INTERVIEW WITH HOME.SWEET.FLOWERS

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Flowers never get old. Their colors and shapes brighten up our days & spaces and their scent makes us happy. So no wonder that Lorena from Home.Sweet.Flowers loves working with them. At early age Lorena already played in her grandmother’s flower garden; collecting flowers and by only using what she could find she would arrange beautiful bouquets. Even today, she stayed true to this idea, her Home.Sweet.Flowers business which she runs with her partner, David, uses only locally grown flowers and styles them in donated burlap. The flowery couple strives to make the flower business more sustainable and environmental friendly. That’s why you will have your bouquet delivered by a bike. For free! The friendly courier will take a picture of the lucky recipient to share it with the thoughtful sender. I love this idea! And if you want to pick up a bunch of flowers by yourself or you want to learn how to arrange flower bouquets, you can find Home.Sweet.Flowers Sundays at the Off the Grid:Picnic in Presidio or sign up for Lorena’s class at Workshop SF. It’s totally affordable and you will love it! !
Now enjoy the interview with Lorena and I say green thumbs up for this bloomy local business!

Lorena, you and David make people happy by creating beautiful bouquets and delivering them to make someone’s day brighter. What led you to open this kind of business? 
I’ve been playing with flowers ever since I was 4 years old in my grandmother’s garden. I’ve always been drawn to different textures, colors, and the natural jaw dropping beauty of flowers. It made sense for me to grow up and keep yearning to share my love of flowers with others. Yet….it was not until I met David that a business developed. He saw my passion and ran with it! I’d like to think that him and I make a great team – he helps my creative visions come to life. Plus, he has his own innovative ideas!

Describe the idea of your online store? What is so unique about it?

We not only want the people of San Francisco to have an easy time ordering flowers online but we also want to include them in on our process as much as possible – which is why, a person can choose from our online fresh and local flower selection, not be charged extra for our bike delivery, and then receive an AwePic ! An AwePic is a photograph taken by our couriers of the recipient with their flowers. This photo gets texted or emailed to our customer as a smiling confirmation. Some other unique tid bits about HSF is that we donate 0.25cents of each sale to Project Night Night, we wrap our ca grown bundles in donated burlap, and we strive everyday to make our flowery business more environmentally friendly. We want to give back to the community and share our mad crush of flowers!

Lorena’s flower class at Workshop SF

The flowers at Home.Sweet.Flowers are California grown. Why is it so important for you to use local products?
We think it is important to use locally grown flowers that are not imported from outside of the country, or even out of state. By doing this, we help the local economy thrive. Everyday we try to be more and more environmentally friendly, which is why we deliver via bicycle around the city = 0% carbon monoxide (CO) emission. Also, we use recycled supplies such burlap to wrap our bouquets. Burlap is originally used to bag coffee. Instead of throwing it away we reuse it in a unique way. Even our business cards are recycled!

What do you keep in mind when creating a bouquet?
Flowers help me to express my love for others and my inner creativity – for me floral design is an art form! It oftentimes is my form of meditation. When creating a bouquet I keep in mind: my childhood – hiding in nooks and tickling flowers. A sense of playful freshness.
Finding and giving my flowers to sweet homes to radiate within. Making others smile. How happy I am to share. Share. Share.

I’m bad, I cut my flowers with the same scissors as I use for paper. Tell us, what should we have in our toolbox when it comes to flowers?
I think many people use scissors, I wouldn’t recommend it but I won’t judge….as long as the flowers can drink water that’s what’s important!
Toolbox must have’s = Water, garden shears, string, regular scissors, and Classical Music.
Do you have any tips to keep cut flowers longer alive?
Let them drink fresh water every 2 days or so. Keep ’em out of direct sunlight. Add a little sugar to the water for the heck of it! And….sing to them!

As every job, running your own business has also pro and con. What do you love most about your job? What’s not so great?
The best part of my “job” is that it does not ever feel like a job. Being around flowers will keep me young and happy forever.
The not so great : when prepping and cleaning my flowers I have to remove rubber bands that many farmers use. My hands are wet and oftentimes the rubber band snaps and pinches my fingers. That is the worst! *laugh* but in all seriousness – it is sad to think about but unfortunately we are forced to deal with unfair flower competitors. It breaks my heart! I think that their is room for all of us flowery people and that competition is a good thing: it pushes businesses to be their best, which the community deserves. I am delighted to support my fellow flowery businesses’, especially those that are run by women. I’d rather put energy into supporting each other than butting heads.

Have you any advice for somebody who would like to open own business?
Starting your own business is not easy but it is such a reward knowing that it is your creation. Just know, that at the beginning your life will most likely consist entirely on your new business. You may notice that you think about your business 24/7 and that you do not actually have one day off. It’s normal! But remember that it’s always important to keep a balance. Keep a schedule and pencil in time for yourself!

Can you describe us your day at the …morning…. noon…. evening?
I wake up very morning around 5 or 6am. After breakfast and David’s yummy freshly made juices I head over to the SF Flower Mart to visit the local farms. Oftentimes, I get to see a stunning city sunrise! I always take a long time at the mart talking with the farmers and wanting to take home every flower. I literally have to pull myself away *giggle* when I return to my workshop I prep and clean all my flowers. After, my flower girls (staff) begin creating fresh bundles for that day for – individual customer deliveries and bundles for businesses’.
Then, my couriers arrive and we fill their baskets up with flowers. My day doesn’t end there though…. In the afternoon- my couriers send me awePics throughout the day which I send over to each customer. I also can be found teaching floral design classes at workshop, constructing flower installations, and gardening. I go to sleep pretty late, I can be quite the night owl but…the evenings is the time for myself. I go to yoga class, play music with David, or just read :)

Owner’s dream? 
We are working on opening up HSF locations throughout California like Santa Cruz, Venice Beach, and my home town – Santa Barbara. Places where we can still deliver via bicycle for free. Also, we are close to having our own flower Farm too!

Favorite flowers right now?
I’ve always had a love affair with hydrangeas. I’d also say peonies, cockscomb, lilac, and kale! As for green filler – mint, rosemary, and succulents!

Your top 3 destinations?
Hydra in Greece, Sevilla in Spain, and San Francisco in California.

Currently addicted to…
Blue House Farm strawberries, green tea frap, picnics in my garden, Sophia’s Pizza, my doc marten boots and my gifted apron printed by Workshop “drink Beer & Make stuff”.

Night owl or early bird?
Both!

Tell us some of your favorite SF spots?

Building Resources– unique finds for flower installations like beach glass, wood, windows, and toilets.
Paxton Gate– succulents, butterflies moss, stones, and bones. Right up my alley!
Museum mecanique– 20th century arcade games
El Rio– great outdoor patio, karaoke, live music, and a jukebox.
Painted Bird– the best vintage clothes.
Aardvark Bookstore – I always find my favorite author there, Anais Nin.
Castro theater– when they play Grease Sing A Long
Restaurants: Tataki, The Stinking Rose, BiRite, Cha Cha Cha!, Beretta, The Pork Store.

Always in your bag…
Hurraw! Balm – Vegan and organic lipgloss Crumbs Keys Cellphone
ipad mini Bobby and clothes pins Loose change Flower petals.

Thanks Lorena for this great interview and for having me at your workshop!
Follow Home.Sweet.Flowers on twitter & instagram for bright news and updates. 

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