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Floral shop blossoms into sign business

Entrepreneur: Local florist expands Blooming Affairs into an award-winning operation

Posted: April 15, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 15, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Local florist Blooming Affairs delivers in its trademark vehicle on its daily round of deliveries to residents, hospitals, mortuaries, studios. The florist also provides arrangements for weddings and baby showers and any party event.

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After Debra Johnson Romero graduated from college, she took a job with a Boston-based florist on the recommendation of a friend. Having studied business management, Romero had never considered going into the floral industry.

Six months into the gig, the florist suggested Romero take a design class to learn the basics. Ten years later, and with lots of experience arranging flowers, working events and managing merchandising for the company, Romero agreed to handle the floral arrangements for a friend’s wedding in California.

Romero never looked back. She stayed with the couple in Los Angeles for a few weeks until she found her own place to live. Romero met her future husband in Los Angeles, and the two moved to Santa Clarita to start a family and open her own business.

“I always liked flowers growing up, and never dreamed I’d own my own flower shop,” Romero said. “It’s the best thing I ever did.”

Yard signs
Blooming Affairs flower shop in Newhall grew into a successful company, but Romero wanted to expand her business. She reviewed her sales, and found the two most successful flower sale occasions were for babies and funerals.

Looking for an opportunity to increase sales and cross-sell, Romero began researching anything related to babies. She came across a company providing signs of storks for the front yard of a home where a newborn baby had just arrived.

Romero already had her own little girl Emily when she created the 6-foot-tall new-baby yard signs for rent to announce the birth of a baby. And she launched her second business, Stork Delivery of Santa Clarita.

“I wanted something very whimsical and comic-looking,” Romero said.

The first creation was a cutout figure of a baby girl holding a daisy. The next creation was a cutout figure of a baby boy with a baseball hat, mitt and bat.

Each sign announces the birth of the child along with the baby’s name, weight, length and birth date.

With each sign placed comes a gift box filled with goodies for the mom and new baby.

Romero traveled to businesses and doctors’ offices all over the Santa Clarita Valley, leaving business cards and fliers for her service.

After placing a yard sign in front of a home, Romero would canvass the neighborhood and leave postcards for all the other homes that asked: “Have you seen the stork has landed in your neighborhood?”

Photos were taken of the yard signs upon delivery and emailed to both the sender and recipient. Stork Delivery of Santa Clarita also asked customers to send the photos to friends and family as well as post the photos on their Facebook pages.
Romero also writes thank you notes to customers and asks for referrals.

“Our phones just started ringing off the hook,” Romero said. “Our rentals have tripled since last year.”

Noting people liked a simple ordering process, Romero coupled the signs with floral bouquets for the new moms and offers packages that include delivery of a yard sign and flowers for the new mother.

Sign rentals begin at $99 for seven days, with discounts for twins and one free sign for triplets. Packages that include flowers begin at $150.

The company rents signs for other occasions as well. One-day rentals are also available.

Innovation award
One day, 1-800-Flowers called Romero at her Blooming Affairs shop, she said.

The online floral company saw Romero’s yard signs for Stork Delivery of Santa Clarita on Facebook, and asked her for more information about her service. They wanted to know how she marketed her business and created the packages to deliver both signs and flowers.

Two weeks later, Romero heard from the online floral service again to tell her she had won an award for coming up with an innovative flower-marketing approach.

“They told me they were so impressed with the marketing I created and that they didn’t know of any other flower shops integrating yard signs with flower sales,” Romero said.

As a result of the Marketing Innovator award, Romero’s business was featured in the magazine Floriology in March. The trade magazine was launched in 2009 by BloomNet, an international floral service and wholly owned subsidiary of 1-800-Flowers.

Blooming Affairs

Romero’s floral business offers free delivery on every order along with same-day delivery to homes, Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, Eternal Valley Mortuary and studios in Santa Clarita.

The floral shop, which opened in 2008  next to the state Department of Motor Vehicles in Newhall, is open for business seven days a week. The floral shop orders flowers fresh from the flower mart in downtown Los Angeles for its arrangements. Romero opened her.

“People bring pictures from magazines and ask if I can make it,” Romero said. “It’s very satisfying. There are certain projects that are really fun to do, like weddings and baby showers.”

Local residents

A resident of Canyon Country, Romero met her husband in Santa Monica. Together they searched for a good community they could move to and raise children in.

Romero said they felt there was too much concrete, too many strip malls and not enough parks in many of the areas they visited. They chose Santa Clarita to start a family because of the parks and activities offered for children.

Her husband, Rick, works for Southern California Edison, she said.

“We just fell in love with Santa Clarita.” Romero said. “We’ve been here 10 years now.”

Blooming Affairs and Stork Delivery of Santa Clarita are both located at 22924 Lyons Ave. in Newhall. The companies make deliveries to the Santa Clarita, Antelope, San Fernando and Simi valleys. Customers can reach both businesses at (661) 476-9242 or at www.storkdeliveryofsantaclarita.com and www.bloomingaffairs.net.

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