TARA'S STORY

My parents both had thriving businesses and worked long, hard hours. My playhouse would be under the salon hydraulic chair snipping her customers fallen hair into thousands of little pieces before she swept it all up. Or under my dads work bench as he tinkered away fixing box TV’s and Toasters. My best friends name was Matilda, and in my mind, she looked like Raggedy Anne with straggly red hair made of yarn and stripped 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 to clear the ground for seeding. We were paid .5 cents per rock that was the size of my fist or larger. My dad thought my pay was too rich for my age and changed my wage to .25 percent of a cent when we started to count them all up. Traumatic!

I learned the value of hard work from a very young age and watched my dad sacrifice family dinners to complete tasks. A lot of family time was spent at our family built Dairy Queen, or my mom’s hair Salon. Staff everywhere doated on me, and I bet some were a little jealous of all the ice cream I got to eat and having the most fantastic hair care imaginable in my early teens.

My sister and I were old enough to pamper ourselves wearing our moms’ glamorous clothes to go out with our friends’ weekends. What it all boiled down to was, hard work meant you could have the things you needed and if you worked hard enough, you also had the things you wanted.

So, my dad taught me every skill in the book from his toolbox, from pounding patterns into leather, to electrical, carpentry, roofing, gardening, driving a tractor, and anything of an Arborist nature. I am so grateful for the skills I have because I know “I can do it!”

I was 19 when I started my first flower business in Cranbrook BC, where I was born and graduated from High School. I made business community contacts of my own, on my own, achieved a business loan to buy my first vehicle from a Bank –and that was not for the faint of heart. I sold this business I had named Petals n Buds before moving to Lethbridge AB where, I just actually repeated the same business model. It was profitable and I paid tuition and yearly expenses for my entire, Bible College bachelor’s degree with savings.

I worked, for 15 years with underprivileged children and families in settings that made my heart grow like the Grinch after meeting Cindy Lou, with parents immigrating and coming as refugees into Canada and parenting children in the foster care system. I worked with and started as many activities as I could for children and families until that one day.

On that day, in 2010 I felt prompted to go back into business. At that time, it seemed a very sharp turn but with one foot in front of the other I refamiliarized myself with the business sector. 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 the first five years I wondered if I could make it in Victoria BC. My love of business and every single part of growing business kept me fueled. I love deliveries, I love the people I meet, and those I only have the pleasure of talking to on the phone. I love the challenge of making everyone happy, I love picking up product, finding new product, designing, creative marketing, marketing, HR and team, painting walls doing the labor at 12:00 midnight so as not to interrupt the daily customer activities. I love being able to create something from nothing and then create something from Nature that people want. All this surpasses working for ‘profit’ and the grueling snarl of competition.

More recently I came to understand how my inner joy to work with underprivileged and struggling families fit into this business model. During the last two horrible and devastating impacts of the Covid Pandemic. I learned the neurological influence of ‘giving and receiving' flowers and impact on the concept people see of themselves. I learned that 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 sometimes thankless, and an emotional process of hoop jumping, floristry is an essential trade. Weather we are yelled at –or thanked we put our authentic selves on the line to try to extend that message between loved ones.

Its hard not to be there and even harder when there is an event and an important date that we can’t be in person to attend. Through closures and multiple challenges, we relay a message of care and concern –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 the construction site because dad needed the help of his family to complete a job. Thankful for the late nights, every child I drove home, my broken heart and all the imaginary stitches.

I am so thankful to You!

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