Hope Springs Eternal

Written by Kay Boothe

September 28, 2021

Hope: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Some synonyms are anticipation, expectation, hankering, desire, and just plain ol’ wishing. We don’t know about you, but that is a feeling that has been a bit scarce this last year. When March arrived this year, it gave many feelings of PTSD, but for others – like us – it feels like warm sunshine, hands-in-the-soil-preparing-a-new-garden, new-baby-calves-dropping, kind of hope that we haven’t felt in at least year.

 

Brittany is the gardener between us. She loves preparing the soil, picking out the seedlings and seeds, and planning how much to plant of what. Hindsight truly is 20/20, and so looking back, that sure is what this past year has felt like. Preparation. Pruning. Tilling. A stripping away to make room for new things. While COVID took so much from so many, it also set a great many things right. Where hustle, wearing busyness like a badge of honor, and overscheduling had taken over – even in the South where we like things slower– COVID came in and forced us all to reexamine our routines, to actually slow down and LOOK at ourselves and our families. Amanda and I often say to one another, “We want to keep this part of COVID,” or, “Nope…I am ready for this to return to the way it was.”

 

In effort to better understand what this hope means to our fellow Texans, and small business owners, we were able to catch up with Maggie Bailey, principal designer and owner of Bramble & Bee, a floral design architect in Tomball, Texas. Bailey went from handling events for the Texans football team and socialite weddings, to laying off her staff in the matter of weeks Her words were inspiring, to say the least and encouraged us that many are feeling hopefully this spring. In the words of Lady Bird Johnson, “Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”

When you hear “new beginnings” in light of the last year, what does that mean to you and your business?

“I think my business is the epitome of ‘new beginnings’! There’s so much symbolism in flowers and new life. I’m always amazed at the persistence of flowers. At the beginning of the pandemic, many of the flower farmers we work with had to stop production while employees quarantined and even though there was no one to tend them and no one to sell to, the flowers grew regardless. And even better, they were there waiting for us when we were allowed to reopen! We also saw a shift in business from weddings being our main gig, to daily deliveries taking over. Especially in the early days of the lockdown, we found that because people couldn’t gather in person, they were sending flowers for any and every occasion – no matter how small! ‘Heard you were having a rough day’ was one of the most common messages we wrote on cards. Flowers are such a symbol of cheer and hope, and it’s an honor to be the business spreading that cheer to our community!”

What have been your favorite “hopeful” moments over the last year?

“The most hopeful part of our business is how love persists regardless of the circumstance. We do around 80 weddings a year and had many sweet couples have to make the decision to postpone or cancel the weddings they’d been planning for the last 12 months. It was heartbreaking to walk with them as they made the final call. But the majority of our couples shifted their plans so that they could get married, no matter what the pandemic threw at them, sacrificing large weddings with 300 guests at gorgeous venues for small, family only ceremonies in the backyard. These smaller, intimate events were even sweeter than the big productions would have been because they were focused on how love and marriage prevail, even in the face of adversity! I hope as restrictions lift and more couples shift back toward larger events, that the sentiments stay the same. I’m hopeful too, that the last year will help future couples realize that large scale events do not have to be the norm! Micro weddings are an amazing, sometimes more cost-effective way to do things and the event will be just as magical!

 

Are you grieving anything, business wise, of the last year?

I’m grieving (ever-so-slightly) the baseline of stability and growth that our business had established over the last 6 years. We had a pretty clear trajectory that has been completely upended by the pandemic and lockdowns. It’s also hard trying to predict what kind of events future brides are going to want and what parts of weddings and events will take priority. We make business decisions based on trends and past year’s business but there’s really no precedent for our industry heading into a post-pandemic season. The unknown is scary, but if we’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s how to pivot and make hard, gut decisions! So far, so good!”

*To find out more about Bramble & Bee go to brambleandbee.com or find them on Facebook and Instagram by the same name*

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