Picked Pressed Preserved: A Local Small Business

Marlee Lawson works in the sun.

Lin Yee, Writer

Marlee Lawson has successfully turned her passion for art into a small business, officially launching Picked Pressed Preserved in December 2020. A senior at CHS, Marlee has been planning her business since April of last year. She’s been busy with financial planning, building up an inventory, and perfecting her artwork, and now all of her hard work has paid off. Picked Pressed Preserved features handmade pieces decorated with pressed flowers preserved in resin, including coasters, ring dishes, wooden trays, and a variety of other items.


The idea for her business started over a year ago, when she began pressing flowers as a way to preserve the flowers from her homecoming corsage. “I wanted a way to not only preserve the flowers, but also the memories connected to them,” says Marlee. After months of pressing, she had built up quite the collection, which is when she got the idea to preserve them in resin and decorate useful household items. 


Making a piece of resin art is, on average, a month-long process. She starts by picking all of the botanicals she’ll be using and putting them in a wooden press to dry them out, which can take anywhere from two weeks to two months, depending on the type of plant. Next, she prepares the wood items by sanding, painting, or staining them. “My favorite pieces to make are definitely the wood trays,” says Marlee, who tries her best to upcycle these trays and other porcelain dishes from thrift stores and garage sales. 


Once those are sufficiently dried, it’s time to lay the flowers down. “I try not to plan out designs too much, and instead use the natural state of the flowers as inspiration,” explains Marlee. After several layers of resin and time for curing, the products are all ready to be packaged and sold!


Starting a business is never an easy task, but Marlee has also had to deal with the challenges of balancing school and business work. “It can be stressful,” she acknowledges, “but it has made me a lot more motivated to get work done, and I’m grateful I’ve found something I love doing.”


Like many other things, the opening of Picked Pressed Preserved has also been affected by the ongoing pandemic. Marlee had to start her business online, but she is hoping to do in-person markets this summer, where she can meet more people and share her art!


While this new adventure has had some challenges, there have been plenty of positives. Marlee has been using various social media platforms to promote her business, and she’s been loving how encouraging everyone has been. One fun part of her social media outreach is that she’s received custom order requests from people in different states and countries! These are both fun and challenging, because they “push my creativity because I have to fulfill their requests, while also maintaining my style”, she explains.


So far, the reception to her artwork has been overwhelmingly positive, with the first release selling out within a week. Currently, Marlee is working on building back up her inventory for both in-person markets and her next release. Check out her Youtube channel and TikTok for cool behind-the-scenes videos, and follow Picked Pressed Preserved on Instagram and Facebook for more updates on the business and to order.