Weddings, divorces & anniversaries, oh my! In this episode, Mary talks to Logan Square florist and owner of Fleur Kelly Marie Thompson about her 20-year business journey.
In their chat, Kelly Marie shares how she navigated—opening Fleur at 22, divorcing her business partner, trying (& quitting trying) to get pregnant, opening a new space right before COVID, and launching a floral business course.
Tune in for a whole lot of whole-assery, including 2021 horror stories, fave Tiktoks, and what’s coming up for Kelly Marie & Mary in 2022.
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Music. Welcome to all up in my lady business I am your host Mary nisi on this podcast all explore the fine line between having it together I'm losing your shit here I share my journey as an entrepreneur a mom a wife a DJ and randomly a beekeeper I have no shame and no filter except the ones I use on Instagram my stories of resilience a little structure and a lot of resource Wellness can show you how to take those same things and live your life with your hole. Music. Welcome to today's episode I am super excited because I've got one of my long-standing friends in this industry a friend or Kelly Marie Thompson she is the owner of Fleur a Flower and Gift Shop here in Logan Square they're about to celebrate their 20th anniversary which is Bonkers and she also has an online Workshop that she made further Flores who are building their companies and it was called The Art of. Floral data floral business the art of floral business. It was as it was kind of like coming to my head I didn't I wasn't saying it accurately she's got chickens in her yard she's taken a group of people who are very lucky to Italy for a workshop in June. And then Kelly my actually work together on the last thing that either of us probably did before the pandemic ladies of Logan and hopefully we can bring that back. Sometime in the future maybe you guys will hear about it right here she's on the board of Logan Square Chamber of Commerce and she is running for her local school council as a community member. Welcome to all up in my lady business Kelly them are we thank you I'm so excited. So as I said your business is about to be 20 years old it is it's crazy everyone keeps asking me if we're going to celebrate and have a party and I like only know how to throw parties for other people or like be a part of a party that somebody else is already. Making happen and you're just one element of it like that doing the whole thing is kind of asking a lot of your event skills maybe oh yeah yeah it's crazy though it is it's it's starting to drum up a lot of emotions that I didn't expect and they kind of come at different times and it's great they're all actually even than ones you know that have of the times where you know it was difficult even when those memories pop up it's all really wonderful because I'm anybody to reflect on all of the change in all of the success and all of the growth that's happened so it's exciting so let's talk about that let's talk let's go back in the The Time Machine to 20 years ago the year. 20 2001 2002 2002 yeah I'm bad with math that's alright 2002. And what precipitated you taking this leap into. You know I think at that time I was straight out of college and just Fearless you know when you're that young you're like oh man I was 22 years old and I'm like I can do anything I know everything I'm ready for this and I played with flowers before so go to college I went to DePaul yeah yeah yeah yeah I think we've been over this car it was a long time ago man yeah would you go for art history me too no I didn't never knew that though that's crazy. That's funny wait so did you like Mark Pollard yeah I'd babysit his kids oh my God and like Simone's the worst yeah I missed them all my goodness I'm collagen Paul Jack I'll just got yep I was an assistant for him no you were not yes we've never had this kind of we haven't this is super exciting so Paul Jess got came Mike when I was a sophomore or a junior and any brought the architectural angle of it so like my focus in my art history degree my very very worthwhile art history degree was architectural here Theory and history that's so that was my one of taking my entire thing in a totally different direction when I'm really getting into architectural history as a result of really need to sit down and have coffee over this because yeah his are in the Holocaust classes where my absolute favorite that didn't exist yet by the time it went amazing you're a little I think it was tiny bit younger a little bit Yeah and then I actually went to England with I can't believe you went to babysit more pull-ups Mark Pollard and then this guy who's an English teacher who had a massive was his name. And we went we went to England to study romantic poetry and painting together and it was like. The greatest three weeks of my life anyway that's amazing okay see you so we both have our district degrees from DePaul University not a place you'd think of to go there for it don't you but they had a surprisingly good program it was very good so you have you ever worked in flowers prior to no really I mean I think I was always inspired by a floral from my mom because you know we grew up I grew up I'm originally from Chicago on the southwest side and we lived in your very typical bungalow but every inch of that Bungalow was flowers you know so I remember as a kid you know playing in the yard if we play hide and seek with friends my they always know where to find me because I was under the peony bushes like every time and so they were always a part of my life. And then while I was in college I worked at Whole Foods in the floral department and that's where I kind of got my first taste of you know what the flowers are called and how you kind of process them and take care of them on a very basic level and. Fell in love with it and with my art history degree obviously also took a lot of art classes and you know sculpture and so that kind of you know fed into understanding color theory and shape and design of the arrangements like you were building isn't it amazing like. Especially as you begin you when you become a business owner when you're the things