Boss’s Day 2017: Our Story

We want to wish a Happy Boss’s Day to all the fearless and devoted leaders out there, but especially to our own, John and Sally Kobylinski!

A lot of people know John and Sally as the leaders and owners of In Bloom Florist, but not a lot of people know the story behind In Bloom’s beginnings, and John and Sally’s years of sacrifice, perseverance, and dedication to their community and their business that have led to their successes today. In honor of Boss’s Day, we’d like to share that story with you.

The Backstory: John

An Orlando native, John loved working on the yard with his dad and finding out about different floral and plant species. His dad, ever pragmatic, was focused on plants and trees that provided food and shade, but John was intrigued by the wide variety of all growing things.  

This initial hobby grew into a desire for John to educate himself, so he began working on a degree in Ornamental Horticulture. One of his early instructors encouraged all the students to obtain a job in a field related to plants and flowers. So, at the age of 20, John began a seemingly uneventful role as a delivery person for a flower shop in Orlando.  

John and Sally on their wedding day in 1985.

Although it wasn’t planned, within three years he was promoted to be the manager of this flower shop. It was at this time that John and Sally met at a mutual friend’s Valentine’s Day wedding in 1983. Two years later in 1985, they were married at First Presbyterian Church in the chapel.

With his hard work and gift at building relationships, he grew the revenue of the flower shop by 500% within six years. At that point, John opened five other locations for this corporation and was managing the day-to-day operations for two flower shops in Orlando, while working as a Regional Manager for shops in Tallahassee, Melbourne and Altamonte Springs.

Within a decade of getting that first job as a delivery person, John was approached by an angel investor who helped him to pursue his dream to open his own flower shop. This mentor and businessman said to John, “I don’t invest in businessesI invest in people.  Could I help you start your own shop?” Of course, John said yes, but as with most new businesses, this was such a leap of faith for John and Sally’s marriage and family. They had only been married five years and already started a small family. Their daughter Corissa was getting ready to turn 3 at this time and their son Tyler was just 1 years old.

In 1990, John opened his new store, Orlando Flower Mart. Situated in southwest Orlando, it was based near area hotels, yet easily accessible to I-4 and the East-West Expressway. This location allowed him the opportunity to serve both the residences and businesses in most of Central Florida. Although he was initially the salesperson, the designer, the delivery person and the manager, he slowly added employees to support his growing business.

Our second shop in Heathrow, FL.

Toward the end of 1998, John started looking for a way to better serve Seminole county residents and businesses. He found an opportunity to open a second shop in The Shoppes at Oakmonte in Heathrow. Due to the fact that this new location was about 20 miles north of Orlando, the store couldn’t be called Orlando Flower Mart. He wanted to find a name that would work for both locations to help build a consistent brand name and image. He decided to name the shop In Bloom Florist at Heathrow and he would rename the original location, Orlando Flower Mart, In Bloom Florist.

The Backstory: Sally

Sally’s grandfather, Ray Melander.

Although Sally didn’t dream of being a florist, her family had a rich history steeped in flowers and plants, along with a bit of creativity and a lot of hard work. Sally’s paternal grandparents opened a greenhouse and flower shop in Upstate New York in the 1930’s. During World War  II, her grandmother came up with the great idea to care for their customers, while making their business memorable. They included a small plant with each arrangement, so each recipient could add to or begin their victory garden.  

Following in her family’s history, Sally’s parents started a flower shop in the early 1960’s and actually competed against her grandparents in Ballston Spa, NY.  Her dad loved the greenhouse and delivery portion of the business, while her mom focused on building customer relationships and using her creativity to design beautiful bouquets.  Together, they complemented one another’s gifts.

Sally’s parents, Jack and Arlene Melander in their flower shop.

Sally never worked in her parent’s flower shop because she was too young to help when they owned it. During the early years of In Bloom Florist, she was working in the multifamily industry and growing a strong background in operational management. Some of her leadership responsibilities included marketing, training, computer operations and auditing programs. In addition to this experience, like John, she loves to exceed customers’ expectations.

