It’s not every day you meet someone whose spirit and life connects with yours so naturally and makes you feel like an instant friend. When I arrived at Floranthropist, I immediately felt at home. I was greeted with hugs, offered pickled (yes, pickled) popcorn from Trader Joe’s, and was able to pet some adorable dogs (around here you can always use some pet therapy). Meet Katie, owner of Floranthropist. Discover her story, how destiny unfolded in the middle of tragic season, and how she finds beauty in every bloom.
When I was in high school, I got a job at a florist and began working in that flower shop. My mom was also a florist. I’ve been surrounded by flowers my whole life. I remember being really, really little and getting sick and falling asleep in a flower box surrounded in stock, this amazingly good smelling flower.I got married when I was really young and had children, instead of finishing nursing school, I had small people. It was great. I worked in flower shops a long, long time, but when the kids were little I waited tables and they were homeschooled. I just worked at nights and was home full-time with the kids. Simeon, my son came up to me and said to me, “Mom when you were growing up did you always know that you wanted to wait tables? Did you always want to be a waitress?” I was like, “Gasp! Oh no! I’m in my thirties. I’m waiting tables and I love my career. But it was absolutely not what I aspired to as a child.” I stepped back and reevaluated my skill set and asked myself, “What is it that I’m really good at and what do I know how to do?” The only thing that really came to me was flowers. I put an application in for the Wedding Show a month beforehand. I did a booth there. Literally two weeks before, I found out I was pregnant. I was like “Oh my goodness! What am I doing?” It was our fifth baby. I got like 5 weddings that year. I didn’t really advertise at all because I was having a little person and wanted to focus on that. She was stillborn at 42 weeks. She was two weeks overdue and that was really, really intense for us. Here name was Claire. I’m like God what do I do with this? What do I do with my life now? His response, “Flowers. You’re just going to keep on doing flowers.” Our youngest was 6. There was a huge gap. We had 14, 11, 9, and 6. We were expecting having another little person and preparing for that as a family. Then we needed to adjust back immediately, because all of our kids were school aged. I was like, “Ok flowers. I guess that’s what I’m doing again.” The next year, I did 22 weddings. It was working. It just grew out of my laundry room. But then it was time to get a spot. We have too many people in our house to not have a functioning laundry room. That’s how we ended up here. It’s kind of a random journey.
My son Simeon and our conversation really brought me to a crossroads. It reminded me of how much I value business ownership and being in charge of my own destiny. I was doing it out of my home you know and then we outgrew the space. I didn’t take any loans out because I already had the work coming in. I already had the money. It wasn’t family money, it was flower money to open the spot. There wasn’t loads of risk with it. The business just naturally just grew into the space.
Well I think most of all, I’ve been a mom. I’ve been focused on family for so long. I think the foundation of family is being welcoming, warm, hospitable, and generous. I think the space really represents that well. It’s really beautiful, peaceful, and makes me really happy when I’m here. There aren’t any little sticky fingerprints anywhere. It’s a little different from house in that. It’s my own space. I buy snacks and they don’t get eaten. I have my own snack drawer, it’s amazing. But more than anything it feels like home.
I’m really good at soliciting for other people and it’s a lot harder to step out and kind of hustle for myself. I’m like, “Oh shoot I should probably tell people that we’re here.” But it’s a lot harder to do it when it’s my own thing. I don’t really have any fantastic plans. Really I just want people to want to use the space, love it, and want to come here. Maybe some special dinner parties or some pop-up shops occasionally.
The ceilings, the brick, and the concrete. These were all of the things that I would want in my dream shop that I couldn’t find in any strip mall. It doesn’t exist in spaces when you walk in the door and there’s an eight-foot ceiling. I love the garage door that opens up and we can see the mountains as we work. Realistically, I know our area is industrial and is probably not the best business location, but I really love it.
As our name suggests we are generous. It’s one of our core values. If we have extra flowers or we have an inkling in our heart, I put on Facebook and just ask our customers, “Who can I bless? who do I bless?” We take bouquets to people. For example, I was driving around Valentine’s Day. I was really, really struck with the idea that there were probably women who need flowers today, but weren’t really getting them. I also knew that probably the ones who are getting them, didn’t really need them. They already knew they were loved and cherished by the person who was giving them to them. I was really impacted by that. On Facebook I put that idea out asking people for suggestions and I chose 5 people to do bouquets for and delivered them to them. We really try to see a need and fill it. To be a source of beauty. Sometimes people just need to be seen and know that they matter and have someone give them something beautiful just because. It could be seen as silly. But it’s not. We sometimes feel flowers are beautiful, but a waste and they’re not. They are moments to cherish people, to celebrate, and take in beauty. For weddings, people often just want things big. We revise their wedding budgets to something that makes more sense. But when Claire happened (our 5th child) and she was one of the biggest moments in my life. She was the biggest thing that ever happened in my universe. In moment she was here, the next moment she wasn’t. It gave me so much value for the moment, being present in the moment, and realizing, no, it’s not foolish to embrace and really celebrate each big moment. They don’t come along that often and they’re completely worth celebrating.
You have to be brave. You have to study your demographic and know what you’re doing. But be brave and do what’s in your heart.
Floranthropist is located at 915 Merchant Street, Redding, CA. Open Tuesday-Saturday 11 A-5:30 PM. Follow them on Instagram for updates on events, grand opening, and a super pretty feed.