By Chelsea Groomer Waxahachie Daily Light, Texas
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Christine Flemmer, owner of "Joyful Flowers" has incorporated her creative skills, along with her schooling to become a well-rounded entrepreneur. In this article, Flemmer does a great job of taking us along her entrepreneurial journey.
From artistically crafted designs to beautifully arranged combinations, a bouquet of flowers can help send the right message.
Whether it's dramatic colors for a centerpiece attraction or complementing appeal of a wedding corsage pinned to a blazer, handcrafted floral masterpieces are what Joyful Flowers encompasses.
"I used to want to be an interior designer, and I looked into it, but it just wasn't in the cards for me. My creativity came through in floral design, which has been even better. I like flowers more than I think I would've liked interior design," expressed Christine Flemmer, owner of Joyful Flowers.
Inspiring a story in every detail of her aesthetically pleasing bouquets, Joyful Flowers is not a typical flower shop, but an online store that creates individual, top-quality arrangements, and custom orders.
"I found a passion that I had that I didn't really know about, and it's blossoming -- as the pun would be," she added.
BUDDING BEGINNINGS Born and raised in Waxahachie, this local native has worked in corporate environments since the age of 14, seeing the town she loves change with the times.
"I was born in Baylor Hospital in Waxahachie, when it used to be next to Getzendaner Park, went to Waxahachie High School and graduated in 2010, and then I got married just two steps away at the Chautauqua," she chuckled at the irony.
Through her many years of customer service working for various companies, Flemmer developed a talent for the profession and wisely applied it to her business. In January 2015, Flemmer married the love of her life in, Evan Flemmer, enjoying the blissful season of being a newlywed and taking a break from the workforce routine.
"For the first eight months of the first year, it was a pretty great, restful period. There was a lot of peace there; I didn't have a lot of stress in my life. It was good and probably what everybody hopes for," Flemmer explained. "Everybody wants to retire some day or take off from their job, so in that aspect it's good. But most people will find that there's purpose in your life that you need to have, even if it's not a day-to-day at a job environment. You still need to feel like you're working towards something or need something better, or bring purpose to yourself."
And, as most hardworking personalities are, Flemmer couldn't let her creativity sit idle. With an itch to express herself, she later launched the learning process that would eventually lead to her future career.
"It basically came out of necessity, and that was because when I married, my husband started a job with farming. Within six months of being married, we had to travel both in the summer and sometimes before then. We both are spirit-filled people, and we decided we needed to pray about our decision because we didn't just want to make a decision to leave both of our jobs and start something fresh or new when we didn't know how it was going to end. So we did a lot of praying, and we both felt like it was definitely something we were going to do for a season in our life," Flemmer began. "So I put some thought to it, let's get the education end of it, and learn more about what I love which happens to be flowers, working with my hands, and being creative. I thought, 'Why not try to make myself better in that area and make something happen?'
"So I decided to do that. I started online schooling, I worked through that for the whole summer and graduated with a 4.0 -- and that was the first time that I did that," she giggled. "I was really proud of myself."
Taking online training from a floral design program at Penn Foster Career School, Flemmer's drive was set into motion. By November 2016, she had a floral shop with an online store ready to take flight into early success.
PLANTING AND BUDGETING Investing out of her pocket, Flemmer strategically planned a debt-free tactic.
"The original goal was to start a business, but I wasn't sure of which direction to go, so I wanted to be financially responsible and not start out with debt or loans. I wanted to start fresh, even if it took a little longer to get off the ground and start without zero-debt -- and that's what I did," Flemmer explained the process. "I went with one project at a time, bought those flowers for that project and made what I came up with in my head and did that little by little. Once I had enough, I started with wreaths, because it was Christmas time. I knew how people shopped and they're big on wreaths, so I thought, 'let's start it with a boost and try that.'"
Opening her shop on Etsy.com, Flemmer contended with other small businesses, learning the wants of her customers and the latest industry trends.
"I started on Etsy.com, which is a huge business for handcrafted or handmade things from scratch. All over the world people can buy from Etsy. I also knew, since it's a big market, it would be hard to get my name out there, or at least get people to see my stuff. Even though they're these small businesses running these shops online -- there are 'big-small' businesses. There are people who sell millions of dollars a year just from being on Etsy.com. I've read their stories, so I knew who I was going to be running against," she told of the competition and possible challenges.
Although the online shopping arena is an entirely different animal in and of itself, Flemmer received a "do it yourself" challenge from a friend who recently came into Facebook stardom. Candace Payne, also known around the internet world as "Chewbacca Mom," had seen Flemmer's creativity dazzle in homemade projects through her social media avenues and asked if the floral artist could make a glittering ornament wreath for her.
"Originally she had come to me and I told her about my efforts to start my own business, and so she wanted to give me a chance on something, so for it to be a brand new commission on something. I was actually excited about it," Flemmer expressed. "It's made completely out of ornaments, and it was a commission wreath, which I have never done before. I was up for the challenge because I was like, 'I'm going to learn anything that I can!' She really wanted something bright and gold, not with flowers but with ornaments. It was a very big wreath, maybe almost 32 inches. I used a pool noodle that ended up holding all of those ornaments and a whole lot of glue and praying that it would hold.
"I wanted her to love it when she saw it, so I spent a lot of time looking for the right ornaments because I wanted it to be awesome. So I found some really cool ones, bright and colorful, and it was perfect. I delivered it to her, and she really liked it, and it should last for a very long time, like everything else I make."
After that, Payne posted a picture of the impressive wreath, thanking Flemmer for her incredible work on social media. As a result, Flemmer's fan base expanded, drawing attention to the rest of her products.
"That showed me if you at least read up on it, figure out what people are searching for and what they like, then you can put your creativity in it and make something that works both ways. And if you give a great product then people will come back. And for me that's the biggest thing -- I want the quality to be the best. I learned a lot from that process," Flemmer acknowledged.