WAXAHACHIE — From artistically crafted designs to beautifully arranged combinations, a bouquet of flowers can help send the right message. Whether it’s dramatic colors for a centerpiece attraction or complementing appeal of a wedding corsage pinned to a blazer, handcrafted floral masterpieces are what Joyful Flowers encompasses.
“I used to want to be an interior designer, and I looked into it, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me. My creativity came through in floral design, which has been even better. I like flowers more than I think I would’ve liked interior design,” expressed Christine Flemmer, owner of Joyful Flowers.
Inspiring a story in every detail of her aesthetically pleasing bouquets, Joyful Flowers is not a typical flower shop, but an online store that creates individual, top-quality arrangements, and custom orders.
“I found a passion that I had that I didn’t really know about, and it’s blossoming – as the pun would be,” she added.
Born and raised in Waxahachie, this local native has worked in corporate environments since the age of 14, seeing the town she loves change with the times.
“I was born in Baylor Hospital in Waxahachie, when it used to be next to Getzendaner Park, went to Waxahachie High School and graduated in 2010, and then I got married just two steps away at the Chautauqua,” she chuckled at the irony.
Through her many years of customer service working for various companies, Flemmer developed a talent for the profession and wisely applied it to her business. In January 2015, Flemmer married the love of her life in, Evan Flemmer, enjoying the blissful season of being a newlywed and taking a break from the workforce routine.
“For the first eight months of the first year, it was a pretty great, restful period. There was a lot of peace there; I didn’t have a lot of stress in my life. It was good and probably what everybody hopes for,” Flemmer explained. “Everybody wants to retire some day or take off from their job, so in that aspect it’s good. But most people will find that there’s purpose in your life that you need to have, even if it’s not a day-to-day at a job environment. You still need to feel like you’re working towards something or need something better, or bring purpose to yourself.”
And, as most hardworking personalities are, Flemmer couldn’t let her creativity sit idle. With an itch to express herself, she later launched the learning process that would eventually lead to her future career.
“It basically came out of necessity, and that was because when I married, my husband started a job with farming. Within six months of being married, we had to travel both in the summer and sometimes before then. We both are spirit-filled people, and we decided we needed to pray about our decision because we didn’t just want to make a decision to leave both of our jobs and start something fresh or new when we didn’t know how it was going to end. So we did a lot of praying, and we both felt like it was definitely something we were going to do for a season in our life,” Flemmer began. “So I put some thought to it, let’s get the education end of it, and learn more about what I love which happens to be flowers, working with my hands, and being creative. I thought, ‘Why not try to make myself better in that area and make something happen?’
"So I decided to do that. I started online schooling, I worked through that for the whole summer and graduated with a 4.0 – and that was the first time that I did that,” she giggled. “I was really proud of myself.”
Taking online training from a floral design program at Penn Foster Career School, Flemmer’s drive was set into motion. By November 2016, she had a floral shop with an online store ready to take flight into early success.
PLANTING AND BUDGETING
Investing out of her pocket, Flemmer strategically planned a debt-free tactic.
“The original goal was to start a business, but I wasn’t sure of which direction to go, so I wanted to be financially responsible and not start out with debt or loans. I wanted to start fresh, even if it took a little longer to get off the ground and start without zero-debt – and that’s what I did,” Flemmer explained the process. “I went with one project at a time, bought those flowers for that project and made what I came up with in my head and did that little by little. Once I had enough, I started with wreaths, because it was Christmas time. I knew how people shopped and they’re big on wreaths, so I thought, ‘let’s start it with a boost and try that.'"
Opening her shop on Etsy.com, Flemmer contended with other small businesses, learning the wants of her customers and the latest industry trends.
“I started on Etsy.com, which is a huge business for handcrafted or handmade things from scratch. All over the world people can buy from Etsy. I also knew, since it’s a big market, it would be hard to get my name out there, or at least get people to see my stuff. Even though they’re these small businesses running these shops online – there are ‘big-small’ businesses. There are people who sell millions of dollars a year just from being on Etsy.com. I’ve read their stories, so I knew who I was going to be running against,” she told of the competition and possible challenges.
Although the online shopping arena is an entirely different animal in and of itself, Flemmer received a "do it yourself" challenge from a friend who recently came into Facebook stardom. Candace Payne, also known around the internet world as “Chewbacca Mom,” had seen Flemmer’s creativity dazzle in homemade projects through her social media avenues and asked if the floral artist could make a glittering ornament wreath for her.
“Originally she had come to me and I told her about my efforts to start my own business, and so she wanted to give me a chance on something, so for it to be a brand new commission on something. I was actually excited about it,” Flemmer expressed. “It’s made completely out of ornaments, and it was a commission wreath, which I have never done before. I was up for the challenge because I was like, ‘I’m going to learn anything that I can!’ She really wanted something bright and gold, not with flowers but with ornaments. It was a very big wreath, maybe almost 32 inches. I used a pool noodle that ended up holding all of those ornaments and a whole lot of glue and praying that it would hold.
