We had the good fortune of connecting with Srini Perera and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Srini, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I’d say the most important factors for me is our online presence, the support from family, local community, and my team, as well as our “flowering with love” mentality to run the business. Kreative Hands was part time when my twins were growing up. I had the passion to expand, but juggling family, home life and taking care of my elderly parents was too much on my plate. However, I continued to volunteer my time at the school our twins attended and local church to keep my passion for flowers! When my husband’s business went down after 20 years, I had to step in and decided to rebrand my business. Starting full time in 2012, I reached out to people in my communities in the local church and the school I had volunteered at! For my first wedding, I had to drive 140 miles to deliver a bouquet. The bride was a friend of our twins. She ended up writing my first review on an online platform called Thumbtack. It was a page-long and my first five-star review! At 59, I had to learn everything about online platforms and technology from our twins, their friends, and my team. I could have not done it without them. Slowly but surely, I got a few inquiries on Thumbtack and ended up getting more great reviews. In my first year, I even received the best of Thumbtack award! I got my first big budget client with a venue in Malibu from another online platform, WeddingWire, which led me becoming a preferred vendor there. Today, I get about 75% of my business from them! I ended up getting couple of choice awards from WeddingWire year after year and the online presence has grown ever since! I have 78 five-star reviews now! Before Covid-19, I used to get an average of two inquiries a day that came from either online or vendor, friends’ or school or church referrals! So, the online presence and my communities have done so much for us! Even during these challenging times, I was able to complete 16 weddings this year without often even meeting the clients in person. The online presence made that possible! Trust, excellent communication, generosity, and family are huge values in our business. Therefore, we go above and beyond for our clients to form relationships that last a lifetime. We treat our clients like family. We flower with love and that is really the core of our success.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My clients have named me “Mother of all brides!” I guess I have the love, patience and understanding to work with couples when it comes to their wedding! I love every client and show that enthusiasm for each wedding! I think this is what sets me apart from others and it stems from my deep love for my family! I started Kreative Hands back in 2001. After being in the financial industry for over 15+ years and to be a full-time stay-at-home mom was not easy, but it was my mom and mother-in-law who helped me through it all. It was after their passing that I decided to follow a course in floral design at a local florist just to get a little break. There I found the first floral review magazine in which I read about a floral design school in Southern California owned by the legend Phil Rulloda. It was a long haul to drive to Orange County from the San Fernando Valley, however, every bit was worth it! I learned so much in advanced wedding and advanced floral design. In 2001, I decided to register the business but due to my husband’s business going great, I took the back seat. I felt my place was more important to be there for the twins and support my husband. I had my elderly dad that migrated and lived with us and I cared for him until his passing. That is when I realized there was something missing in my life. However, I felt I still should be home for the twins as they needed support during their college years! In 2012, my husband’s business of 20 years went under! This is when I took the plunge to rebrand Kreative hands and filled my heart with the passion of flowering with love full time. As I previously mentioned, it all started with one small wedding and the rest is history! I have a great team, family and friends who support me! As I look back, persistence and taking a risk in good and tough times will always reap the harvest! You are never too old to achieve your dreams and do what you love waking up each morning! Today, I feel I never work a single day as I am so happy doing what I do and love everyone and everything that crosses my path each day! Flowering with love keeps me going!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite is driving along the central coast of California. I simply love the beaches, cool small towns, vineyards, farms, nature trails, quaint restaurants, and many interesting flower farms! First, drive the central coast first stopping in Oxnard. They have many flower farms there. Secondly, stop in Ventura for amazing restaurants and beaches! Thirdly,
stop in Santa Barbara. They have a zoo, beaches and amazing vineyards. I would also recommend Nipomo where they have a beautiful rose farm called Eufloria Flowers!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to thank my husband Frank, my twins Jeneeka and Niminde for their love, support and giving me their time. My dear friend Pat and the rest of my team for their dedication and making work so fun. I also want to thank my local church St Mel Woodland Hills and Mishan who gave me the start with small orders! Last but not least, I want to give a shoutout to Laura who referred my first wedding , Lauren my first big budget wedding and our first venue Malibu West Beach Club!
Alexaustinphoto, Nicoleclareyphotography, Susie & Will photography