Lily Greenthumb’s is a Charlotte business known for their custom floral designs. We had the wonderful opportunity of speaking directly to one of the designers, Karen Greenoe. Enjoy the interview below, and let us know your thoughts!
CharlotteBusinessResources.com (CBR): Thank you so much for this interview! To start, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Karen Greenoe (KG): Hi! I’m Karen Greenoe, and I’m the senior designer at Lily Greenthumb’s! I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio but have been in Charlotte for over seven years. My dad and his family were born and raised in Charlotte so I’ve always considered this city home.
My mom likes to tell people that she should have known I was going to be a florist from the beginning. As a baby, I used to talk to the flowers on my 70’s style floral wallpaper. Over 30 years later, I’m still talking to my flowers!
CBR: What has been your personal experience as an entrepreneur and businesswoman?
KG: I have been very fortunate with my experience in the business community. I made a conscious decision when I first started the company to surround myself with positive and encouraging people. Those people were the main driving force that kept me going when the going got tough. As the company grew, I continued to connect with new people and new companies. I do believe that the connection with people is the main reason for the company’s success. If you take care of people, those people will take care of you in return!
CBR: What motivated you to enter the wedding and event industry? What continues to motivate you?
KG: The wedding industry is so full of passion that I just had to be a part of it! I’ve always loved the transient beauty of floral design, so it was a match made in heaven! We have been so blessed with an amazing client base of brides that we have truly connected with and continue to be friends with today.
CBR: What experience do you think was the most valuable influencer on who you are today?
KG: My lead designer, Kristin, and I recently attended a master class with the amazing Karen Tran in New Orleans. One of the points that she drove home with us is that you SHOULDN’T be everything to everyone. Be who you are and the right people will come on board with you. It was such an eye-opening realization for me!
CBR: What do you think was the most influential advice you ever received as an entrepreneur, manager, or business leader?
KG: My biggest “ah ha!” moment had to be when someone told me to treat every job, event and installation as a job interview. You never know who is watching (for the good or the bad), so make sure you are always acting in a professional manner. It only takes one moment of one person overhearing you uttering something negative or derogatory to tarnish your reputation in the community. As a business owner, you are your own PR manager, so be on your best behavior at all times. And make sure your people are, too!
CBR: How many years have you been involved in floral designs?
KG: I’ve owned Lily Greenthumb’s for five years and have been in the event industry for another three years before that.
CBR: What advice would you give to budding floral designers interested in starting their own business?
KG: Play!! It is one thing to learn the “rules” of floral design, but it is quite another thing to learn how to break those rules. Most of what I do I learned by experimenting with different colors, textures and styles. That is truly how you hone in on your own signature style.
CBR: Tell us a little bit about the history of Lily Greenthumb’s. Can you remember the moment that took it from an idea to reality?
KG: I do! I was sitting in a seminar with my now husband, George (we were only dating at the time), and I was having my own internal “what the heck am I doing with my life” conflict. The idea hit me like a lighting bolt! I turned to him and said, “Honey, I’m going to be a floral designer!” At that point, I had very little formal experience in design, but I knew it was something I was passionate about. Without missing a beat, George said, “Alright! Let’s do this! What’s the first step?” He has been by my side, for better or worse, ever since. Since then, we’ve added to our team and have become quite the force to be reckoned with!
CBR: What are some of your goals for the future?
KG: I would like to continue to see the company grow–not in the number of events, but in the quality and caliber. I want each of our events to be recognizable so that anyone can easily say, “Ah! That’s a Lily Greenthumb’s event!” Our art is an extension of ourselves, and it should reflect us and our style.
CBR: What do you think is the most important thing people should know about Lily Greenthumb’s?
KG: We take care of our clients, and we have fun while doing it. Both myself and my lead designer, Kristin, are recently married, and the stress that goes into planning a wedding is still very fresh in our minds. After a consultation, 99.9% of our brides say, “Wow! That was a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be!” or “That was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be!” That is our goal. Trust us to make your wedding beautiful, and we will take care of you.
Thank you, Karen, for allowing us the opportunity to learn more about your business and for sharing some valuable business tips with the Charlotte community!
Visit www.lilygreenthumbs.com to learn more.