Kelly Waldrop (’04) can confirm: owning a business is not easy.
Waldrop, the co-owner of Freckled Flower Farm in Virginia, refers to owning a business as “a revolving door of challenges.” However, despite obstacles, Waldrop and her partner, Sara Mallory, have created a successful family-owned business.
Freckled Flower Farm grows, arranges, and delivers a wide array of flowers for businesses and events in Central Virginia. In addition, the farm also hosts classes and events for the public; a fulfillment of Kelly and Sara’s dream to start a farm on family land. While both grew up around the agricultural industry, their decision was still a leap of faith- they had to learn how to adjust to meet customer demands, arrange flowers, price their products, and market their business.
Waldrop attributes many of the skills that have made her a successful business owner as products of her time at Campbell University, where she studied Religion before deciding to study Elementary Education instead; a decision that was made after traveling to India to teach in orphanages with a student group from Campbell.
Waldrop taught in Taiwan for six years after graduating from college. However, the use of her teaching skills did not stop after she exited the classroom. She explains that the education Campbell provided is now put to use on the farm; she uses her background as an educator to effectively teach tour groups about soil cultivation, pollinators, and how flowers bloom. Waldrop explains that her time at Campbell taught her “the importance of being hands-on, creating visuals, and positively reinforcing learners.”
In addition to the technical skills afforded by her Campbell education, Waldrop also draws inspiration from several of her professors during her years on campus. She cites Dr. Roukema, Dr. Powell, and Dr. Durham as “such strong women” who encouraged her and her classmates to go above and beyond the minimum and really invest in their students and the call to teach. Additionally, Waldrop expresses gratitude for Dr. Mark Hammond, university provost, for his encouragement of her dream to study abroad. “I was so thankful he didn’t just brush me off or shut my request down” Waldrop says of Hammond. “He let me dream, and helped me achieve it.”
Now, 15 years after Waldrop’s graduation from Campbell, her alma mater is still contributing to her career; Freckled Flower Farm is a part of Orange Owned, an initiative created by the Office of Alumni Engagement that seeks to connect Campbell alumni with businesses owned by fellow Campbell graduates.
Waldrop speaks highly of the program, explaining that it is a useful opportunity to expand marketing and collaboration efforts alongside her fellow alumni. On a more personal level, Waldrop says that being a part of Orange Owned allows her to feel connected to the school that played a large part in shaping who she is today. “Orange Owned makes me feel a part of something special,” Waldrop states. “It reignites my pride in being a Campbell alumni.”
If you are a Campbell alumni with a self-owned business, join our Orange Owned initiative by registering your business at alumni.campbell.edu/orange-owned.