Patti Fowler, AIFD, CFD, continuously seeks new ways to expand her horizons and grow her shop.
Flowerama Pittsburgh is a thriving business, due in large part to the vast experience of its owner. Patti Fowler began her impressive journey in the floral industry with a degree in horticulture from West Virginia University. From there, she embarked on a career that would include virtually every area of the floral marketplace.
“For a short time I worked in the mass market segment of the industry in Pittsburgh. Next, I became a wholesaler and did that for four years,” says Patti. She then moved to southern California where she worked for two different floral growers.
“I also had my own farm, with 4,500 peony plants…I leased a quarter-acre of land and worked the fields myself.” Eventually, Patti moved back to her hometown in western Pennsylvania where in 2005 she bought Flowerama Pittsburgh, becoming a franchisee.
Along the way, she has gained a wide range of knowledge that has been instrumental in the success of her shop – knowledge she continues to seek today. “Education never ends,” Patti says. That notion is underscored by her current goals. “At this year’s American Institute of Floral Designers National Symposium I will test to become a Certified Evaluator Judge,” states Patti. She will also seek PFCI (Professional Floral Communicators International ) accreditation certified by the Society of American Florists.
With all that emphasis on education, it’s no surprise that Patti was named First Place winner of the Floriology #TeachFloralContest design competition. The contest encouraged florists to create and share their own educational videos, imparting their knowledge of the floral industry and floral design with fellow florists.
As for the success of her shop, Patti keeps Flowerama Pittsburgh growing through a broad array of marketing tools and promotional vehicles along with extensive involvement in the local community. Among the fruits of her efforts are rising corporate revenues. “I often go out and visit my corporate customers,” Patti says. “It’s a relationship business and we want to continually let them know the new things we are doing.”
One of those new things involves plans for starting an online flower subscription service for corporate accounts. “It will be a whole new web presence for us, and we might call it something like ‘Events by Flowerama’ with a website and Facebook page featuring testimonials from satisfied corporate customers.”
Complementing her corporate business, Patti is a member of the Chatham University Women’s Entrepreneur Group in Pittsburgh. The university has made her part of its MBA program, and Patti is utilizing this important relationship to increase her B2B opportunities.
Also part of the Flowerama Pittsburgh marketing program is a dedication to connecting with the surrounding community. “We regularly host workshops for garden clubs throughout the area as well as the general public,” mentions Patti.
In addition, she has created a photography/video studio right in her shop. Having this capability makes it easy to quickly and cost effectively share visuals of her latest floral arrangements with customers and prospects via her website and through social channels.
Of course, also a vital reason for the success of Flowerama Pittsburgh is the shop’s highly talented staff. “They’re like family to me and they are an integral part of the business. I depend on them for their innovative ideas, their amazing energy and their commitment to our ongoing growth,” sums up Patti.