Have you ever thought, “For real though, how much fun would it be to do _____ for a living?” Of course, you have, we all have! Now how many of those thoughts did you actually look into, do a little research to see how one goes about becoming a [insert job title here]? How crazy would your life be if every time you thought it might be fun or cool to do something, you actually did it? I know becoming a florist may sound a little less exciting in the scope of “If you could be anything…”, but that was always my dream job that just felt way too out of reach, until now.
To start my flower story, I spent summers on my grandmother’s farm in the mountains of West Virginia (hence, ‘Mountain Mama’ Florals). It was there that I learned how to plant seeds, drive four wheelers, and of course, how to build a floral centerpiece as no dinner table is complete without one! My grandmother had an amazing front garden with a koi pond right in the center, a trellis arch that covered half of the walkway, and greenery and flowers everywhere in between that was mine to pick from as I pleased!
Fast forward to my high school years where I was in a Fine Arts program, and for our senior year we had to complete a themed portfolio. Naturally, my portfolio’s theme became flowers! I spent that entire year arranging flowers in fun and new ways so that I could draw, color, or paint them to specifically highlight each individual bloom’s specialness. After graduating and making the hard decision not to pursue a career in art but instead to study Business Management (ugh, being practical [insert eyeroll here]), I went on to Virginia Tech! Once again, I was in my mountains, and while studying business I appeased my love for florals by taking plant courses to fill my extracurricular requirements. After college I went on to be a manager in the Hospitality industry, specifically in Country Clubs, where I was able to develop my service-culture mentality and love for creating experiences for others. Do you know who has beautiful flowers? Country Clubs! I was able to meet and work with fantastic Florists whose main jobs were to create arrangements for their one specific venue and maintain those flowers (don’t mind me, just drooling with envy). I had put in a few years living the Hospitality life (or lack thereof) when- dun dun DUN- COVID happened!
Raise your hand if you got to live your *lifelong dream* (and then get sick of) doing nothing but watch TV and hang out on your couch all day! For those of you who have little kids, I feel for you. A lot. During this era of hanging out with Gerald (that’s my couch’s name), there was one day when I was watching a movie with my boyfriend and sister. When we got to the part where the female main character was working in her small-town Florist Shop, my heart just wrenched. I had one thought – GOD that’s what I want. As the thought went through my mind, it apparently also went out my mouth (there’s very little filter there) and my lovely little family responded as any family would: “well why don’t you freaking do it then??” You know what, they honestly had a point. The very next day I Googled “How to become a Florist,” and that’s when Alison Ellis of Real Flower Business came into my life. We are best friends now, even though she doesn’t know it, from the moment she taught me how easy it was to follow my dream. I spent the rest of my Furlough Days planning, shopping, studying, and making all the lists, because after living for a quarter of a century I had finally made the decision, I was going to become a Florist!
So, after you now feel like you’ve lived my life, let’s get to the moral of the story. Life is too short to not do the things that make you happy! I want you to make a list (I mean it, don’t be lazy). Write down some of the things that you want to TRY in your life; no one said that all of them will be possible, but how do you know if you don’t try? What are some adventures you want to go on, skills you want to learn, and jobs you want to do? Now, list what might be needed to do these things (you may have to Google this like I did). You might be surprised how doable a dream really is. Finally, set yourself a timeline to start one or two of those items. Who here learned about SMART goals? That “T” stands for “Time”, which means you must set yourself a time limit for these goals and keep yourself accountable!
Although my Florist journey has only just begun, I will forever be proud of myself for jumping in and following my dream. Where will yours lead you?