Inspired to innovate her home business with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, florist Edda Delacruz provides phone, video-chat, and limited in-person consultations for her clients at Fridas Studio Florist.
Delacruz, 48, opened Fridas Studio Florist in June of last year, and says that she runs the business primary from home studio in addition to managing her store front location on 300 E. Fry Blvd.
Originally from Agua Prieta, Sonora, Delacruz said that she got an early insight into the business industry from her mom, who used to take Delacruz on numerous yard sales.
“From ages 6-15, I would come with her to the state to get things to sell,” said Delacruz. “(I’m) very grateful to have that experience because that was (my) first exposure to business, and several years later, I’m doing the same thing with flowers. I love it here and the small town feeling.”
Since moving to Sierra Vista 20 years ago, Delacruz has attained her MBA from Western International University on Fort Huachuca in 2003 and a masters degree in exercise science from Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2020.
Delacruz first got involved with the floral industry as the manager of Sierra Vista Flowers alongside owner William “Billy” Power three years ago, and noted how Power has “always supported me to open my own business.”
From there, Delacruz started Fridas Studio Florist, building the foundation of her business around working from home so she could take care of her children.
“It brought me down to home to take care of my kids,” said Delacruz. “I started in my garage ... You bring in comfort and joy with the flowers. This is my passion.”
Delacruz said that she hopes to encourage people to buy flowers for each other and provide an affordable venue for customers to purchase their arrangements.
“Flowers bring a lot of joy, all their colors, and you can play with the colors and provoke different emotions,” said Delacruz. “I want to change that image of ‘I can’t afford flowers.’ I want to get across that we need flowers in our life.”
Delacruz said that the shop is named after artist Frida Kahlo.
“I’ve been a follower of Frida Kahlo since I was 9 years old,” said Delacruz, who recounted first being exposed to Kahlo’s work and story in a magazine.
Delacruz said that she sources her flowers primarily from Columbia and Ecuador, as well as from sellers in Miami and California.
Delacruz says that her ability to offer a more personalized experience for her customers is what sets her apart from other floral shops.
“I can manipulate more of my inventory and I can create something,” said Delacruz. “It’s more like a piece of art. (The customers) can talk to someone, express what they want, and their idea becomes flowers.”
For Valentines Day, Delacruz offered a special gift basket set, which included a top arrangement, box of chocolates and a gift card.
“We don’t know what the situation is like for a lot of people right now,” said Delacruz. “We try to keep it affordable.”
Delacruz said that there’s no minimum amount of flowers that customers can order, saying that customers, “Can spend on one rose to two dozen roses.”
Looking towards the future, Delacruz says that she hopes to host a live-stream workshop in April on flower arranging, offering kits that can be purchased by attendees ahead of time.
She said she wants her flowers to bring a little joy to people’s lives.
“I want to give hope to all those people, men and women and families who are going through a hard time right now,” she said.
“I want to give them hope that they can have their own business during COVID ... This is the moment to shine with your talent. It’s going to work.”
Customers can contact Delacruz on the shop’s Facebook page, Fridas Studio Florist, or through their website and use the provided phone number to schedule a consultation.
Local florists adjust for pandemic Valentine’s DayWith the havoc the pandemic has wreaked on most local businesses, for William Power, owner of Sierra Vista Flowers, Valentine’s Day sales have proven a surprising constant. According to Power, the volume of orders this year has remained “about the same” compared to previous years.
But Power notes that his shop has had to make significant adjustments to meet the challenges of the pandemic.
To limit the number of customers in Sierra Vista Flowers’ location at 1400 E. Fry Blvd. and maintain social distancing, Power has set up two drive-thru tents for floral shoppers to grab and go with ease. From Friday through Sunday, one tent can be found outside the store, while another is located on Highway 92 for maximum convenience.
“We have incurred a lot of extra costs, from extra coolers to extra staff (to support the tents),” he said.
Facing stiff competition from the floral departments of grocery chains like Fry’s and Safeway, as well as online retailers like 1-800-Flowers, Power has also had to cut his prices significantly in hopes that customers will continue to support local business.
“We got our prices down by about 20 percent this year, which is going to hurt my bottom line, but the other side is I hope we can sell out. If we sell out, we’ll be fine,” Power said.
Power also noted Sierra Vista Flowers’ strong repeat customer base as a reason the store has been able to maintain strong sales during the February holiday.
But, he concluded, “It’s a struggle operating a floral shop in the middle of a pandemic.”
That same attitude is reflected across the county in Douglas by Special Rose floral shop owner Leticia Lopez.
Business has been slow for Special Rose, which only reopened last week after the pandemic forced the floral shop to close for an extended period.
With few customers willing to set foot within the store and margins stretched thin, Lopez says she has not been able to lower prices for Valentine’s Day, and is instead relying on repeat customers who have existing relationships with the florist to call in orders.
“Sometimes on the last day (Valentine’s Day) people will show up… but right now it’s very slow. We only have one customer here and there,” Lopez said.