Kathe Mickunas – Brunswick

Kathe Mickunas holding floral bouquetOvercoming Obstacles

In 2006, Kathe Mickunas first reached out to New Ventures Maine (NVME). She got help to grow her flower farm and family business. But in 2012, Kathe faced a leveling divorce: “We lost everything. Our home and business. Our financial security.”

Kathe met with New Ventures Maine during that devastating year to explore ways to make ends meet. “I wanted to show my daughter that we could overcome these obstacles. Slowly, we found our way back to the basics of life.”

Launching Career Transitions

In 2016, Kathe traveled solo to Italy for a soul-searching trip – a lifetime dream. Back home, seeking guidance and help, she turned again to NVME.

Kathe came to her appointment for career counseling with a big drawing in a sketch pad. “New Ventures Maine looked at my flow chart of experience and seemed to understand me.” The meeting helped her see how skills could translate into other situations.

For the first time in years, Kathe worked on her resume and applied for several interesting jobs. This process helped her realize: “My passion and life’s work was right there in front of me. It had been waiting while I sorted things out.”

“My love for flowers had translated into the best work of my career. I’d tried to block it out of my mind since there was pain and fear around it following the divorce.” It was clear to Kathe that it was time to revisit flowers and begin exploring ideas for starting a new business.

Learning and Rebuilding

Kathe met with NVME Microenterprise Specialist, Jenn Dobransky. Jenn explained the importance of social media and staying connected with customers. Kathe remembers, “I wondered how to make this leap since I did not even own a cell phone. I was months away from learning the difference between hashtags and hash browns!”

Technology used to feel very uncomfortable, but Kathe enjoyed learning something new. “It’s helped me connect with others in a way I could have never imagined.”

Blossoming with Success

Since opening in 2017, Kathe’s business, Ione Floral Design, has blossomed. “I have learned the importance of doing something that makes me reach and leave my comfort zone.”

Kathe’s Best Advice

“Take your time. Don’t rush the process. Spend time imagining. Then ask lots of questions of people doing the thing that you hope to do. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are amazing people out there waiting to help you figure it out. Start your journey with New Ventures Maine.”

Read more about Kathe’s business and her Marketing Mini-Grant from New Ventures Maine in this Coastal Journal article.

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