The Alimond Show

Holly Chapple - Floral Designer/Owner of Hope Flower Farm and Winery

January 30, 2024 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Holly Chapple - Floral Designer/Owner of Hope Flower Farm and Winery
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever wondered how one stays afloat while juggling a 25-acre farm, a full-service retail flower shop, and a bustling calendar of events and weddings? Today, we walk the tightrope with our guest, an exceptional floral designer, educator, and resilient businesswoman. She takes us through her unexpected journey from being a stay-at-home mother to becoming a sought-after name in the floral design industry, and everything in between - her unique approach to airy floral designs, the birth of her educational conferences and workshops, and the commitment to teaching collaboration over competition.

Embrace the story of how she and her husband stumbled upon a farm in Waterford, Virginia after a series of fortuitous events, and how this transition transformed their lives. The couple's shift from their traditional roles to achieve their dream of owning a farm will leave you inspired, and the tale of a tattoo gotten in honor of service is a testament to their devotion. This journey wasn't just about carving out a successful business, but about honoring the service they had committed to and the miracles that led them to their dream location. 

In the face of adversity, our guest has shown determination and resilience. After losing her husband, she continues to strive to maintain her dream and make it flourish. Her plans for the farm involve not just floral design classes and charity events, but also guiding other entrepreneurs on their journey. The episode concludes with a tribute to the Hope family, the previous owners of the farm, and a powerful reminder that fear should never stand in the way of pursuing your heart's desires. This episode is a testament to the power of perseverance and the rewards of following one's passion. So, join us to uncover how one woman turned the challenges of her life into a thriving business, and how you could do the same.

Speaker 1:

This means, for this moment, I'm going to be doing one thing instead of 20, which is what I'm known for doing a lot of multitasking.

Speaker 2:

All right. So besides juggling conversations with kids and being there for kids, what else do you do?

Speaker 1:

Are you starting this already? Maybe maybe not. So I am a wedding and event designer, I have a flower farm, I have my own product line, I am an educator, so kind of my hands are in a lot of different things. I, you know, started my business many years ago as a way to be home with my children. My husband was the breadwinner and I wanted to be home with the kids, so I kind of just fell into the world of forestry, which today was just a really special morning because I met the first person that I ever worked for and I was we figured out 23 years old when I met this lady.

Speaker 1:

My mother and father had the contract for the Washington International Worship, which used to be down at the USA arena. So they did all of the landscaping and mulching and you know there's big design that happens at these international horse shows and they were asked to not only provide the bushes, trees and shrubs and the landscaping decor but the flowers. So my father owned a garden center on Route 7, which was Heider's Nursery and today it's Meadows Farms Nursery. We sold it to the Meadows when I don't know when I don't know, I actually don't know how old I was Mom and Dad also had a second store in Luckitz which is now called Loudonbury. So I grew up in this crazy family and my mother was a horsewoman, dad had the garden center. They had these connections with the horse show, had been landscaping it for many years and they got a new director of the show and she requested that Dad do the flowers. Seems like we're not a flower shop, but you know my daughter, she knows a thing or two about flowers. We'll talk to her. And I ended up.

Speaker 1:

The first professional job that I had in my career was the entire Washington International Horse Show and there was a woman her name was Sophie Nash and she specifically guided me that she did not want constipated floral designs. I mean, I was a kid and I was like what does this lady want? What does she mean? But she was really elegant and sophisticated and definitely just a really special professional. Like I knew. She was next level and I wanted to make her happy. Years later, as I understood the profession of floristry, what it really was is, at the time everyone was just doing really tight balls of, you know, like hydrangea and roses at the same level, and Sophie was, you know, actually telling me to be loose and airy and wild and free, which is what I naturally was, and that allowed me to cut things from my dad's garden center and forage and that became my look and so I just reconnected with her this morning after all these years, so it's been like a really fun morning.

Speaker 1:

Whenever I teach, I always talk about that because my designs are very loose and airy. So the story just goes on and on. So I went on to after doing the Washington International Horse Show, I started doing weddings and events. I have two sets of twin sisters. There were five of us, little hider girls in Loudoun County. We were all three years apart in age, and imagine that and people started asking us to do weddings and events and I went into full throttle wedding and event mode designing so that I could be home with my children throughout the week and on the weekends my husband would take over watch the kids on the weekends, and we built this like crazy business. So that's how it got started and how many years Like when did you?