you draw from is inspiration that you never in a million years would have thought that like your after-school job like you know. Making bunches that are in the next to the canned food department at Whole Foods and then you're probably like not realizing what you're making like rubenesque like triangles and Design. So you so you graduate and then you're what were you where did you work I continued working at Whole Foods actually I'm in the floral department until I decided to open the store. And your 22 I was 22 years old I did have a partner at the time. We opened it together and Logan Square no business background even though depaul's a business school sure yeah in fact I remember Mark I can't remember marks last name a different mark who always would say if there's any advice you take away from art classes at from an art teacher is to take at least one business class and I I did not heed that advice and he was right so I opened up for 10 business background and made it all of the mistakes and learned how to go on and life not making those mistakes again afterwards. I said that's it's like the Folly of Youth I mean you know I wasn't I was 30 when I started toasted ham but I mean I still had no idea what I was doing and it's like you just kind of like all right well this is what I'm doing. Maybe it'll work you know I think I'm learning now at my age is like I think the more small businesses owners I talk to you in the the broader my reaches gotten that that's really just how it is being a small business owner even if you studied as much as you can you really don't know a lot of the curve balls that are going to come when you can study the curve balls but until you experience the curveball yeah I was actually listening to a podcast earlier on today where there was a woman she was talking about. How when you are successful or when you have a good thing that happens within your business people don't see. All the work that went into the success they just sort of assumed it was luck or it was you know like it happened quickly like quicker or was easier than. You know and I think that's what like entrepreneurs do we make it look a lot easier than it actually is oh yeah I love listening to the vulnerability and the challenges that people have gone through because otherwise you start having massive imposter syndrome throughout the whole process of like why aren't I as successful or making as much money and even though on social media you projecting your like oh look at how great it is I made pasta today it's like what am I like you know 1/2 day off yeah yeah what I did and I decided to post that so yeah it's interesting that we are all kind of. Comparing ourselves to one another and not necessarily asking each other like what was your journey like well in comparing ourselves when all of us are projecting the best part of and again if you're only if you own your own business you're pretty good at probably smelling and selling your own bullshit like you're just you're really you're really good I think that when we as a small business owner when you do put yourself out there you are talking about your passions and the wrapped into your business and people see that passion and you know ass like you were saying assume that that just comes. And I think passion does maybe because you have a passion that makes it easier you know for you to pull these things off like my husband Marvels at me daily at things that I am able to pull off just because he's a completely different person than me and like can't wrap his head around how I pull it off and I just effort in his mind I'm effortlessly doing if it really I just. You know it's just the things I'm better at than him okay so you so you and your partner your previous partner you took out a lease like I was it a five-year lease like was it. I think at that time it was a year to year lease it was it was a year to year lease at the time and then I'll give you just a quick little version of how that went we were there for three years the landlord decided to sell the building so we moved on to Logan Boulevard you know terrified at the time doubled our run we were so scared were at that location for 10 years loved it it really was a lot of me and a lot of growth in that time. Married my partner divorced my partner and learned a lot and I think that you know that divorce was sort of one of the first major changes in my life where I started to realize I could be everything I wanted to be without having somebody else there and that's when I started to really embrace. The store and make some changes and start to really develop my own personal style instead of what I thought a florist was supposed to be and you know filling that. That role I was a little bit older I was a lot more confident but I was also really insecure at the time too so there was a very vulnerable part of my life right there where I was able to assess the things that I was good at and the things that I was passionate about and choose those over the things that people expected do you wanna talk about your divorce yeah we can we can dip into that a little bit so how old were you or what we got me to hold what year was this gosh I can't remember the year to be honest right now but I think I was maybe 30 when we got divorced I was. 25 or 26 when we got married so to be 30 and getting a divorce and you're in the wedding industry is copy kind of its own. It's owned or something like Kiss 30s one of those ages when you're supposed to have it all figured out yeah Mike especially work in the wedding industry and you see this all the time I mean how did those thoughts our feelings kind of effect where you are at from a business perspective. You know honestly I never really went the better route I think that my divorce between my husband my ex and I we know wasn't great like many aren't and I think that I being surrounded by other people that were in love and so in love that you could tell and being part of their celebrations it helped me see that there was something else out there and before even you know love in terms of relationship but it helped me to find that you know I've got to figure out some stuff for myself. First so I can be who I