If you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I most likely would have said a marine biologist, or a teacher... there was even a brief phase of wanting to be a lawyer. Never in a million years would I have said a florist.
I went to college and got a bachelors in psychology and women's studies. Upon graduating, I moved to Chicago and worked for an underwriting company. For years I moved from place to place, job to job. Receptionist at a veterinary hospital to human resources in corporate America, to being the Director of an animal shelter in North Dakota.
It wasn't until I spontaneously moved to Marquette, Michigan that I stumbled upon my passion, my calling... floral design. I had only been in town a few days when I saw this bright, aqua blue building and some type of alarm went off in my soul. It was a flower shop, and it was quirky and held a certain mystery to it. I was determined to be a part of whatever energy that place was radiating.
Two short months later, I joined the team at Garden Bouquet and Design, in that quirky, blue building. At the time, I had no idea how madly in love I would fall... but I fell so hard that I ended up buying the business three years later.
Life as a florist has so many layers. We get the honor of bringing beauty into peoples lives on a daily basis. We get the honor of making visions come to life for brides and grooms. And the honor of memorializing those who have passed away. Our job is to create art with flowers, and bring as much joy to others while doing it.
There are quite a few misconceptions around what it means to be a florist. The most common statement we hear is "it must be nice to just play with flowers all day." Oh... if I had a dime for every tear that was shed at those design benches... the late nights before a big event, where you work until you're delirious. The HUSTLE and adrenaline high of wedding season. The adrenaline drop of wedding season (I could hibernate for months). The cuts, splinters, scrapes, sore feet and backs, and cramped hands. The emotional whirlwind of weddings and funerals and get well soons. Yes, we play with flowers, but we bust our asses in the process.
Even in the chaos, in the crazy mix of it all, I wouldn't ever have it any other way. Because the truth is... this job, this craft, it gets into your bloodstream. It takes a hold on you and doesn't let go. There are very few people I know who enter the floral industry and leave. They may stray for a time, I did, but you always come back. There is nothing else like it, it's magic.
So I didn't turn out to be a marine biologist, or a psychologist the way I planned, because you can't really ever plan anything. Especially the trajectory of your life. The only promise I ever made myself was that I'd always follow my heart. My heart led me here, to this blue building on Baraga Avenue, to the flowers, and the magic and the mystery.
Whenever anyone asks the ladies and I how we decided to become florists, we always say "We didn't choose it, it chose us." And it's true.