I’ve always dreamed of owning a flower shop. The kind you see in a Hallmark movie. Arriving each morning at a beautiful place to work, surrounded by a wealth of color and scent, ready to create one-of-a-kind beauty…one that may not last forever, but certainly leaves a lasting impression.
I was just four years old when I first fell in love with the magic that flowers bring to an event during a family wedding in Boston. I still remember dancing on my father’s toes. I was mesmerized by the bride, opulence, the flowers, the symphony quartet, the cake, and the fact that I was allowed into the kitchen to polish silver.
In retrospect, so much of the most joyous moments of sheer wow in my life have involved flowers and events. The gasp of taking in rare beauty created for one special moment. The feeling of being elevated and enveloped, entertained and educated. All of these experiences were informing me for a career in hospitality, lifestyle and design.
At the age of 13, I threw my first big soiree, convincing my parents to remove the contents of our family room including the carpet, and paint it before I hung streamers and set up the strobe light for the largest dance floor in my neighborhood.
After graduating from American University in Washington, DC, I held the first of two decades worth of “serious jobs” in a grey building with grey carpets and grey issues, during the War on Terrorism. I soon found that managing the world’s endless and unsolvable problems was not what my creative heart desired. I left for San Francisco, to immerse myself in the beaucolic wine country, representing McEvoy Olive Oil, Domaine Carneros and eventually the entire Russian River Valley Winegrowers Association. I worked with Jean Charles Boisset and Gavin Newsom, launched the Michelin Guide into San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, representing incredible chefs, winemakers and hospitality gurus along the way.
While working for one such guru as Stan Bromley of Four Seasons Hotel and Meadowood Napa as the Public Relations Director of Four Seasons San Francisco, I met the incomparable Jun Pinon, who was the hotel’s floral designer. His larger-than-life displays greeted me each day in the lobby, changing weekly to offer something even more unexpected, yet equally elegant. We began planning floral workshops together and brought guests and friends to learn more about creating floral arrangements that inspired the spirit, enlivened the home, and graced some of the grand fêtes we would throw together over the next decade. All the while, I knew that I was watching and learning from a master.
I continued to develop the skills that Jun shared so effortlessly in my jewel box of an apartment each week with fresh floral finds from the San Francisco Ferry Building. I began helping friends who were getting married – the first, a couple in Pasadena who lived near the flower shop that outfitted the floats for the Rose Bowl. They had found themselves in a pickle: with flowers and vases, but no design plan, none of the secret ingredients that create the opulent showcase that Fleur de La aspires to achieve each day. I set to task, creating 20 centerpieces and personal flowers for the bride, groom and wedding party.
It took more than seven years until Fleur de Là blossomed from these early seeds of inspiration. I had the opportunity to purchase a beautiful flower shop. As I dreamed about the opportunity to carry the legacy of a dear friend on from one of my greatest inspirations in motherhood and life, I realized that I was embarking on creating a legacy of my own. Newly pregnant, it was no time to embark on the costly and physicality demanded by the flower business. So, I continued with my PR firm, Issima! Communications, moved across the country to beautiful Anastasia Island, Florida to raise my son, and began the next chapter of our lives.
What I seek to create is much more than beautiful floral arrangements. I hope to imbue my clients’ vision, lifestyle and draw inspiration from travel, culture and hospitality.
Today, I am happily married, raising three children on this glorious island we call home. Looking towards the future and all of the new possibilities ahead of us in life and business, I can see the best is yet to come. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. My hope is that we can add some magic to the ones you are making come true in your own lives, with special moments to remember always.