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The History of Beautiful Blooms, LLC

Loriena Harrington is the owner of Beautiful Blooms, LLC, which is located in the state of WI."Like you think about your life, and your journey and think that it is rather ordinary on most days…so too do we about the history of Beautiful Blooms, LLC. Yet, whenever we are asked to tell the history of Beautiful Blooms we are encouraged by those who have listened, to share this story with others because on some levels it is profound, or at least interesting…so we have been told."

- Written by Loriena

The idea of Beautiful Blooms Landscape & Design, LLC started in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota in 2000. I was working at a golf club, TPC of the Twin Cities, at the time and wanted to make a change in my career path. Landscape design was part of my undergrad degree from the University of Minnesota and I further explored what it would mean to be an independent professional landscape designer/business owner. This was tricky—I did not want to leave the security of my full-time job and had no idea how to go about starting a company from scratch. As I continued my research, things started to fall into place and by late winter of 2000 I was ready to begin what I called ‘just an experiment’.

This experiment started with telling friends and family. The first thing I needed was a business name. I asked for suggestions and narrowed it down to “For Ever Green”, and “Beautiful Blooms Landscape Design”. I chose Beautiful Blooms Landscape Design because it was fun to say, memorable, and colorful. With about $25.00 of my own money I made about one hundred black and white copies on white paper of a flier at Kinko’s, and a few basic drawing supplies. My goal was that at the end of the summer I would have no need to invest any more of my personal funds and that Beautiful Blooms Landscape Design would have generated enough revenue to purchase a new computer system…and if it didn’t work, I wasn’t at a loss.

On the first nice spring evening in 2001, I walked through a new neighborhood that hadn’t a blade of grass growing in it. It yielded multiple solid leads and one hand-shake promise for hire…Not bad for a two-hour walk! Through the summer, there were many firsts and a lot of personal and professional goals met. By the conclusion of the season, I met the initial goal of being able to purchase a new computer system. Furthermore, the experiment was deemed a SUCCESS.

I was confident that Beautiful Blooms Landscape Design could be a full-time endeavor. And so, I gave notice at the golf course that I would not be returning the following season and at the beginning of November, I moved back to Milwaukee to be closer to family. At this time, I knew that I would not dare put forth the energy to establish a company in Minnesota only later to decide that I wanted to be close to my family and hometown of Milwaukee.

By January 2002, I was settled in Milwaukee. The winter and early spring months were spent figuring out the Milwaukee market. I worked out arrangements with a handful of companies to provide independent landscape design services and also continued door-to-door sales. The connections that I made throughout the year made all the difference in the establishment of Beautiful Blooms Landscape Design in Milwaukee. The inaugural year in Milwaukee was a success and the foundation was being laid for a solid 2003 and beyond.

I spent the winter months working on a few designs and thinking of other services I could offer…keeping in mind that I had no real money to invest, no employees, I did not wish for a business loan, and my personal vehicle was a 1994 Ford Aerostar Minivan.

By the summer of 2003, the company was starting to take shape. Design work was fairly steady; added services included coordinated bed shape layout, plant delivery and placement for DIY clients, and maintenance services for a select handful of clients. Work was steady—I hired an assistant, Sara Broker—Beautiful Blooms Landscape Design’s first employee!

The company slowly acquired some basic landscape equipment and a trailer during the 2003 season. This, along with the past clients giving referrals for more work, allowed the company to offer more services. And again, the company prospered throughout the 2004 and 2005 seasons. “The snowball effect” was in high gear. Door-to-door advertising was now a thing of the past and it was time for a second employee to keep up with the amount of design, delivery, consulting, and maintenance services that were requested.

Near the end of the 2005 summer, in planning for 2006 and beyond, I decided it was time to really go for it and make a name for myself in Milwaukee as a premier professional landscape designer. In order to do that I needed to let go of the maintenance accounts and really focus my attention on great design.

The greatest of plans, whether for a landscape or life, always have revisions. As the transition got underway to let go of all maintenance accounts, it was only 2 weeks later that Mike came home and announced that he lost his job as a golf course superintendent. Thankfully, with quick action and strong relationships with each of the understanding maintenance clients, this was not a problem at all and maintenance contracts were kept intact for 2006.

Almost immediately I thought back to those initial neighborhood walks in Minnesota and decided to again hit the pavement. This time, we got thousands of fliers printed at Kinko’s and put them in mailboxes advertising fall cleanup services. With an upfront investment for a push blower, backpack blower, rakes, and tarps we had a new business plan. By the grace of God, it worked.

Late in the fall of 2005, Mike officially joined Beautiful Blooms Landscape Design. All winter we worked feverishly setting up a completely new business plan that would embrace landscape management services. A slight name change, so people would know that now we were more than a landscape design company, was necessary. Design actually took a back seat during this time, as together, we threw ourselves into developing this new company model. From 2002 to 2005, Beautiful Blooms drew over 300 designs for primarily residential properties. In the late winter, we sent out a letter to each of these past clients, reintroducing them to Beautiful Blooms Landscape & Design, LLC. Having an established clients base was critical to our success in what again seemed like the first year.

From 2006 to 2011, we really pushed ourselves to grow in the number of services that we offered. Wanting to always excel in quality, this push for constant growth and change was challenging to say the least. There were true growing pains! Through this journey, we repeatedly came back to what we love most, distinguished horticultural services.

In the spring of 2012, enough was enough! We officially made a break from offering design/install services and began to only offer horticultural services. Honestly, it was the best choice we could have made. Focusing our attention on what we know best and what I am most passionate about, has allowed me to strengthen relationships with clients AND employees.

Measurable growth resumed again in 2013; however, this time the growth was far more manageable. I am sure this growth was the result of maintaining a strong focus on landscape maintenance services. We were able to follow better hiring practices and strengthen our team of employees. At the conclusion of our 13th season, it was clear that BBLD was setting a new course for itself. a core group of employees was now in place making it possible to make sustainable business planning decisions.

Now planning for the 2017 season, our core group of employees is a solid team. Loriena has a strong vision for this company over the next 15 years– it is to gain the reputation within our community as the leading environmentally conscious land care company. We are well on our way as our services have continued to be revised into services that reduce or eliminate the use of harsh chemicals and embrace natural ways to manage landscapes.

Annually, we now provide services to approximately 220residential clients throughout the season. At peak season, Beautiful Blooms employs 10-15 full-time employees. Through the years, as we have and will continue to grow, one thing remains the same—Beautiful Blooms remains a small, local, family-owned business where you can count on a personal relationship and our personal attention every step of the way. Having a personal relationship with our clients is the most important thing to us as a company and we strive to make sure that you have a wonderful clients experience.

It is hard to believe that we are in our 16th season and at the same time…thinking back about how all this got started it seems like a lifetime ago. Many thanks to all of our employees and clients throughout the years—and greetings to the many new employees and clients to come. We look forward to several decades more of growing relationships with you…and your plants!

Looking ahead, in the 2017 season, we will be continuing our effort to introduce our clients to the benefits of choosing sustainable and natural methods when maintaining their lawn and landscape. We are excited about taking a giant step away from the use of synthetic chemicals and fertilizers. In time, it is our intent to be 100% free of synthetic chemical and fertilizers when it comes to the care of your lawn and landscape beds.

I sense the year will be good and I am excited to get started. Ready? Set. Dig it!

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