Speaker 2:

how old were you? You said, you were young when you did that first show.

Speaker 1:

I was 25 when I did my first wedding, maybe 24. And I started the show when I was like 22 or 23. 1992 was when I did like my first wedding, and that was because a neighbor came down to see my newborn baby, abigail, and she was like, what are you going to do? And I said I don't know. I think I'm going to do weddings, which was insane to announce that, because I had no idea how to do a wedding. And I did know how to purchase flowers, though, because I had been doing it for the Garden for the International War Show and also designing at the Leesburg Flower and Garden Show. That's another part of the start of my business, because my dad always vended at the Leesburg Flower and Garden Show and I would go along with him with buckets of flowers from my, you know, at that time, a little farmette, a little two acre property, and people just started asking us to do the weddings, and I jumped into it and it grew from there.

Speaker 2:

So what do you think was the difference between? Because obviously you are one of the top in the country within the floral design world. What do you think? Why do you think you got there?

Speaker 1:

I know why I got there. I got there because I was excited about the changes in the industry. I started doing social media where everyone else was afraid of it or didn't understand it. I was 43 years old, pregnant with my seventh child this is insane when I say it out loud and I started blogging and opening up myself, my family, to the world, sharing you know my thoughts and philosophies on parenting, on floral design, on having a business, just being authentic and real and letting people into our world. And because we kind of had like this open door policy and we were sharing, people started asking me for help and so, organically, I just became an educator.

Speaker 1:

My husband and I started producing conferences and workshops for floral designers. This happened in New York and I had never really been to New York except for as a little girl with my family. I announced on Twitter who wants to meet me in New York City. Like, boldly, just say this on Twitter. I'm just thinking some of the people that I'm speaking to are going to say, oh sure, it'll be fun to meet you. And what happens are all these voices that I don't know are listening to me Say they're going to meet me in New York. And I realize that it is a conference, it's a workshop. Before there were conferences and workshops for the wedding and event profession of floristry, so unbeknownst to my husband. I guaranteed $14,000 worth of hotel rooms on our personal credit card and planted my first conference and I met an extraordinary group of people. And what happened was we really truthfully taught the industry that you could collaborate and share without that feeling of competition, and it started a trend within the wedding industry that we'd be more collaborative. And then we went on to produce conferences in London, scotland I mean, we were all over. I taught in Russia, evan went with me to Russia, I taught in China, I taught in Australia. We were everywhere. This is how it all began. We also had people wanting to study with us at our home, so my children were sleeping on the floor so a floral designer could come and study with us and take over their bedroom, and this was getting a little crazy.

Speaker 1:

So Evan and I began to look for a property that we could teach from, and whenever I'm driving around Leesburg I just see these buildings that we looked at or almost bought. And there was this farm in Waterford which was two miles down the road from us and it was for sale for three and a half years and I just watched it not sell and I drove down the driveway several times and looked into the barn doors and I even brought other floral designers there and said what do you think about this place? It just kept backeting me but I just I don't know. I guess I had kind of forgotten about it. I had been looking at these other properties in downtown Leesburg with my husband and none of them were just exactly right. And my mom called me up one day and she said that property that you've always been looking at it has reduced again in price and you really owe it to yourself to go look at it. So I went to this farm and this time I went with a realtor and instead of just looking in the barn doors, I was actually. I walked through the front door and my heart just quenched, like I knew that this place was special and that it was ours.

Speaker 1:

Now, before the barns were what were calling me, because they, I knew this was a potential place that I could teach or maybe someday have weddings. I didn't really care that much about the house but for some reason that day, like it, just that was the first place. Obviously, most realtors would take you to the house, not the barn. I went into this house and there was this closet that was like an old Butler's pantry it's not large but it's epic in my mind and I opened the door and it was just like, oh my, all these times when I had been teaching in New York, we would go to Martha Stewart and Martha Stewart had a prop closet.