want to be it was a rough journey I felt when you're a small business owner and what you know Logan Square at that time I felt like was a bit of a small town you know it was not as developed as it is right now and everybody knew everybody I felt like I was on a bit of a show you know people knew my story people I didn't know knew my story and it was uncomfortable and I felt judged and I definitely. I felt weird about it but knowing that was there that made me just kind of push even harder to be better at my job and to learn more about business and too. Make it through and you know do what again not for anybody else's opinion of me but you know to prove to myself that I was capable and smart enough to do all of this and when you the business prior to that were you splitting the work duties with with your ex like was he part of the day-to-day operation he was yeah so when he left all of a sudden stuff that he did that you didn't have to do you now had to do yeah it was definitely I mean the roles got it everything changed pretty quickly and fortunately again it was small at that time the company was in me we are still very small but it was a little more easily managed and I had some great employees at the time during that process to that helps me work through it so your job though completely changed I would imagine like once that happened it did it changed physically and both mentally for me it's funny I was just talking about this with my team yesterday that you know there was a time where I did everything I you know I did all the buying I helped all the retail I'd met every single wedding client designed and made every centerpiece and then I'd go setup and then even for a while I'd go bartender afterwards to make ends meet so when all of this happened none of it seemed like I was working more harder it just was different.3:
30 you're taking over the whole thing it's yourself and then you're staying in the store for how much longer I think the total time I was in this the Logan location looking Boulevard location was 10 years and so I think that was about seven years ago we are you kidding yeah you moved into that store seven years ago and to the new one the new one I think it was about seven oh my God. Yeah wow I know time flies oh wait a minute was that right after you got married yeah yeah yeah okay okay no so I lied that was nine years ago. Wow that's even more crazy. That was nine years ago that you moved at covid took away a couple of years older so it really robbed us of so much yeah that was nine years ago we moved into that space which is wild okay so you moved into that space 29 years ago. And this is 20 22 so this is like 2013 it was 2013 and so when did Dave come on the scene yeah so funny story Dave and I actually met it sounds really scandalous and I kind of love the story but Dave and I met while I was married I'm done. And he was working around the corner at Lula Cafe and I went in one day by myself for dinner and he bought me a glass of wine and I was like who's another new cute dude that works at this restaurant and I didn't realize it at the time but he had bought me my glass of wine with my dinner. And then I went in the next day with my husband and I still remember Dave's face when I walked in with a guy yeah it was it was cute so anyway we always remained friends throughout that time we worked around the corner from each other we got to know each other five years later when we were both single he asked me out kind of it was very natural didn't even feel like he was asking me out because we'd had this sort of casual friendship and it would from there on it was just kind of like it was awesome I always thought it was super cute he was super funny he was like too nice Mike who's this guy was just too nice you know I like to say that they're all assholes until they aren't like he's just not an asshole he's not an asshole he's a really good guy and a very impressive beard that's shorter now I know he'll grow back emotionally beards grow so you guys. Managed to bring it all together bring it on home and then you have like the best wedding in the history of all time thank you second only to mine yeah yeah I'm Mary djed for those of you that are listening I mean I did I DJ Kelly and I was actually secretly pregnant which you didn't tell me that I was like she's not drinking any wine I was puking at Camp want to wake up like. In the bushes behind the time sorry it's okay it's okay it was worth it so you get married at Camp 1 Omega shout-out Camp Wanda Wagga and so now that you're in like a functioning relationship with a lovely man with an impressive beard how does that factor into your business and your life and yeah you know I think that. For us in our relationship I think it was the first time in my life that I really had somebody fully in my corner it was the first time somebody you know. That was just sitting there rooting me on and telling me that I was he they believed in me and they saw something that I didn't see in myself you know I've definitely had that with other people but not to this extent he always respected the fact that I didn't really want him to be. Involved in the business especially with my history and my past I should say and but when I come home he was always there asking about it and always rooting me on and it just gave me Comfort I remember just feeling comfortable for the first time which was new to me so your relationship is flourishing and your flight how is so Fleur so how many events are you doing look how much as you as your business grew as you because I'm assuming that once you move from the smaller store to the bigger store. That there is probably a change in the perception of you is a company and like you know where how did that all kind of come together yeah it was interesting you know we so we ended up moving to the Third location because our landlord actually had we weren't expecting to move but our landlord had rented the space out to somebody else without telling you without telling us he I heard it from somebody else had come and told me hey I overheard the landlord you know renting out your space was your lease up unfortunately it's kind of a long story I've been trying to get him to renew my lease we'd gone month to month and he kept avoiding me and then I found out why you know I mean it's stuff that happens I should have gotten an attorney again these are some of those things you learned that you know I was used to working with just a very small town thing I also thought I had a great relationship with this landlord but the lesson learned was get everything in writing all the time always so we I moved into this you know space that was like more than double in size more than double in rent again with not a business plan just kind of my experience again and that's that was kind of the eye opening. Point for me where it's like okay now we've got to start figuring this out this isn't just cute and fun and you know I can pay my bills and be happy now my employees you know I've more employees now I have to start taking care of them you know way more than I ever thought I always took care of my employees the best I could but you know understanding and benefits and you know you just being more conscious and aware and in honing and I'm homing in on my leadership skills to you know because it was no longer me doing anything doing everything all the time now I had to coach people and I had to you know understand what leadership meant and that was different again because I didn't I was 22 when I opened I didn't have the experience of other people showing me how that's done and I think also when you're 22 you're hiring other people who are 22 and so everybody even though you're the boss you are hiring peers. And when you guys are all the same age and you're in the trenches with them you're doing the deliveries you're designing things you're picking things up your tearing down at midnight you're you're you're in the trenches with them and when you're in your twenties and doing that that that builds camaraderie there's there's a there's a We're All in This Together kind of element and then once you get older and maybe you're taking less weddings or you're taking some days off or you know you go on vacation and you post pictures and you're like there there's a you know it must be nice and it's like well I didn't start this business to stay in a trench for. The whole time it's true yeah and when you get older it's like okay wait a minute I'm getting older maybe some of my employees are getting older but there's younger people here too and now I'm actually people are looking up to me it's not like McCool friend and we're doing this cool thing together if yeah it was a really hard shift to be honest because you know a lot of my mom all my staff came with me from you know the Logan Boulevard to the Milwaukee Boulevard Maki Avenue address and they definitely I definitely had some pushback understandably because a lot of people don't like change you know and it was it was very hard to kind of work through other people's emotions with that and also stand my own ground with what the new rules were and what the new systems were it's really easy to roll over when you're like having to make like an uncomfortable unpopular decision or you know like I it's really hard for me to not take it personally when like I make a decision that's going to like maybe that were I'm raising prices or something and I'm like well you're going to make more money not me and it's like well eventually you will like these are all it's all. I'm doing everything from a position of like we're all going to try to do better here but. It's is a definite like the man kind of feels like we're just really weird I think that you know small business owners eventually you get to a point or you start looking a few steps down the line it's not like I need to make a decision now it's like this decision is going to impact the strategy that your building and you know no one else can see the strategy that's in your head hmm and they don't care about the strategy and I had all they care about is like right now yeah. So you can learn about leadership when you're trying to grow is a real that's a tough one a very tough one how do you think you figured out your leadership style gosh I don't even know to be honest that's a good question I think you know it really came down to a lot of self evaluation and figuring out when to listen and when to Stand My Ground and ultimately though I mean I think. What I've learned is that your team just they don't want it to always be so wishy-washy they want Direction and. I think that leadership is just you know showing up for them knowing that you're in their corner and you know just being a positive person for them you know and obviously paying them what they deserve you know to the best of your company's ability and transparency I think it really comes down to transparency as well. You know every new hire that we have we have a very long booklet of employee handbook that we go through and we talked about everything and we have weekly meetings and you know it's taken time to build company culture that is supportive and communicative and friendly and just positive in general but your company will never be that if you're not that person so you know even in my life crappy as mornings where I spill my coffee all over and you know the chickens got out and I'm late you know I still have to show up with a smile in there because at the end of the day it's it's my business but it's not about me anymore now it's about the company and it's about my team and I my company is nothing without my team. Yeah 100% I mean I can't do it all yeah. You know I'd barely do a fraction of it at this time but the thing is at the end of the day though it's like you're it's your ideas it's your you're the face of that company and when everybody thinks have Fleur they think of you you are synonymous with that company so so when I when I got married and then went on my journey of trying to make Sebastian a human in the world it definitely took me out of the business of more so than I ever possibly imagined and it changes the whole dynamic like. Once you and Dave got married like how did the the tropes of getting married had of the journey I Was Heard what is what was your journey as a couple like trying to incorporate that into your. Yeah I think you know when we first got married I kind of you know I checked in with my age I think I was 35 at that point and I brought it up I'm like yeah we should start considering this this is you know. The time is getting shorter and he wasn't done with it yet and he had really good reasons to you know he wanted to be a newlywed it was his first marriage you know he wanted to explore he also was looking at changing you know his job and changed his job throughout all of this and we did want to travel and we did you know we did get to do that and it was we had fun and then we finally decided alright let's Loosely just for a year let's see how this goes and you know I was we were trying we were having a lot of fun sure it's very fun when you're just trying it is until it isn't exactly that pure trying house just so simple and fun but you know I started doing acupuncture just here in Logan Square talking to friends getting advice and nothing was working and so it was just like let's just say it because I mean the problem is that when you were trying to conceive you are told that you're going to get pregnant just looking at a penis and you know it's and you're on birth control and you are doing all these things to like and like you know I have I have a lot of siblings and my one of my sister just got pregnant just like anytime she thought by getting pregnant she would get my so I'm like oh I'm a my mom had my mom got pregnant a lot I figured it would just be easy and it doesn't you're like what the fuck man yep I was told that I could get pregnant just thinking about it. Why is this so hard yep and then you see people start kind of well how old are you it's like dude. Shut up yeah the it's it becomes a mental fuck I mean it really does like because it's a thing you're put on this Earth to do quote-unquote not like it's your biologically created to mass-produce yeah it was you know we realized we needed to start going to a doctor you know because you know checking our times and all of that just wasn't working anymore and took you in times meaning like. Yeah what you know what time a month it was and all of that kind of strip pinilla strips and man so many strips so many strips how many needles eventually you know but like I think we we talked to a bunch of people you know got some doctor recommendations you know that I think was intimidating to there's not a handbook for this you know and finding the people that you're comfortable talking about it with. Finding the people that you're comfortable talking about what they're not comfortable yet you know it's just really hard to find the right resources for that so we finally found the right doctor well we thought was very doctor they were great but even that like the process was so long and I eventually just felt like I was on this conveyor belts it was hard it was emotionally damaging the amount of hormones that I was on that was actually a time in my life where I felt like I probably wasn't a great boss or a great leader because I'd come into work and I would just kind of flip at nothing I had so much anxiety and I wasn't able to you know verbalize the things that I wanted to say well a little more impatient and I never felt like myself at all I think that that's what's. Hard to because you're just trying to be yourself and do what you want to do but you're pumped with all this stuff that's like you know we're not going to allow that for well beyond just the chemical hormonal element of it just the psychological warfare of like you know my body's not behaving I'm not going to be able to like do this like you know the the shitty feelings that are just associated with it yeah you know what that's it's it is it's true it's you know one of the feelings that I had was like well if my body isn't willing to do this you know the way that I always thought it was going to be then what does that mean for this child like am I supposed to be doing this so that was another that was actually where my brain really went do you like am I am I not supposed to have a child yeah is this as it's not my path as this not right for them as my child going to be healthy am I doing everything right you know I kind of went down that rabbit hole um which for me was hard and I didn't really have a ton of people at the time to talk about it with again so because no one talks about yeah. Exactly which is why we're here so yeah going down that rabbit hole of whether or not I'm going to bring a healthy child into the world was really terrifying to me too well in luckily there's a lot of evidence that like. There's a lot of IVF babies out there that. Great they're wonderful yeah but no one told me that you know about that evidence it was just like I my body so that was that was a scary time also Dave at the time had a new job and was working about 60 hours a week can he worked in the food and beverage industry and so we had opposite schedulesso when we were you know that fun time of trying to make a baby was not fun anymore son really like okay it's like 4:
30 in the morning and you just got home from work and I'm about to get up in an hour and so here we go make it half let's just do it pretty sure that's how I got pregnant it was like. It is not that magical moment that we were all taught to believe anyway so so yes you're working opposite schedules you're trying how long do you think you tried to make this happen what's up with your I think was about two years but yeah that's about two years yeah it was a it was an ugly dark time I I finally we stopped in 2018 so this is even during Trump it was even added like a layer of awful on it yeah I just I realized there were some things that were happening mentally to me that I realized I had to stop us again aside from all the physical you know like my whole body had been in chucked injected with that blue dye whatever it was called you know I'd like contrast I I think so I think I've just intentionally didn't remember you know I had other needles like I said there were so many needles to a day for so long and. I just wanted to start to feel like myself again because what I realized I was starting to do as I was holding it against Dave and that was irrational because I started