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Life and Work with Jennifer Nicolo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Nicolo.

Jennifer, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
By training, I am an historian and academic. I love the intense research and analysis that goes into studying and spent over a decade pursing various degrees. As I neared completion of a Ph.D. in history, however, I discovered that something was missing from my professional life—I wanted to “do” more, not simply study. When I looked at the things that brought me joy, I found that there was one place in which I was more inclined to “do” than to study: the garden. I would find a plant that inspired me and plop it into the ground, only turning to research when trial and error alone failed me. I found the experience of “doing” in the garden thrilling and the freedom from research exhilarating.

This love of gardening grew exponentially two years ago when my husband and I built a greenhouse in our backyard. I began experimenting with starting plants from seeds, which allowed me to experience the entire lifecycle of plants and drastically opened up the variety of things I could grow. Additionally, in Boulder, we only have a frost-free growing season of approximately 140 days, but with a greenhouse, I could stretch this season by months! Controlling the microclimate of my greenhouse became a living science experiment and trial and error, backed by a healthy dose of research, led to a summer of profound blooms.

Now that my postage-stamp sized backyard was pumping out flowers, I had to find a way to use all of them! Luckily, there is always someone who needs flowers. Flowers are like candy for the eyes, transient jewels, a warm smile and a hug wrapped up all in one!

And so, I decided to start selling my flowers. Having never run my own business before, I was forced back into research mode and this time it wasn’t always on topics that inspired me. Yet when my website launched and I sold my very first arrangement, I realized that by selling flowers I was doing so much more than simply funding my passion for gardening. As a florist, I have the distinctive job of helping others show love and support in times of sorrow or joy. I get to be a very small part of people being awesome to one another, and that is the best job I could imagine doing!

Has it been a smooth road?
Opening my own business took a leap of faith that would not have been possible without a strong support group of friends and family. I am eternally grateful to those around me who cheered me on when I was unsure of myself, who believed that my dream was possible, and who helped me to both ask and answer the tough questions when I got stuck. My biggest piece of advice to entrepreneurs just starting out is to surround yourself with people who are positive and believe in you, they will provide immeasurable support when you need it most. Finally, stay open; open to advice, open to change, and open to opportunity. When I first started, I envisioned selling flower crowns, which I still do, but it is far from the bulk of my business. If I had been stuck in my idea of what my business “should” be, I would never have explored what it “could” be.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Petals By Pedal – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Petals By Pedal specializes in growing our own organic flowers and sourcing local blooms whenever possible. As such, we are part of an amazing community of environmentally conscious individuals and businesses. Our arrangements can be purchased as one-time gifts or flower subscriptions. We especially love working with our subscription clients as an on-going relationship allows us to target the flowers we deliver to their specific and changing needs–be they individuals or businesses. As education and community involvement is a primary goal at Petals, each subscription delivery comes with a detailed printout of the flowers included as well as a brief history of the blooms!

My favorite subscription is the DIY: Once a month our DIY subscribers receive an armload of carefully curated flowers wrapped in paper and ready to be arranged as two to three smaller arrangements or one large statement arrangement. Subscribers can then get creative with their flowers or join us on Instagram for video of how we design with the flowers they’ve just received!

Beyond flower delivery, we love events! We host our own monthly flower workshops in our sunny, plant-filled design space in south Boulder. On any given evening, you can find us there with groups as diverse as co-workers doing team building to bachelorettes celebrating to mom’s getting a well deserved night out! We also love doing events around Boulder, for example, we just helped True Bloom spa celebrate their grand opening with flowers upon flowers for their special night!

And when we take our flowers out and about, we often do so by bike. We have an adorable flower cart that we can pull by bike—which is how we got the “pedal” part of our name! We bring our cart to community events, private parties, and pop-up shop events.

It is our investment in building community and education and our commitment to being an environmentally conscious business that really set us apart.

Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
One of the largest barriers I see women facing as entrepreneurs and leaders today is securing the necessary time and support to grow their dream. As moms, wives, sisters, daughters, and friends, our goals can sometimes get lost in supporting others, or downplayed as mere “side-hustles.” Surrounding myself with a community of like-minded, female entrepreneurs who understand this struggle and how to continually reinvest ourselves in our businesses and position ourselves as leaders in our fields has been fundamental.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jennifer Nicolo, Simone Nicolo

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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