When the chips were down, artist and entrepreneur Samantha Leung chose to ante up! As the designer and maker behind Hemleva, this savvy and resilient entrepreneur tapped into the plant-lover in all of us with her beautiful designs, witty style, and inspiring business story.
Enamel pins have been trending for some time now, and whether you sport one to support a cause, make a statement, or just solicit some laughs, it’s easy to see why these simple accessories have caught on. Hemleva’s monstera leaf pins are among those enamel designs that have really taken off. Dotting the shelves of trend-setting Seattle shops like Moorea Seal – along with dozens of other boutiques across the country.
Plants have always played a part in Samantha’s life. From the time she was a young girl, her mother would take her to their local botanical gardens where she would walk through the rows and rows of lush greenery and feel inspired by the fresh life surrounding her. She continues to frequent her local plant nursery when in need of inspiration or new energy. Plants are simply integral to her work, her creativity, and her home.
The Hemleva business started shortly after she and her husband were married. The couple got in a terrible car accident and Samantha was unable to walk for six months. During this challenging time, Samantha – homebound in her Seattle apartment – took up the craft of Himmeli, which is a traditional, handmade Finnish ornament. It’s delicate, ornate, and a perfect modern frame to display air plants in the home. The process helped her overcome the difficulty of her predicament and presented a possible business opportunity. She invested $100 in this new, handmade business of hers, and the rest is pretty much history!
She expanded the Hemleva business to include pins, gift items, and even air plants (you should check out her air plant dating profiles if you’re looking for your match!)
“There’s a certain sense of satisfaction in knowing that, something that you created, with your own two hands, would not exist in the world if you weren’t there.” – Samantha
Given that her business started in the home, Samantha intends to keep it that way. As far as at-home dream office spaces go, the Hemleva-hub pretty much takes the cake. Matching her product designs, the space has a wonderfully cool, mellow vibe, yet sophisticated and streamlined at the same time. She maintained her signature palette of pale creams, cool greys, the softest hints of blush pinks, gold from the Himmeli, and of course, natural greens.
Given the layout of the narrow space, Samantha had to be clever about how she arranged the furniture to keep things from feeling cramped or cluttered. Her double-wide desk is placed against the window and the natural light makes for an ideal location for doing her sometimes very precise work.
“I enjoy the fact that my office feels almost like a second living room,” Samantha says with a smile. We have to agree.
Samantha knew she needed a seating area where she could retreat from her computer and relax or refocus. Our Joybird Braxton Sofa in Premier Fog provides the perfect seating arrangement for an afternoon brainstorm. This is augmented by a classic Soto Concave Chair and Tolson Side Table, bringing together a chic mid-century modern aesthetic that perfectly aligns with Samantha’s own Finnish-inspired designs. It’s minimal, but packed with style!
“I’ve always been drawn to the very clean, minimalist aesthetic of Scandinavian style.” – Samantha
The Butler Tall Console simultaneously serves as a plant stand and stylish place to stash supplies, while its height adds dimension to the room. And balancing out the furniture configuration, the Powell Chair, tucked neatly against the console, creates an additional nook for kicking back.
When Samantha first made her pins, she only had 50 produced because, essentially, she was making something for her self – something she just wanted to wear – and she was unsure anyone else would even care. What started as one pin has grown into 22 original designs and more sales than she could have ever anticipated. Clearly, this plant-focused business has some real roots, and we cannot wait to see it continue to grow!