Jennifer: “Bouquets, bookkeeping, and barter”

The following is a story written by Jennifer Ferencz-Barato, a member based in Bloomingdale, NJ. Jennifer owns a small business where she creates keepsake wedding bouquets and boutonnieres. Apart from crafting, she is passionate about bartering, environmentalism, and Reiki healing.


I joined Simbi after seeing a post on Facebook about it… possibly an ad. I have bartered my time, services and products in the past, mostly with friends and occasionally on Craigslist, but this was the first time I had seen a larger network of people willing to trade their time/services with someone they didn’t know. I loved that there were both local and virtual options, and that the network was fairly built up when I found it. I joined right away.

After getting set up, and offering a few initial budgeting services, I was able to earn enough simbi to ‘hire’ someone to work on a website for my new business. I have been blown away by Nina’s patience, willingness to tweak what she has done to match my vision, and ability to incorporate items she hasn’t done before into my website. It is nearly done, and I am beyond thrilled! Even better, I have been doing bookkeeping for her, so it is truly a symbiotic relationship!

I have also received a website for one of the Etsy teams I captain, as well as my current business, from two other designers. I am trading photo editing with a graphic designer for a bouquet. And I am working with a number of Simbi members to help them with their budgets, bookkeeping, advice on buying a home, dealing with student loans, and other items.

I’ve been able to help out other members with things like reviewing a few chapters from their new book, leaving honest comments on their blog, and providing feedback on their trial services. I have already started to talk to a few brides-to-be about creating their custom wedding bouquets, as well as recreating a recent bride’s bouquet out of clay, so this has turned into a perfect opportunity to network with others, learn, and give back.

It is neat seeing all that the Simbi community is offering on the Simbi Market. Art, home accessories, jewelry, photography, handmade soap, and fun stuff! I am slowly adding my creations to the Simbi Market, such as rental bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages and accessories for weddings, renewals, proms, quinceañeras and more. I have been sharing Simbi with others, and a few of them have joined as well!

When you join Simbi, I recommend starting by setting up your profile (you earn a bit of simbi for doing that, which helps to start you off). Then, offer a service, and consider placing a request. Once you complete one deal with a fellow Newbi, you can network with the entire community! Fulfill a few requests to earn some simbi, and check out the featured/local offers and the market to see what you would like to spend them on.

It is amazing that Simbi exists. Through providing my skills and talents to others, I have been able to receive professional websites, which consultants said I sorely needed, but could not afford on my own.

And I love to help others with important things like budgeting or bookkeeping, as I know that it is crucial for long term personal planning and annual reporting for small businesses… and are tasks that can stress out someone who is unfamiliar with those tasks. And I love creating bouquets that brides can keep, rather than throwing their fresh floral bouquet away after a few days. I can imagine that the possibilities are endless… especially as more people join and become active on Simbi! I look forward to helping many other Simbians, and discovering services I would like to receive from other members, in the coming months.

Jennifer F.


Simbiotic Stories are real anecdotes told by you and other Simbi community members. Tell us about your Simbi deals and experiences with other members. If your story is published, we’ll credit your account with 150 simbi. Submit your entries by starting a conversation with us via this link.

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