KENNEDY - “I’ve always wanted a flower shop,” states Susan Henry of Kennedy. “It was always my dream to own one.”
“I guess I had an epiphany … I was 56 years old and still painting and done nothing for myself,” Henry explains as she and her husband Terry own a painting business, Country Drywall, that they’ve been operating for many years.
“I don’t want to paint forever, so there’s gotta be something,” explained Susan Henry.
She had worked in a flower shop back in her teenage years before getting married, so she had some training already.
She made the decision to take classes for three weeks in Winnipeg last November. She states the classes were pretty intense, six days a week.
A floral design course is a convenient way to learn more about custom floral design for those interested in pursuing it as a career.
Henry received top quality instruction on a variety of beautiful and lasting floral designs ideas and tips.
The floral industry demands more than just knowledge of blooms – business knowledge, customer service and an eye for design are also necessary for success. The floral design program taught her these skills and much more, while giving her plenty of hands-on training in floral arranging.
Henry’s teacher, being in the flower business for 60 years, said when he started in 1967, there were 250 flower shops in Winnipeg. Now he can count on his hands the number of shops there are, maybe 20 or so.
During COVID the flower shop got extremely busy. Because everyone was shut-in, this was something that people could send and still feel connected.
Although Henry took the course, she wasn’t completely set on the notion of starting her own business. She still wondered if the floral business was for her.
The decision was eventually made, and she officially opened New Beginnings Floral & Design in January.
She runs the flower shop out of her house, renovating and adding on to accommodate the business.
“It’s been working out good so far.”
“I had a really nice Valentine’s Day,” said Henry, speaking of her first major holiday for making arrangements for customers. “I was pretty impressed.”
Henry works mainly with live flowers but has made artificial arrangements as well.
In the future, Henry says she’d like to have some pieces made for customers to rent for weddings and such. For example, an arbor would be a good start.
Henry plans to keep a variety of arrangements in stock, great for customers to purchase on a spur of the moment decision.
She says an average small bouquet takes her approximately 20 minutes to design, whereas an elaborate arrangement, such as a wedding bouquet, may take quite a bit longer to put together.
“I tend to like working with a variety of flowers, but I’m not fond of Gerber daisies,” says Henry with a slight chuckle. That dislike goes way back to her school days.
“Aster Marions and carnations are my favourite,” admits Henry. “Aster Marions are like a little trumpet flower that comes in an array of colours. They look like little miniature lilies that have five or six little clusters on a stem. They are a nice long-lasting flower much like a daisy or carnation and give a bouquet nice colour.”
Think of New Beginnings Floral & Design if you’re in need of a bouquet of flowers for weddings, funerals, Mother’s Day. For those husbands who may be in the dog house … flowers will help plead your case.
“I like to create the designs and then sell it,” explains Henry. “It’s fun.”
Henry may bring in special plants for special occasions because a lot of people like to give baskets of plants or potted plants.
Because Henry is just getting started, she explains that she is not set up to offer too many different items.
Henry explains that down the road she’d like to offer a class to teach people how to arrange their outside pots with birch and willow.
This is definitely a relaxing line of work Henry can do once she retires from their painting business.
Sometimes Henry still paints by day and arranges bouquets by night.
And when she’s not busy with either of those, she enjoys spending time with the grandchildren.
She says her young granddaughter is quite a good assistant already, as she likes to get in there to help grandma.
This is probably a good time for Henry to get going in her business seeing that there is no longer a flower shop in the area.
“The local funeral home is ecstatic that there is once again someone in the area designing flower bouquets.”
“Once my flower shop was open, one of my first customers stated that he always gave his wife flowers from the local flower shop and when the flower shop closed, he hasn’t given her flowers since.”
“If Mother’s Day goes as good as Valentine’s Day, I should be okay,” states Henry as she looks forward to her next big special occasion. “I’m hoping that I make out okay.”
“Now I need to make a bouquet for myself.”
“When I walk into the house at the end of the day and I see my cooler of flowers, it kind of makes me happy,” laughs Henry.
It puts Henry in her happy place.