Speaker 1:

And I opened this door and I, like knew it was going to be my prop closet and in this room we store all the China and the silver and you know we can set these extraordinary tables and it's, you know, right onto this little dining room where the lighting is amazing. And my students come to this farm and you know they can set this beautiful table. We have a linen closet, all of these things. So that's how that all started shaking out. We got this farm and it was really only being used for the profession of floristry. I was literally just teaching from here. Oh, I should back up. And in 2010, my husband left his career as the breadwinner and came on board with our company.

Speaker 2:

I was about to ask about him. Yeah, he felt about all of this. So this is perfect.

Speaker 1:

He was very. I've come to accept this and realize this. I've had a lot of aha moments in the last couple of weeks, so this could get emotional. He had a job that he hated. He was absolutely miserable at this job. Now he also did not want to become a florist, so this wasn't exactly the way we saw this going down. But he was a project manager. He could build. I mean, evan was so, so incredible, so capable. There was nothing that he couldn't do. So he decided because this career that he had was going nowhere and he was just miserable. I mean, he was full of disappointment and angst about his career. It wasn't going where he wanted it to.

Speaker 1:

You know, one morning, as a husband and wife were standing in the kitchen together and he said I just keep waiting for a burning bush, and I said well, you know, did you ever think that your misery was the burning bush? And I think you know for husbands it's such, or whoever the breadwinner is. And now I understand that it's so much pressure because we have the medical insurance, we have the definitive income. You know, my business was a wildcard. You know, you never know how many brides you're going to get or what's going to happen in the future. But I guess you know that question of is this misery or burning bush? He went off to work and I was literally with a client BB, I'll never forget it the mother of the bride, and he called and he said thank you so much for your support this morning and that conversation. I've just quit my job and it was like what Holy? And I'm literally in a consultation with this mother of the bride and oh my God, and I just said my husband just quit his job and he did.

Speaker 1:

He did right then Were you like I actually, I was excited. I mean because, having his support, he I knew he could do anything. He actually had been an electrician prior to telecommunications and he built a lighting division for our company. So we were doing lighting, he did drape, you know. You see the, the barns in Loudoun County that have like the peaks of like drape. He was the very first person out here to do that and he, he built that division. It was very, very successful for us. We built an incredible portfolio and then he got more into the management of the company, helping me make these conferences and workshops work out, and he also became an educator for our company.

Speaker 1:

So the farm, you know, was not necessarily where he thought we would end up. I mean, I don't neither one of us would have imagined where we would end up. God, there's so much to this story, you know, because who, who in their world has seven children to write. So we get this farm and we are teaching and things are really connecting. He loves farming. We are enjoying our life. Everything is pretty amazing for us. He starts Dahlia fields, peony fields. We have colleagues and friends who are coming from all over the world. They're staying at the farm.

Speaker 2:

Tell me about the property. How big is it? How many?

Speaker 1:

It's structures. It's 25 acres. It was originally a 450 acre farm. There are 25 acres left. It's Quaker.

Speaker 1:

There's an old stone manor house from the 1820s that has the prop closet. This is affectionately known by my husband as Holly's dollhouse. Then there is a little carriage house which is now our gift shop and someday it's on Evan's list. He left me a list of things I need to do. There will be an apartment above that, maybe another place to air B&B.

Speaker 1:

There is a historic barn that is also probably from the 1820s and this barn is used now for the winery component. But we were teaching in this barn and then it has stone five stone rooms underneath of it. Someday those will become tasting rooms or another gift shop, I'm not quite sure. Then there is a dairy barn which has a runway which was actually a dairy trough for feeding the cattle, but we called it a fashion show runway and we did botanical couture fashion shows in this barn. It has a second story. That is just absolutely beautiful. It's almost like a little cathedral. We do yoga in that barn. There is a third barn which was Evan's barn and that's where all of his equipment was, and he gave me two-thirds of that barn so that I could have a temperature-controlled classroom, because we were teaching this main barn when we thought the weather was going to be good and it would invariably be extremely hot or extremely cold whenever we hosted a workshop. So in February like February 28th of 2020, he finished this barn for me that was temperature-controlled, and the barn doors he left them on so that he could close out the light for me and I could film in there, because we were teaching online Again, one of the first to teach online floral education and then there was a section that was left.

