Updated: Jul 27, 2019
This Friday we are flashing back to my very first paying client. This is my son Jackson , and we are taking some time off between our summer and fall weddings see him off to college. Without my business, his dream of attending film school at the University of New Orleans would not be possible, and without his drive to pursue his passions, I would not have had the courage and motivation to realize my own dreams to become a working artist.
In the fall of 2016 Jackson was taking a date to a homecoming dance for the very first time which led us to an old school established florist for a corsage. We wanted something very special for this milestone moment but instead we were met with mass produced designs, presented on dirty laminated catalog pages. My son had is own money and his own unique sense of style, but he was offered what every other 15 year old kid was offered in white, red or pink, in a plain plastic box for $45.00. The florist would not make eye contact with him, and talked through him, AT me and seemed annoyed by our presence in her shop. In that moment I turned to him and said, "I don"t know what we are going to do, but we can do better" and we did.
When I see a beautiful product or work of art , that inspires me, my immediate reaction is not, where do I buy that, but how do I make it. True to form, we went straight home and after a few YouTube videos and a trip to Hobby Lobby several hours and an arsenal of craft supplies, we had a corsage. Still a little unsure of my new found skills, I showed some photos to my friends just to make sure I wasnt making a huge mistake and setting my kid up for humilliation. To my surprise, my friends loved my design, and hired me to make corsages for them too for $20 each and the seeds for The Sentimental Petal were planted. The following spring, I made over 30 corsage and boutonniere sets at $55 each and from the photos I posted we booked our first wedding and now have a very successful small business built on creative, high quality design and personal, luxurious service for everyone, regardless of their age, experience or budget. In February we will be designing wedding flowers for the young lady for whom we made that first red corsage. Alie, the reciepiant of the yellow one has trained with me for three years and is becoming a talented designer in her own right.
Thank you to all of our clients who have trusted us to add life and color to your most sacred days. Thank you to our friends and family who have supported and cheered us on. Thank you to the photographers who made us look like we knew what we were doing and the industry professionals who practice community over competition showing me not only how to make a corsage, but also how to build a profitable business. Thanks to you, I am helping my son learn the skills that he needs to find his own voice, to tell his own stories and make his own art. Every bouquet, bout, corsage and flower crown adds up and I am so proud to say that because you have supported my dream, I can now support his. The income from my small business will fill the gap between the money he has saved, the scholarships he has earned and the very high cost of a quality education. It is my hope he will be debt free when he graduates in 2023. Congratulations, Jackson!