thinking like well if we didn't wait this long it wouldn't have been this hard and we were arguing more than ever and we just heard were very fortunate we're that couple that doesn't really argue were very good at talking about things or knowing when somebody needs a moment to Source out there thoughts and that was not the case anymore and we were the quality of life had changed so much and I realized at that point it was no longer worth it for me to keep going down that Journey. So you know we tried a couple last things and I finally was like this didn't work and I feel good stopping now. And it was weird because some of the nurses that than you know the doctor themselves are like don't stop now. One of them the poor women who were trying to help me out so hard she's like I'm in my 50s and I got pregnant and it cost me over a hundred thousand dollars but I did it and I was just like I had that actually was the worst roommate I wanted to ball because I'm like I don't have a hundred thousand dollars to be doing this with and well in that's wow yeah it was and I start I realized I was on this conveyor belt in this room of people promoting something that they truly believed in and were you know felt they were doing the right thing but I realized I was in the wrong room and it was time for me to open that door and start taking all of that energy and all of that effort into going back to the person that I always you know that I was that I am and start you know focusing on Joy again and happiness again and you know taking care of myself in a different way did you find that the business took a hit during this time or was there any kind of change in how the business operates like did you hire another person so they were able to kind of take over some of your management or was there like any steps you took. To ameliorate the process of being kind of checked out a little bit 100% I actually did start to hire on people to start taking over the weddings in part because I was like well once I become a mom I can't be there all the time and I want to have a maternity leave like other people who you know have jobs who are allowed to have a maternity leave and so I Was preparing for that and so I hired a designer and we were training and we were starting to look at a second designer who was selling the weddings and it did take a little bit of the the pressure off of me not 100% the business never really struggled with it but I think that again I was definitely not the best. L I was not the I was not a bad boss but I was I felt. By your own standard for what you want to be treating people and how you want to be conducting yourself you weren't operating at Full Tilt exactly so when it 10ks become into the SAT was around the same time so I would wake up I'd go get a bunch of needles shoved and stuck into me and then I'd go straight to. 10ks be oh my God you were doing 10ks Beyond hormone uh-huh my God. That's insane yeah it was really insane as I mentioned before 10ks be the golden snacks Goldman snacks Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses program was very amazing for me and Kelly actually was the. Reason why I actually got into the program so thanks Kelly yeah anytime so so you made the decision you were just going to stop yep yeah it was actually right it was while I was going through Goldman Sachs actually I was like this this is we're done now. Because prior to that I mean prior to Stew trying you guys traveled and had like a life and you know you were. Happy people yeah we explored we try new things we just lost that vibrancy you know it was and you know I'm not sad about any of it and I definitely don't. I feel like I missed out on things I think I regret in life only the things that I don't do so I'm glad I have gone through that I'm glad that I gave it all I wouldn't want to be sitting here you know now or in 10 years being like gee I wonder what would have happened if I. Didn't try as hard as I had and I have to imagine that the process is much as you and Dave were bickering or whatever you know kind of having more fights or whatever that is found you together a bit tighter yeah yeah I mean when the weekend that I said I'm done we flew off to New York immediately like I just play like just last minute like fuck it were I was supposed to go out there for work anyway and T we have you know I'm like I've got these miles come out stay in the hotel with me and I was supposed to go out there for a gift show I went to the gift shop for one day and then we spent three days just eating I'm drinking our way through New York and just finding that enjoyed a v again of you know just being happy and. It's funny actually like just two weeks ago I maybe even last I was and my phone kind of cleaning it up and I found the photos of that weekend and they I was showing them to him and you we hadn't looked at them in that long and it was just really lovely to see the happiness and the joy again and I think you know it was emotional it was heavy and you know I was crying a lot while I was out there and but at the same time I was impart all of that those tears were relief to just to know that we did it we tried you know and gave it everything you had. And at the end of the day you still had each other yeah and a lot of couples can't say that yeah it's funny I remember a long time ago like when flower was a little tiny baby we had some customers and they were going through the same process and I remember. Not seen them for a long time and bumping into one of them later on and just kind of talking and I never bring up you know like so how did that go because no one wants to know busting and in case any of the people listening on here don't know that don't ask people that yeah don't don't ever ask anybody a when you having that baby when you have in that second baby how's that IVF going yeah not not welcome but but but the woman brought actually brought it up to me that she had separated from her partner because it got to be too much and at the time I was so young having a child was not on my radar at that time and I was like wow I can't understand how that would possibly happen and now that I've gone through time again totally makes sense that