Speaker 1:

That was where he had all of his equipment. And then there is a little tiny white tenant house which is now the cottage, and it has three bedrooms and a living room and kitchen and our students would stay there. So that's the facility. And do you live on this facility? I do not. I do not. I live two miles down the road and for the first five years, we continued to run the business out of our home, which is what we knew we were comfortable with. I loved being home-based. We had two flower shops in the house that we were living in to walk in coolers and you know the kids would run through the flower shop drop their book bags in the middle of us designing these huge weddings and events, and it was chaos. Now I know that it was chaos, but it was. It worked for us.

Speaker 1:

And so this room gets built, the studio and it's supposed to be for all the workshops that we have planned and COVID happens and we can't have our staff in our house. Our weddings are now canceled and none of our students can come. So we open up the barn and tell our staff they can come to work if they want to. I think we probably maybe went four weeks, six weeks, without having anyone on the team come. What we did was set up a purchase flowers come and grab them at the farm and we would make bouquets and I would just leave them in the barn. So there was no contact. But the team we never laid anyone off. We went into our savings and we kept everyone employed. The team was working like to market this and I was designing on the farm in the beginning, the first five or six weeks, and then we got to a place where it was warm enough, you know we could open the barn doors and we started working at the farm and it just kind of organically happened that we ended up leaving the home-based studio and moving on to the farm and designing.

Speaker 1:

And you know, we started backening the public to come to the farm and I, with all my deep passion and love for flowers, really believed that flowers were enough and that the whole world was just gonna come to the farm, because my experience was, floral designers were coming from all over the world.

Speaker 1:

So why wouldn't my public or my local community? You know I had been dancing around the world and no one really here other than my brides knew what I was up to. And flowers don't necessarily they will, because it's my mission. They don't necessarily resonate with everyone. Everyone's not as passionate about flowers as a florist is, so but I think, covid, really, actually we all know that People wanted to get outside, they wanted to work on mental and physical health and flowers are magical and they have a special power and so we opened the farm up and the world did not show up. So Evan and I decided that we would pursue getting a license for a winery so that people could have that component when they came to the farm, just to build out that experience a little bit more.

Speaker 2:

So flowers? You said. If the flowers aren't going to pull them in, we're going to bring the honey in aka the wine.

Speaker 1:

It was a part of it. Yes, it was. Ironically enough, my husband and I don't drink, so this was really kind of crazy. We're very family focused and we want people to have their priorities right, and it's not party central at the farm. It is about this experience, but what's wonderful is that it can be a full bodied experience.

Speaker 1:

Now the unfortunate part of the story is that in early 21, march of 21, evan was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. So this turns our whole family upside down and it's devastating because that's what we were was this big family, and up until this point, like everything we did kind of just organically, magically, happened when it really shouldn't have it worked out. And now we have this really difficult prognosis to deal with. But Evan continued on with. I'm not even sure, to be honest, if we had decided to become a winery before he was diagnosed. I think we did. I'm not even 100% sure if we decided to do this in the midst of chemotherapy, but God love him. He turned that last third of his barn, he took one third of it and built a processing room where we make the cider. We produce a hard cider called Jackcat, after our barn cat and now mainly to be cardiovascular-free review. Sort of like immature that credit card. He got us our license and completed the building of this room, all while undergoing chemotherapy. It's unbelievable.

Speaker 2:

He was committed to the mission.

Speaker 1:

