On any team, in any company or in any organization people join in every now and then that you “just know” are going to be around for a very long time and will contribute in a super meaningful way… Barbara is just such a person. Last year we were short-handed for what was the largest wedding production that our organization had ever been involved with. It took our entire team, plus a freelance group (that Barbara was a part of) to basically decorate the Brooklyn Museum. That is when we met Barbara and have not let go since…
In her own words, life in the wonderful world of flowers –
At ten years, the floral design industry is one of my two longest-lasting relationships, (the other is my husband, who’s been my partner for seven.) Following are a series of brief descriptors of the business.
In a cash and carry shop I worked at, customers were constantly walking in and saying how wonderful the store smelled. I’d smile and agree, and even lead them to the fragrant flowers if they asked, although I’d been in the store long enough that I couldn’t actually smell them anymore. A favored expression in this business is, “hurry up and wait,” meaning that work is not a steady flow; rather, everyone rushes to meet a deadline, or prep to begin work on an event…and then we just hang around for go time. The florally-related holidays, such as Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Easter, and so on, do produce weeks’ worth of intense work. Sometimes, if a store is lucky, there is more work than even the best-equipped store can handle. Those times generally wear on everyone’s nerves- frazzling coworkers to the point that they want to strangle each other. The hours become long and the amount of work slavish. These periods are counter balanced by the quiet periods, such as January or midsummer, when customers are traveling, or the calendar is empty of a special occasion which calls for flowers. Since flowers are generally short-lived, a commodity rather than a necessity, customers also frequently haggle about the price, or the fact that, yes, there is tax on flowers.
How does the floral business sound after the above descriptions? If the job had been described as such, I probably would’ve looked for a job elsewhere before walking into my first interview with a shop. The truth is, however, that I am, and always have been, hopelessly addicted to flowers. My interest was piqued at an early age by my grandmother, who was a landscape architect. But familial dedication isn’t really enough to explain why I’ve returned again and again to the floral business over a decade. Flowers, if you can stop to take a deep breath and appreciate them, are beautiful in themselves. But let’s face it… how many people can stop to smell the roses? This work is worthwhile to me for the good moments, to be found in every day. When an arrangement comes together, it gives a sense of satisfaction that is immediate and complete. When coworkers also find beauty in something you’ve made, it’s an additional bonus. The maximum gratification comes when a customer’s eyes light up at seeing what you’ve made for them. I’ve also been fortunate to work with many excellent people, not least among them the crew at Starbright. (Especially Brian!!!) There are always laughs to be shared, as well as the sense of accomplishment when a large job is completed, at having contributed to a significant moment or event in someone’s life. If I’m waxing too poetic, sometimes there’s satisfaction at simply having gotten through another day, and having managed to create something in the meantime.
A little bit about Starbright…. Starbright Floral Design is located in the heart of New York City’s historic flower district. Our studio is centrally located in Manhattan. We offer local and worldwide delivery of flowers, plants and gifts of all types. In addition, we are a premier provider of decor in Manhattan for corporate and social special events. To gain a bit of a broader perspective on our organization and on the work that we do, please visit our website at www.starflor.com or reach out to us by phone at 800.520.8999. We are located in Studio 201 at 150 West 28th Street. We hope to see you soon!