By Shahid Abdul-Karim
New Haven Register, Conn.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Meet the female entrepreneur who learned the flower business from the ground up. As author Shahid Abdul-Karim shows us, Elise Samson’s company is now in “full bloom”.
Elise Samson got her start in the floral industry as a delivery driver.
“I needed a job while I was in high school,” said Samson, 36.
“So, I went to this floral shop in Litchfield and asked the owner at the time if they’re hiring,” she said.
“The owner said they were looking for a delivery driver and they hired me.” Flowers of Distinction was her first job and the shop is still in business.
Now, after years of hands-on experience, education and building self-confidence, Samson launched Elise Floral, a statewide full service wedding and event florist company.
But unbeknownst to Samson, while working as a delivery driver, she thought the job would be easy.
“I had to clean and process the flowers, there is a whole procedure that I didn’t know,” she said. “But in my mind during that time, I was thinking I can rock tunes in my car and deliver pretty flowers; it didn’t work that way.”
Over the course of the next couple of months, according to Samson, she wasn’t allowed to arrange any of the flowers initially.
She said she had to learn how to clean the buckets properly, learn the names of flowers and learn how to process them.
“I had to learn a lot of things before I could really get into the flowers and design,” she said.
“It made me appreciate the entire process more.”
It was after her sophomore year in college that she realized her passion was floral design.
“I was going to the University of Rhode Island for Marketing Design and I didn’t like the medium,” said Samson. “Whenever I’d come home for school break, I’d work at the shop and it was so uplifting for me.”
Samson course-corrected to put more focus on her passion and decided to transfer to the University of Connecticut to obtain a degree in horticulture.
During her senior year, a friend reached out and asked if she could help with floral arrangements for a wedding.
“It was at that point where I said, I could really do this on my own,” said Samson.
But in 2014 she took the leap of faith and started her company. Some of the services she specializes in are bouquets, centerpieces, ceremonies and cakes.
According to Samson, she said the business began to picked up steam last year.
“I had to be confident. My decision (to go into business) was if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do right,” she said. “I wanted to do it and I didn’t want to look back.”
So far, Samson is wowing her customers and clients with her designs.
Barrie Drazen of Hamden said Samson is one of the best creative minds in the industry.
“I’ve ordered from her at-least a half a dozen times and each time its been different and I’ve been very pleased,” said Drazen, who has been a customer for three years.
She’s very artistic and talented,” he said. “She comes up with these colorful arrangements; it’s not just a bunch of flowers in a vase.”
Samson said creativity is essential, because floral design is all emotions.
“I could have someone come to me (to make arrangements) for a wedding or a new baby, said Samson. “The next person that calls me might need arrangements for a funeral,” she said. “It’s about making it appealing for the customer and allowing yourself to be creative; we’re artist.”
Samson’s designs have been featured in numerous publications including The Connecticut Bride and Moffly Media Publications.
One of Samson’s biggest cheerleaders who encouraged her to stick to the path of becoming an entrepreneur was Bliss Bridal owner Jessica Boni.
“She was one of our brides when she got married and she’d expressed interest of going into business,” said Boni, who is an avid supporter of female entrepreneurship.
Boni said a few months after her wedding, Samson brought an arrangement of flowers to them and said she decided to launch her company.
“I’m really super excited for her,” she said. She really is a down-to-earth person which is hugely important in our industries; it’s so emotional.” On the contrary, according to Samson, owning a business has its ups and downs. Her biggest challenge is social media.
“I don’t have any employees, it’s all me handling social media,” said Samson. “It’s changing constantly and the new demographics of people that are getting married sooner use different social media platforms.”
Samson said it wasn’t long ago, “where we were taking orders on paper.”
“I like it where I’m busy enough to have some free time and totally not be under water,” she said.
Samson said her favorite part about being a florist is “still”opening a box of flowers, “you appreciate the beauty of them.”
Folks wishing to place orders can request a consultation via www.EliseFloral.com or call (203) 952-1397.