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Florist Spotlight: Buds ‘n Bows

At Flower Shop Network, we’re grateful to work with many amazing local florists and we want to share their stories with you! This month, we’re highlighting one of our first members, Buds ‘n Bows Flower Shop! Owners Keith and Paula Wagnon started Buds ‘n Bows in January 1995, but have been in the floral business since 1978. Learn about Buds ‘n Bows and what advice they have for other florists!

What inspired you to become a florist?

When Keith and I married, his Dad owned and operated the local businesses, Oglethorpe Chapel Funeral Home and Parkview Flowers florist, in Crawford, Georgia. I helped out in the flower shop. My father-in-law, Mr. Bob Wagnon, was the one who trained me and taught me the basics of being a florist and the importance of good customer service.

In your own words, what would you say is the key to your success?

Prayer, commitment, customer service, a love for the business, and hard work. Most importantly, prayer and keeping God first. Listening to the Lord’s voice and following His direction is the reason we’re still in business.

What’s been your biggest challenge as a florist?

Probably the hours. Some may think that this is an easy job, behind the counter, retail sales, and set hours of 9-5, but it’s not. It is hard work, long hours, and many times canceled plans and missing special occasions or family time.

What’s been your biggest resource?

Jesus Christ, my Lord, and Savior. He gives me everything from strength and endurance to ideas and ability. Jesus supplies all my needs in one form or another, whether in the physical or spiritual realm; He is my provider, my supplier, my resource.

How has the industry changed since you started?

Wow, so many ways. 43 years ago, flowers were considered to be more of a rare purchase than today. Flowers were mostly sent as “get well” gifts or sympathy tributes back then. An occasional birthday bouquet was sent, but sending flowers just to cheer someone up, say thank you or hello, that was never heard of. Another big change is the use of oasis forms in funeral work. Back in the late ’70s and early ’80s, most sympathy pieces were made on dry forms. We used water picks and wired each bloom into its own pick to provide the water for it. Possibly the biggest change, which has mostly happened over the past 20 years, is the use of technology and the internet. I could not have even imagined having a website and someone shopping online 40 years ago!

Where do you see the floral industry in the next 20 years?

Honestly, I have absolutely no idea. 20 years ago I would not have imagined that website and computer ordering would have become such a big part of this business, but here they are! My guess is that, should this world continue, online shopping will replace the walk-in or telephone calls completely in the next 20 years, and probably drive-thru and curbside service will be much more commonplace. However, since I am a Christian and looking for the Lord’s return very soon, I’d say that in 20 years, if there are to be flower shops in Heaven, they will have the most beautiful flowers that have ever been seen, the blooms will never wilt or die, and best of all, they will be free!

Any advice for the next generation of florists?

Yes!……RUN!! Ha ha!! Seriously, I guess my best advice would be to go into the business with your eyes open to the fact that it is never predictable and is ever-changing. Be open to being creative and attempting to design the ideas your customers want. I’ve made many things out of flowers that I would never have thought of doing on my own. It’s amazing the great ideas different people have!  Become a florist because you have a love for flowers and people and because you love to be creative and you enjoy serving. Do it if you don’t mind long hours or hard work. Do it if you love the feeling of accomplishment and enjoy sending smiles and being a part of lifting the spirits of others. Do it if you have compassion for the hurting and want to help give comfort. Be committed to doing your very best and giving your very best. But, do not become a florist if you are doing it just because you think it will be an easy 8-hour-a-day job that will make you a millionaire. If that is all you want from this industry, you will not survive.

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