Erin Rose Matkowski on J&M Floral and Event
Since my dad along with his brother and sister started J&M Home and Garden in 1976, you could say I was born into the store. My earliest memories are from J&M. I can remember the year we had live reindeer at Christmas time, I can remember the first time I figured out the cacti were real (very painful) and I remember my first job in the summer when I was little watering plants in the greenhouse (not my favorite activity, I think I wound up more soaked then the plants.) But I started falling into the design end when I was 12.
My aunt pulled me from wrapping poinsettias to learn how to make wreaths. My cousins and I were taught how to do the “basic” wreath and for every one we did we got paid $2 and if we made the bigger ones we got $3. That was my favorite job. Every year right after Thanksgiving I remember waking up early on weekends to go to work with my dad and make wreaths, and every year it was how I got money to get people Christmas presents.
But when I was 17 it became about to buying Christmas presents and paying for gas, so I started coming during the week after school and not just on the weekends.Eventually they put me to work making tulip and rose bowls for holidays, then mixed vase arrangements and then pretty much anything they would teach me how to do I would try. I really loved putting the arrangements together, and because I had taken art classes in school for so long I had developed a keen eye for mixing different colors and textures together. I still feel the lessons I cultivated during those art classes defines my personal floral style today.
About 2 years later I was working at the store full time as a florist and started getting asked to do weddings and events for some of our customers. This is where I truly found my stride. Weddings and events were everything I loved about doing arrangements- picking a style, theme, colors and textures, but on an even larger scale, with more depth to these elements with every piece that was created. I felt like I was basically designing a story for my clients, trying to create a certain mood in a space or give guests a certain feeling based on the design. My favorite thing to hear from clients to this day is “Everything was just so us,” or “That was exactly what I wanted the space to feel like.”
And so J&M Florist became J&M Floral and Event, and it has been growing steadily ever since, by utilizing J&M’s long standing relationships with our vendors and the reliability of the daily floral business I was able to build a truly personalized event business. To this day I will not take on more than 2 events in a day (and they have to be at different times) so that I can make sure that I am there in the space(s) to make sure everything is perfect for my client(s).
Now, 6 years later, J&M Floral and Event is doing better than ever, I have been able to take on more clients and happily seen old clients return for new milestones and celebrations in their lives.