“I wanted her to love it when she saw it, so I spent a lot of time looking for the right ornaments because I wanted it to be awesome. So I found some really cool ones, bright and colorful, and it was perfect. I delivered it to her, and she really liked it, and it should last for a very long time, like everything else I make."
After that, Payne posted a picture of the impressive wreath, thanking Flemmer for her incredible work on social media. As a result, Flemmer’s fan base expanded, drawing attention to the rest of her products.
“That showed me if you at least read up on it, figure out what people are searching for and what they like, then you can put your creativity in it and make something that works both ways. And if you give a great product then people will come back. And for me that’s the biggest thing – I want the quality to be the best. I learned a lot from that process,” Flemmer acknowledged.
As Flemmer worked, putting more time, money, and resources into her business, she was able to profit from her investments over the next month.
“I was able to make back what I put into it during the Christmas season. It was way better than I originally expected it to be,” she stated with a smile.
With a flair for the whimsical, Flemmer’s floral arrangements portray an elegant charm with a classically chic twist, combining beautiful textures and colors into eye-pleasing schemes.
“I’m making things I would’ve liked when I got married. I’m also working with the trends and making things that people don’t see every day. So I’m making some really cool bouquets,” Flemmer admitted. “In order for me to have fresh, unique designs, I like to find flowers that people don’t see every day. Either that, or flowers that are super popular and silk flowers are blowing up right now because people want to keep their bouquets and they don’t want it drying up."
Currently limited to only having fake flowers due to mailing her products cross-country, the floral industry is taking a trend dive into artificial arrangements and their lasting qualities, putting Flemmer’s shop in high-demand.
“I’m going with silk flowers for now, like wedding bouquets or household bouquets. I’ve made normal sized ones, and bridesmaids bouquets, and then I’m going to start with garlands and sell that through the spring season because I know a lot of people look online for weddings,” Flemmer included.
Although Flemmer enjoys the endurance of the silk flowers, her overall ambition is to make arrangements with real ones.
“Because of all of this, I’ve been asked to make bouquets that you would usually buy in a floral shop. I’ve been asked to do a few of those with fresh flowers so that I can move into my real goal which is to work with fresh flowers all the time,” Flemmer began, learning the tricks of the trade from professional florists. “I’ve also helped out another floral designer with weddings and making everything that comes with weddings, like boutonnieres, corsages, centerpieces, and everything the wedding procession. That was a great learning experience because until you get your feet on the ground running, for me, that’s been the best way to get comfortable with the wedding industry,” she added.
Incorporating her creative skills, along with her schooling and working alongside professionals, Flemmer has become a well-rounded entrepreneur. However, within all her business endeavors, Flemmer wants to continue to keep an open mind for learning, taking constructive advice seriously.
“You can learn from anyone; they’ll always have a tip. Even with your own creativity, everyone has their own eye or style, but it’s almost easier to have another set of eyes to look at something you’re working on and to get feedback from them,” she recognized that quality to be helpful and true.
SPROUTING POTENTIAL PLANS
As for the future of Joyful Flowers, Flemmer is happy to be doing what gives her purpose.
“I don’t want to live life not doing what I’m meant to do, or what I like to do. That’s something I figured out from not working a nine-to-five job anymore. I’m not saying all my jobs were that way. For me, climbing the corporate ladder, I found out the hard way that it was not for me. I wasn’t doing what made my heart full, and I think once you find out what you’re meant to do, then you’re unhappy until it happens,”
Along with purpose follows desire, and Flemmer’s aspiration is to see her online shop go from virtual reality to actual reality.
“I would like to save up enough money to open up a business storefront where I can actually sell real, fresh flowers to people. I’ve always worked in customer service jobs, so that is my number one favorite job. I absolutely love working with people so having a storefront would absolutely be amazing.”
Having a sustainable business that gives people the opportunity to share the delight of floral design to their loved ones is what drives the authenticity of Joyful Flowers. And as this Waxahachie local dreams big, there’s no better place to plant roots than her hometown.
“I would definitely see this as a great place to have a storefront because Waxahachie has been blossoming in its own way. It’s constantly growing, and I know that we have so many small businesses here that create jobs, we have families that are thriving, and I believe we have a lot that are retired too. Waxahachie is a great place to live, grow up and thrive later in life just because the environment is not too big, but not too small,” Flemmer complimented her town. “Waxahachie really supports their own, and that’s a good thing. Having our whole downtown area has always been my favorite part of Waxahachie, just because it’s so rich in tradition, and countless businesses have been blessed because they’re in a great spot and in a great town. Anywhere else would be weird and out of touch. This is the place that speaks to me."
And to those looking to put action to their dreams, Flemmer encourages, saying, “I feel like we’re in a time where people are figuring out that they can put their efforts and passions to work, and can do something to help others and enrich lives. If you don’t see it, then start it!”
To connect with Joyful Flowers, visit joyfulflowersco.com or call (469)-285-6421.
Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer