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Daily Inspiration: Meet Patrick Jero Miguel Castillo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Patrick Jero Miguel Castillo.

Hi Patrick, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
My business was birthed out of having lost something.

I was a teacher by trade; took the bus from Whittier to Cal Poly Pomona for 4 hours for four years. My mom was a working mom and she raised us with the help of my grandparents. My brother and I knew what it cost to get & keep us in school and to make sure we made something out of ourselves.

After graduating, I thought I had a secured teaching job with LAUSD back in 2009 but then recession hit and I was laid off, so I started working at a flowershop in Beverly Hills while I waited for teaching jobs to become available. God had something different for me though and brought this amazing lady into the flower shop where she took me under her mentorship and helped me climb up the ladder in luxury retail. While I made such great income there, I knew I wanted to own a small business – something my mom have always wanted to start but just never had the opportunity to, being that she was the main provider of the family.

Even though I thrived and was really great at what I did in managing these retail stores and cultivating lasting relationships with top-tier clients, one of my very few niched talents were florals after learning from the florists whom I’ve worked with at the flower shop. From time to time, I’d pick up small flower jobs, maybe a birthday or a bridal shower order here and there and have even done weddings pro bono for friends.

In 2018, God spoke to me in a dream: I was handing off my flower business to my grandchildren. I was giving a speech thanking everyone who’s helped me in growing it. I woke up the next day and asked my best friend to help me with my website, I gave her $50 for a manicure and that was her payment, I asked my cousin who had a point and shoot camera to go with me to one of my very first “paid” weddings so he could take “professional” looking photos for my website.

Then it was quiet. No orders, just me still in retail being comfortable and complacent. I was earning six figures and had no reason to make the flower business a priority. Then God spoke to me again and told me to end my six years of relationship where I was also comfortable and have gotten complacent. I realized this whole time I had two crutches, my comfortable job and my comfortable relationship.

2020 happened.

I lost my job, left me questioning God why He had me waste 12 years of my life in an industry that was going to be taken away from me anyway. I also ended my six years of relationship a little bit before 2020 hit. Now, this was my life – one year before, I was en route to getting married to my six years long boyfriend, and I was earning the most I’ve ever earned my whole life. 2020 hits and all of a sudden, I’m a single unemployed 33 years old man. Oh and I also lost my grandma to her battle with cancer February of 2020 – the woman who helped shape me. When I tell you I was depressed!!!!

I decided there was nowhere I could go but to the Cross. I went on hikes where I said angry prayers to God asking Him why. Not realizing I still had a word from Him that I have yet to activate. So, I took that unemployment check and geared it towards making social media content for my flower business account and even pretended I was making it for nonexistent clients! I kept at it, I was discovered by a big time florist who was in need of freelancers on a job where we get to create an immersive experience with florals dedicated to George Floyd and all the people we lost in 2020. From there, Mallory Browne of Mallory With The Flowers has become a sister, friend and mentor who has taken me under her wings doing jobs for HBO and Netflix and even the Rams! She has shown me that “flowers can really take you places.” Since then, I’ve been doing tons of weddings, set design and fashion shoots for brands wanting to incorporate florals in their campaigns.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has not been a smooth road. I have struggled with major imposter syndrome questioning how I managed to get into spaces where I never thought I could. I recently did a freelance job for a florist doing a shoot with Pinterest in this beautiful mansion and I also turned Delilah’s of West Hollywood into a rose garden for an NBA player’s engagement party and still ask myself how I am able to book these crazy jobs and the only answer I could come up with is because God said so.

I also don’t have a precedent to walk behind from and learn from. Being a first-generation immigrant, you were taught to abide by the corporate rules – find a job, work for someone and be great at it. Owning your own business where you wear ALL the hats it’s been a struggle. BUT this is where I know God made things work together for my good because in the 12 years I spent in retail, I learned to balance budgets, audit and plan for payroll, labor laws and most of the operation items a business owner oughta know when running a business.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I have been able to do an ample amount of weddings and these happen to be the bread and butter of a florist. They are the most time-consuming but you also know you are a vessel for these couples to bring about their vision for this pivotal moment in their lives. I think what sets me apart is I do pray over my flowers and my team’s hands before we begin prep work for any jobs we get. I want to know that my work is actually an extension of God’s blessings here on earth. My job in retail also taught me about relating to clients and ensuring I make an indelible impression on them which is helpful when dealing with a bride who is probably overwhelmed trying to plan the biggest day of her life!

Risk taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
Taking risks is going to happen when you own a small business whether you like it or not. One of the major risks I’ve taken is simply starting the business and rejecting any retail jobs that have come my way since. I knew if I went back to what I used to know how to do, I would be forfeiting what God spoke to me.

Contact Info:

  • Email: Patrick@OnceUponAFlorist.com
  • Website: OnceUponAFlorist.com
  • Instagram: @OnceUponAFloristLA


Image Credits
@lulanphoto (for the blue and white flower arrangement)

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