so long, valentine’s day.

flowers

We’ve put another Valentine’s Day to bed. All I can say is, [insert giant sigh of relief].

I’ve been wearing the same pair of jeans for six days, I can’t remember the last time I washed my hair, and it’s been at least three weeks since I’ve had a day off. We expected to spend this post-holiday weekend all snuggled up and lounge-like, but the work just keeps coming with weddings, bridal/baby showers, dinner parties, and memorials and it looks like we’ll spend the better part of today and tomorrow in the shop. To complain would seem ridiculous; we’re so grateful for the business we’re afraid to even utter the words, “I need a break,” for fear of jinxing all this good fortune.

Owning and operating a flower shop is the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. It’s physically demanding — standing 8-12 hours at a time, awkwardly hunched over a counter-height design table, lifting 10-gallon buckets filled with water and flowers, hauling giant arrangements to-and-fro, and loading and unloading delivery vans — and some days my body aches all over, from the tips of my fingers to the arches of my feet. Managing fresh inventory is both a science and a gamble, and if you mess it up you could lose your shirt. In this industry, sales are seasonal and hard to forecast, making my hours unpredictable; though it may say 9:00-5:00 on the door, I rarely have the pleasure of a 40-hour work week.

And that’s just the tip of the {sometimes terrifying} iceberg of small business ownership…

Despite all of this, owning a flower shop is also the best thing I’ve done in my life. I love the constant buzz of energy around our little shop as we take new orders, work with clients, and brainstorm for upcoming projects. I’m thankful for a career that lets me be creative and keeps me on my toes, even if it does wear me out completely. And just when I think I can’t muster the strength to crank out one more arrangement, a sweet customer calls to tell us the flowers we designed for her mom’s memorial service were perfect and brought the family so much joy in a time of grieving. Or I run into a bride I worked with, and she shares that the bridal bouquet I made was her favorite part of her big day. We get to play a little part in some of the most monumental experiences of people’s lives, and I feel so honored and lucky every time someone says, “I choose you to design the flowers for XYZ.”

Even more than that, I’m so overwhelmed by the incredible support of our family and friends. C’s mom spent the entire week with us to help with the holiday. My step-dad took Valentine’s Day off work and delivered flowers, after spending the night before helping C route and organize orders until at least 10:00pm. Our friends ordered arrangements for their Valentines, dropped in with treats, and sent encouraging texts offering to help any way they could. If you’re reading this (and you know who you are) it means the world to us and we love you so much.

So, even though I’m completely exhausted and can’t imagine anything better than a hot bath and a 12-hour nap, I’m grateful for the pile of orders sitting on my desk and the chance to keep doing what I love and growing in this crazy business.

Now, pardon me, but I gotta get back to work.