Some of the best values that are in my life come from even the earliest days of my childhood. Being born and raised in a village within the hills of Saint Andrew, Jamaica, I was always exposed to nature's beauty. It wasn't a popular village, but I lived in Padmore District.
Both of my parents were heavily involved in horticulture, even dealing with the floral trade with their business in Kingston. A lot of my best teaching moments came from my father, who was both a master gardener and an artist. As a young child, it was just expected to help tend and care for the plants in the garden. Overtime growing up in the garden, I learned the essentials like the names of plants and how they are grown.
I was also working alongside my parent's floral business, so I was acutely aware of how plant materials can be utilized beyond the garden. Being a part of this horticultural life has blossomed my love for working in the industry and dealing with plants.
As I progressed throughout my teenage years, I dealt more with my family's floral business. Not only did my floral skills improve over time, but so did my social and finance ones. Aside from being involved business-wise, we also took part in several plant competitions. Though even in times, it was grueling and hard work, it paid off. The passion for horticulture had spread throughout my siblings and me.
My father had taken the time out of his life to teaching me the fundamental skills of what it meant to be a floriculturist. Implementing his art skills, he taught me things like balance, texture, and color.
Taking the information he gave me, I conveyed his words into making arrangements that followed art principles. Every Saturday, I was given two distinctly different sized vases. With these vases, I was told to create two different floral arrangements. At the end of it, my father would come and critique my craft, which taught me the valuable lesson of learning how to learn from criticism.
When I finally emigrated to America at only 23 years old, I had different intentions in mind. Overlooking my most preeminent skill, I sought out for a notable job like becoming a lawyer. As an immigrant, I knew that even if I wanted to achieve what was the "American Dream," I needed to rely on my best skill to make a living. So I began working in a floral shop.
Throughout my life working as a florist at various shops, thoughts of starting a business started to resurface again in my mind. This didn't surprise me as independence was always coursing through my mind since I was a child. I can vividly remember when I was 16 years old, having a desire to own a business, well aware of the time and hard work it would take.
I would have to say, my most significant and ultimate motivation was my clients. Over the years of working in shops, I was given a lot of encouragement to start a business of my own. Eventually, I decided to begin working for myself, creating now something that has grown beyond my expectations. "Velene's Floral."
Still to this day, I am grateful and appreciative of my clients, who recognize the passion and commitment that I put into my work. Most of my business now emanates from referrals, almost like each work I create is like planting a tree, which branches out to others, like flowers.