As I enter into my 4th year owning Petals. Flowers by Katie I find myself reflecting on how much I have learned during this journey and how grateful I am to be working as a florist in Beautiful Bend, Oregon!
It started really, as a child, in my mother's garden. Some would say that as a kid, I was a little hard to handle...lot's of energy. My mom was an avid gardner, so decided one day to put my energy to good use and set me free in her garden. My job was to pull out all of the weeds. Several hours later, my mom came out to find me digging up her large "weed" which was actually not a weed at all, but a dormant rose bush! As distraught as she was at this, she took the time to teach me about plants and flowers. I was hooked. I fell in love with the care and attention it took to grow something beautiful. Even in their seemingly lifeless state, it takes patience and hard work to bring a plant to their full potential.
Fast forward to my college years in San Diego when I took a summer job at floral shop. I spent the summer working under the owner learning all the names of the flowers, pricing and floral design. I still remember the smell of the shop as the early morning sun rose and beckoned for all the roses to open up. This was by far my favorite job to date, but I graduated and had to get a "real job", never would I have imagined that more than a decade later, I would find my way back to flowers and make it a career.
After working for 10 years in jobs that I didn't love, my husband and I embarked on a life changing adventure hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Needless to say, we both had lot's of time to think and reflect on what we wanted to do when we got home. I realized that I wanted to get back to what really made me happy. The one thing that was crystal clear to me was my passion for flowers. So, without much thought of where it would lead me, I enrolled in a 3 month long intensive floral design course at the San Francisco Flower Mart. Each 3 hour long class was spent mastering a specific aspect of floral design as well as learning about pricing and running a business. When I graduated, I decided to take a huge risk and quit my job to start Petals.
The first year was spent working out all the business logistics and flowering my sister's wedding along with some friend's weddings and by the end of the summer, I landed my first organic client! Luckily, my business took off from there and has continued to grow even since moving to Bend, OR. It hasn't always been easy. I remember several times towards the end of a very busy second season wanting to quit it all. My husband has been very supportive and gave up his weekends in the beginning to help me with weddings. But mostly, I was alone, learning it all as I went.
It's not all roses and rainbows. Being a florist is hard work. only about 20% of the work is actual floral designing and 80% is the daily grind and pressure of running a business. Lots of sleepless nights spent worrying about if my flower order will arrive, will the flowers be of the quality I demand, will the bride like my designs, will my cooler break on me, did I forget anything for tomorrow's wedding... I am sure we all experience this and it's just all part of owning your own business. As hard as it is at times, I can't imagine doing anything else. I love my job and the couples I get to work with. Not to mention this amazingly supportive wedding community I get to collaborate with!
Time has flown by, and i pinch myself thinking that i am already booking brides for 2019 in my 5th year as a floral designer! If i have any advice for someone starting their own business, it would this; first couple years are the hardest, be patient and stick with it, trust me it gets easier. Stay organized, ask questions, network. I am constantly learning. Be open to evolving and growing as a business owner, and remember it's all worth it!