Boss Like A Lady – Women Entrepreneur Series – Tina Libby, The Botanist

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I am creating a limited hand-lettered and illustrated series of some women making history.  These women own their own creative businesses and make them successful despite many obstacles, including their own occasional self-doubt.  I hope they inspire you to make a little history of your own!

Tina Libby,
The Botanist

 Tina Libby is the creator and owner of Dear Paperie of Philadelphia.   Tina says as long as she can remember, she has loved two things dearly: color and texture. She says, they are “forever my inspiration, and I chase them still, using paper and flowers.”  Hand dyed and custom made, her paper flowers last forever!



Why paper flowers?  I have always been an incredibly tactile person, in love with texture and color. Flowers are the perfect combination of the two, plus they add a structural element that excites me as an artist. The truth is that I have no sense of smell, so I started making paper flowers that were photorealistic, really focusing on the color and texture of each petal. Paper flowers and plants are ideal for the artists I collaborate with, like ceramicists, who use my work to stage or display theirs–because they require no maintenance, will last forever, and can be customized completely.



What is your advice for anyone wanting to start their own business? Dig your heels into the dirt–not everyone will support what you’re doing. They don’t matter. Stay working and allow your biz to have a life of its own–give yourself and your work the opportunity to grow. And ALWAYS chase your opportunities. 


What do you think your greatest mistake was or is? My greatest mistake was/is denying my gut instinct–it makes me dishonest with myself. It starts with the little things!


What’s the worst advice you ever received? “You need to get a ‘real’ job.”


And the best?  The best advice I ever received “never let them see you sweat.” and through her infamous mtv moment, Fiona Apple really rocked my teenage brains: she introduced me to Maya Angelou and her advice, “we, as human beings, at our best, can only create opportunities.” to which Fiona added, “go with yourself.” I have tried to honor both pieces of advice ever since.


What do you believe is your best source of inspiration? The best source of inspiration for me is collaboration with other creatives, botanical art books, and fresh florists like Kate Farley, Kelly Perry, Brittany Asch, and Madison Hartley.


What do you do when you get discouraged? I try to remember that the feeling always passes.


And when you doubt yourself?  I try to recognize it as self-sabotage, but it’s a constant struggle. we are our own worst critics.


Finish the sentence, being a woman and owning a business is … is doing everything a businessman does, but in a dress and with more grit, by order of magnitude.


Tell me everything!

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