There are weeks when, as a business owner, you look around and think "no one told me doing this would be this hard". Although I was not afraid of what was to come, back in September 2010, when I opened the shop's door for the first time; I don’t think I fully realized what was going to happen over the following years I swear, this was supposed to be a short term gig, while I prepared to open a health and wellness studio. Things just seem to have a life of their own. Who was I to stand in the way?
Last week, we were busy, in so many ways. From everyday orders, corporate events and five weddings. Of course, this is great! This is what we work so hard to get to. At the same time, the sacrifices come when it is 11:30pm on a Friday night and you are just leaving the shop. And yet, we were happy. Tired, sore, but laughing and proud of the work we had done. Side note, I will say, your UberEats options drop significantly at that time of night.
I think being happy had to do with teamwork. This was a night where everyone simply pitched in, and got 'er done. I couldn’t have been more thankful for the incredible team of people willing to do this. It’s not something every place has. It is a gift.
As the owner of a floral studio, I am in a weird position where, I am not actually a florist. I don't know any other flower shop owner in Toronto in the same position. This means, that as my team is hustling, as much as I want to grab an order form and get to work, I can't. I don't know how. There is a frustration in this, but in other ways, it allows me to focus on building the shop. Working on the business instead of in it, if you know what I mean. My skillset is sales, marketing and administration (along with a very strange assortment of random things, I’ll get into another time). These skills are vital in building the shop and keeping it running, but not so helpful when we have three weddings and a mountain of everyday orders to make while it is already dark outside.
So, I do what any business owner should do. I grabbed a broom. Here is where the difference in being "boss" and being part of a team become apparent. It has been a valuable lesson for me, which came at a price I will get to on another post in the future.
As my incredible team made beautiful things, I cleaned the cooler. I packed arrangements. I carried buckets of flowers up and down the stairs. I swept. I laughed and thanked everyone. I made sure that everyone had what they needed to get the job done. And they did. This amazing group of florists worked late into the night, and created wonderful things, all set for celebrations, weddings, birthdays, funerals, random I-love-you bouquets and all the things between. And in the end, we all went home, knowing we accomplished something great, together.
The shop has been open for nine years now. An accomplishment that has taken a lot of sacrifice, hard work and love. Love for what we do, love for the people who are here, love for the industry. Again, the cost of this has been physical, emotional, mental and financial; no one gets into the floral industry to become wealthy, that’s for sure. But, this is what owning a business means. It is not what social media presents to you in filtered photos and inspirational captions. It is sweeping floors, fishing leaves out of clogged drains, answering emails at midnight, and waking up the next day to do it all over again.
Is it freedom and the ability to call the shots? Not like you would think. Am I my own boss? Not really, because I am answerable to every one of our customers and my team. Is it financial freedom? Not by a long shot. Do I love what I do? 100%. Would I do it again? Yes, but I would hope to have the knowledge I currently have to guide me along the way.
Here it is, 6am and I’m thinking, if I save this now, I’ll still get an hour of sleep before the alarm goes off. In this early hour, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has made the last nine years possible. Family, friends, partners and team members. We could not have done this without you. I am forever grateful to you for seeing what I see and your willingness to make this pretty little shop, into the daily dream it has become. Thank you.