Tasha Flowers’ Retail Floristry Business Blooms in a Pandemic
Tasha Flowers runs her own self-titled floral arrangement business, Tasha Flowers, Your Personal Florist, currently based out of a pop-up shop in Belvedere Square.
I can imagine floral arrangement takes a lot of creativity, if you’re keeping things fresh. How do you stay inspired?
A couple of things. One, I participate in a lot of social media groups just for florists, and there are some dynamic designers out there. It’s like, wow, that’s nice, I think I’ll try that.
Also training — we have training that we take just to keep us sharp and on trend, and to understand what the projections are for this industry. I also have a boatload of magazines and reference books that I hold on to because trends change, and they usually go in a cycle. What was trending five years ago, 20 years ago will be trending again. And for us, in this industry, principles of designs do not change.
We have a lot of plants and we repot everything, and I go out and shop for different containers. I don’t want you to come here and see the same thing you saw at the last three shops. I want to do the unexpected, and that’s what we’re going to build on.
How did you get into this line of work?
I never wanted to be a florist. I grew up in the city and the only time I ever saw flowers was maybe at a funeral. Flowers were nowhere on my radar… I just love being crafty and making things.
It certainly wasn’t because I had a passion for it. It actually started with me visiting a local craft store with my maternal grandmother and my mom. They were looking for patterns to sew something and I was wandering around the store, it’s Christmas time, and the store had Christmas wreaths on all four walls. I looked up at the wreaths and I just said to myself, “Well those are probably the ugliest, most expensive things I’ve ever seen.” [Laughing] I said, “I can do that.” And that’s literally how I got started.
I started doing Christmas wreaths — that was in 1997— and then in 2001 I found out about a flower school and I was like, wow there’s a whole school for that? I signed up for it and I completed it in 18 months. It was at Dundalk Community College [later merged with two others and renamed Community College of Baltimore County], and then I left there and went on to the University of Baltimore to get a bachelor’s degree so I could learn how to run a business.
What helped you build your client base in the city?
The thing that has helped me to build my business is always offering something unique and creating a design or product that’s uniquely made for that customer. Even now, all of the designs that are created here, I’ve curated all of them to their original designs. All of those are my own personal creations, and then I make them for customers. The thing that I tell them is, “this is the overall look and feel, but yours will be unique to you.” It may not be a pink rose, it might be an orange rose, but there will be a rose in there. And that’s how I stay true to how I have built my brand, that every design is uniquely made for that person. That makes them feel good — it’s a personal touch.
Is it a one-woman show or do you have a team helping you?
I have a team, and I’m thankful for them. We have two full-time people and then we have five seasonal. I could never get this done without them. They take the orders and then I’ll fill them in the evenings. They’re pretty much now the face of the business. People might want to see me so I’ll pop out and say “Hi, how are you…” But I try to stay away from the front end as much as possible now and try to just focus on fulfilling orders and the administrative side of the house.
What drew you to Belvedere Square?
I like Belvedere Square. I used to go to Lynne Brick’s so I was familiar with it, and I like the energy. It’s not far from home so that helps, because I don’t like to drive.
Did the pandemic put a big dent in your business?
Oh, the pandemic changed everything. Before I was a wedding and events florist only. I worked from home. The pandemic killed all of the events — my corporate events, weddings, baby showers, gatherings. It just knocked out everything. I had to decide, am I going to panic or am I going to pivot? I decided to pivot and started offering retail flowers, and that seemed to be a great move. People were home and they wanted to send flowers as a way to fill in the gaps of not being able to see their loved ones, and then they also wanted their own homes to look pretty. It really worked out well.
Not to mention that Covid has taken so many people from us that the sympathy side of the house also started to expand. While that’s the not way you want to hear things and it doesn’t sound as nice, it is a part of the business and we are here for families.
Do you see business improving as things open back up?
Yeah, business is definitely going to improve. The thing about it is Covid is not going anywhere, so we have to find a way to navigate around it. Business has definitely improved for us. We see that continuing because we offer unique products and services and we engage people.
What’s on your horizon moving forward?
Right now we’re a pop-up here at Belvedere Square, so we will either negotiate new terms or we will move on to something bigger and better. Either way, we’re looking to building back up our events side of the house. The weddings are definitely coming in strong and heavy, but we’re also looking to get back to our corporate clients. We had some government clients, so we’re looking forward to them feeling safe enough to host events again. Just getting back out there.
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