Women-Owned Business Series: Rosemarie from Our Temenos

Welcome back to our Women-Owned Business Series! Today, we’re happy to feature Rosemarie from Our Temenos, a landscape design studio based in Brooklyn, NY! Read on as she discusses her connection to land and the power of acting with intention & authenticity.

First, tell us about your business and anything special we should know about it or you.

Our Temenos is a worker-owned, landscape design studio offering inimitable design, execution and maintenance services across a range of landscapes. We specialize in native, edible and educational gardens. Intention, functionality and reciprocity are central to our process. We are a low-to-no waste business, prioritizing ecological resilience, hyperlocal materials and upcycling. After studying ecology as a first generation college student, I worked in the non-profit sector where I become frustrated with the exploitation of employees performing manual labor. I founded my business to offer a living wage and to honor the earth through reciprocity

Why do you feel a connection to your work?

My work is a spiritual calling above all else. As a child, the land was there for me in my most painful moments and absorbed all that was given to her. I give back in thanks and hope to provide a livable world for my kids and yours. I am also a solution oriented individual who felt the need to improve the waste generating processes I experienced in the field on a day to day basis. This is still an area in which we are constantly learning and improving.

As a business owner, community is everything. In what ways do you serve your community and how has your community served you?

My community has been central to the growth of the business, providing us with free marketing through word of mouth referrals and exciting opportunities to collaborate. We have supported several other small businesses as they get a foothold in the community and even barter our services when possible.

I have spent many years organizing around climate justice and equitable access to public space. Most recently, I co-founded a Tenants’ Association in a 303 unit affordable housing complex. Showing up authentically and consistently in community is a part of my core values.

What advice would you give to young women who want to start a small business?

Talk to other local business owners and ask as many questions as they will answer. The internet is at your disposal but there is hyperlocal nuance that you will miss out on if you aren’t speaking to other business owners. They have made a lot of mistakes so you don’t have to. But you probably will make them anyway! Embrace your mistakes as learning opportunities and treat them as such. Lastly, don’t be afraid to invest in your learning. Take those workshops, buy the books, and become an expert.

What women inspire you and why?

I find endless inspiration in other women who have built businesses across the five boroughs, especially those who are mothers or who have very little generational capital to fall back on. I love scrappy, fiery, fiercely devoted women who pull an idea out of the void and birth it’s physical form. 

What do you think are the most significant challenges for women business owners or women in leadership positions?

Aside from the patriarchy, the only things I can speak on with confidence are those that come with working in a male dominated industry. For years, I have struggled with mansplaining even from men outside of my profession. There is a lot of underestimating!

Our Temenos is a certified WBE, eligible for city contracting and sub-contracting opportunities. This month we will remove a lawn at one of the Queens Public Library locations and install a native meadow! Follow the journey on instagram @ourtemenos.

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