My journey started when I was still in high school, and wanted to work at a flower shop. I had worked in a greenhouse already and grew up playing in my mom’s garden. I was hired to deliver flowers and wash buckets, and eventually started designing. I moved around to a few flower shops, started teaching workshops and writing flower Exams and taking courses, and Managing the shops I worked in. Soon enough, after moving to Toronto from the east coast of Canada in Nova Scotia, I started my own business in my garage. The bank wouldn’t help with finances, so I did my thing until I could afford a studio. I moved into my first space and outgrew it in one wedding season, then we took over a larger space and then decided after 4 years to open a Flower School in the same building as my studio! Now and 6 years later we are teaching classes, creating events and weddings and designing for corporate and editorials alongside 5 incredible staff, Blush and Bloom and Bloom School are doing great here in Toronto, Ontario Canada!
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?
I had been in the industry for over 10 years, and it was always my intention to have my own. I decided to solely do events and weddings mostly because I couldn’t afford rent to do Retail in Toronto. Bloom School, my second business, has been a dream since I first started learning about flowers and needed a more current program to be inspired by and learn from,… so once I found a space and established my first business I had to go for it!
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Not having Retail. A lot of Brides wanted to meet in my “shop” but since I was working out of my garage, I had nothing to show them, and had to meet all over the city at coffee shops or their homes.The bank wasn’t able to help me, this was a huge struggle. However, with enough work to leverage the next set of clients eventually it didn’t matter where I was creating their events and I grew a lager clientele
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
I just had a baby, so reading is a tough one unless it’s on my phone! I read “ You are a Badass” by Jenn Sincero and it hugely helped me with confidence building, also “ the Suble Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson really helped me decide what to streets about in business, and in life.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I would say I dealt more with their lack of understanding of what I wanted to do.They don’t live here in our city, so for them to wrap their head around what I was doing without seeing the space and seeing what I was doing was hard for them to support at first!
I just kept my head down and didn’t talk a lot about it to them in the beginning stages to keep my morale high.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
I think networking and social media, being present online and in our community and supporting my peers has always proven to make me feel good, most importantly but also beneficial to my business. My online presence ( or so I believe) is who I am...straight forward, honest and fun, which is what I like to think my brand is all about!
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
That business is business. Sticking to your rules and boundaries that you created for a reason.
Not everyone will be as considerate as you are, and you can easily get taken advantage of. Charging what you’re worth in this industry can be difficult: florists are a dime a dozen so to get the client I used to have to make amendments to what I thought was fair pricing. I wish I knew that in a few years I wouldn’t do that anymore. Owning a business has taught me to remove emotion from transactions (in most situations, not all of course) and to create guidelines and limits to what you’re willing to do for the costs you’ve committed to. Always be honest, and up front. I used to be intimidated by certain topics or cellists and it never went over well, and over the years you learn how to stay true to yourself. Business is hard, and I charge what I am worth.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Charge what you’re worth, it hurts everyone else when you don’t. You have to stand behind yourself and feel confident in what your rates are. If you’re not confident, neither are they… in you or your business.
Find staff that love your brand as much as you do. If they don’t, they’re not for you.
Photo Credit: Kimon @kimon