He was committed to the mission and to the family and to seeing this whole dream all the way through. Now, I think an important part of the story that I really probably didn't share yet is that Evan and I did not well, we deserved the farm because we had, I think, good energy out, good energy in. We had worked really really hard, but we did not have the money for this farm. I mean, we just really flat out didn't. And what happened was I had one of the biggest weddings of my career and the money was in the bank. I hadn't bought the flowers yet and I went to the bank the bank's going to hear this and I applied for the loan and Evan had told me like I'm not going to help you, but I'm not going to stop you, which all my girlfriends were like that's that he's saying, yes, I had to learn how to apply for all of this, but he had already put all the financials into like a drop box for me because we were looking at other properties. So this is why it really worked, because it was already set up when I applied for the loan or put the contract on the farm and the bank sees all this money. They don't know that I still owe the wholesaler for all of the flowers. It was not only the biggest wedding of my career, but three other weddings that weekend. So the wholesaler says that Evan and I, who I buy my flowers from have been such good customers that they we all have credit in the floral industry, but I never used it. They extend a credit to me for several months and tell me I don't have to pay for these flowers and that's how we qualified and got this, got this farm. So the whole entire time there are all these miracles happening and everything falls into place and we get to this part where he's sick and we just keep going. We don't want to give up and we don't want to believe that we're headed where we're headed and we get the winery license in November of 21 in 22 things progress.

Speaker 1:

He ends up on oxygen. He's not, he's not well, but we still don't think. You know he's eating, he looks beautiful. If you saw him you would have never known he was sick. It says to me you know you need a deer fence. You're not going to be able to manage this farm in the future unless we get a deer fence. Because he was literally making makeshift fence and from crop to crop and moving them. He said I'm going to get this property fenced in for you. I was like, okay. He decides to plant. He purchases another 50 apple trees. They come five weeks before he dies. He gets a new hive of bees which he takes off his oxygen, literally, goes and puts these bees into the hive. 11 days before he dies, there's a ribbon cutting ceremony and we, you know, are now officially open to the public, because opening a winery that's a flower farm in November is not a really good idea. And he dies the day after the ribbon cutting and it's just like the whole world has fallen apart. It's just unbearable.

Speaker 2:

You know, he's his name.

Speaker 1:

It was June 3rd June 3rd 2020 tail and Evan was the anchor for everyone. Evan was taking care of the children. We made a decision. So, like I said, he carried that burden of the finances. I guess the day he quit. We switched roles and I took it on and I was happy to take it on and I I didn't realize until the last couple of weeks that I felt like he had spent His last year is making my dream come true. And in actuality, I'm now remembering because people are pointing and directing me back to the education that we filmed that he was miserable at that job.

Speaker 1:

And when I took on the role of the breadwinner and carried that burden, you know he was free. He was free to build things and build the company to parent. In a way, I mean, he was an extraordinary parent. He did all the cooking, he did all the cleaning, he did the doctor's appointments, the dental, all of it. He managed the house, he managed the farm, he managed me, he made it all happen. And you know it's come full circle now, because I'm realizing, you know, that we did truly switch roles and it's okay. It's what he actually chose to do. I didn't even tell him to do it, so it's not my fault, which has really been very freeing. What's interesting is, when all of these things lined up and we got this farm that we really didn't have the money for.

Speaker 1:

There was one other miracle a student that we had taught. Evan and I just a few months before we were still not going to qualify for this loan and she was. I wanna be careful, I'm not gonna say. This particular person felt that we had affected and changed the profession of floristry and that we were making great strives in the industry. And when the loan was going to not happen, she gave us an additional loan and I stood on the porch holding that woman's hands, promising that I would do good and that I would serve my husband and I strongly believed in service.

Speaker 1:

It was built into us, it's how we grew up, and she wasn't expecting that or requesting that. I just knew I think, like when my heart clenched when I went into that house that we were supposed to do something really, really special there. So I promised her, I made a vow, that we would do service work, and I think that's probably where we're headed right now. A lot of crazy things have started to unravel in the last couple of weeks that I feel like there's some kind of divine intervention that is happening and it's giving me some peace and helping me understand From the very beginning. Like I said, evan and I I started you might not see my little- I was staring at it, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I don't allow tattoos, my children may not have them, I don't like them, and then I ended up doing it. It's for service. The first thing we did at the farm was an event for kids with cancer. I don't know how. I mean. It's so strange because, you know, evan didn't have cancer yet Evan's mother died of cancer, but there was an organization called Along Comes Hope and somehow, just by coincidence, our Instagram handles.

