We had the good fortune of connecting with Celina Wong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Celina, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Everyone always assumes a florist lives a beautiful life and that we spend our days swimming in flowers. And although we work with an aesthetic medium, people are not aware of the amount of janitorial duties that come with the job. I’m talking flower processing, bucket scrubbing and trash sorting. People are often also surprised by the time and labor it takes to create a single arrangement. This is why I love Instagram stories. I love being able to share behind the scenes footage with my audience.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Growing up, I never saw myself as creative. I enjoyed arts and crafts but I never imagined pursuing a career in the realm of art. It was through flowers that I discovered a joy that can be experienced through the act of creating. And for this joy to be transferred from something I made to a bride or someone’s mom for a birthday — I became hooked to this feeling. I am proud to be one of the first business owners in my family. One of my fondest memories was of my favorite aunt telling me at my store grand opening “You did it. You’re the first one.” It took a lot not to ugly cry at that moment. I am now excited to dream bigger. In addition to weddings and events, I want to offer “just because” flowers. I want flowers to be seen as a form of self-care by making beautiful arrangements available for every day that are affordable. It was most definitely not easy getting to where I am today but I love looking back on those long days to know that I was able to overcome them. I wish I could say there was some magic formula to overcome challenges but it really came down to being gritty and doing the work. There were tears and aching body parts but your clients and colleagues will recognize your passion and reliability. It was through sheer hard work that I was able to earn trust which led to referrals and the success of my business. I’ve learned that community is a powerful tool. I deeply cherish my relationships with fellow event florists. We all want each other to succeed and talking shop with these folks is beyond therapeutic and necessary for the long term health of my business. We just want to spread joy through flowers. If our arrangement can be a part of a milestone event in your life or help tell someone you’re thinking about them then we have done our job.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would have to insist on a personal guided tour of the LA Flower Market. We have one of the largest warehouses in the country and people are always wowed by the selection we are spoiled with here in southern California. I would give my guest the option of brunch at Poppy & Rose (which is connected to the market and hello fried chicken and waffles!) or birria tacos at a nearby food truck. Our next adventure would be to the San Gabriel Valley — where I grew up and home to some of the best Asian cuisine in (dare I say) all of California. We would binge on boba milk tea, dumplings and all variety of noodles. Lastly we would visit the Huntington Gardens. It’s beautifully curated and carries so many different plant species. The gardens give you a sense of traveling without leaving the city of Los Angeles.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My Family & Close Friends. My parents were restaurant servers and worked their hardest to give my family a comfortable life. It was through their example of work ethic and perseverance that I was able to push through my longest days. Not to mention their backyard was where I produced my first event florals. And my dear close friends — you all know who you are because I’ve kidnapped you at one point to help me with a wedding. I cannot imagine the success of my small business without your mental, emotional and physical support. Eric H — my person and soon to be husband. On top of his 9-5 job he has helped me with deliveries and installations on the weekends. But most importantly he was there for the 3am wake up calls where I was running on empty with words of encouragement and reminders of why I started my business in the first place. Lastly, Lilian of JME Events. Leaving the corporate world left me with no coworkers. I was lucky enough to meet Lilian (who also just started her business) early in my career at a bridal show. It was most comforting to have someone to brainstorm and voice hardships with. I love looking back and seeing how far we’ve grown.
Cindy L. Huang Photography