Owning a business is great, but it isn’t always a bed of roses. That’s what HTC graduate John Malikowski, owner of Blooming Creations in Waite Park, Minn., will tell you. In fact, he has been sharing the realities of floral and gift shop ownership with HTC students for the past four years as one of the floral professionals that HTC Instructor Tiffany Hammond invites to speak to her students.
“It opens their eyes when they hear what it’s really like to run a business,” says Malikowski, a member of the Central Minnesota Wedding Association who has won the CMWA Floral Vendor of the Year award in 2009 and 2010, and was named CMWA Floral Vendor of Distinction for 2011 and 2012. He believes that providing a realistic view of the industry is an important piece of students’ education at HTC. While Malikowski has shared the challenges of opening a new shop, other presenters talk about the realities of having a business with two locations and balancing work with the responsibilities of parenthood. It’s that taste of the real world that Malikowski appreciated when he was a student.
“You learn from pros who know the business,” says Malikowski in describing the effectiveness of his HTC instructors. “They have worked in the industry and have real-world experience.” He decided to attend HTC after graduating from high school in Foley, Minn., because the college offered programs in both culinary arts and floral design. With an idea that he might like to operate a banquet facility someday, he wanted to pursue both programs, figuring that special events usually call for food and flowers. Malikowski liked the small class sizes and the hands-on training that provided him with the skills to make the most of his passions for cooking and floral design. He first completed culinary arts training, and then began the floral design program. After graduating, he worked part-time in a floral shop and a restaurant to gain knowledge that would prepare him for his next career step.
In 2003, Malikowski was ready to open Blooming Creations. He bought equipment at low prices from two local floral shops that were closing. That helped him save money on startup costs. However, as Malikowski acknowledges, “getting the name out there” is one of the biggest challenges of starting a business. Today, Blooming Creations has four employees and offers full-service floral as well as giftware.
“The best part about owning a shop is the creative freedom you have,” says Malikowski,“ but there’s so much more to running a business.” He points out that demands on an owner’s time include talking with advertising representatives, attending community functions that help get the company noticed, and completing paperwork that makes days stretch far past eight working hours. For John Malikowski, it’s all part of owning a business. For students in HTC’s floral program, it’s part of what they learn from industry professionals.
Last updated by mjohnson : 2013-01-17 04:45:11