In 2001, Sally joined In Bloom and was struck by the loyal customer relationships that John cultivated. She remembers answering the phone during her initial involvement with the shops and was speaking to a man who lived out of state who was sending flowers to his wife, also out of state. Sally asked the man, “Why do you call In Bloom Florist, when there are other shops closer to your home?” He answered, “John and I have worked together for almost twenty years. It doesn’t matter what I need he takes care of it. If he is sending the order to a florist out of town, I know that he will personally guarantee that the product and service will be uncompromised.”

Rising Above Challenges

John and Sally with their daughter, Corissa and son, Tyler.

By 2008, John and Sally’s children were both in college and their business growth pushed beyond the walls of their original Orlando facilities. They found a more desirable location that also provided enough space to put the entire Orlando operation under one roof.  When they first moved into the vacant space, the family took an opportunity for a little flower fun.
And then the bottom fell out.

It was the beginning of 2009 during the Great Recession. Their business declined 40% virtually overnight, forcing them to let go of some of their staff. John and Sally ended up selling their home in order to employ as many as they could and cut the costs for their living expenses. At this time, they even had an employee who was sleeping in his car. They brought in a mattress from their soon-to-be-empty home and invited him to use part of their empty business.

But this, of course, wasn’t the end of their story. They needed each member of the team and each employee leaned in. They got inventive and started reaching into the community and inviting people to their shop in the middle of their quietness. They became a stronger couple and their business became a neighbor, a friend, a refuge.  

This time period impacted John and Sally greatly and it redefined how they decided to run their business.  They still wanted to offer the best product and service to their customers, but they also wanted to ensure that they were mindfully committed to their employees and their community.

In Bloom Today

Since that time, their business has grown well beyond the losses they incurred that year and they have added new roles to the company. There have been many challenges and successes over the years and John and Sally look forward to continuing to find solutions and time to celebrate.

With their employees, their community, their family and each other, they can accomplish anything.

John and Sally’s family.

Mother’s Day 2017

 

The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all ~ Walt DisneyIn some ways Mother’s Day feels like eons ago. In other ways… We are still recovering here at In Bloom Florist. Maybe you can imagine what it’s like working at a florist on the second busiest floral day of the year (only behind Valentine’s Day), it’s a crazy busy time under the ideal circumstances. This year, let’s just say – we had less than the best of circumstances. In fact, we lost all of our technology. Everything from how orders are taken, to how they get routed for delivery.  It made for an interesting several days for sure. In the end, our amazing team made miracles happen and thousands of moms received beautiful flowers ordered, prepared, and delivered, with love — and maybe a few tears. Several days later the first lady of In Bloom Florist, (Sally) brought each one of the employees a thoughtful and heartfelt token of her and John’s appreciation. She posted a lovely message on her personal Instagram – shared below with her permission. Not only is In Bloom Florist the best place for all of your floral needs, it’s a pretty amazing place to be part of the team.

From Sally’s Instagram: 

“Mother’s Day was different this year at In Bloom Florist. Our computer system was having issues and only allowed us to process one order at a time for our company. Consequently, we ended up taking almost all of our orders manually (on these pink forms). Then, we worked around the clock entering the information into our system. Through this entire process, our team was professional and positive. John and I are incredibly blessed to work alongside the #BestOfTheBest. After we made it through the holiday, we had these quotes created by Bloom Wolf Studio and passed them out to everyone as a “thank you” for EVERYTHING they did to help us be successful. We absolutely couldn’t have done it without the individual effort of each member of our team. Our heart is filled with gratitude.”

 

In Bloom Florist Mothers Day

“With our heartfelt gratitude for all you did to help us succeed at In Bloom Florist Mother’s Day 2017”

 

In Bloom Florist is available for all of your floral, gift giving, wedding and event needs… Call 407-608-7474 or click here today.

