Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Look Back on 2010

With this being our first year as owners of The Secret Garden we had a lot of firsts this year.  We thought we would take a little time to look back over some of our favorite moments of 2010.

Some of our favorite things ~

We design so many pieces in a year it's hard to pick out just a few.  These are ones that have touched our hearts.

 50 Long stem roses in a vase ~ WOW!!  This was for a 50th anniversary.  We were amazed they all fit in the vase.  I bet her eyes are still twinkling after getting all of these.  We had a young bride in the shop at the time this picture was taken.  I took this bouquet over to her and said with a smile, "This is what you get for 50 years."   

The Race for The cure!  Being asked to create this balloon arch, and having Sheryl on our team to design the perfect thing.  Setting it up before the sun came up and knowing that it would be on stage to honor all of the survivors and the women who lost the battle.  We also made a balloon archway to kick off the race.  This is something I will not forget, it was a touching time.

Our first convention.  We attended a floral convention in March and came back to the shop with some great ideas.  We learned so much in the hands on classes and the business lessons.  It was an amazing and inspiring event.  Already looking forward to this year.  I will graduate and receive my ICPF, Illinois Certified Professional Florist certificate.  That is something I am looking forward to putting in the proud moments category next year!

Merchandising.  Selecting and creating with the new merchandise.  This year was filled with buying, buying, and yeah buying.  We brought in new gifts, containers, and more to bring our own touch to the store.  I have been told all along that the store will reflect our style and I can see that happening with every new box of treasures.  Luckily our taste and Carolyn's (the previous owner) blend well together.

Most Overwhelming Time ~

Our first Valentine's Day, though smooth, was still a bit overwhelming.  After weeks of preparation we pulled it off without a hitch, but we must admit a few more gray hairs can be seen.

Just a small sampling of the flowers we received.  All of them are processed with care and then arranged for our cooler.
The cooler was packed with deliveries and orders.  It was a true site to see.  We had roses and roses... and more roses!

The sales floor all decked out in red and white.  A beautiful site for sure!  Gifts, gift baskets, balloon wraps, and more, all ready for the big day.

And after it was all over just a few things remained.  It was so empty in that poor cooler.  Nothing but the few remaining flowers.

Proudest Moments ~ 

Like we said up top, this year was full of a lot of firsts.  Here are a few of our proudest moments.

My (Lori's) first Mache.  I know thinking of a funeral piece may seem like a morbid proud moment, but this one I did with just a little help from Carol.  It always feels good when you can say "I did that!".  This was one of those times.  Funeral pieces are a very important part of our business.  They are something we take great pride in because we are celebrating the life of a loved one. 

One of Michael's first creations all on his own.  He took some of the design techniques he learned in our classes and created this.  He took a sunflower with broken petals and transformed it into a beautiful focal point to this piece.  The colors and the flow of the arrangement showcase the talent he has inside.  We can't wait to see how he comes along this year and we know he will make a great designer!

Our "Traveling Kindness Bouquet".  When we came up with   stole this idea from Monday Morning Balloon Co. in PA we had no idea what doors this bouquet would open.  We started giving a small bouquet to a business with a card attached asking them to enjoy the flowers and pass them along.  This got us several "thank you" phone calls, letters, and even some new friends because of this idea.  It even earned us front page of the business journal!  What a great idea that we are going to carry forward into the new year.

 My first wedding bouquet.  I was pretty nervous about creating anything as special as a wedding bouquet.  When you take the thoughts and dreams of a woman and express it with flowers there is a bit of pressure.  But I was very pleased with the end result and I have heard she was too!

Proud of our team.  Our team has such amazing talent, ideas, and stamina.  These ladies can design until they drop and then keep on going.   They have embraced our ideas, some a little risky, and even helped us spread the word.  We are so proud to have them design for us.    It amazes us still today what they come up with.  They can take the most ordinary looking thing and transform it into the extraordinary.  Carol and Sheryl have had patience to train two novice owners, and do it with a smile.  Amy has taken off with the displays, signs, and even some designing. 

 I would say some of my proudest moments this year revolve around my evolving design abilities.  Taking flowers and just designing.  There is nothing like the feeling when someone picks out something you created from the cooler to give to someone they love.  That is the proudest you can get!

 None of this would be as exciting if it was not for our AMAZING team.  Carol, our shop manager who keeps a watchful eye over us.  Sheryl, a wonderful and creative soul who designs her heart out.  Amy, our "grunt" (her phrase not ours hehe), who is amazing with windows, signs, and talking me down from the ledge when I need it.  

We must also thank all of you!  Our friends, supporters, facebook fans, and loyal customers.  Without you choosing us to help you express your feelings, thoughts, and ideas we could not do any of this.  You encourage us to be our very best.  You drive us in the right direction with your feedback, comments, and suggestions.  YOU are the reason we open the doors, throw on our aprons, and pick up our tools every morning.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making our first year one to remember forever.


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