I love sharing my positive business experiences and also love getting together with new business owners. I met Lori, the owner and designer at La Petite Fleuriste, years ago. We both worked at the same part time job, the job that took us both through our college years. Since that time, we finished college in totally different fields from different colleges, worked other jobs in the meantime but somehow have both moved into the wedding industry in two different careers. Lori is an amazing floral designer with years of experience and over the past year she decided to start her own company with hopes of creating a floral empire. :)
I stopped over to Lori's work space a few weeks ago and photographed her working on the flowers for a Chicago wedding. After she finished designing a asked her some questions about her business and I wanted to share some of what I learned about La Petite Fleuriste.
What inspired you to start La Petite Fleuriste? When did you start your business?
The idea of La Petite Fleuriste came about during my last year in college. I was going for a double major in business and I had picked up a part time job at a local floral shop. At that point in my life, I really didn’t know much about flowers or floral design. I learned quickly and I finally realized what I wanted to do with my life. I couldn’t imagine my life sitting in an office all day long. I wanted to create. I needed to create.
I began working at a flower shop in Chicago five years ago as a floral designer. My favorite part of my job was working one on one with clients… especially brides. I loved (and still do!) when a bride had a small idea and I would help them build on it. It is like a light goes off in their head as I help them put the image of their wedding together with them. This is when I decided to start up La Petite Fleuriste. I wanted to have full creative freedom working on weddings and events that a shop aspect doesn’t allow for. I wanted to be able to put all of my efforts and personality into working with clients.
Tell me a little about why your shop is different/unique.
I really try to connect with every event that I take on, no matter how big or small. I think it is incredibly important to get a full understanding of an event to be able to add something special to it. I also think it is necessary for all clients to feel extremely comfortable while working with me…. Especially brides. I really think that when a bride goes through a floral shop, where they are also dealing with day to day orders, a wedding can more or less be overlooked. The bride ends up not receiving the attention they deserve. I really pride myself in being able to respond quickly to any question that may arise, and I make myself available to meet up when a bride is more comfortable going over details face to face.
Do you have a favorite design element in your work?
I can't pinpoint a favorite element... There are too many! I tend to like flowers that are very seasonal and hard to get out of their set season--- peonies, lilacs, dahlias, etc. I also tend to use very natural and slightly whimsical elements. I love to learn if an element has a special meaning to a bride. A small meaning or story adds so much to a bouquet, and that element will become my favorite for the event at hand.
What are you plans for your business in the future?
I'm always asked if I plan to get an actual shop. I have a great little area set up in my garage where I do my work. At this time I'm extremely happy with my set up. I love that I can focus 100% on an event and client and not have to worry about keeping up a shop. I love the simplicity of my business, and the fact that I can keep costs down for my clients. Maybe one day a studio location is in my cards, but definitely not in the next few years.
For now my focus is getting my name out to as many people as possible. I would love to be the first vendor a new bride thinks of when she gets engaged. I want them to say "I need to book her!"
My current focus now is on weddings. I do hope in the next year or two to get more into corporate events. Especially around holidays, larger companies tend to host parties for their employees and clients. Every party could use flowers!
Anything you would love to add?
Deciding to start my own business was easy. Coming up with a name for it was not. I threw around different ideas that incorporated my name, different kinds of flowers, and tried to get input from anyone who would offer. Nothing seemed to fit until one day the name was simply given to me. A little over three years ago, I was working on my sister’s wedding. It was a large wedding and I had just started doing events on my own. I put everyone who was willing to help to work. I had a little area set up in my parent’s basement to get everything done. Family would pop down there every once in a while either to help or to hang out for a bit.
We had family in from France for the week to join in the celebration. Some of my French family didn't know English and I know zero French. Needless to say, there was a lot of translating going on. At one point my aunt came down to my little "shop" and said, "Ahhh La petite fleuriste, how's it going?" I loved it. It stuck.