 

A Mother’s Heart – Fostering Love

Melanie Stimmell and Family In Bloom Florist

“Six years into motherhood I realized that I’d found a bigger purpose… Children in the Foster System need strong families to advocate for them, love them, and to fight for their needs. It’s a blessing to be that person. “ Melanie Stimmell

 

When you are headed to a photo shoot that will include 12 children, you prepare for anything. After our session with this awesome family, I realized that is exactly how Melanie Stimmell handles every day as their mom!

David and Melanie Stimmell have fostered over 50 children, and as Melanie says, “We have loved them with everything we have, and watched with joy as they were reunited with their families.” She goes on to say “Fostering is super fun and yet, really hard. Loving someone else’s child while they are going through some really hard stuff is what we are called to do.” And they do it so well.

The Stimmell family home is joy-filled and fun. We arrived not long after the family returned from church and it was impressive how quickly they regrouped for our photo session. All of the children were excited to be celebrating Melanie for Mother’s Day (and getting their very own Sunflower)! We were missing the 2 oldest children but solved that issue when someone marched their photos to the steps to the house where we did our session. Perfect!

When asked asked about her family, Melanie had this to say…

“Our family is the definition of organized chaos. We love hard, play hard, love to camp, enjoy the beach, eat lots of food, and enjoy all the moments we get each day. Some days are a bit crazy and others are full of fun. This mom has lots of homework, food, laundry, shoes, socks, and toys everywhere — and there may be a little dust. Yet, at the end of the day, we love each other and stand together as a strong team. As mom of these sweet children, I feel all the same things as other moms do, abundant love, joy, peace, worry, and fear. Times 12.”

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

In Bloom Florist is available for all of your floral, gift giving, wedding and event needs… Call 407-608-7474 or click here today.

Keeping up with the Joneses

Penny Jones and Family In Bloom Florist

“Self care is vital when raising so many dynamic personalities.” Penny Jones on Motherhood..

 

Some children are born of your womb, and some are born of your heart. Penny Jones has been fortunate through both of those birth experiences. The biological mother of two (awesome!) sons, Ryan (24), and Will (22), she is also the adopted mother of three (adorable!) siblings Talia (10), Icesis (8), & Timothy (7). We were fortunate to meet them all at Cranes Roost Park on a lovely morning to celebrate Mother’s Day and honor Penny.

 

I asked Penny what her greatest challenge is as a mom:

“As a single mom, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. The three youngest Joneses are extremely bright and curious. They are constantly into something! (laughter).”

 

And your greatest adventure?

“Last summer, I drove to Tennessee with the three youngest to Nashville to meet their new family. They had never been outside of Florida. It was a blast!”

 

What about your most rewarding experiences?

“Watching my sons mature into adulthood!!!  Ryan, recently purchased a town home without any assistance!  And helping the three youngest heal and deal with their fears is incredibly rewarding.”

 

Penny Jones is also the Founder and President of The Penny Project, Inc., founded in 2014 after the brutal murder of her former foster child Tariji Gordon. You can read more and assist here. 

 

In Bloom Florist is available for all of your floral, gift giving, wedding and event needs… Call 407-608-7474 or click here today.

Meet Our 2017 Moms’ In Bloom Contest Winner

We are beyond thrilled to introduce the winner of our 2017

“Moms’ In Bloom” contest is — Hanh Nguyen!

Hahn Nguyen In Bloom Florist Moms In Bloom

Our Moms’ In Bloom Winner Hanh Nguyen with “Courageous” the Mother’s Day arrangement we created in her honor. It’s available in our Mother’s Day Collection now for your mom now…

 

Hanh Nguyen’s daughter Olivia wrote to us about her mom and how she felt she was already a winner, and we agreed. Hanh came to the United States from Vietnam at only 18 years old when her mom and dad and siblings relocated here to start a new life. She spoke no english, but went to work right away working several jobs to ensure the family had everything they needed to survive in their new country. Hanh also knew that education was very important so she taught herself english and enrolled in school working hard and eventually earning a degree in electrical engineering.

