TARA'S STORY

My parents both had thriving businesses and worked long hours. My playhouse would be under Moms hydraulic chair in her salon, snipping her customers fallen hair into thousands of little pieces before she swept. Or under my Dads work bench as he tinkered away, fixing someone Box TV or toaster. My best friend was imaginary. Her name was Matilda and in my mind, she looked like Raggedy Anne with straggly red hair made of yarn and striped red and white leotards, well cuddled and floppy.

When I was old enough Dad taught us to work hard. Hard for me was picking what seemed like a billion little rocks and putting them in buckets in order to clear the ground for seeding. We were told we'd be paid 5 cents for every stone I picked, my fist size or larger. Dad thought my pay was too rich after counting and paid me 25% of what he promised. He said it was too much for my age. Traumatic!

I learned the value of hard work from a very young age by watching my Dad sacrifice family dinners to complete tasks. Much of our family time was spent in my mom’s hair Salon or at our family built Dairy Queen restaurant where I seemed to get as much ice cream as I could eat, and had the most fantastic hair care imaginable in my early teens. Soon my sister and I were big enough to pamper ourselves with our moms’ glamorous clothes, just for a night out with our friends. It all meant something to me.

The lesson it all taught me, was that hard work meant you could have the things you needed and if you worked hard enough, you might also have the things you wanted.

Living mostly with my Dad, he taught me every skill in his toolbox, from pounding patterns into leather, to electrical, carpentry, roofing, gardening, driving heavy duty machinery, and anything of an Arborist nature. I am grateful for these skills I more then this I grew up knowing "I could do anything."

I was 19 in Cranbrook BC, when I started my first flower business. I achieved a business Bank loan to buy my first vehicle and acquired a lot of contracts with local businesses in order to successfully run my own business –and that was not for the faint of heart. I called my first business Petals n Buds, a name I created after Mind-Mapping (does any one know that skill any more?) I sold this business before moving to Lethbridge AB where, I actually just repeated the same business model. It was profitable enough to cover tuition and college expenses for my entire, bachelor’s degree - debt free. After which I worked with underprivileged children and families in settings that made my heart grow like the Grinch's after meeting Cindy Lou. I worked in the Non-profit sector for 15 years before going back into business.

In 2010 it seemed a sharp turn refamiliarizing myself with the business sector again. It quite literally felt like whiplash with the introduction of competition and BNI’s routine boasts --expectations we announce, “We’re the BEST!” I was used to everyone sacrificing themselves for one-another in non-profit work, that for the first five years I nearly doubted I could make it in Victoria BC. But I was fueled by the love of challenges and the belief "I could do anything."

I love deliveries, I love the people, hearing the reasons people were buying flowers. I love the challenge of making peoples messages come alive. I love working with wholesalers, finding new products, designing, marketing, HR, painting walls past midnight so as not to interrupt the daily customer experience. I love being able to create something people want. All this surpasses working for ‘profit’ and the grueling snarl of competition.

More recently I came to understand how working and operating a Flower Company was just as satisfying as my joy working with underprivileged children. Because of the last two horrible and devastating years working through the Covid19 Pandemic I came to understand the neurological influence of ‘giving and receiving' flowers and its impact on peoples self concept. The presence of flowers is similar to the presence of a loved one. The meaning of my 12-hour days and pure enjoyment of every part of this work has no shallow tides. Though thankless at times, and an emotional process of hoop jumping, floristry is an essential trade. Weather we are yelled at –or smiled at we put our authentic selves on the line to try to extend that message between loved ones.

Its hard for customers, when they cant be the ones to visit their loved ones, and even harder when there is an event or date that we can’t attend in person. Through the closures and multiple challenges, we do relay the businesses that share the message of care and concern – we have for others. I think, its an essential service (recognized or not). I am grateful for all of my experiences, thankful for the hard work as a child, thankful for sleeping on rolled up carpet at a construction site because dad needed our help to complete a job. Thankful for the late nights, every child I drove home after a youth group, my broken heart and all the imaginary stitches.

I am so thankful to You!

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