(As told by Patti Hughes, Founder, CEO and Chief Creative Officer)
I grew up with a mother who had a passion for making things! My mom was rarely seen without sawdust in her hair, stain on her fingers, or a paintbrush behind her ear. It was only natural that her love to create eventually evolved into her own little gift business, which she ran in the basement of our home. Her business was a big part of our family's life. Looking back, I realize now that growing up around her passion and business is the deepest root of the Natural Life story.
Three decades later, in 1996, I discovered that same passion for making things when I began taking black and white photos of things I love like dogs on the beach, Adirondack chairs and words written in the sand. I built my own darkroom and created raw black and white photographs that captured the little things in life that made me happy. I quickly created a floor-to-ceiling wall of all my favorite shots... that motivated me to try to become a photographer! The idea of quitting my unfulfilling job to do something I was passionate about thrilled me. I named my new little company Natural Life Photography.
Before I could find my first customer to photograph, friends and family began asking to buy the photos off my wall! This inspired me to frame my favorite photos as tiny keepsakes and magnets and sign up for a local arts market. When the keepsakes sold out in an hour, I realized Natural Life could be a different kind of business! Motivated and excited about my new business idea, I found a handful of stores to carry my Natural Life keepsakes and watched from afar how people reacted to them and how quickly they sold.
I had found my passion and felt happier than I had ever been before. The gifts my mother quietly passed down to me not only gave me the courage and knowledge to start my own business, but the talent to create things people love! Over the years I have met talented artists and people that I invited to help grow Natural Life. I have fun with every aspect of the company… enjoying the business side as much as the creative side!
I still oversee every single detail of every product we make and am proud and lucky to say that everything about Natural Life is still my passion! My motivation to follow this passion and build the business comes from my three amazing daughters who inspire me every day, nostalgic memories of my happy childhood and global artisan markets we love to hunt for treasures in.
My biggest hope is that my daughters, along with girls and women all over the world, will discover their talents and passions so they can enjoy life doing what they love. When that magic happens, you can live happy, enjoy the little things and make the world a better place… living your “Natural Life”. Thanks for being a part of this journey with me and the Natural Life family!