She went on to have 2 amazing and beautiful daughters, Olivia and Christine, whom she raised as a single mom, making sure they had a good life. Her girls give her all the credit for making them the strong, independent, and loving women they are today and say they can’t thank her enough for all she’s done for them. We are thrilled to introduce you to Hanh, and happy to help her daughters say a special thank you on this Mother’s Day. 

In Bloom Florist Moms In Bloom Orlando

In Bloom Florists’ Mother’s Day contest winner, Hanh Nguyen and her daughters Olivia & Christine…

 

Shop our Mother’s Day Collection

 

In Bloom Florist is available for all of your floral, gift giving, wedding and event needs… Call 407-608-7474 or click here today.

Mother’s Day Moms’ In Bloom Contest

Enter your mom in our “Mom’s In Bloom” contest by April 17th!

Mother’s Day is Sunday May 14th. It’s the day of the year we celebrate moms. A great mom is a gift, and while it’s true that birthing a child offers an opportunity to be a fantastic mother, it doesn’t take a biological parent to provide love and self-sacrifice in the name of motherhood. Ask ten people about their ‘mother’ and you will likely get 10 very different answers.

 

Mother’s Day is a day to honor mothers of all kinds; traditional and non-traditional. Aunts, siblings, grandmothers, foster parents, cousins, dads, foster moms, neighbors, a friend’s mom, spiritual mothers, and more, can play the role of mom in our lives.

In Bloom Florist would like to help say thank-you to whomever it is that plays the role of mom in your life. Mom-in-ate your mother for our “Moms’ In Bloom” Mother’s Day contest for the chance to honor them, and win some cool prizes.

Just tell us what makes your mom so mom-a-licious and why you think they should be one of our “Moms’ In Bloom” and we might choose them to join us for a wonderful Dinner Party Project dinner at In Bloom Florist where we will celebrate momhood! In addition, we will create a custom arrangement to be named after your mom, and present it to them as our gift. The arrangement will also be made available as a featured bouquet in our Mother’s Day collection. Last but not least, we will do a blog post complete with a photoshoot (and their fams) and provide mom with a framed print of her favorite image. Just a few of moms favorite things —  a scrumptious dinner out, lovely flowers, plenty of bragging, and beautiful pictures of their family! Enter your mom today.

 

How to enter our Mother’s Day – Moms’ In Bloom contest:

There are two ways to submit your mom-ination:

Via email to: sallyk@inbloomflorist.com

Or: Send us a message on our Facebook page at InBloomFlorist

Please include contact info for you and your mom-inee with your entry:
Name, Phone, Email

Last day for submissions is April 17th. Good luck!

 

In Bloom Florist is available for all of your floral, gift giving, wedding and event needs… Call 407-608-7474 or click here today.

St. Patrick’s Day – Did You Know?

Lucky Me In Bloom Florist Orlando

Available now for delivery or pick-up.

 

Friday, March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day — a day when the whole world turns green. As they say…

“Everyone’s Irish on March 17th.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “luck” as a force that brings good fortune or adversity. It’s certainly a word we seem to throw around a lot. If a football hits the goal post we say the kicker was unlucky. When someone wins the lottery we celebrate their luckiness. Is there really any substance to this phenomenon we call “luck”? That answer is as different as the people you ask. But one thing seems true, you either believe in luck, or you don’t. And it’s funny how quickly your perception changes when your luck does. 😉 

 

Did you know these St. Paddy’s facts?

  1. St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. – He was actually born in Wales or Scotland depending on which scholar you talk to.
  2. March 17th is the date of St. Patrick’s death, not his birthday.
  3. St. Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders at the age of 16 and sold into slavery. He spent many years in Ireland herding sheep and learning about the people there.
  4. The color most commonly associated with St. Patrick is blue, not green. He is shown wearing blue vestments in many artists depictions.
  5. The Shamrock (4 leaf clover) has been touted by many to represent faith, hope, and love, among other things but it was actually used by St. Patrick to demonstrate the trinity — how 3 things could exist in one thing.  The pagan rulers of Ireland totally bought it, they converted quickly to Christianity.
  6. The shamrock while a popular Irish symbol, is not the symbol of Ireland. As early as the medieval period, the harp has appeared on Irish gravestones and manuscripts.
  7. Your odds of finding a four-leaf clover are about 1 in 10,000. Talk about lucky.

