Behind the scenes at Debbie’s Bloomers in El Paso, Texas, with Marisa Guerrero, AIFD, CFD.

By Nita Robertson, AIFD, CFD

Debbie’s Bloomers is El Paso, Texas’ one-stop-shop for beautiful flowers, gifts and home décor. Since 1985, its mission has been to provide friendly and knowledgeable customer service in a relaxing shopping environment. 

“We have the most beautiful flowers the world has to offer, arrangements designed by an incredible team of talented florists, unique gifts for all the special people in one’s life, and décor accents that are perfect for any home,” boasts Marisa Guerrero, AIFD, CFD, vice president of the family-owned retail and event florist business. “With numerous ‘Best of El Paso’ awards, we dare to delight!”

Marisa and her Mother Sandy Blanco

As the daughter of a florist, becoming one herself was in the stars for Guerrero. A talented floral designer and educator known for her enthusiasm and involvement in the floral industry, she has relished her lifetime of living in and learning about the flower industry. Guerrero has served on the boards and committees of numerous industry organizations including the Texas State Florists’ Association, the American Institute of Floral Designers South Central Chapter and the AIFD Foundation, and the WesTexas New Mexico Florist Association. Years of building friendships and attending classes and events with some of the top designers in floristry have fostered her great respect and admiration for floral design education. For five years, Guerrero taught classes on the business of floral design at El Paso Community College, she has presented education programs for florists across the Southwest, and she looks forward to many more opportunities to strengthen the foundation of the floral industry while gaining friends along the way.

A Typical Workday for Guerrero

Marisa Guerrero, AIFD, CFD.

5:30 a.m. Rise and shine. Her kids have to be at school at 7:30, so getting up early allows Guerrero a few minutes of quiet time before my workday starts.

7:45 a.m. Once the kids are at school and Guerrero has arrived at the shop, she spends the first few minutes checking email, including a ton of emails from growers with their fresh flower availability. “This is a great opportunity for me to pick up any last-minute deals from the growers we work with through our buying group, FloraLink,” she says. “Then, it’s time to process any orders that have come in overnight so they are ready when the designers arrive.”

8:30 a.m. Time to unlock the doors and start answering phones. Guerrero then routes the deliveries because the delivery drivers arrive soon after. “While I take care of that, our design-room manager double-checks each order to ensure that it is designed beautifully and includes any add-ons,” she shares.

10 a.m. At least once a week, usually on Mondays, Guerrero spends an hour or so working to procure all of the necessary flowers for upcoming events. “It’s important that we work closely with our growers to make sure that the pricing, quantities and varieties of flowers are all just right for each event,” she explains. “Usually, I order flowers two to three weeks in advance, so my relationships with the farm sales reps are very important. Around this time, I typically get a text from Alisha, at Three Sisters & Co., one of the local wedding planners with whom we work closely.”

12:30 p.m. Time for lunch. “Most of the time, I eat at my desk,” Guerrero admits, “but I try to do things that are not shop related. I pay personal bills, read the news or scroll through social media.”

1 p.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Guerrero blocks time for wedding consultations. “Having a consistent (but flexible) schedule ensures that I don’t take too many,” she informs. “Years ago, I let couples pick any time they wanted for consultations, but that caused me to book far too many consultations and not have the necessary time to create a thoughtful proposal. Setting a few boundaries with my time has allowed us to take weddings that are aligned with our goals.”

2 p.m. “Our shop has a large showroom with lots of gifts and goodies, so we spend a lot of time doing setups and refreshing,” Guerrero states. “Thank goodness for a great team because refreshing the shop takes an army. Also, this is a good time for me to work on proposals and quotes.” 

4 p.m. This is when Guerrero usually works on things outside of shop business. “Education has always been important to my family, and that didn’t stop when I got a job,” she says. “My mom, who has owned the business for more than 30 years, has always encouraged me to continue to learn and lead. I learned from her example that it’s important to serve on industry boards and committees. Currently, I am the president of the South Central Regional Chapter of AIFD and a trustee of the AIFD Foundation. I’m also on the board of the Texas State Florists’ Association. These groups all play an important role in strengthening our industry through education.” 

5:30 p.m. Time to lock up. “I know what you’re thinking: ‘You didn’t mention making any flower arrangements,’” Guerrero says. “As much as I love flowers, I don’t get to spend much time in the design room on a daily basis. As a business owner, I have so many other things on my plate. We have an amazing team of designers, and I still get the privilege of traveling to teach other florists.”

Pros and Cons of Being in the Retail Flower Industry

“There are lots of wonderful things about being a shop owner and an involved floral industry member,” Guerrero assures. “We have such a wonderful close-knit and giving community in the floral industry. If you attend an industry gathering where you don’t know someone, you will surely have some amazing friends by the time you leave—in addition to the new ideas you were hoping for. This industry always provides something new to discover, a beautiful new variety to fall in love with or a new trend that takes your breath away. On the flip side, creating beauty isn’t easy, as all florists know. You have to work hard every day and juggle a lot of hats.”

Best Marketing Strategies

Social media is great, Guerrero emphasizes, and Google Ads are imperative, she adds, “but the very best thing you can do is exactly what you say you are going to. If you tell someone that you will email a proposal within a week, then get it to them within a week. If you say you will call a customer back tomorrow, call her back tomorrow. That kind of reliability shows that you are a professional who cares about your customers and industry colleagues. When you do that, you get incredible recommendations that you don’t have to pay for.”

Most Successful Business Strategies

“Get to know people you admire,” Guerrero advises. “We can all do great things, but having people who you can look to for inspiration, advice and help can make things so much easier for you. Sometimes we feel like we have to come up with solutions to problems on our own, but if you reach out to your community, you will realize you don’t have to reinvent the wheel with each new challenge.”