As the daughter of a minister, Plythe Freedman, owner and founder of Treasures of Fort Pierce, lived with her family in a few different cities before calling Fort Pierce home in 1977. She attended Flagler College and later, Columbia Theological Seminary, where she earned a Master's Degree in Youth Ministry. Plythe got married, started a family of her own and, after living with her husband at different military bases, moved back to Fort Pierce in 2009.
What started, in 2011, as a quest to find more information about eBooks, turned into a decision to start a business. Plythe shared the story behind her journey and the impact her business is having on locals and those visiting the Treasure Coast.
"My parents wrote several books," she said. "I was trying to find a way to put their books online as eBooks. As a stay-at-home mom, I had time to figure it out. Along the way, I got the idea of starting a business for myself. After doing some more research, I came up with the idea to start a blog about Fort Pierce. The idea was to do interesting stories and videos of things the paper didn't cover. I wanted a resource for locals and tourists."
Plythe launched her site in November 2011. Her business model revolves around blogging about travel, food, things to do along the Treasure Coast, people to know, places to see and sharing content through her website and social media. Even though she grew up in Fort Pierce and knew many people in the community, Plythe had to pound the pavement to gain traction. She attended every networking event and function and developed relationships with business owners who saw the potential of having a presence on her site. During the process of marketing her business, Plythe, in a sense, became her own brand.
"In a way, I became more of a social media influencer," she said. "I was visible at every event and through blogging and vlogging, I would advertise for my clients in very creative ways. After updating the website at the end of 2013, I had the look I wanted. I also added 'TV Shows', which was a dream and a brainchild of mine. These are short videos with a 'What's Your Story?' theme. I feature entertainers, models, fashion designers and politicians talking about themselves and their businesses."
The visibility for Plythe and her clients has been remarkable. With reasonable prices and a genuine and honest approach, Plythe has attracted the attention of much more than just local businesses.
"People have been doing what I do in big cities for a long time," she said. "In Fort Pierce, I was one of the first and continue to be one of the most visible. This has given me a great niche and reputation. When Gorden Ramsey did Hotel Hell at the inlet, I was asked to be on the show. I've also had the publicists of people doing shows at the Sunrise Theater call to give me a media pass and ask me to blog about their clients. I've worked with the Fab 4 publicist and even did a blog for James Dolan, CEO of Madison Square Garden Company. I was also on the cover of Treasure Hunters magazine. My niche has allowed me to get some real national attention."
Looking ahead, Plythe's immediate goal is to complete a new update of her website. Once complete, her goals are to keep growing the business and to stay relevant in the fast-paced and ever-changing world of social media.
What advice does Plythe have for aspiring entrepreneurs hesitating to take the plunge? "People thought I was crazy when I started," she said. "They said it wouldn't work. Eight years later and I'm still here. The moral is pick and choose who you listen to. If it's your dream, just go for it and follow your passion no matter what anyone says. Also, it's possible to start from zero. I was a housewife. I knew nothing about blogging and how to turn it into a business. What I did know was that I wanted to do something for myself. I read books and taught myself everything I know. You can do the same."