Skip to content
Home » Interviews » Green business spotlight: Jeanne Carlier

Green business spotlight: Jeanne Carlier

Welcome to our interview series where we speak with purpose-driven business owners and ecopreneurs from around the globe. Every few weeks, we’ll dive into their journeys, learn about their wins and challenges, and the resources they couldn’t do without.

Prepare to be inspired and learn something new!

Today’s guest is Jeanne Carlier from Spark & Bloom.

Please tell us a little bit about who you are, your background, and what you did before starting your own business?

Hi, I’m Jeanne, the founder of Spark & Bloom Studio.

I grew up in a little city called Paris where art entered my life at an early age. Having attended weekly drawing classes from childhood through college, I knew I wanted to continue down this path in some capacity. When I discovered graphic design, I knew it was “the one.” 

After earning my B.A. in Creative Graphic Design at LISAA (L’Institut Supérieur des Arts Appliqués), I launched my career as a graphic designer for small family-run businesses and later worked with global corporations. 

Before starting my business, I worked in a few different companies in France and California, some family run and print focused – making illustrations to decorate products, editing photos and designing packaging. I also worked in UI and UX for a couple years. All of these experiences had a focus on branding, either through enriching the brand visual language with new illustrations, updating the company’s brand design, maintaining consistency through the package suite, and even helping the company’s clients with their own branding.

What inspired you to create a purpose driven company and how did you come up with the business idea?

I grew up in a family of environmental activists, learning about the French green party, sustainable organic farming and urban planning. Ecology and environmental questions have been part of my life since forever. ⁠

It’s only after a few years in an unfulfilling career as a designer at these different jobs that I understood that it was the missing piece.⁠

Working in the product industry, I saw first-hand the effects of packaging, printing requirements, and overseas outsourcing. So I moved into the digital world. But something still felt off. User experience was often designed to generate clicks and unhealthy screen habits.

Ultimately, I realized I wasn’t cut out for a system that chooses cheaper prices over worker’s rights, sales over sustainability, and bottom-lines over well-being. 

I created Spark & Bloom because I believe in building up the businesses that focus on doing good.

In your experience, what are the main challenges of starting and running a green business?

It was difficult at the beginning to find information about how to run a sustainable online business. Even just 2 and a half years ago, there wasn’t a lot of talk about the impact of our digital footprint. But by trusting my instinct that there was something there, I kept looking and finally journalists and activists started talking about it.

I think that’s one of the most difficult things as a green business: keeping up with new information and making sure that you have the right data. There’s a lot of greenwashing out there and even for people who are familiar with the problem, it’s easy to fall in the traps

What is your business mission & purpose and why?

Design has a direct impact: on individuals, on communities, and on the planet. Everything we create pulls energy from earth. Making mindful choices reduces our impact and leaves a positive legacy. With this in mind, I work with you to create an intentional visual identity that expands your world-changing purpose.

What makes your business unique?

I have a very collaborative and research-driven approach to design. Despite all the research I do, my clients will always know their business better than I ever will so they are active participants in the design process. I make sure that their brand foundations and strategy are reflected in their design so that their brand is meaningful and sustainable.

Is there anything that you do outside of your business that is driven by similar sustainability objectives? 

I do my best to have a mindful lifestyle outside my business with the resources that I currently have. These are just a few of the things I do:

* I freeze my veggies scraps to make broth. It’s great to cook beans or soups with.⁠

* For coffee and tea, I cut down my consumption because they are not grown and produced in Europe (except for herbal tea). I have a stainless steel dripper for coffee and a metal filter for the tea to cut down on paper and plastic.⁠

* I check second-hand websites first before I buy mostly everything from furniture, puzzles, books and, yes, even plants (when I know it’s something I wouldn’t have access to in a walk-in store or need something specific). ⁠

* I wait 24h in between thinking *this is the thing I need* and actually purchasing it. This way I can make sure I spend time reflecting on my intention, researching how it’s made and by whom, and where it comes from.⁠

* Every time I move to a new city, one of the first things I do is sign up at the local library to avoid buying more books (although, I do buy the book if I loved it so I can support the author).⁠

* Every time I move to a new city, I check the recycling regulations. They are different everywhere depending on what facilities they have. ⁠

* I recently researched and found a local flower shop that only offers locally sourced and in season flowers. They also offer options of flower bouquets that you can dry to keep longer. ⁠

That’s all the new things I’ve been recently working on in addition to just buying less, repairing, reducing and refusing.

What’s your day-to-day like?

