We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Begum and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, what do you attribute your success to?
Great question and one I’ve embarrassingly thought waaaay too much about. I would say the most important factor behind my success is recognizing the different stages in business, learning to not only be content in each stage, but learning to master it before attempting to grow to the next stage. If one defines success as achieving “the ultimate dream” in business, then it’s going to seem pretty far away and pretty unachievable. For me, when I close my eyes and daydream of my “ultimate business success,” I see my brand being recognized in my industry, I see a gorgeous design studio somewhere on the Westside of LA, with high ceilings and a huge (vintage) counter where I can design my flowers, and hold classes and private events after hours. Reggae and Dolly Parton will be playing throughout the day and Beastie Boys and Kaskade will be pumping at night. Of course my ideal clients flood through the doors because they trust my vision and love my designs. Oh and because I am my own boss, I’ll get to make my own schedule and take the entire month of August off so I can vacation in Italy with my family. Insert reality check right here. Guess what stage my business Fireweed is currently in?! Not that one. Let’s break the business “success” journey down into five stages. Some businesses move quickly through the stages, and others get stuck and idle, or they call it quits. Let’s call these stages: Hustle, Growth, Established, Growth (again), Influencer (and I don’t mean on Instagram.) I would say after 2 ½ years Fireweed has successfully passed through the Hustle stage and we are now in the first Growth stage. Honestly, I am so thankful to (almost) pass completely through that darn Hustle gate. Pheew! To get through it has been quite challenging for me, and it’s no wonder many small businesses just call it quits. It’s a painful start. Our brand is growing! Fireweed is ready to invest the money we’ve raised in the Hustle and we are curating more of a team. We will hopefully take a breath as an Established business sometime in the next few years. Maybe Fireweed will be content there, but I don’t think I’ll fully get the voice of Dolly Parton or the beats of Kaskade off my mind until they are pumping through the beautiful studio I see so vividly when I close my eyes and daydream.
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.
I am a floral designer and I own Fireweed, a boutique design floral studio on the Westside of Los Angeles. I specialize in custom designed weddings and events with loose, chic, garden style florals. I think what sets Fireweed apart from others in our field is our unique ability to visually see a design come together from concept to event day. I know that seems like a given, but I assure you, it’s not that simple. Designing to replicate a “look” given by a client is easy. Visually seeing a design from the beginning, conveying that vision successfully to the client and then executing it into reality requires expertise. I feel this is Fireweed’s strength. I am also a painter and trained in color theory and fine art. I think my artistic eye is apparent in my designs. I stick to my own design esthetic and I don’t attempt to replicate others. In full transparency, I have tried to replicate designs that inspire me, but it has always felt unnatural and my attempts never live up. I have found what most satisfies me in the daily grind of business ownership is to close my eyes to all of the noise around me and act on my own instincts. The easy part of my business is the flowers. I am most comfortable when I am in the studio working. Yes of course the designing, but also the hauling of buckets and the sweeping of floors. I am a worker at heart! The challenging part for me is the business side. The accounting, the operations, the contracts, the blah, blah, blah. I am not a natural at business operations. But, I think the beautiful thing about business ownership is acknowledging challenges and acquiring a team to lead in the areas that aren’t in my lane. One of my goals this year is to bring on a solid full time team. It’s so exciting!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh wow, I have so many favorite spots in Los Angeles! Okay, let’s start in Highland Park for some breakfast tacos at Homestate tacos. Then we’d walk down Figueroa and visit The Owl Bureru bookstore and then grab a brunch drink at Highland Park Bowl and maybe a quick game of bowling. Let’s head Downtown LA and check out the gorgeous Art Deco penthouse suite at the 1928 built Oviatt Building and then grab a late lunch bite at Grand Central Market. Our Lyft driver (because we’ve had a cocktail by now) takes us to Hollywood where we check into the Standard. Let’s get dinner at Chateau Marmont, because we are in Hollywood afterall, and then head on over to the Hollywood Cemetery for some live music. The next day let’s get breakfast at Urth Caffe and go to LACMA to check out James Turrell’s light installation. Then we head to the Westside and do a little window shopping on Abbot Kinney in Venice, get some lunch at La Fiesta Brava (hole in the wall Mexican and so yummy) and then a drink at On the Waterfront along the Venice Boardwalk where we sit on the patio and soak up the sun. The next day we will sleep in, go to Pizzana in Brentwood for an early lunch and then take a hike up Temescal Canyon in the Pacific Palisades. After our hike, we will head up to Malibu where we stay at the Surfrider boutique hotel, grad to go sandwiches from John’s Garden, and spend the next day up on Broad Beach with friends, surfing and checking out the lava caves. That is my ideal LA weekend.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate the success of my business to my dear friend Stephen Bridges who gave me the encouragement and confidence to just go for it. Of course there are many people to thank for encouraging me, but Stephen was the one I believed.
Elyana Ivette Photography Cloth + Stone Photography