Paul Kierulf & Matt Puntigam Co-founders

Paul Kierulf and Matthew Puntigam are the co-founders of Dandy Farmer, a Brooklyn-based modern bonsai studio.

Employees

2

Location

New York, NY

Industry

Bonsai Studio

Founded

2016

Social

For our inaugural issue of WTFinance, vendors at Canal Street Market share their two cents on money-saving strategies, professional rituals, and what freaks them out most about small business finances.

MONEY TALKS

Bond Street

What’s one thing you’ve done in your career that helped you succeed, and that very few other people do?

Dandy Farmer

We stay focused and hone in on what we do well and make sure every move we make is thoughtful to our brand DNA. We also believe that a firm vision anchors our decisions and better shapes how we grow.

Bond Street

What’s a mistake you see get made all the time, even by very smart people? What have you learned from that to handle that thing the right way?

Dandy Farmer

You have to keep evolving to respond to your customer’s needs while staying true to your goals. Striking the right balance is not always easy to do, but key to this is listening and responding in a genuine way. Whatever you do, do it with intention.

Bond Street

Is there–or has there been–expenses you now see as big wastes in the rearview?

Dandy Farmer

We’ve had people suggest hiring PR but after doing our research from other friends with their own businesses, it’s not really a great strategy from a small business standpoint. There’s nothing better and more lasting than the power of word of mouth.

Bond Street

If you had an extra $___, what would you do?

Dandy Farmer

We would love to open a brick and mortar studio in the city.

Bond Street

What are some money-saving strategies you’ve used as a growing business?

Dandy Farmer

Nurture relationships with your suppliers and you may just get a great deal in the long run.

Bond Street

What business expense–if any—have you most underestimated?

Dandy Farmer

We work with living things and sometimes the weather can be very unpredictable – be it a heat wave or a freeze snap that can kill some of our plants. That’s lost time and money right there.

Bond Street

As a creative, is there anything about finance (or a financial concept) that still totally freaks you out (or you just can’t seem to get the hang of)?

Dandy Farmer

Number crunching and bookkeeping.

MISCELLANEOUS MUSINGS

Bond Street

Best summer job:

Dandy Farmer

Paul: I was an advisor for rising high school students at SCAD’s summer arts program.

Matt: Getting to apprentice under Japanese gardeners in Tokyo.

Bond Street

Worst summer job:

Dandy Farmer

Paul: I was hauling manure all day at a farm in the french countryside one summer. I was covered in it by the end of the day.

Matt: Butchering chickens.

Bond Street

What professional rituals do you have?

Dandy Farmer

We give our bonsais the spa treatment from the time we wake to when we go to bed.

Bond Street

Finish this sentence. Money is _________.

Dandy Farmer

Money is not as fulfilling as having family and a sense of community.

Bond Street

If you had to do another job, what would it be?

Dandy Farmer

Paul: I would hands down open up a bakery.

Matt: Become an artist/activist.

Bond Street

3 favorite local independent businesses in NYC (and why):

Dandy Farmer

  1. Nalata Nalata – We admire their beautiful shop and how much thought they give to everything they put out.
  2. CW Pencil Store – We love Caroline’s tenaciousness and how she shoots for the stars.
  3. Keap – Not only do we love all their candles but we admire their social entrepreneurship.

Bond Street

Why is it important to support local independent businesses?

Dandy Farmer

Supporting local independent businesses instills a sense of community and encourages choice and innovation.

Bond Street

Must-have item at Canal Street Market (that isn’t yours):

Dandy Farmer

We’re currently on an eating spree at CSM so for breakfast we’ll have Lulu’s Tallulah bowl, for lunch Samurice’s Bento and a treat from Boba Guys with their Hongkong Style Boba.

More from Bond Street:

The World's Best Newsletter for Small Business Owners

Small business guides, news updates, profiles and more.

Thanks!