Speaker 1:

We ended up connecting with each other and when I got the farm and I made this promise, I offered the farm up, and so kids with cancer were coming to the farm and I was supposed to do crafts with them and help them have just a fun day that was cancer-free. And I didn't know what craft I was going to do. And there's this vine. It's called Love in the Puff. Have you ever seen like an orange, like Chinese lantern? It's just like that, but it's chartreuse green and in it is a black seed with a white heart. And one of my blog readers had sent me all of these seeds glued together in a heart and gave them to me years before, before I even got the farm, and she thought I might like to grow this. So I had these seeds on the farm and I'm trying to come up with a craft. I go out and I get all these seeds and all these little kids and I glue these cards of these seeds and literally one of those little girls did recover from cancer. Her mother became a flower farmer. She was growing these seeds and her farm. She has children with cancer. Now to her farm. She's an amazing girl. She is the one.

Speaker 1:

The day that Evan died. She came in and took care of his hive so that his hive would continue after he passed away. So that is where that came from. I volunteer. I went to Texas and volunteered, gave my education and the funds from my teaching to an organization in Bryant, texas, and this went to kids who were underprivileged in a community where they were not getting the same services. That was one of the many things that I did. I volunteer my time. I give the farm up to the community and as we stabilize and learn how to sustain this farm it has to sustain itself We'll be able to share it with more people.

Speaker 1:

Ironically enough, since my husband has passed, the farm has been used for several funerals. It'll actually be used again tomorrow. It looks like a potential possible accidental fentanyl death and it's not yet clear, but this also happened back in June. We helped another family. Here are these parents, they're grieving, they've lost their children and they don't wanna be in a funeral home and they don't know how to have a funeral. They don't know what to do because no one knows what to do in those circumstances and I was able to literally give them the link to my husband's program in Canva and they can literally insert their own children's pictures.

Speaker 1:

Pastor who did my husband's funeral did one of the children's funerals a year and almost a year to my husband's death, kurt will do this other child's funeral tomorrow. It's going to happen in the exact same spot. Like something crazy is happening, like it is clear that not only is that farm there to bring incredible joy, I can serve, I can bring children to the farm, I can bring kids with cancer. We had a healing and grieving ceremony this summer. We built a huge sunflower field for a young woman named Ryan who died of cancer. Like the power and the possibility is kind of mind-blowing.

Speaker 1:

And I told my team my team is all crushed. They happen to know three of my staff members know the person that we're doing the funeral tomorrow, but none of us knew that. They knew this child. The family comes onto the property and it's just like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. All of a sudden all of us are connected and the service, like everyone, is completely affected.

Speaker 1:

And I told the team, like how profound is it that we have spent our lives making an easy day, a wedding day, the most beautiful day in someone's life, more extraordinary, and now we can take our talents and this is I don't want to become full service doing this but how profound it is that we can make one of the absolute hardest days beautiful and peaceful and purposeful and intentional. And I can't get over it. I mean, there are so many things happening right now. I have other reason and belief and indication that these families and some of the people that are helping us do these services. I can just feel that some kind of other community service is going to happen, whether it be for youth or for grieving. I just know that we're headed somewhere. It's undeniable Like. The things that have happened are mind blowing to me. Now.

Speaker 1:

The hard part is being a single woman with three teenagers still in the house to raise a 25 acre farm. You know, farming is not easy at all. It's insanity. How do we do the farming equipment, how do we continue to do these weddings and not be home with the children, and how do I continue to teach? And how do I have the farm open to the public? I don't know. I don't know how we'll do it. We are gonna open a full service retail flower shop, because we have to figure out a way to sustain it so it can do other things.

Speaker 2:

What can the community? How can the community?

Speaker 1:

They can visit the farm. They can help us if they have ideas about service or services or funding or ideas, or they need the farm for charity. I'm happy to let people use the farm when they need it. I've reached out to the you know, the Luckets' Ruritan. They've been told they can have the farm. I don't know. I don't know exactly where we're headed In regards to sustaining the farm, the retail flower shop.

Speaker 1:

We will start deliveries by Thanksgiving this year. That way we'll be able to. We've been selling flowers at the farm, but you have to come visit. So what we're doing now is going to move forward, functioning as a full service flower shop so we can send out floral designs In the winter those will be purchased flowers and then in the spring, from spring until frost, which we had our first freeze last night we will be using the flowers from our garden. You can come to the farm and visit Floral design classes happen. All of that is going on. I mean, we have every avenue we can possibly have open in order to generate the income to sustain the farm.

