Against all odds, Artisan Bloom‘s new brick-and-mortar floral shop opened during COVID-19.
Luckily, Kellie Jackstien is no stranger to running a successful floral business. For 20 years, she’s been making a splash at luxury venues with her signature lush blossoms, dramatic ceiling treatments, romantic tablescapes and petal-carpeted aisles. It’s no wonder that two years ago, Jackstien was outgrowing her workshop and began planting new seeds for growth.
USD: What made you decide that Artisan Bloom was ready for a change?
Jackstien: I began searching for a design space for Artisan Bloom kind of on a whim. I knew I wanted to expand my company and felt like a beautiful, creative space for my designers to create and my clients to gather would add to the design experience synonymous to the Artisan Bloom brand. I wanted something that reflected my passion of transforming spaces. We do this all the time with our weddings, but transforming a design space was really exciting for me.
USD: How did you decide on the location for the new shop?
Jackstien: I purchased the building in December of 2018. I was looking for a true fixer-upper. I love transforming a space and was excited to find something with great bones in an up-and-coming area.
I was drawn to Old Town Midvale because I truly saw so much potential on this little tree-lined street. It’s quirky and charming. Enter 7573 S Main Street. Built in 1920, this building was NOT cute when I found it. Like, not at all. My friends and family thought I was crazy, but I saw potential and I knew given the era it was built, I might find some unique original details.
USD: Obviously, you know design. How did you narrow in on a renovation plan?
Jackstien: I had a killer Pinterest board that I was determined to execute in this renovation. We began renovation in August 2019. When we stripped the interior down to the four exterior walls, we discovered century-old brick, stick framing and duct work which I was thrilled to expose and incorporate into the overall design. Influenced by the 1920s era, we restored two original radiators and incorporated penny tile, marble top tables, bold brick and natural wood tones, layering in sparkling crystal chandeliers. Thank you Roaring ’20s for that contribution to design! After blowing the budget (a lot) and timeline (a little), we happily moved in December 2019 and prepared for our glorious 2020 wedding season to begin.
USD: Boom! COVID-19 had other plans. How has your business changed since the pandemic started?
Jackstien: Within days of the announcement of a global pandemic, we learned that wedding season was put on hold indefinitely. It was a frightening prospect. With a design studio waiting for flowers and talented designers anxious to create, we brainstormed, Googled Shopify coding, designed, developed and shot content. With herculean efforts from our team, we opened an online shop featuring gorgeous, luxe floral designs worthy of gifting just in time for Mother’s Day.
Things have been going well with the online shop after Mother’s Day. Gifting is such a new territory for us and establishing a good footing can take years. We’re grateful for the support we’ve seen from our local clients and friends that associate a level of luxury with the Artisan Bloom brand. We’re seeing slow and steady growth, and it’s been such a fun shift for us.
USD: COVID-19 has essentially cancelled the summer wedding season. How has that impacted Artisan Blooms?
Jackstien: Definitely there have been no big summer weddings this year which is a HUGE change for us. Fortunately, a majority of our wedding clients postponed to next year rather than cancelling and so far, 2021 is looking to be an incredible year.
A lot of our brides are choosing to elope on their original wedding day with a small, intimate but beautiful ceremony and gorgeous feast for immediate family and friends with a much larger and extravagant celebration the following year with extended friends and family. It’s been a fun way to extend their wedding celebrations. Nearly every bride I work with experiences wedding blues when everything is over. All the excitement and planning is over, and they just want to keep celebrating. This accomplishes that in a beautiful way. I think when all is said and done, people are going to want to celebrate in really big ways. I think everyone has really reconnected with the idea that life is short and our family and friends are such a gift. The idea of prioritizing experiences with them will hit a new level.
USD: How has this “pandemic pivot” worked (and not worked!) for your business?
Jackstien: We had a tremendous response to our online shop and on opening weekend, with the loving support of our loyal clients, our dear friends and excited industry partners, we sold out every design! We were so excited. The Artisan Bloom shop is here to stay. It’s been a creative haven in an uncertain time and we are truly grateful to our supportive community for believing in us. We continue to develop new designs that are striking and anything but basic. While we can’t wait to get back to weddings and events, we sure love the side venture of the Artisan Bloom Shop.
I am so proud of my team. We went from a team of 50 to a team of six virtually overnight. The idea of not being able to keep my core team with me through this was unimaginable. We’ve become a bit of a family, and I didn’t want to lose that when we didn’t have the work to support the expense of a payroll. We’ve worked hard and we’ve reinvented a revenue source to sustain that. It’s not enough to be a long term solution at this point, but it’s getting us through and allowing us to wait this out together. And it has tremendous potential. We see growth every week and that’s impressive.
It hasn’t worked in that any business owner would tell you it’s nearly impossible to launch a new project without any capital in an overly distressed economy. Federal and state-funded disaster relief has been helpful for my employees, but not for me as an owner. Business owners will walk away from this with a significant amount of debt, and that’s hard to stomach, but the ones that make it through will be stronger and more resilient. After nearly 20 years in business, we’ve weathered bad economies and market crashes, but nothing quite like this. Our local market really needs to dig deep and support their local small businesses. Small business owners are throwing everything they have into keeping their doors open and their employees paid, and there will be some serious recovery years. Buy flowers, dine out, safely meet your friends for a drink, buy local, buy local, buy local. Consistent local support will go a long way in helping to climb this mountain.
USD: What makes Artisan Bloom’s floral designs so unique?
Jackstien: Everything we do is elevated. From our bloom selection and color stories, to our signature branded wraps and beautiful wax-seal enclosure cards, we want gifting to truly be an experience. We carefully curate seasonal collections, incorporating the most beautiful blooms. Everything we source is local, whether it’s from local farms or supporting local wholesalers. When launching this project, it was especially important to us that we support small local businesses impacted by Covid-19.
USD: What’s next for Artisan Bloom?
We have some down time now that wedding season is quieter than usual, which allows us time to start some new projects. We’re planning to launch a Wine and Design Night, where guests can rent out our beautiful studio and enjoy a night of wine and spirits pairing, gourmet bites featuring local caterers, old school jazz and professionally-guided floral design instruction with keepsake floral arrangement. Our 1920s building has such a beautiful, creative energy about it and we can’t wait to share it.
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