A home-grown Clinton business that has established deep roots in the town in just three years is basking in the sunshine, after being named a finalist at the Small Business BC Awards.
Bubbles’ Blossom Design is one of five finalists in the “Best Community Impact” category, and founder and sole proprietor Jessica Lawrence says she was shocked when she found out the good news last week.
“I had to keep it on the QT until the press release came out, and that was tough,” she says with a laugh. “I’m still trying to make heads or tails out of it. I’ve never been very good at honouring myself, but I’m very proud, and very thankful to whoever nominated me.”
Lawrence says that when she was 14 she began working at a florist shop in Prince Rupert, and continued until she went off to college for theatre school. At that point she put flowers on the side, but found that they kept coming back to her: “I did my own wedding flowers, and flowers for friends.”
Finally, with her mother’s encouragement, she decided to go for it, and Bubbles’ Blossom Design was born in time for Mother’s Day 2018.
Lawrence and her husband had moved to Clinton in October 2016, and she says she looked around and realized that a florist shop was something the area needed.
“At first I thought I’d research it for a couple of years, see how it goes, see how much interest there was, but then I decided just to jump in and do it. If an opportunity comes along you jump in with both feet.”
She says that the overhead was low: “I bought a used cooler and a couple of buckets, so it was an easy thing to do.” Until recently she worked out of her kitchen and dining-room, but last year an extension was added to the back of their house at the corner of Dewdney Avenue and Cariboo Highway for a small storefront.
Lawrence nearly sold out of flowers that first Mother’s Day, and she says that the support from the community has been incredible. “It was a great initial reception, and I have the best customers. It was all by word of mouth and Facebook.”
The business has since expanded beyond Clinton, with Lawrence delivering orders to Cache Creek and Ashcroft one day a week. “My end goal is to have people employed and to get out there more often and offer more services. I love all three communities, and want to be able to serve them all.”
For the time being, Lawrence gets assistance from Monika Wyssen. “She has a ranch nearby with her husband, where they train horses, but she trained as a florist in Switzerland. She’s always enjoyed doing flowers, so I hired her to help at Valentine’s Day, and she’ll be back to help out at Mother’s Day.”
Lawrence is now working at getting the store area in shape. It’s open six days a week (Monday through Saturday) for people to come in, see what’s available, and place orders, but she advises people to call or text 1-250-819-3359 ahead of time to make sure she’s there. She hopes to have an official opening of the store in the summer.
“It’s little, but I have plans. There’s a little bit of gift-ware, and some local artists’ work. I want it to be a welcoming place for people to come in and browse.
“Flowers revolve around so much joy, and sometimes sorrow, so it has to be a personal experience for people. I want it to be that as much as it is a purchase.”
More than 550 B.C. businesses were nominated for Small Business BC Awards this year, and 30 finalists — five each in six different categories — were announced on March 22. The finalists will now be required to make a presentation about their business to a panel of judges, pitching why their business should win an award. The panel of independent business owners and professionals will then select the winners.
The winners of the Small Business BC Awards will be announced over the course of a three-day virtual gala, from May 4 to May 6. The winners in each category will receive $1,500, a short video of their business shot by a professional film crew, and an all-access pass to Small Business BC’s services.
The Best Community Impact category recognizes companies that are truly making a difference, by taking positive action to invest in their community. Lawrence says she has to give a 40-minute virtual pitch via Zoom and answer questions about why her business should win.
“My love for the community and for the business itself will help. I’ll be speaking from the heart. I can’t begin to express my gratitude to everyone here for their support. I’m so glad to have a business in this area.”