What started as a part time job when she was just 18 years old, turned into a passion for Shelly, who had no prior design or business experience.
Fast forwarding a few years, Shelly decided to take a huge leap of faith. At 7 months pregnant with her second child, she left a good job with benefits to start her own flower shop out of her home.
“I felt like I was really missing out, so I decided I would open a flower shop from home and that way I would be able to still bring money into the household but also be more present in my boys lives,” Shelly explains.
The original idea of a small flower shop within her home was quickly outgrown and Shelly moved the business from Bath to Amherstview. The move maintained the ability to continue to serve the Loyalist Township clients but also reach into the Kingston market.
“I never thought 16 years ago that my shop would have more than two employees, and now we are looking at opening a third store.”
Now approaching the first year anniversary of Napanee Blooms in mid-February, the expansion to Napanee was a dream come true.
“I always admired a store window. It was always my little dream,” said Shelly of having a storefront in downtown Napanee. “I was always really impressed with how Napanee and the downtown core had camaraderie. They are always doing something, planning something, they support each other’s businesses, and they work together.”
Success has followed Shelly to Napanee, and she’s felt a deep appreciation for her neighbouring businesses and the community.
“There’s just this feeling in Napanee that makes you like being here. The BIA here is amazing, all the growth happening, the people are so friendly, I feel really fortunate to be here.”
With growth on the horizon, Shelly’s vision for the future is palpable. She has a desire to be more involved in the community and events happening here in Lennox & Addington County. One way she is attaining this is through the ‘Petal it Forward’ campaign where her staff hand out flowers to people in the community.
“We want people to know what it feels like to receive a gift, a flower, but there’s also a certain joy that comes with actually giving one too,” she said.
Working with the community is a consistent theme for Shelly who advises new entrepreneurs to collaborate with other business owners and utilize the resources available.
“Accept all resources, especially on the municipal level, like Loyalist Township and the Lennox & Addington Economic Development office. There are so many resources that people don’t use and that’s what they are there for,” Shelly explains. “It’s been very helpful to talk to other businesses too. Getting in touch with like-minded people who share the same passion and vision and it doesn’t have to be in the same industry.”
Running your own business doesn’t come without its challenges. It’s important to know when to reach out for help and where your time is best spent.
“As a business owner you wear so many hats. You have to be a good designer, a blogger, a photographer, a social media expert, a delivery person, a stock person, a manager, you have to be all these things and it becomes very difficult,” said Shelly. “Get the help where you can and know how to budget your time and money.”
However, for Shelly the rewards outweigh the challenges for this self-professed ‘creative soul’.
“For me this is a really happy marriage. I get to be creative and do my thing but I also get to run a business and both of them I love.”
When she’s not busy running her businesses, Shelly loves taking in the unspoiled charm Lennox and Addington County has to offer with her camera in hand.
“I enjoy taking drives around and finding things to photograph. From wildlife to the way the sun is hitting an old barn, there’s beauty everywhere you look.”