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Life & Work with Amanda Elliott

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Elliott.

Hi Amanda, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
After High School, I went to trade school to do hair, 3 different colleges, and was working 2 jobs at one point. Most of my studies were in some way a form of art. Cosmetology, Communications, Graphic Design, and Event and Meeting Management with a minor in Urban Agriculture.

I have always been very energetic and determined. I have a great work ethic but was always thinking solely about how I was going to pay my bills. In the middle of all of this, I had my son who is now 8 and was looking for part-time work while being a Mom.

Down the street from where I was living was a help-wanted sign in the window of a flower shop. The owner asked if I had any experience. I told her I did not, but I would work very hard if she hired me. I never received a callback. After the 3rd time applying at her store, she finally took her chance and hired me.

I was removing thorns from roses, cleaning buckets, and making deliveries for 8-12 hours a day. Over the years, I have now worked for about 6 or 7 shops in the Denver area forming great relationships with other shop owners, and have learned from some of the top names in the industry. Freelance work is always abundant here in Colorado because we live in a destination wedding location.

Over the years I’ve learned that in the US good education in the floral industry is few and far between. In other countries, florists are considered artists, and in other countries you have to attend school and earn a degree to work with flowers. My best teacher has been working alongside those who have been in the floral industry for years.

There is one person I have to mention that has made the biggest impact on my design aesthetic, my mentor from Ukraine Marchello Federov. A special thank you to him for all of his wisdom as well as technical skills.

Today my business is 5 almost 6 years old! It was started in 2018 under my name Amanda Elliott Floral Design and my style has just started developing into what I think will be very exciting to bring to the table here in Colorado. My passion is Corporate style design. I’d like to be able to make simplistic displays that have a big impact in corporate settings.

Right now I keep very busy making daily deliveries for my customers who call and order for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. If I am not designing from my home studio which I am outgrowing rapidly, you can find me on “vacation” at the American Institute of Floral Designers National Floral Trade Show or competing in local and national design competitions.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I think everyone encounters struggles and as we get older the problems become more difficult. Life doesn’t get easier the older we get. When I was just 10 my Father died of Colon Cancer, which had a huge impact on my sister and me. I have also lost friends to suicide and drug overdoses.

These struggles have really shaped me as a person and the way I handle stressful situations in my career such as tight deadlines, mistakes I have made, difficult conversations, or having to communicate with some of my sympathy customers who have just lost someone and need funeral flowers. After high school, I was becoming a heavy drinker and pulled myself out of some dark days on my own.

Ever since I found my passion and become a floral designer the puzzle pieces have fallen into the right places for me. Now I take calculated risks when they present themselves and I always feel like I am winning in some way or another. Life is what you make of it!

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
As a business owner, you can find me taking orders from my customers, working on my website (thank goodness for my degree in graphic design) doing paperwork, and taxes, driving deliveries and going to businesses on foot offering my services.

My Sunday or Monday consists of going to the flower market and choosing the color pallets for the week as well as the most beautiful blooms! When I choose materials and or flowers for the week my mind is usually telling me to just purchase every type of rose and orchid or something unusual that will last more than a few days. If it dies quickly or the stem is weak I don’t want to use it.

I won’t stock anything in my cooler for over a week, which means I have to purchase the perfect amount of flowers every week. This ensures that my customers are receiving the highest quality flowers. I also send out vases that you will not want to bring to Goodwill when the flowers die. So I would say that my customers mostly tell me how long the flowers last and how beautiful the selection I provide is. I also try to provide customer service that goes above and beyond to help people.

As an employee when I help at a local flower shop I do sympathy work with my mentor and I am known for being a workaholic. I also love making dozen rose arrangements to 100 rose arrangements or more. My mentor once told me “Be Happy But Never Satisfied” and I continue to thrive while keeping that in the back of my mind every day.

What do you think about happiness?
The best feeling in the world is feeling like I’ve made someone’s day by delivering them an over-the-top experience through flowers. The recipients of my flowers have never seen the products I use that I get to see every day!

Another wonderful feeling is when I have properly managed my time and it was preparing me for some kind of risk that I took that eventually leveled me up. I’m not sure if that makes sense but in business, there is always something to do even with downtime or slow days and when you keep busy it will pay off in some way or another!

overall life is what you make it and I am extremely optimistic and open-minded!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Trish Reppert and Marchello Fedorov

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