There is a new bright spot in Fryeburg, From its cheery front garden to its welcoming yellow door. Since it opened on January 19th, 2017 Lemon & Tulips have brought a little ray of the sunshine charming agricultural town.
Lemon & Tulips have some pre-arranged flowers, and some adorable merchandise in the shop but specializes in their stunning and unique custom arrangments, just head over to their Instagram @lemonandtulips to see for yourself.
The owner of lemon & Tulips the lovely Alexzandria Regan was kind enough to do an interview for A Sparkle Of Grace, so keep reading!
Have you always wanted to work with flowers?
I grew up with my mother drying wreaths and flowers, taking care of household plants and always, always outside in her garden. Whether it was her reading a book, maintaining it or just relaxing; I grew up knowing a garden was a peaceful place for the mind. So, I have always enjoyed flowers for their both aesthetic and nostalgic feel. When figuring out what I was going to do from High School to College to ‘real life’, floral design popped up once in awhile but it really did not fall into place until after an accident, where I cracked my skull and had traumatic brain injury. After this happened, I knew I could not go back to a job (managerial) as it was too much to handle and comprehend. I did do some research that things that would help me ease into a different career path and with a twist of fate, a floral position was open and I got hired. I needed something to retrain-my-brain and floral had it all; the fragrance that alleviates stress, colors that build visual memory and most importantly, creativity on free-designs (thank goodness for the right-side of the brain).
When did you decide to open your own shop?
It was a very random call from my mother saying that the floral shop in Fryeburg could be up for sale. I did not really fathom it or even thought it was possible until it became very real. If the shop did not happen, I was going to come back to Fryeburg anyway to try to save money and work as a freelancer in floral.
Why did you decide to stay in Fryeburg?
I was actually planning on moving back to Fryeburg way before the idea of buying the floral shop. Although I feel as though Portland is my home, the home and lifestyle were too expensive and it did not make much sense to be an entrepreneur and to save there. Over the years, I started thinking, ‘Fryeburg is a gem of a town’. It has so much potential with its prime location, the many camps, the Saco River, the Fair, the beautiful nature, the farms, the historic Academy, the Valley and its heavy 302 traffic. A lot of eyes go through Fryeburg!
Where did the name Lemon & Tulips come from?
Short Story: ‘Lemon’ is a nickname & ‘Tulips’ is my favorite flower
Long Story: I have always been slightly obsessed with lemons. They hold my favorite color, yellow, my favorite scent, they produce glorious health benefits and they serve with astounding uses! They are my ‘power fruit’ or rather, a positive entity for me. With this being said, all of my friends started buying me lemon things. In time it became a nickname of mine. Tulips are my favorite flower. Living in Germany when I was younger, my family and I visited the surrounding countries and tulips were always there; they are nostalgic for me, especially with Scandinavian folk art. When learning floral, I found out that they have such a personality! When cut, the tulip stills continues to grow.
What was the scariest part of starting your own business?
All of the responsibility! Everything lies on me and is truly scary! It does push me to become more of a caring and successful business owner by getting over my fears.
In your opinion, what makes Lemon & Tulips special?
I think Lemon & Tulips is special because it’s a floral shop that is personalized. What I mean by saying this, is that I am not affiliated with major services that have you pick out an image on a computer (Teleflora for example) and to copy it. For me, it takes away both mine and the customer’s creative freedom and personalization of the arrangement. I have gotten some feedback from not being involved, but floral shops are changing and stemming away from these services and I am happy to be apart of it. Although I could potentially make more money by being involved, oddly, I would rather make less and be more unique and customized for both the sender and the recipient. I believe my shop can make that happen. Sometimes you have to just set yourself aside and do your own thing!
Have there been any surprises, good or bad, that you discovered when starting out?
That thing called ‘trail and error’ and I have already had my fair share of it. I did not just purchase a floral shop and just continued like it was before. I purchased a floral shop and completely flipped it. From the aesthetics, the methods, the policies, the floral, the design, the orders, the shop both inside and out, I flipped almost everything. The bad thing about this is that I did lose some customers that were accustomed to what they had in the past, which is always tough to see. However, the good thing about this is that I gained customers that loved the change and excited to see me grow.
What is your favorite type of arrangement to create?
My favorite arrangement is when a customer asks me to use a unique vessel and to have fun with it. This is amazing because the customer is putting trust and faith in me to produce something different with my personal design.
How about your favorite flower?
So many! But, of course, tulips. They have such a personality to them because they continue to grow after cutting them. I remember the first time I witnessed it as we (past floral job) made several tulip centerpieces at a clean height, and the next day to see that they grew taller and started bending in every direction. I could not stop laughing and thought it was absolutely adorable.
Do you have any advice for someone who is trying to start a business?
Remember to sleep. Have a planner glued to you (your to-do’s, meetings and random notes will be overwhelming). Take feedback in a positive way. Keep your overhead low but also know that you have to spend money to make money. Research your demographics before you start. FREE MARKETING! It’s called word-of-mouth, and the most efficient one too! You cannot make everyone happy and it’s okay. Guidelines and ‘rules’ are meant to be broken; do not limit yourself.
Thanks so much to Alexzandria for taking the time to work with me on this post.
Have a wonderful day!