On any Friday night in the past two months, the living room floor at Liz Boehm’s house could be hard for feet to navigate.
The space, inside her home on Timber Lane in Fairview Park’s West Valley neighborhood, can be overrun with stems, leaves and various clippings as she puts finishing touches on her hobby-turned-small business. But the end result has justified the mess.
Since early July, Boehm, who spends her weekdays as the director of Client and Business Development for Cleveland law firm Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan and Aronoff, has spent her free time arranging flower bouquets, sourced from both local growers and her own backyard garden, and sold them to an increasingly interested public.
What was once a pastime she would share with family members is now a fledgling small business run from her front stoop, with bouquets, in their own unique vases, priced between $5 and $15.
“I started because over the years I’ve just enjoyed putting together arrangements for holidays and family gatherings at my house,” Boehm said. “Then this summer I was sitting in my back yard, and our blue hydrangea looked so pretty this year, and I was sitting there thinking maybe I should do something with these.”
She began in July by clipping through her yard, harvesting the hydrangea and other plants and arranging them into bouquets. She priced them and posted the information to Fairview Park’s community Facebook page. They quickly sold out. She did the same thing a week later and sold out again.
The next step was to get the word out more, as well as put a name to her venture. She dubbed it Peace & Petals, and has accompanying Instagram (@peaceandpetalsohio) and Facebook (facebook.com/peaceandpetalsohio) pages to advertise her work.
And it’s all been done seemingly on the fly. Boehm, who lives with her husband, Greg, and sons Calvin, 8, and Emmett, 5, has no professional florist experience.
“I’ve always kind of liked arranging flowers,” Boehm said. “I did my sister’s bridal bouquet a few years ago. I’ve just done a lot of my own research online about arranging and best practices, a lot of self-teaching.”
She estimated she’s put together 75 to 100 bouquets since July, and has posted weekly advertisements on Facebook. Bouquets typically consist of a colorful mix of anything from hydrangea to sunflowers, zinnia to dahlias, and can be picked up from a makeshift shop in front of her house at specified times, usually on weekends. Keeping in mind the COVID-19 pandemic, Boehm has made transactions contactless, with customers able to pay through the Venmo app, or even by placing cash through her home’s mail slot.
Over the weeks, Boehm has attracted around 15 repeat customers – usually selling out within hours – and has started branching out into providing arrangements for events. One weekend there was a birthday party. Coming soon is a First Communion. She recently booked her first wedding.
After running through most of her backyard flower supply, Boehm has begun to create more planting space for a larger spring 2021 inventory. In the meantime, she’s traveled around Northeast Ohio in search of local growers. Most recently, she began picking buckets full of flowers from Baumhart Berry Farm in Vermilion.
At first she’d search thrift shops and local stores for vases for the bouquets. Then she began to receive vase donations from her customers, co-workers and neighbors, and even some anonymous donors.
“It’s fun because I’d never heard of these places before I started,” said Boehm, who has lived in Fairview for nine years. “(Arranging) has helped me get connected with my local community. I’ve made friends through my repeat customers, and I’ve met neighbors that I didn’t know before, and it’s been really fun.”
Boehm has also used early-morning beach trips in Rocky River to collect beach glass to turn into jewelry and home decor. Her growing side business has a growing selection of products.
“I’m trying to make better use of free time, while doing something that I’m really having fun with,” Boehm said.
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