If you told me 5 years ago that I would be leaving my dream job to start a flower company, I would have laughed. I was pregnant with my second child and had just returned to school to complete my accounting designation. Continuing on a path I started when I left my home town on the Sunshine Coast at 17 to attend business school at BCIT. Following business school, I spent my early 20's backpacked around Asia and Central America. At 25, I landed a junior accounting role at my dream cosmetics company and spent the next ten years there. When I left 2 months ago, I was senior financial analysis at one of Canada's top employers and greenest companies. So why did I quit this dream job to start my own flower company? I'm sure I will ask myself this very question many many times over the next few years.
My flower passion started with a small work project almost a year ago. Before I knew it, I was reading everything I could get my hands on about the North American floral industry. I couldn't believe that 80% of US cut flowers sold and 60% of Canadian cut flowers sold, were imported from South America. I started looking for sustainable local flower options in the US and Canada and there were very few. I read Flower Confidential by Amy Stewart and was appalled at the working conditions and distance traveled by South America Flowers. I read 50 Mile Bouquet by Debra Prinzing and was relieved to learn that the local flower movement was getting some traction in the USA. Unfortunately, there was almost no sign of it in Canada.
I challenged myself and a friend to create a blog featuring local flowers. I signed up for a floral design course to help with the blog designs. I was staying up late researching, arranging, planting, clipping, creating and blogging about flowers—my hobby had turned into an obsession. I was exhausted, but for the first time in a long time I felt excited about flowers in a way I didn't feel about profit margins and key performance indicators. I had found something that I loved doing, that I was good at doing, and that I could find more sustainable way of doing.
Before long the entrepreneur in me started a business plan and sourcing sustainable local flowers. This all took place over about 6 months and then I made the scariest decision of my life. I said goodbye to a job that I had once loved, to a company that I was proud to work for and people that challenged and mentored me, so I could start my own sustainable local flowers business. As much as my head was telling me I was crazy, my heart screamed, “Shannon, you have to give it a go"
So here I am. I guess I can say I have been an entrepreneur for 2 months now. I have spend this time with my wonderful children and preparing for the launch of my new sustainable local flower company, Postmark Flowers. It is my contribution to the Canadian slow flower movement and will fill a void in the Vancouver market place by offering locally grow designer bouquets. Check out my website Postmark Flowers and like the Postmark Flowers Facebook Page to follow my business and the local flower movement success.