It takes me a couple hours to get ready before work in the morning. I like to take the time to move my body and sit for mindfulness meditation sessions right when I get up. Moving changes every day from dancing, to walking, and doing pilates and PT exercises.

Mornings are the most productive for me so I set them up for client projects. I find that this is when my mind is the clearest and I can really get in a creative flow easily.

I usually take a long lunch where I’ll either run some errand or just go for a walk after eating. I might squeeze the occasional 20 minutes nap in there too.

I work mostly with clients on the Pacific coast in the US so the afternoon is generally full with communication and admin tasks. You’ll find me on check-in calls with clients, group calls with other businesses and engaging on social media then.

How do you grow and scale your green business, and what are the main growth constraints and opportunities?  

The growth constraint with brand design is that it’s limited to one time projects. So I offer retainer agreements where my past client can have me on call for a set amount of time per month. I help them with regular graphic design work.

I will be expanding my offering in the coming months to offer brand strategy which will be helpful for my clients to get into before diving into brand design to have a clearer vision for their business. I’ll be able to offer 1:1 session but also group sessions.

I’m also exploring teaching at the moment. The Branding Essentials is a one hour mini-workshop that I offer once a month. I really make branding tangible by explaining to green businesses a step-by-step process so they can work on their own brand.

In your opinion, what are the top skills necessary to be a successful eco-entrepreneur?

Being curious, humble and mindful. 

Nobody in the eco-friendly world does everything perfectly and in a regenerative way. There’s always new research coming out on ways to improve so making sure we keep learning and question the status quo is important.

I also think that being mindful of our mental health is essential. We all deal with some sort of climate anxiety so putting systems in place to protect ourselves is crucial to run our eco-business.

As a professional in branding, user experience and design, what are the most common mistakes you see green business make?

The biggest one that I see is using green and brown in their color palette… I have a whole blog article about the subject but essentially, to be remembered and liked, you need to stand out. If your client is an eco-conscious consumer, their feed, local grocery store, and everywhere they go, they’ll see brands using green and brown because that’s what most eco-friendly companies use. They won’t be able to notice you, recognize you and remember you as easily, it will require more of their attention – which we all know is something we all lack these days…

What have you learned about your customers and yourself since launch?

Running a sustainable business takes a lot of time and patience. We hear about a lot of overnight success stories online and it’s inspiring. But in reality, it’s pretty rare. And it’s ok for things to take time, everybody will grow at a different pace with different goals.

The beautiful thing about running our own business is that we can really design the business we want and redefine what success means to us.

What is the role of technology in your business? Are there any tools or technologies that you find helpful and/or looking to implement?

Spark & Bloom is an online business so I use technology every day, although a lot of my creative work happens while walking in nature or drawing with pen and paper.

I run my website on Squarespace because it was the easiest solution when I started out. But because I can’t use green hosting solutions with it, I’m planning on having a big update in the next year or so to transfer everything over to a different platform. My website’s digital footprint being where my biggest impact is with my business right now so I look forward to this change. You can check out these tools to check out your website’s impact: & Website Carbon.

For logistics, I use tools like Hellobonsai, Asana, Calendly and Google. I haven’t needed a proper CMR software yet, but that might come in the next year.

When it comes to design, I use the Adobe Suite and Procreate on Ipad. I use Sketch sparingly when I have a web design project but it’s rare these days.

Then, to talk a little bit about green graphic design, there is exciting research about new material to offer more environmentally friendly solutions for printed products. There’s research on algae ink, mushroom and kombucha packaging, pineapple leather and even tree free paper. I really look forward to all these new materials coming onto the market, they will make a big difference!

Any “lessons learned” or advice you can share with aspiring or current green business owners?

It’s ok to ask for help! People are generous, it creates strong bonds, and you’ll go farther.

What inspires you every day to wake up and keep going?

The passion my clients have for their own business. Being able to help them grow and live their dream life is inspiring.

Hi, I am Jeanne. I run Spark & Bloom, a mindful brand design and illustration studio.

I help ethical businesses and entrepreneurs make their positive impact seen. Thanks to a collaborative and research-driven approach, the design solutions I offer are meaningful and sustainable.

Quick links:

Be our next guest

Apply to interview with us using the form below. Being featured provides free website links, boosts brand visibility on social media, includes a personalized promotional media kit, attracts quality site visitors, enhances credibility, and offers a dedicated spotlight for showcasing products or services.

Further reading:

Latest tips and advice for green businesses

Our fresh list of 100+ green & sustainable business ideas

Check out our resources library.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *