Sunday, March 27, 2016

i am a shop keeper

 I am a shopkeeper.

Since the age of 5, i dreamed of being a shopkeeper. When i was 7, i made little crafts and my mother sold them door to door to my neighbors. i kept the nickels and dimes from those sales in my fisher price cash register. when i was 17, i sold wigs at marshal fields. at 22, i worked in chicago as a graphic designer and spent evenings and weekends selling soaps and lotions at crabtree and evelyn. age 26, i worked in san francisco at an ad agency, and the same story, i worked weekends at a chocolate boutique in the stanford mall. while i was living my normal life, i was dreaming the same dream.

on september 15th, 4 short days after september 11th, i opened the painted primrose. i was warned that i shouldn't sell flowers, candles and soaps. that i should sell gasoline and groceries. i should sell things that people needed. for two weeks the shop was quiet. the locals were glued to their television sets, there was huge unrest and we were all living in great fear. but then they came. they came to my shop, they shared stories, they cried and they bought. they bought candles, soaps and flowers. lovely things. feel good things, and i realized that i had things that people both wanted and needed.

shortly after the shop's opening, a friend asked me if i could design the flowers for her son's wedding. i thought it was kind of a random question. but in high school i learned how to make a corsage and boutonniere and in college i took an ikebana class. how hard could a wedding be? so i agreed and i designed my first wedding.

 following that wedding, i enlarged a portrait of the bride with her bouquet and hung it on the wall of my shop.

a short time later, another woman walked into my shop and asked me to design the flowers for her wedding. once again i agreed. but six weeks later the groom died and i designed the flowers for his funeral. months later, the lovely bride had a baby boy and i designed the flowers for his baby naming ceremony.
 then her mother died. 

all of a sudden, my life had changed and i realized that i had become a florist. but most importantly i realized that being a florist was more than designing pretty flowers in a vase, it was about celebrating the circle of life.

well those first five years of being in business for myself was difficult. it was really hard for me to turn a profit. i was working long hard hours with little or no return, so i made the tough decision to close the shop. i felt like a failure. 

all my life i had dreamed of being a shopkeeper and had no idea what to do next. i shared my story with a friend and he told me to dream it again..... so i did.

i got a job at a flower shop in the next town. i learned, i listened, i took notes and i dreamed.

after three years of working for someone else, i decided it was time to go out on my own again. so i rented a 325 square foot space and with $3,000 in my pocket, i dreamed it again. 

that first year i designed flowers for 35 weddings.

the next year was 75 weddings.

it is now 7 years later, and the painted primrose is listed among the top 5% wedding florists in the nation. we have also won top wedgewood florist two years in a row among a field of 20 national florists. 

i consider myself so blessed to work among beautiful blossoms everyday of my life. my colleagues are my friends. and i have the most incredible primrose team.

i encourage you to follow your dream. never give up on it and dream it again if you, like me, need that permission.

#ibelieveinlove Sarah the shopkeeper

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Friday, December 11, 2015

The Pilgrimage and the Pound of Pecans

It started six years ago. A simple phone call. "Do you deliver?" If you know me well, you probably know that 99% of the time my answer is "Nope.  I'm a wedding florist, i don't do deliveries." But that December day, something made me say yes. Perhaps it was the sadness in the customer's voice. "I live out of state and I can't find any florist who will deliver flowers to my son's grave in Colorado."  I have no idea why i said yes, but i did. I think it was just meant to be.

A few days after the phone call, a package arrived from the customer. inside, i found payment and two items to attach to the flowers, a small angel statue and a letter addressed to the customer's son. "my beloved son Andrew." my heart melted.

So on the anniversary of Andrew's death, i drive 45 minutes to make my delivery. its cold. 20 degrees cold and there were 6 inches of fresh, freezing snow blanketing the entire cemetery. the headstones were flat, and i see nothing but snow. fresh, freezing cold snow. finding that grave was like a needle in a haystack. but after 3 trips to the cemetery office, a scribbly hand drawn map from the receptionist, frozen fingers and toes and a prayer whispered up to the heavens,(along with a few choice words,) i found the grave. mission accomplished.

the following december, i received the same phone call, the same package with payment, an angel, and the same heart-wrenching-grieving mother letter and a bag of pecans. homegrown. texas pecans from the customer's tree. for me. the pecans were for me. my heart was mush.

fast forward to today. today was my 12th delivery to Andrew's grave. i deliver flowers on his birthday and on the anniversary of his death. it has become my pilgrimage. today i honor Andrew and his grieving Mother. i can never ease this mother's pain, but i can be her messenger and i can deliver her letters of love attached to those beautiful bouquets of flowers.

Being a florist is not just about arranging pretty flowers in a vase, its about celebrating the circle of life. - Sarah

Thursday, January 29, 2015

My First Negative Google Review, and How I Survived.

i almost didn't. plain and simple.

this summer, i will surpass the 850 mark. yup. 850 weddings. 1. one negative review. i knew the day would come. it was bound to happen. its basic math. bummer.

the worst part is that the writer never called me. i never ever knew she was unhappy. shouldn't i have been the first to know? shouldn't i have been given the chance to make things right? in my little primrose world, the answer is yes.

i tried reaching out. telephone. email. nothing.

i obsess about things like this. things i can't control. i strive for perfection. i strive for impeccable customer service. every single one of us here. ask my girls.

i love my brides. i want them to love me in return. the only power i can have over this powerless situation is to love her for her statement. love her for her action and perhaps that love will give her the courage to call. to talk. to sort things out. to resolve.

there is nothing more important than love.

Friday, July 11, 2014

one step closer....

i have died everyday waiting for you,
darling don't be afraid....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I believe in love...

...and I see it everyday of my life. So much in fact that now and then I need to keep myself in check and watch a scary movie to find some balance. Seriously. I live in a beautiful bubble. Love. Love. Love. Now mind you, I meet dozens and dozens of engaged couples a year. I have attended hundreds of weddings. At the shop, I witness tender moments. I witness kind and gentle hearts, every single day. If the blue velvet couch in my little flower shop had a voice, it would whisper, "love lives here."

I believe in love. I have experienced it. I have also experienced total and complete heartbreak. Sometimes they go hand in hand. The key is to move on. Forgive and believe. Open your heart. Life is so damn short. Let your heart beat fast. Find that someone who makes time, stand, still. Who, when you gaze into their eyes makes you forget everything else. Simply everything.

Do not be afraid dear friend. Jump.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

The Flower Shop Girl...

What is that thing, that chemistry thing? That thing that hits you and knocks you off balance. That moment when the world changes and the sun is brighter, the darkness is light. Can you touch it? Can you grasp it in the palm of your hand? Bottle it, like a fragrance and you would find wealth. Eternal riches. How does it find you and find both of you at the same time? What is that?

The strength to become vulnerable. To take steps after pain. To forgive and heal. To walk. Run.

It is hope. Hope and that twin, love. Forgive someone. Forgive yourself. Most.

Love is all there is. Love is in the first kiss. The eyes, perhaps green, perhaps blue or brown. Love is in the blossom of the spring bud. Sigh, breathe and love. Just love.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Painted Primrose Love Locks

I met two lovers who became engaged on a bridge in the city of Paris. They fastened a lock to the bridge as a sign of their commitment and undying love. They tossed the key into the river never to be found again. My heart skips a beat and flickers when my wedding couples share their love story with me.

In honor of love and romance, I have decided to give each and every one of my wedding couples, this year, a vintage padlock and key. I will inscribe their name on the padlock and permanently fasten it to my wedding arch at the Painted Primrose. I will have the key hand delivered to the couple on their wedding day as a token of our appreciation and belief in their love. It will be so exciting to view, over time, the collection. Cheers to love, cheers to romance, cheers to you. Sarah