some people are just not it's such a mentally draining process in addition to the physical that you know you really have to be prepared for it so you ate and drank your way through New York City and you came back and then wow that's that's like 2019 2018 and so you had a year of solid growth before it all fell to shout with that so that was like October November I think was October of 2018 and then I was turning 40 and I'm just like all right. That's not happening so let's reset let's talk about new life goals let's talk about what it is that we want you know I think that for the longest time it was just kind of I was getting through the day-to-day both with my business and with you know infertility treatments and then I you know like you know there's more out there for us and that's when I really took some big risks with Fleur and felt in part because of Goldman Sachs in part because of the sort of new approach to life that I had but I was ready for it I was ready to level up in my own way you know in my own personal way and I was leveling up in a way where I didn't I feel judged I didn't feel imposter syndrome I didn't care anymore what anyone thought of me I had so liberated it really was and I finally found the right people to surround myself with I found the right career of people who we're just supportive just because they cared and they believed and non-judgmental and that's when I said I you know it's been 18 years of owning the company I'm like well if I don't. Give myself a promotion after 18 years then I'm doing something wrong here you can operate in start in start-up mode for 18 years even though a lot of businesses do out of businesses do and I didn't want to do that anymore and so that what were your what we're leveling up so what were the the yeah so we at the time we brought on a new designer we had our my designer who is selling all the weddings and I started studying actually brought on a second designer and it got to the point where I think I was only selling ton of the like 60 weddings that here that we were doing and I was really able to focus more on operations I was really able to start building strategies I was really starting to wrap my head around the numbers and what the numbers meant in a different way I understood my accounting. So differently and I started to fall in love with that the business side of the business more than the flowers which is not anything I ever thought I was assured I mean I feel the same way it's like Goldman Sachs does that to ya like you like looking at QuickBooks now one and during that time to I we so we had our large location on Milwaukee and you know during this time of infertility we rented out a second location for our wedding Studio. I was around the corner it was a little too small and so I started negotiating with my current landlord about a bigger and a better space and building out sort of a custom. Design studio and so that was basically all of 2019 a lot of negotiations a lot of build-out adjacent to our current location or current retail location there was a massive garage I think it was a you know years and years and years ago it was like car repairs or something that was just decrepit and so they built it out for me you know. Almost 100% to the way I wanted it and there's a beautiful Skylight and we just got ready and prepared for that and during that time we started meeting with all of the event planners and switching the role for me being from floor being Kelly Marie to the floor to floor being Fleur and our team and it was lovely it again it was liberating I felt like I just had the time to focus on the company as including the retail I don't I'm talking about the wedding you know focus by her but I had a manager for our retail as well so I had these two great different parts of the business and I recognized that they were different and I could finally approach them differently so that they could both Thrive and we got the keys to the new location in December of 2019 hmm and then we had one wedding in February of 2020. And then they shut down up and yeah yeah it was wild yeah because I remember I remember all of that I'm a member of the negotiation with the landlord and I don't know if we want to get into the code of it all how did covid affect your bill oh my golly you know I I was just starting to feel comfortable after all of the infertility stuff when this happened so it definitely and I didn't realize it at the time the depression I had gone into like I was very very depressed in 2018 I was starting to work myself out of it in 2019 but I was very stressed out about again this level up of you know I had 1,800 square feet and a tiny studio now we're at. It's like three almost 3,500 square feet and rents obviously huge because of that and again my team's growing our events are bigger. So how did you incorporate in this idea of the art of the floral business so that was through that depression I realized I wanted to start to help other people and use my skills and my education and again all the mistakes I made I've done workshops I had done a little bit of coaching here and there with people to help them figure out their numbers and with that depression I just kind of poured it all into the art of the floral business which has this 60 module 60 little videos of me talking about how to build the best business plan that you can for floral and how to check your numbers and how to focus on you know just being the best that you can be for your company and so prepped all of that in 2018 flew out to Oakland filmed it and then also launched in 2020 I think in February I think we need Tony we lost her I think we lost her only courses around the same time I know I think you're right yeah. So yeah it was you know when covid hit it was definitely just like a little bit of a like it took my breath away you know I was I was winded and at the same time I think that it gave me a little bit of a pause I felt like I was moving fast it went you know it's like infertility Goldman Sachs new studio online course. Bam and then I was like oh maybe this pause is not a bad thing and I was able to sink in a little bit more into the online course I was able to sink into teaching