We’ve hinted and introduced to you the talented new women farmers that have join the CVO team this year. Now, we would like to introduce to you someone completely different: our new Sales & Marketing Specialist, Heather Herczak! Part of Heather’s new role is handling the CVO Facebook, Instagram, website and blog updates, graphic design needs, and events.
Heather was born, raised, and has established her adult life right here in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA. Growing up, Heather remembers gardening as only a small fraction of her childhood. She remembers helping her grandparents’ water their garden, her father growing tomatoes in a container garden because they were his favorite, and her mother teaching her how to pick off dried marigolds from the plant to replant the seeds again the next year. Her mother also always had indoor plants way before it seemed that houseplants were as popular as they are now on the internet.
She feels fortunate to have grown up in an age where technology wasn’t carried around in everyone’s pockets. “We had an acre of woods in our backyard with a little stream running through it. In the summer I would always play outside and explore the woods until it became too dark to see,” Heather remembers. In fact, her family didn’t even own a computer until she was in high school. “I blame the lack of technology and not having the internet in my life until late high school for the direction my career has taken because I rebelled against it. Once it entered my life I was hooked. Not that I am complaining,” remembers Heather.
On her summer vacations from college, Heather would grow an herb garden every year. She always enjoyed watching tiny seedlings grow into crazy bush-like plants every season and infusing the fresh herbs into her cooking.
Heather attended and graduated from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Art. The minor in art didn’t surprise anyone in her life because she has always been a creative person, but the degree in Communication raised some eyebrows because she was shy growing up.
Social media was starting to become more of an instant way to communicate in our lives. Heather was lucky enough to take one of the first-ever social media courses at SRU as part of her curriculum. “One of my art professors suggested I look into graphic design as a career and I shrugged it off. I’m not sure why though because my favorite thing to do in college was design flyers and print marketing for the various clubs I was involved in. Graphic Design tied my studies together, its visual communication,” Heather explains.
“After college, I worked at a few interesting places, including a warehouse for a fashion company, a print shop, and now I can add a local, organic, women-led farm to my experiences,” exclaims Heather.
She didn’t originally start on a graphic design career path. After a company downsize and lays offs at ModCloth, the Pittsburgh based fashion company where Heather worked after college, she took the opportunity to explore her options and focus on what truly made her happy. She realized she missed designing all of the various projects like she did at SRU.
To gain more experience in graphic design, Heather opened her own freelance design consultancy business and indulged in her love of traveling by attending a graphic design internship in Edinburgh, Scotland. Heather’s last position was as an in-house graphic designer at another small, Pittsburgh based company, Paws N Claws Eyewear – an eyewear brand for people who love animals and proceeds are donated to the ASPCA.
Heather’s Role at CVO
Heather brings with her a unique set of skills ranging from managing marketing campaigns and brand identity, retail and wholesale experience, graphic design and print production, and social media management. You will not only be able to chat with her on our social media if you reach out with questions, but you will also be able to meet her selling CVO products at outside events, such as artisan marketplaces, craft shows, farming events, and more. Once our Café reopens after the COVID-19 crisis, you may be also lucky enough to find Heather working there! She can’t wait to meet the Burgettstown locals and Café regulars. “If you ask CVO a question on social media and we don’t answer you right away, it’s because I don’t have a background in farming! I relayed your question to Jodi and will get back to you ASAP with the correct answer,” Heather states.
Although she is based behind a computer screen for most of the day and not working on the farm, Heather fits in well with the team due to her interests in clean living, plants, caring about the environment, and shopping at local, seasonal farmers markets. “I’m able to utilize all of my professional skills at CVO while also being able to learn and explore more about my personal interests. In the two months that I’ve been on the team, we’ve already implemented new plans. I love growing the brand and seeing it become more recognizable in our community,” says Heather.
The Message Heather Wants to Share with the CVO Community
During college, Heather started to question the ingredients that were in her food and daily products, and how the laws regarding certain ingredients varied in different countries. She began a clean lifestyle change by researching ingredients and slowly removed products that contained things she didn’t want to put on or in her body. Heather took the process slow by starting with beauty items first. A few years ago, she focused on changing her diet to clean eating for health reasons. “I always read the ingredients on labels, prefer to buy organic when I can, and will research any questionable ingredient,” explains Heather.
“CVO makes it easy to obtain a large variety of organic items ranging from food to beauty products from our local community without having to search the internet for clean brands and products elsewhere. If CVO can’t make something out of what we grow on the farm, we form partnerships with other small local farms and businesses for items like eggs, pickles, jams, cheese, and more. Our Farm Market & Café or Farm Share can be a one-stop-shop for many of your clean-living needs. Shopping at CVO has the added benefit of supporting a small, local, woman-owned business. I believe in voting with our dollar and the impact consumers can create by buying organic products or buying from local and small businesses. There has been no time that is more important than now, during the COVID-19 crisis, to purchase from businesses like ours, if you are able to,” states Heather.
In her free time, if you don’t find Heather at a yoga or kickboxing class, you will most likely find her buying more succulents to add to her houseplant collection, planning her next travel experience, wandering an art museum or gallery, or listening to a podcast or audiobook.