 

Flowers for St. Patrick’s Day?

You might not think of St. Patrick’s Day as a floral holiday, but sending flowers is a great way to say thank you to your Lucky Charm! Maybe your significant other or a best friend who has stuck by your side through thick and thin. How about that last-minute babysitter who makes escape nights possible? Is there someone who makes you feel lucky? Let them know today with a floral thank-you!

 

In Bloom Florist is available for all of your floral, gift giving, wedding and event needs… Call 407-608-7474 or click here today. 

International Women’s Day

Goddess of Love International Women's Day

The perfect way to show your admiration for her on International Women’s Day… “The Goddess of Love”

Wednesday is International Women’s Day, a worldwide celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women is celebrated on March 8th every year. What began in the early 1900’s with tenacious Suffragettes forging purposeful action for equality, International Women’s Day continues to be a globally strong platform for driving action for gender equality, while celebrating the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women.

While we may have made great progress in these efforts, it is just as important as ever, to recognize, honor, and celebrate the important and impressive achievements of women globally. Take time today to acknowledge the women in your personal life who have influenced you in positive ways. And join with others across the globe in continuing the efforts to promote Internationals Women’s Day values. 

#BeBoldForChange is the official hashtag for the day. Use it in your social posts to show your support of women everywhere.

 

The ten International Women’s Day values are:

  • Justice
  • Dignity
  • Hope
  • Equality
  • Collaboration
  • Tenacity
  • Appreciation
  • Respect
  • Empathy
  • Forgiveness

 

Who are the strong women in your life? Your mom? A best friend? An aunt? Maybe even your boss? Celebrate the women in your life and those in history who have helped pave the way for women today!

 

In Bloom Florist is available for all of your floral and gift giving needs… Call 407-608-7474 or click here today. 

Love like a mother

John and I are in an easy space in our life, our marriage and our business. We are abundantly blessed with our children, Corissa and Tyler; two bonus children, Brennan and Brooke; and four grandchildren. I am surrounded by supportive siblings and countless cousins. Our family business, In Bloom Florist, has experienced recent, aggressive growth and we have a team of loyal employees who are driven with passion. 

Honestly, this all feels like a fairytale. 

I didn’t have a typical childhood. But, I was fortunate to be shepherded by instrumental women who invested in me and loved me like a mother.  

My sisters have always been a strong foundation of support. This is such a simple sentence, but contains stories of pain, victory and everything in between. We decided in our early 20’s to have each other’s backs and always pursue one another. This was a lifealtering shift in our thinking.

also had at least four public school teachers who personally invested in me. In my heart. In my value. I am forever thankful to Mrs. Sczepanski, Mrs. Cunningham, Mrs. Hudson and Mrs. Bowers. They all taught me lessons beyond our textbooks. I learned about friendships, the prospect of college and that kindness and grace matters – even when not noticed by the recipient. 

And then there was Mrs. Sikes. She cared for me, fed me and loved me like a mother. She allowed me to join in her family’s traditions and participate as if I were one of her offspring. At the end of her life, she beckoned me to come to her to say goodbye. When I arrived, I found myself among only her children and grandchildren. I was awed by this sense of inclusion into her tribe and will forever be grateful to have her as a mother figure.

Next? John’s mom, Mary, came along and illustrated what it means to just show up. She came to all of our kid’s events. Softball, Baseball, Band, Swimming, Birthday Parties and Soccer Games. When she passed away in 2011, we found a drawer of programs she kept for every event in which our children participated. She loved well. And she loved me.

There were lady bosses, lady peers and lady subordinates who challenged me. They challenged my self-worth. They challenged my ability to stand up for their self-worth. They motivated me to invest and care for my future and their future. I have found that my success isn’t dependent on me. It’s dependent on my investment of loving those who came before me and will come after me.  

