Entrepreneur Morgan Sharpe’s “budding” business aims to showcase the area’s natural beauty, and it also provides the Covenant College graduate with roots-literally-in a place she loves.
“Everybody has this appetite for beauty … We have this innate thing in us that we just desire and crave beauty,” said Sharpe, who runs Creekside Flower Farm in North Georgia. “I can use flowers to expand beauty in the world.”
After she graduated and many of her friends moved away, Sharpe-who was born in Virginia but spent her formative high school years in Nicaragua-wanted to stay in the area. She grew to love Chattanooga and wanted to get to know the land, she said.
So she participated in a work study program and lived at North Georgia’s High Point Farms, which is also a wedding venue. After a year in the program, she continued staying with the family there, who encouraged Sharpe’s interest in flowers.
“During that time, I was working downtown, but I had started dreaming of building a greenhouse,” Sharpe said.
The owners of High Point helped her build one and start growing seeds.
Sharpe also started working for a florist.
The psychology major didn’t have experience with horticulture, so she spent time learning how to grow and arrange flowers, she said.
She soon developed an idea for her own business-a flower farm-but she needed funding.
So she entered an aptly named Covenant College pitch competition: The Seed Project, through which she won $2,500.
She also took The Company Lab’s Co.Starters class and used her winnings to officially launch Creekside Flower Farm in November.
She has booked several weddings for which she provided flowers and hopes to book more in the fall.
The business also offers flower community-supported agriculture subscriptions so area residents can buy a share of the flower crop and get them delivered weekly.
Members have two share options-a bouquet or bucket-and pick them up at designated locations weekly.
Niedlov’s Breadworks is one of the pickup locations, and she’s also partnering with the Southside business to do pop-up sales, she said.
Eventually, she hopes to expand the CSA and do fewer weddings, but the weddings help support the business now, she said.
“I do hope to get to a point where I can have employees … [and I] dream of having big greenhouses and extending my growing season,” she said.
The experience has been a “steep learning curve,” and she sometimes wonders if she’s crazy, she said.
But she’s passionate about bringing local beauty to area residents.
“[Many flowers found here] are imported,” she said. “We are bringing in all this beauty, but [it’s] not from Chattanooga; they don’t tell the beauty of our place … That’s really powerful to me, sharing the beauty of Chattanooga. It’s an exhibition of Chattanooga’s beauty.”