is a home based independent floral business owned
and operated by Laura Sweeley-Smith located
in Santa Cruz, California servicing the county and surrounding
areas. We provide personalized service and the best in quality
craftsmanship. We specialize in weddings and additionally
offer services for weekly flower arrangements, corporate
functions, individual orders, sympathy, uniquely designed
Why choose a home based floral business
instead of a walk in flower shop? At Sweeley's Design Shop,
we don't have to worry about the interruptions that occur in
walk in flower shops. Our full focus is put into creating the
flower designs for your special day. We support our local Watsonville
growers and personally order and hand pick the flowers to be
used in your wedding. Our lower over-head allows us to give
you more value for your money. Since 1982, Laura Sweeley-Smith
has been providing fabulous florals with a uniqueness of style
Your wedding is uniquely yours and we will
customize your flowers to enhance and compliment the ambiance
in you! Laura Sweeley is committed
to working with you,the Bride and Groom to be, on creating an
individualized wedding package catered to your wedding theme,
style and budget to assist you increating the wedding you
always dreamed of!
Laura Sweeley-Smith also involves her talents in Web Design,
Photo Manipulation, DVD Video of Stills candor Motion video
(weddings, vacations, special events), Digital Illustration
View Digital Portfolio
More ... I had always been crafty growing up. In the beginning of acquiring my sellers permit I started trying to do craft fairs creating silk flower arrangements and wreaths. The disappointment in this was storing what wasn't sold and keeping it in good shape. In 1981, I worked in the floral dept at Alpha Beta in Southern California (where I grew up). I was promoted to the floral/general merchandise area. I was trained by different people in floral design. In about 1985, my then husband, and our children moved to San Jose with a job transfer. I worked for Mission City Florist in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale Florist and learned the finer points of wedding and event work. I went back to work with Alpha Beta for awhile because it paid better and the medical insurance. I was dissatisfied.
Vicky, the owner of Mission City Florist, had encouraged me to free lance.
I was frustrated with the cost of child care and only clearing $2 an hour. Then, a friend (she made wedding favors) invited me to share a booth at a Bridal Show at the Santa Clara Convention Center and it slowly took off from there. I could be at home creating the flowers for events and weddings, have time with my children and not have to pay for child care for a full day. (This was done in a 700 sq ft duplex out of my kitchen).
I did a lot of cold calling to gain more corporate business and found myself doing about 55 weddings a year. I also worked for 3 caterers and 1 event coordinator. That was when corporate was big in the Santa Clara Valley. I did events and weddings from Morgan Hill to San Francisco.
I also acquired a temporary teaching credential based on experience and taught classes at the Santa Clara Adult Education. I had quite a following especially in the senior community.
In 1991, we moved to Santa Cruz and I shifted my business here. For a time, I worked both sides of the hill. To get restarted in Santa Cruz, I did a lot of cold calling, delivering impressive floral arrangements to perspective clients and a lot of persistence. It paid off. I created a bread and butter weekly clientele as well as the wedding flower business. I also taught at the Capitola Parks and Recreation in the early 1990's.
I have down scaled over the years and only specialize in weddings (about 35-40 yearly) with some individual orders and some events.
Years after the flower business found me, I learned that my grandmother had been a florist for many years in Holdrege, Nebraska. People would drive from miles around for her wedding bouquets. This photo was taken around the early 1930's. On the side of the truck is an FTD symbol and underneath it says "We telegraph flowers". My father also was a florist in Nebraska. He went to design school in Denver, Colorado.
My experience comes from doing, being shown how to, going to mini floral seminars, looking at images and replicating. I did take a few ikebana classes at the Santa Clara Adult School prior to teaching there and European Design Classes at West Valley College..