a lot more and developing more relationships with florists around the world through different video conferences and things like that so that actually as hard as covid-19 was one of the Silver Linings how many weddings have for 2020 I think we had like about almost 49 we had to reschedule. A Couple canceled yeah and I don't remember the number we landed up for 2021 it was. Yeah that's busy this we did 609 awnings July or June and December yeah 21 oh my God 609 yeah. That was to you mean we normally do 700 weddings a year but to do 609 in a six-month period right in there I wanted to murder myself yeah but so did you meet so basically everybody just kind of moved you didn't have to deal with a lot of drama with yeah for the most part it you know I think that at that time people really understood that we were trying really hard to be as you know open as we could to everything you know of course you're not going to make everybody happy when you have that many opinions and family members and stuff and weddings are emotional but we were able to work through most things excellent yeah so now now it's like 20 20 happened 20 21 I don't want to think about that year because it was.In many ways worse than 20/20 a lot but now we're in this beautiful 20:
22 yeah I don't know about you but I'm feeling 22 22 I'm feeling it yeah. I do feel like people are ready to start to breathe again I feel like people are ready to celebrate again I think the people are also understanding and cautious of you know of what rules and things need to happen at what times to I'm really ready for it. So mine and so the so the store is doing great the store is doing really well I have this incredible manager who's an absolute angel I have this wonderful wedding team. Right now our clients are phenomenal I feel like we were really able to develop. The design that we love and you know really educate our clients on what it is that we do yeah retail is fun and I do feel like after all of this time after 20 years I'm finally starting to fill into that role of what I wanted to be which is just you know running the company as a whole and being there as support instead of having to do all of the heavy lifting and. Saying that you know it's the heavy lifting has been divided finally it's not it's not on one person's shoulders anymore I actually I was reading a book last night and one of the things they were talking about and it is decision fatigue like when you make a decision that takes a lot of energy from your brain. And that big decisions have the exact same energy depletion as a as a big one so like if you're deciding whether or not you want to stop trying to fertility treatments or if you decide you want to like have tacos for dinner you just use the exact same amount of energy. And you know like when you think about the amount of decisions you have to make in the day and being able to cut them down that is that's a good relief yeah I never I never thought of that but it's absolutely true yeah so now what's on the horizon for Kelly Marie Thompson. You know I think I'm just going to try to keep on doing others no more growth right now I want to just sink into doing what we can I am very excited I'll be teaching in Italy. A timer that's really really exciting I think that that is going to be what kind of brings me back to my love of flowers I did have a journey from flowers you know I'm kind of learning how to run a business properly and well it took away a little bit of the creativity and so I think this is going to open that door again and bring me back to what I love Is Just teaching and and being around people and then we just rebooked the date for20:
23 so knowing that that's on the horizon it's really cool as it's beautiful it's like it's happening whether you are ready for it or if you know like it's happening yet I personally like making deadlines I can't move so then I'm forced to have you the thing or whatever it's like I got I got asked to do this keynote speech at this small wedding show that in a couple of weeks and I'm like I've never done the keynote before so I have to spend like you know the next three weeks for working my ass off to get ready for it and I'm like terrified then why did I do this why did I do this ultimately you're getting up there and say yeah I'm gonna be amazing I'm always I'm going to sleep because I usually sleigh mmm it's true I'm a usual slick as are you so awesome well thanks so much Kelly Marie Thompson Kelly Marie thank you so much for coming over to a block and a half away from where you normally are and you can find Kelly at Fleur ink on the ELD IG and the Art of floral business probably also on IG are those your main sources are you a tick talker no I've tried but you know I don't really want anyone to find what I've done on ticked yeah it's just I feel like watching it I hear something I won't go on it for a weeks. And then I'll be like. I bet you that little Nas X has a tick tock I think like a bit so-and-so has like a funny Tick Tock and then I'll like go and look and then like five hours later. It's just it and I'm like is this real jobs like making the Tik toks because some of them seem very elaborate there's some they're good yeah like is this like the economy man I think so I mean I think it's going somewhere because I bet you know that it was the 90s guy. It was the 90s like that guy he was my he was my gateway drug to tick tock and. Anyway well thank you so much and be amazing yeah you too old to do this again sometime yes we will. Music. Thanks for listening to all up in my lady business it is written by me Mary nisi. It is produced by Christina sorum Williams and Amelia Rudy with softer. It is recorded at the toast and jam offices in Logan Square in Chicago. You can find resources and links from this episode in the show notes at all up in my lady business.com. If you enjoyed this episode and you did Smash that subscribe button and if you're the kind of person that reviews things on the internet please rate and review us wherever you listen to us it really does help people find us follow us on all of your socials and don't forget whatever you do this week do it with your whole ass thanks for listening. Music.