Go Green with Beautiful Blooms Landscape & Design, llc- Sustainability to Menomonee Falls
-Written by Loriena Harrington
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 Landscape & Design, 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.
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 U of MN 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 choose 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; 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, did not wish for a business loan, and my personal vehicle was a 1994 Ford Aerostar Minivan.
By summer of 2003, the company was starting to take shape. Design work was fairly steady; added services included coordinated bed shape layout, and plant delivery and placement for DIY customers and maintenance services for a select handful of customers. 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 start past customers giving referrals for more work, allowed for 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 customers, 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 mail boxes 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 customers reintroducing them to Beautiful Blooms Landscape & Design, LLC. Having an established customer base was critical to our success in what again seemed like a first year.
Each year since 2006, Beautiful Blooms Landscape & Design, LLC has been expanding and offering new services to fill the requests of customers. These include; annual beds and seasonal container decoration, along with the care and maintenance for those who cannot find time, installation and care of vegetable and herb gardens, followed with our guidance in preserving them and using them year round. As the company grew, we saw the need to hire full time office administrator. In 2013 Justin Mottl joined the Beautiful Blooms team with over 12 years of experience in all aspects of lawn care. He has been involved with the new sustainable lawn care program, and is just as excited as I am, to get started. His talents will make it possible for Beautiful Blooms to offer premium lawn maintenance.
Annually, we now provide services to approximately 200 residential customers throughout the season. At peak season, Beautiful Blooms employs 9-10 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 customers is the most important thing to us as a company and we strive to make sure that you have a wonderful customer experience.
Last season marked a very special milestone season at Beautiful Blooms Landscape & Design, LLC; we have moved the office to Menomonee Falls, WI! It is hard to believe that it has been 12 years 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 clients throughout the years—and greetings to the many new clients to come. We look forward to several decades more of growing relationships with you…and your plants!
Myself, and my employees have been educated on the impact of chemical free land care. We choose to use the term "sustainable" instead of organic or natural due to the the broad definition of the words. Sustainable is to be able to be maintained at a certain rate or level and to be able to be upheld or defended. Our goal for your landscape is for it to be able to uphold and defend itself- without the use of harmful chemicals!
Looking ahead, in the 2014 season we will be introducing our clients to the benefits of practicing "sustainable" lawn and landscape care. We've added 3 levels of sustainability for our clients to choose from. This sort of customization will ensure not just satisfaction for our clients, but happiness and peace of mind as well. We are excited about taking a giant step away from the use of synthetic chemicals and fertilizers. Last season, we used compost tea as a routine part of our complete landscape maintenance services, brewing about 25 gallons per day. Our customers saw such improvement in their struggling plant material, this season, we plan on brewing about 250 gallons per day throughout the spring and summer months. Along with other sustainable care options, it is our intent to be 100% sustainable when it comes to the care of lawn and landscape.
I sense the year will be good and I am excited to get started. Ready? Set. Dig it!
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