February 13, 2012
Being from Hattiesburg, there is one constant that we’ve noticed through the last couple of decades: Hattiesburg constantly grows. The city has expanded beyond it’s limits and somehow it just keeps growing! However, just a stone’s throw away (at least for Paul) from where the original Hattiesburg began in what is now downtown Hattiesburg near the railroad station, sits one of the most unique and thriving businesses in the whole town.
Blooms is located in an old bakery building and has kept the “old school” feel that came with the building. Not only do they provide an incredible experience to their clients (friends) who work with them for their floral arrangements or any of the other services they provide, but they are huge supporters of the local community. Blooms is full of original arts and crafts that are all made right here in town. From pottery to jewelry to paintings, you can find a little bit of everything!
Blooms is owned by two of the kindest hearted people we’ve met. Joyce and Adrienne are a mother/daughter team that work together to make Blooms really stand out.
We had the pleasure to speak with Adrienne, we’ll let her tell you a little more!
Tell us a little about you.
“Sometimes, right back where you started from is right where you belong” This could not be more true for me and Blooms (and Hattiesburg, MS for that matter). During the time my mom owned and operated Blooms, I was involved to some extent, but I was at a place in life desiring to make my own way. In search of finding “my way”, I had some incredible educational and professional experiences. Just before graduating with my business degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, I decided to pursue a French degree as well. This pursuit led me to Paris, France where I studied, worked and lived for three years. In all areas of my professional experiences there was always an element of planning events and so the seed was planted.
After planning my own wedding and those of many friends, it was clear that this was where my passion really came alive! Little did I know that somehow every aspect of my personal and professional life was leading me back to Hattiesburg armed with knowledge and experiences that would allow me to return to a city I dearly love to support and to impact those around me. This was all part of God’s perfect plan and I just could not see it as clearly as He did!
My mom on the other hand, is the visionary behind Blooms! She is the creative genius and the ever inspiring person who sees things in ways no one else can. She is the one who stands in the background and let’s me APPEAR to run the show, but it is really Joyce that really makes our mother-daughter partnership work!
If anyone had told me or my mom that we would one day work together, we would have both had a good laugh. Yet, here we are working side-by-side right where we belong! And still my mom never ceases to amaze me.
Tell us the story of how Blooms began.
Established in 1994 by my mom, Joyce Hicks, in an incredible historic home on Hardy Street, Blooms began as a dream that only God could have manifested. Her philosophy has always been, God the creator made us to create and it is through Blooms that He made this possible. It started off as a retail gift shop with an emphasis on gardening. While there are plenty of full service florist around, Blooms’ approach was unique (some might say different). After 10 years in business, she sold the it (not because she wanted to, but because there was anticipated job transfer for my dad). The business changed hands three times and locations twice, but Blooms was never quite the same. Most of us say it was because Joyce was not present, but the real reason was not because of a person it was due to the approach and it was my mom’s approach that made Blooms so unique.
In the fall of 2010, we were asked to buy Blooms back. With great hesitation on my mom’s part and me insisting it was the right thing, we said YES! Re-opening the doors of Blooms in it’s current location in Historic Downtown Hattiesburg at The Bakery Building was a very humbling experience. When customers (we like to call them friends) come in the shop that we haven’t seen since 2004 and reminise about their shopping experience at Blooms, how they were inspired through Blooms to start their own business, or received words of encouragement during a tough time in their life, it is truly humbling to know that my mom was part of that. And now, a little over a year being back in business, we are so thrilled that God’s hand was at work and that we did say “Yes”.
What sets you apart as a vendor?
When we’re in the shop working long hours serving our friends, we don’t really think about what sets us apart…we just love what we do! We have the chance to meet amazing people and have fun in the process.
However, it is our customers that encourage us and let us know what sets us apart. What we hear most is that our approach, level of customer service, attention to detail, and desire to make sure that everyone who walks through the door experiences something positive is what sets us apart. This is something that we strive for each day. When you are passionate about what you do in life, people see that and they want to both be part of it and support you in it!
Describe your ideal wedding client.
