I discovered my love for flowers during my childhood. As a senior in high school, I worked at a florist after school. I earned a degree in retail florist management from Mississippi State University while working in the campus florist. After graduation I worked in Mobile, where I taught design classes. In addition to teaching in the shop, I taught adult night classes at Spring Hill College. My business represents 34 years of training and countless days of working 24-7 to build a strong customer base.
When establishing any business, you must fully commit and adopt a hands-on approach to make the endeavor successful. I think the key to my success has been my work ethic. I never ask an employee to do something that I would not do myself. I have five rotating employees, and during holidays, I require 10-12.
I’ve been here so long that I know my customers by name and what they like. Having a large floral selection allows me to focus on the distinctiveness of each order. I get flowers in every day, and I do everything possible to give the customers 100 percent satisfaction — which is our number-one concern. We are committed to quality and service every day.
I have seen so many changes in the floral business over the 34 years I have had this business. The ability to be flexible in the changing environment has made the business more successful each year. I have a website, www. flowersbykareninc.com, and also a Facebook page that I post on almost every day. We are open six days a week, and many Sundays find me at the shop working and getting ready for the next day. It’s because of this commitment that the shop has been flourishing for more than three decades in the Ocean Springs community.
After all this time, I still love what I do. I think this is another reason the shop has succeeded. I don’t consider it work, although there are some days that I do — especially during Valentine’s week. But even then, I still enjoy working with the flowers and the public. Each day is different and interesting.
Ocean Springs is a wonderful community; it’s just the right size. I always have said that it’s not too big and not too small. I believe every business needs to give back, and I support many organizations, nursing homes and nonprofits. With the community’s support, I look forward to continuing for many years to come.
Karen Coleman is owner of Flowers by Karen, located on Government Street in Ocean Springs. Reach her at email@example.com.