We had the good fortune of connecting with Jelena Trifunovic and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jelena, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
From the Ojai Valley lavender fields to the super blooms of the Mojave Desert, the beauty of flowers in Southern California is extraordinary. In an effort to capture nature’s flora and deliver living portraits to Angelenos, Viola Floral was born. Flowers bring us together and I love to share in that joy. There is so much connection through the process of gift-giving. Drawing inspiration from the best each season has to offer, we create custom floral designs and experiences that invite our clients to live in full bloom. Everything is done with love and intention.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Floral design is my second career, and would not be possible without my first. My first career was in education: I started at the age of 22 teaching science to at-risk youth in inner-city Los Angeles. My K-12 teaching experience eventually led me to work at a local university, teaching teachers how to teach science and leading various STEM initiatives/partnerships within the community. After losing my mom to pancreatic cancer, and giving birth to my third child, I decided to take a pause and pursue my passion for floral design. Flowers have always been my love, and a special pastime I shared with my mom. I honed my creativity, attended flower school, and launched Viola Floral. Launching a new business right before the start of a pandemic has been quite a challenge! Initially, I focused on learning as much as possible, listening to my client’s needs, and blending my passion for education with my new career in floral design. A few months after the pandemic started we launched our gifting program, allowing loved ones to celebrate special milestones with florals and fine gifts. Shortly after, Bloom Zooms were born – virtual flower arranging classes that allowed friends and families to come together to create something beautiful together in the comfort of their home. Our brand is all about experiencing the joy that flowers bring, and sharing that joy by creating something beautiful for our clients and their loved ones..
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love to spend time outdoors and enjoy the California sunshine, so naturally, we would start with a long walk through the romantic Venice Canals. Stop at Menotti’s Coffee on Windward and enjoy sipping artisan lattes while people-watching in the most interesting area of LA. Next would be a delicious breakfast or lunch at Great White – you can’t go wrong with their seasonal menu. A scenic bike ride along the ocean to Santa Monica is a must. The Santa Ynez Waterfall Trail in the Pacific Palisades is a beautiful pause to reflect in nature. And of course, Salt and Straw ice cream in Venice. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to dedicate my shoutout to my mom, who passed away in December 2016 from pancreatic cancer. My journey as a florist originated in my family’s kitchen. I recall spending countless holidays and family events arranging flowers with my mom, sharing stories, sipping wine, laughing… and blooming with love and joy. Although she’s no longer beside me, our bond lives on through my floral creations and replenishes my spirit. For me, Viola Floral pays homage to the women who raise us and uplift us, through all walks of life. Like flowers, they continually remind us to live in full bloom.
J. Christopher Launi Photography