell into it… It was a slow building. We thought it was a cool idea so we decided "Let's go for it!" We had our normal lives and we did this on the side. We did a handful of weddings before we officially started our business. It took us a solid year and a half before things got rolling. It was taken in stride until things got really busy this last year. About 8 months before I left my job, I started planning and getting things in place to leave and work Sweet Root full-time. It's not easy, though… sometimes we work like 70, 80, 90 hours a week!   

MLT: I imagine your mornings can be quite busy at the studio. What's the average morning like?

Rachel:  Usually? Cleaning. Coffee. E-mails. Flowers. Haha! 

Lauren: Always flowers. Whether it's getting flowers in, getting rid of old flowers, making arrangements. Also, lots of e-mails. Lots of coffee. Majority of this job is cleaning. (laughs) It's not always as glamorous as it looks.

MLT: Do you have many mornings throughout the week where you aren't working that you get to enjoy? If so, what do you find yourself doing?

Rachel: Usually not but we are rearranging our schedule so we have two stay-at-home days a week which is great because I have a baby and Lauren lives in DC. 

Lauren: We really rarely get days off… but most of the time, thats okay!

Rachel: For me when I have a day off, its never sleeping in… it's watching my daughter or spending time with my family. I'm also probably watching Nick Jr.

Lauren: It's safe to say when we do have time off, we are vegging out. Spending time relaxing. My husband and I love brunch so we do that a lot and also plan adventure weekends. No matter what we do, it always involves coffee. 

MLT: Any big things coming up for SRV? What's next?

Rachel: We are planning a few big things! Kinfolk workshops coming up that we are excited about. Also, we are planning a styled shoot with Events In The City in January and we'll also be working with Abby Jiu. We are in the beginning stages of putting all of that together. It's very exciting!

MLT: Any words of advice for people looking to start a business?

Lauren: I say just go for it! It's hard at the same time because a part of me wants to say to do it very wisely… except we didn't do that. We jumped in then picked up the pieces. A lot of people think they need to go big immediately. You don't. You have to put in a lot of work and start at the bottom and just work up. Be smart about it. Realize your business is you. It's not just some other thing… it effects you personally. It becomes a part of your life. Commit to it. Say, for the next year or the next two years, you're going to put everything you have into this then evaluate. If you haven't progressed in that time, it's time to start making some decisions. Don't start a business unless you absolutely love what you're doing. We got lucky and haven't regretted a thing. 

 (Lauren Anderson, left, and Rachel Bridgwood of Sweet Root Village)

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Sweet Root Village is a photography, flowers, and coordination business located in Old Town Alexandria in Northern Virginia. Sweet Root Village is Lauren Anderson and Rachel Bridgwood. Sweet Root Village has been featured by 100 Layer Cake, Style Me Pretty, Kinfolk Magazine, Anthropologie, and many others. They can be found on Facebook and Instagram by searching Sweet Root Village.