I want my legacy to be that I invested in others and loved them well. I want my children’s hearts to be so full of love that it pours out of them and drenches the souls of those with whom they come in contact. I want them to love like a mother.


Corissa_MothersDay2016_Blog (1)

From Corissa Jones
(Sally & John’s Daughter)

Even from the beginning it was messy.

Intense morning sickness. Like getting sick fifty times a day. Popped blood vessels, and eye whites turned red. Definitely not the glamorous start to motherhood I had once dreamed of. Little did I realize that it would just get more and more messy.

Now, four years and three children later, I can attest to the fact that motherhood is just that. Scraped knees and elbows. Blowouts. Sibling rivalry. Bloody lips. Hurt feelings. Being called out by a four year old (he was right). Getting up three times a night. Permanent dirty ears. Loose teeth. Tantrums, usually at Target.

But just as the morning sickness was quickly followed by the kicks of little feet in my belly, so do all these messy things lead to such heart swelling moments with my children. Kisses on boo boos. Deep belly giggles. Conversations about kindness. Endless games of Monopoly Junior. A late night shared milkshake. Dance Parties. Apologies. Middle of the night snuggles. Family hugs. Celebrations. Looking back, I’ve realized it’s the mess that makes motherhood so grand. Without the mess, my attention would be elsewhere, and I would miss out on the moments. I am so grateful for the mess.


 

Brooke_MothersDay2016_Blog (1)

From Brooke Kobylinski
(Sally & John’s Daughter In-Law)

On April 17, 2015, I became a mother to my first daughter, Lennon Elizabeth. Leading up to Lennon’s birth, I was full of expectations and ideas of what being a mom would be like. There were so many things I hoped to teach and instill in her: to be strong, smart, wise, and above all, to know Jesus. What I didn’t expect was for her to be the one to open my eyes to countless beautiful things I neglected to discover or appreciate pre-motherhood.

My husband always said if we did have a girl, it would be because God wanted to soften me. I can certainly say that I have turned into quite the puddle. Lucky for me, I’m fortunate enough to have multiple great women invest in me and my life and guide me as a woman. My birth mother, although she did not raise me, would never neglect to remind me that I was beautiful, keeping me confident and secure in myself and my beauty. My grandma was always a great friend, and an enthusiastic instigator for my crazy imagination. My sister has been my safety and consistency throughout my life that that has taught me how to be the same for others. My adoptive mother taught me how to work hard, love fiercely, and to invest deeply into our loved ones. My mother-in-law has taught me how to love softly, and to love without ever looking for anything in return. I, as Lennon’s mother, get to be the primary person to guide her and mold her into the woman that God has called her to be.

As of now, my job as a mom is a bit simpler than I am sure it will come to be in the future. I have to keep her safe, keep her fed, and keep her feeling secure and loved. But in my eyes, motherhood as a whole is something so much greater. I have the privilege of being her consistency and comfort in this world of constant change, being the person she runs to when she is hurting, or is just in need of a friend. I get to teach her right from wrong. I get to show her how to embrace the strength of womanhood as well as its tenderness—how to love and experience a vast range of emotions and paths of life.

Most importantly, becoming a mother has helped me to understand the true joy of giving. Giving life, giving love, giving family, and giving my precious girl all of the things that I could possibly be able to give her. Sometimes it is being able to be intentional with giving her quality time. So often in our business it is easy to try to just complete our to-do list rushing through our days. I have found it so important to us to remember to give and invest in the areas that are important to us.

Being a mom, I now feel whole. It has made me feel the most me I have ever felt. Which is funny, because this last year I have given myself the least physical attention ever. Regardless, I’ve learned to be a more real me. A more selfless me. A more raw me. One of the greatest things I have learned is that my little human will not be perfect, and neither will I. She doesn’t need perfect, she needs me. And I don’t need perfect, I need her. And in that, she is the greatest teacher of grace in these early years as we learn and grow and love.

Your love inspired this collection.