Mischelle Vining combined her vast inherited knowledge of flowers, her faith in God, and grit to not only begin to garden again but also to create a “blooming” business.
Mischelle Vining is a full-time physical therapist. So, when she started experiencing neurological symptoms similar to those of her clients, she knew something wasn’t right. What she wasn’t expecting was that a trip to her doctor would confirm that she had a brainstem angioma that had bled, causing her to have a stroke.
Following her stroke, Vining found herself ridden with fatigue, loss of balance, and loss of interest. Vining was also, like many, stuck at home during the COVID pandemic. It was then that Vining found a reignited passion for flower gardening.
“I had six brothers and five sisters,” said Vining. “And we were always gardening with my mom.”
Vining combined her vast inherited knowledge of flowers, her faith in God, and grit to not only begin to garden again but also to create a “blooming” business.
Hope Blooms in art, bouquet subscription business
When Vining initially started the flower business from her home in Flowood, she was only doing a couple of bouquets at a time and strictly delivering. She had a few regular clients, but the supply and demand began to grow.
“I was on several Facebook groups with other flower gardeners around the country, and I began to get ideas for this business from there,” said Vining. “So, that’s when I started my flower club.”
Hope Blooms’ flower club is a subscription service. From April to August, subscribers can get a fresh bouquet of flowers either once or twice a month.
“I have my flower cart right outside,” said Vining. “So, club members can come and get their flowers there or from my porch pickup.”
The demand for Vining’s flowers has grown to the point that she can only accept so many in her subscription-based club.
Vining said she leaves wedding bouquets to the other talented designers in the area, but florist shops have started reaching out to purchase her excess flowers.
“Many of these flowers go to folks who just like to have fresh flowers throughout the year,” said Vining.
Flowers, however, are a perishable resource. Vining had to get creative to cut out waste.
“If someone doesn’t pick up their flowers, I have to figure out what to do with what’s left,” said Vining. “I’ve been able to give away a few extra bouquets, but I also have to have money to run the business, purchase my seeds and all.”
Vining started working with dried flowers and incorporating them into works of art.
“I have dried flowers in resin, and I’m able to make art and jewelry with that,” said Vining.
This allows for any unclaimed or excess flowers to find a new purpose and not be wasted. This also creates room for all-season work and does not just limit her business to when the flowers are in season.
“It is already year-round work, getting the soil ready, composting, getting seedlings started, over-wintering,” said Vining. “But the artwork is just another part of that. I can do it pretty much all year.”
Vining doesn’t use chemicals when tending to her flower garden; instead, she uses all organic measures to keep her flowers free from pests and growing healthily.
“That’s intentional because I am also working to make teas,” said Vining. “I already have one nutrition shop using my teas to serve as hot drinks.”
Vining said that many of her flowers are also edible, though she defers to health professionals and makes no claims as to what the flowers and herbs may or may not do for nutrition and health purposes.
“There are some common herbs that have been used medicinally,” said Vining. “But I’ll always tell you to check in with your doctor. Not everything is healthy for pregnant or nursing women, for example.”
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