Today we’d like to introduce you to Courtnie Van Gorder.
Hi Courtnie, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
So I sort of tripped and fell into what I’m doing now, and I finally feel like I am doing what I was put on this Earth to do. I also have so much to learn because this all just started back in August of 2020. My best friend suffers from Endometriosis and ended up having surgery this year, so my first thought was to get her flowers. But before we get into that, we actually have to rewind a bit… So, a few years ago I used to work for a private airline and I made the floral arrangements for the private jets, which is where I found my passion for flowers. Although it was not love at first sight. When my boss told me that I was going to be in charge of the flower arrangements, I was thinking to myself “Ummm, I have never made a floral arrangement in my life, I hope they know that this will most likely look like sh*t.”
But I just nodded my head and said, “sure I would love to be in charge of flowers.” They took me to the flower mart, showed me around, told me what they usually get, and then they said “have fun!” I was so lost and did not know where to start. I’ll admit, I’m the type of person that hates doing things they are not good at. I guess you can say I’m a bit of a perfectionist. But I just turned on some music and started putting the flowers together. I ended up having so much fun that day and looked forward to floral day every week. I worked at the private airline at the time because I was working towards becoming a private stewardess. After a year and a half went by, I started doing trips as a flight attendant and realized it was not the job for me. I saw my life in the future not being able to be home for the holidays and saw it being really difficult to have a family someday. So I quit my glamorous job and my parents, along with many others, would ask me “why did you quit?” or “that was the perfect job. You got to travel on private jets!” I just kind of brushed off the questions and comments because I was so sick of hearing it. After I left a job that I thought was going to be my career had me thinking what my next step should be. I ended up going back to school and just working part-time. I always felt so restless and unsettled in these jobs because I knew it was not where I was supposed to be.
So this brings us back to August this year when I made that floral arrangement for my best friend. I posted a picture of the arrangement on my personal Instagram and had a lot of people asking me if I could make them an arrangement or if I could do flowers for their wedding. I was so happy but so shocked at the same time. My boyfriend and friends were pushing me to make a business out of it, or at least an Instagram account for my flowers. I finally caved in and I am so glad I did, as it’s brought me to where I am today. You just really have to push through the fear and rip off that bandaid and do what you love. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck constantly wondering “what if.” Trust me, I’m still scared and have no idea what I’m doing or where this journey will take me, but I would not want to be doing anything else. My passion in my personal and professional life is to make people smile and bring them happiness. I’m also very outgoing and love to talk, and I don’t know how to explain it, but being a florist just suits me.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road at all, considering I started my business in 2020 but it’s a good thing I love rollercoasters. Honestly, the biggest struggle has been fear and just convincing myself that I can actually do this and be successful doing what I love and not feel guilty for it. I used to believe that I needed a boring 9-5 job because it came with benefits and a set schedule with Holidays and weekends off. Then I really took a good look at myself and realized that does NOT fit my personality at all. Also, I hate to admit it but another struggle for me in the beginning was “what will people think?” or “will they actually purchase my arrangements” or “what if they don’t think they’re pretty?” The biggest struggle was and still is ME.
I am so fortunate to have a supportive boyfriend, friends, and family that are always encouraging me to pursue my goals. Another struggle was social media. It’s such a great tool for business and connections, but it can also be a trap for comparison and jealousy. I used to be intimidated by other florists and their successes and would be bummed that I’m not where they’re at in life. But now I look and their success and take it as motivation, and I support other florist’s work too! I can be just as successful as them if I stay focused and work hard because anything is possible. You just have to believe in yourself, love yourself, and know that what you have to offer is unlike anyone else.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a florist, owner and founder of Bloom and Boom Florals, and I specialize in making people smile, even on their darkest days. Currently, my business is known for custom arrangements that I hand deliver to people all over the Los Angeles area. I also specialize in events such as weddings, bridal showers, baby showers or any kind of event really! I am always up for the challenge of something new and exciting. I am most proud of starting my business in a year that most people would not view as a year for opportunities; rather a year of confusion, loss, and heartbreak (you all know what year I’m talking about). I feel what sets me apart from others is how much of myself I pour into my work and my willingness to say yes to things that I may have no experience in. The best way to learn is by doing. I’m also always trying to do something that’s different from other florists, such as the colors I choose to pair together may not be what you think would look good but end up looking beautiful together. I try to do things that are out of the ordinary and create arrangements that people have not seen before. However, this is only the beginning of my chapter and I cannot wait to learn more and share my creativity in so many ways.
We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
I have learned that even during a crisis, anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Even if we weren’t in a global pandemic, I could’ve come up with a thousand excuses as to why I should not start my own business. Excuses like, “what if I fail?” or “what if I don’t make enough money?” or “I’m bad with numbers”, the list goes on. There is never going to be the perfect time to go for something new or crazy. If you wait for a handwritten invitation to start your business, then you may never start it. Believe it or not, 2020 has actually been one of my best years. It gave me clarity and I realized that I CAN run my own business and do what I love for a living. Covid-19 showed me that life is short and you just need to jump without hesitation; it will be worth it, I promise.
- Large Elaborate Arrangement – $115 with hand delivery and hand written card.
- Small Elaborate Arrangement – $85 with hand delivery and hand written card.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @bloomandboomflorals
Image Credits for the wedding couple: IG-@yasminecarmenphotography Image Credits for the bride (closeup photo): IG-@belleluphotography All other photos were taken by me!