Speaker 1:

Now, what I'm sure of now is that, because when you lose someone like that, I thought it was just getting used to not having that person and they are gone. But it's not just that he's gone. I have to be a new person. I have to. I'm gone, the holly that I knew because I was married and that's all I knew, and my business partner and my backbone isn't there. And so I have to find out what I like and what I love and for some people it's completely starting over. But the flowers for me and the farm, I'm 100% certain it's what I'm supposed to be doing and I'm not supposed to give up. Yeah, and it was easy to get lost in all this grief and not be sure or think that I was just supposed to be doing it because Evan and I started it, and so I started to question myself, like maybe I was just continuing to pursue it because we did and I thought I was supposed to. But these things that have happened in the last couple of weeks the conversations with the team, the fact that we were there for these other families, the fact that the flowers are bringing joy I've had my first indications from Evan and just from my heart and my soul that we're supposed to keep going and not give up, just like I wasn't supposed to give up when I first started pursuing it. So that is the craziness of where we're at.

Speaker 1:

It's a beautiful place. I mean, there's so much history there. It's fascinating to see the way a farm used to work. It's interesting to see that it sat for sale for three and a half years. Like most people in their right mind, what are you going to do with all of this? But it actually functions really beautifully with the way that we're doing it. A few weeks ago we had an event there called Flower Stock, which is an event that Evan and I created. We had 70, I know we had like 82 students on the farm. We had glamping tents. They could sleep there for two nights. I had other florists, influencers in the industry, come for other teachers and to be a part of mentoring these other entrepreneurs and opening the farm.

Speaker 1:

We all have a commonality we all have some story. It may not be grieving, it could be addiction or mental health, or just struggling, being a new parent or being a business owner. Everybody's got something and at this point in my life I've been through just about everything and it's really an honor to be able to help in so many facets and in so many different ways. So it's like a place of hope it's, hope it really is, hope it's really. And hope that name. I wanted something meaningful and purposeful and intentional and I kept coming up with these names and my children were like, oh my gosh, mom, that is so cheesy, so geeky, so awful, and I really wanted it to be powerful.

Speaker 1:

And the farm actually was not owned by the Hope family but everyone called it the Hope Farm. And so I mentioned to one of our, the matriarchs and luckets, mrs Payton, that we were looking at this particular farm. She's like, oh, that's the old Hope Farm. And I said, oh, and I was just like that's it, I'm done, she goes. Well, it's not really the Hope Farm, but the hopes have always farmed it, so everyone just calls it the Hope Farm. She used to go there and get cream and make ice cream and I was like that's it, I'm done, it's named Hope. And so Mr Hope and Mary Ellen Hope, you know, knew that we kept that name and they've been to visit us at the farm and their grandchildren actually even came out and did like homecoming photos and things there. So that's how it got its name, which is great because they were the farmers for over 60 years there and I love that it is such a meaningful name, but that it honors the family that farmed it before us.

Speaker 2:

If you had one. First of all, thank you so much for sharing that story. I think I mean I know it firstly touched me unexpectedly, but you did warn me. I told you it's a tough story. What's one message? If you give one message to the world, what would that message be?

Speaker 1:

No matter the circumstance, no matter what we're fighting, we have to get up and we have to keep going. You cannot give up. You have to pursue what's in your heart, and fear will destroy you. It would take everything from you and Evan and I, you know, really, we were so young. I got pregnant out of wedlock and we had nothing. I mean our families were very supportive, but we worked for everything and but I mean the fear of everything that we came across could have made us just not move forward, not try to have a family, not try to build a business, not quit his job, not buy this crazy farm, not have an event called flower stock, not have a winery. We just kept moving forward and I know, in my darkest hours, that fear it could have kept me in bed. I think the only thing I did right after I lost him was to get up and keep going, and that's what I'll do. Thank you, Thank you.

Floral Design Career and Success
Starting a Floral Design Education Business
Miracles and Service on a Farm
Sustaining a Farm and Flower Shop
The Naming and Overcoming Fear