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Meet Erin Hornstein of Plum Sage Flowers in West Wash Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erin Hornstein.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
While attending CU Boulder, I held numerous part-time jobs with positions ranging from retail to home health care. I was working on Pearl Street mall at a store across from a beautiful kiosk that held a flower shop called Renegade Rose in 1998. I was drawn to the aesthetic, inquired about work and was hired. I then worked at a different plant and flower shop my senior year and gained additional experience. After graduation, I moved to Chicago and as I earned a Kinesiology degree, my main focus was always working in the field of healthcare. In Chicago, I worked for two different retail florists between health-care related positions and gained the most experience at Alice’s Garden. The location within the 900 North Michigan building exposed me to a high-end clientele and aesthetic that would later serve me well.

After three fun-filled years in Chicago (burning the candle at both ends), I relocated back to Denver. While searching for a “real job” in healthcare, I stumbled upon a farmer at the Cherry Creek Farmer’s market. He was selling the most beautiful peonies I had seen and I inquired as to if he needed help. For two seasons I then worked on his beautiful farm, creating bouquets for markets and creating wedding flowers for clients getting married on the farm. One day at market a woman (named Deb) approached the farm stand and asked if she could have the flowers I had created at her Telluride wedding. The farm owner smiled and said “I am not paying you to drive that far” so I bought the product from him, packed my little Jetta with blooms and drove to Telluride to create her wedding on the lawn of the reception venue (the Ah Haa School).

Shortly after I left the farm, I was hired by the University of Colorado Hospital. I held a position on a research team and began working full time in the Cardiology department studying Type 2 Diabetes and Peripheral Arterial Disease. While interacting with numerous nurses and staff members, it became known that I had experience in the floral world. I began doing small weddings on weekends and it became apparent my full-time hospital schedule did not compliment this additional workload. I took a flexible position within the hospital (drawing blood and doing EKG’s) and had weekends and Fridays free as needed to create and deliver weddings.

At this time I worked out of my apartment, then small condo which I owned, and then my eventual husband’s living room when we moved in together in 2006. My constant sidekick during these years was a large and wonderful yellow lab named Hudson. Joe and I built our first home in the Highlands in 2008 and designed the basement for my flower studio. This operation worked well as the business grew until our son was born in 2010. At this time I moved the studio into a freestanding space in the lower Highlands. We expanded this space in 2014 and in 2017 relocated the studio to a beautiful late 1800’s Victorian in Wash Park. Throughout these periods of growth, several talented full-time designers and part-time assistants have been crucial to Plum Sage in the growth and development of our brand and abilities. For the past five years, we have executed over 125 weddings a year in addition to creating corporate and private event orders. In 2018 we added the capacity to place a special order on our website and today continue to explore the world of retail while continue to focus on unique, beautiful and custom event designs.

Please note that we added a daughter to our family in 2014 and a second dog in 2016. As a family, we moved to Cherry Hills in 2012, which was a driving force to relocate the studio to a more central location. Life as I know it now is a juggling act of motherhood, business, family, and friends. It’s organized chaos but leaves me feeling very fulfilled. I never anticipated or trained for business ownership but realize how lucky I am to work with such an organic, beautiful product to make the world a more beautiful place and enhance life celebrations.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I have grown the business very slowly and carefully. Aside from property investments, I have never been in business debt. My conservative approach to expansion has enabled successful, slow progress. “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience,” says Ralph Waldo Emerson. The most challenging portion of small business ownership is team management. I have been fortunate to employ very talented, passionate individuals but when conflict does arise and change is necessary, I find it difficult to depersonalize the situation. I am learning to move through it and grow gracefully but it requires a lot of patience, self-control, book reading and opening of the mind!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Plum Sage Flowers – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Plum Sage is a timeless brand. We have always focused on beautiful, healthy product, stylish designs, and spectacular customer service. We specialize in walking a client through our design process, no matter how large or small the special order request. We want the process of selecting blooms and creating a design to be fun, informative and interactive. We want to create pieces that compliment what they are able to spend. We are known for creating healthy, beautiful arrangements that are vibrant and stylish. Unlike our competitors, we are not moderately trend-driven. We love to embrace current fashions and design trends but will aim to create a version of them that is still classic and timeless.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Given the slow and steady nature of the growth of Plum Sage (we are in year 15), there are no immediate changes on the horizon. We currently have a wonderful team and I am focused on the education, growth, and potential within mythree full time employees and dozen part time workers. We have another season on the books of beautiful wedding work and will continue to create gorgeous arrangements for our private event clientele. We may play to expand our website commerce, but are still brainstorming as to what is the ideal fit to complement our busy event production.

Pricing:

  • We do not have a minimum daily delivery order, but do suggest an arrangement start at $50 for an impactful design.

Contact Info:

  Image Credit:
Briana Marie Photography, Megan W Photography, Brad Livengood Photography, Rebecca Hollis Photography, Winsome and Wright Photography

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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