July 9, 2021
Ten years of flowering and going strong, I’ve been providing retail and wedding flowers to the DC Metro Area! I’m not going to lie, this is not what I thought the end of 10 years of business would look like. I’m sure many of you are saying the same sorts of things about the past 18 months!
When I started my company in 2011, I didn’t have much of a direction in mind, if I’m being honest. I was fresh off of a divorce, needed something to keep myself busy in my free time, and needed something to fill my need for creativity (I was an Assistant Director for a early childhood education center – childcare was my first career!) I had an abstract idea in my mind that one day, I’d leave childcare and be a full-time florist, but I didn’t exactly have the path laid out. I’ve always believed the best way is to simply begin, and that’s what I did. My first two weddings were those of my friends. They referred me to others and I slowly got more clients. I was lucky enough to have a wholesaler very close by that I could pick flowers up from. Event florists work from home (I worked from my mother’s basement in the very beginning! Can you believe it??) so I was able to start very slow and work on the weekends while I worked my “real job”, as I called it, during the week.
It wasn’t long before I read a little blog called The Full Bouquet. Holly Chapple seemed like someone I needed to meet. She had started a group of florists who shared their knowledge with each other and supported each other. Since I never had any formal training, I thought this would be a great way to begin my floral education (“having a good eye for flowers” was definitely not how I wanted to list my credentials LOL, so I thought this would be a good start, and a good gateway to finding more training as well!). I saved my pennies and attended a workshop at Holly’s studio. Needless to say, my world opened up right then. I was introduced to a world of florists, across oceans, who shared information, worked for each other when they could, supported each other with ideas and encouragement and immediately I knew, I had found my tribe. I’ve made lifelong friends within the Chapel Designers. We’ve traveled together, learned from each other, and bailed each other out of jams. I’m so grateful for this community that I found so early on in my career.
Whenever I could, I made sure to take advantage of opportunities to take classes and study with other great florists and business owners. I have gotten to study with and learn from some SUPER talented men and women, such as Robbie Honey, Gregor Lersch, Sue McLeary, Ariella Chezar, Christin Geall, Alison Ellis, Debra Prinzing, Jessica Nana, Kelly Shore, David Beahm, and so many more. I even got to meet up with a flower friend when I traveled to Australia and she was able to show me around an Australian flower market and we got to spend the day talking about mechanics and creating bouquets, just for fun! Neither of us are actually teachers, but I’d consider that a floral education too! Couldn’t have done that without the Chapel Designer connection!
In 2015, I was able to purchase my own townhome, and I retrofitted the lower level to become my home studio! Man, was I proud! It was the perfect size for me and my business. All my hard work and dedication had paid off. Soon after that, Sweet Blossoms was actually big enough that I could no longer work a full time job anymore – what a milestone! I switched to a part-time job so that I could continue growing my floral business at the same time. Being able to set up my space to be able to bring my visions for my clients to life was a dream come true for me. I was able to meet my clients in a beautifully decorated space, maintain a work life balance, and continue creating beautiful arrangements for events all over the DC Metro area. Little did I know how fast I would outgrow my single-girl home….I soon needed a storage unit for my ever-growing rental collection. I soon met the man I would marry, who had 2 sweet little boys who were growing, GrOwInG, GROWING and all of a sudden, my perfectly sized little home for one was feeling pretty full!
Along the way, my style began to emerge and I began to find my voice. In my personal life, recycling and reducing our plastic consumption was becoming really important to me and I wanted to be sure that I was reflecting that in my business. At the same time, I was becoming acquainted with the Slow Flowers Movement and I knew that this was something I really wanted to be a part of. I joined the Slow Flowers Community, and began using as many American Grown flowers as I could. I began accounts with as many American farms as I could, keeping track of which wholesalers could help me source domestic product, and I also started buying from local flower farms to reduce my carbon footprint as much as possible. I began educating my clients and my followers about the benefits of using greener practices. I seemed to find an audience of like minded clients and followers, which I LOVED! I really felt like I was finding my way, finding a direction in which I wanted to take my business.
A few years ago, I gathered my strength, and told a planner friend about an idea that had been swimming around in my head for a few years. It was dark, it was moody, and with her help, my first photoshoot was born! Over the years, I’ve had my work published in books, magazines and online blogs, and this has truly boosted my confidence to be able to try and execute even more of my ideas!
Needless to say, it has been a jam-packed 10 years. So, imagine my surprise, when along came COVID-19. My new husband, my sweet bonus kids and I had just moved into our forever home. We had just decided that a part time job was no longer needed to support my business. Sweet Blossoms was a totally viable income for me, all on its own (not just a supplemental income, but an appropriate full-time job). I felt so proud of myself, for building a business from the ground up. We were preparing to build a larger studio on our new property when the entire country entered into lockdown. And just like that, my entire season was gone. All the success, all the momentum, all the plans. Gone.
So we waited. We pivoted. I ended up doing a soft launch of a skincare line called Sweet Botanicals, which was inspired by my desired to reduce the amount of plastic we use in my home, as well as wanting to know what ingredients were in the products my family was using on our skin. I also ended up selling some retail arrangements and in the end I did end up getting to do a few weddings in the fall and my heart felt so full getting back to what I love. For all florals sold in 2020, I supported my local Maryland farms, bought exclusively and directly from Maryland and California farms for everything I needed. I made the decision last year to begin buying only American Grown flowers, to try to support our American farms even more so than I already had been. This strengthened the message I had been putting out into the world, about using sustainable floral practices and reducing my company’s carbon footprint.
As the country has begun to open back up, and my 11th season is upon me, I have decided to overhaul my website with a retail component for retail arrangements and my skincare line. My Gallery has been updated and reconfigured. The user experience for my Custom Inquiry form and my Sweet Collections Inquiry form has changed and is (I hope) much more clear!
So without further adieu, WELCOME to my 11th season, and my new and improved website!