Wow, I don’t know that I have an ideal wedding client! Each one is different and unique in their own way. While we are there to provide inspiration, sometimes it is the bride that really inspires us, which we love! The things I like and appreciate in a wedding client are the ones that have their own ideas, but also allow us to influence those ideas to achieve the look and feel that they desire on their special day. The ideal wedding client is the one who raves over her flowers years after their wedding day. The wedding client who says, “This was more than I could have ever imagined!” <– this is the ideal client!
What kind of experience can a bride expect when choosing Blooms for her wedding day?
A bride can expect to experience the highest level of personal service! The one thing I always hear is, “If Adrienne and Joyce (Blooms) are handling your wedding day, you don’t have anything to worry about.” We try to take away the stress of the big and little details so that the bride and her family truly enjoy the day. It is a time of celebration! Blooms has always been about exceeding our client’s expectations down to the smallest detail! So we decided that offering wedding planning and coordination services were essential.
What advice would you give to brides-to-be?
This should be a happy time, not stressful. So, first and foremost, plan and budget from day one! When we are part of the process from start to finish this is a crucial part of what we do, not just the flowers. When brides-to-be don’t know what to expect or know what their budget should be, it seems that they start off with big expectations and when their budgets don’t match up there is inevitably disappointment. This CAN be avoided! A wedding can be personal and everything a bride wants, sometimes we just have to get creative. Look for your inspiration, but allow those with experience to help you achieve the look you want within a budget that is manageable for you and your family.
After the plans and budgets have been set, ENJOY your wedding day! Take time to be in the moment and soak up everything around you. Focus on the positive. Sometimes family dynamics can be stressful for a bride, but don’t focus on the negative. Remember the wedding day is about the bride and the groom!! Don’t try to control every little detail. The best thought out plans don’t always work out the way we expect.
Where do you find inspiration?
Firstly, in each other. My mom and I bounce around ideas, even the ones that seem the craziest. Our inspiration comes from people and things that surround us. We are inspired by something as simple as a color or as complex as an over the top theme. In most cases, our greatest inspiration comes from our clients. We work with them to evolve and realize the things that have inspired them.
What is the biggest misconception about your industry?
That what we do is easy. We work long hours and almost every weekend, but we LOVE what we do. So this makes it worth it. Plus, getting to work as a mother-daughter team every day, this is an opportunity we are both forever grateful!
The other biggest misconception about our industry is cost/price — just like everything else the cost of flowers and supplies continue to increase. When you see a simple arrangement of a few French Tulips in a vase, what you don’t see (or know) is how much the cost (wholesale) before you even pull them out of the pack.
While these are misconceptions, this is what makes it so important to work with a vendor that can help you work through the details to manage expectations.
If you weren’t putting together mad awesome flower arrangements, what else would you be doing?
Because Blooms is made up of many different services, we do more than just flowers. And because we are small business owners, we have the opportunity to impact many different aspects of the business.
That said, if I were not at Blooms, I would be back in advertising and marketing (where I was for nearly 10 years and loved every minute of it). The great thing about Blooms is I still handle this area of the business.
Oh yes, and traveling the world would be a priority on my agenda.
What can we expect to see in the future for blooms?
Blooms is definitely on the up swing! Things just keep getting better and better. Our client list continues to grow and our reach has pushed beyond state lines.
We will always seek to provide the highest level of service and to continue delivering stunning floral design! What our client’s can expect from Blooms is an effort to have greater impact on the front end through our planning services which we hope will help our clients long term.
In the coming year, we look to offer planning and budget seminars, floral design classes and much more.
And as always, we will continue to grow our bridal registry and resources for our Blooms Brides-To-Be.
A HUGE thanks to Joyce and Adrienne for being awesome! We had a great time with you guys! You are seriously TALENTED!
You can keep up with Blooms on Facebook here: Blooms a Garden Shop
To get in touch with Blooms for your wedding or event contact them here: 601.584.9200 or firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you’d like to check out the amazing local work and grab a bite to eat next door at The Depot Coffee House & Bistro here is the address: 127 Buschman Street, Hattiesburg, MS 39401