We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin Kluzak and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erin, how do you think about risk?
Starting your own business is exciting, but not without risk. The fear of the unknown is real: will you succeed, fail, or fall somewhere in between. Flowers by Erin was born in December of 2002 with the simple intention of arranging a friend’s wedding flowers and since then I had many years “in between.” I am not ashamed of this; and in fact, it has made me love what I do with even more passion—it is a part of who I am. The wedding industry is seasonal, my ability to manage finances in the beginning were sorrowfully lacking, markets crashed and many couples were unable to afford the wedding of their dreams. Even now, a year into COVID, the wedding and event industry, most industries, are at a virtual standstill. So many small business owners are struggling to stay in business with many more individuals foregoing their dream to start businesses of their own. I am originally from Bay Park in San Diego. I met my husband, Adam, while working at a coffee shop in Santa Barbara. We moved back to San Diego together after graduating college 2002 and I worked for 4 years at a full-time office job while arranging wedding flowers on the side. It was a lot of early mornings and late nights, but I loved working with couples and arranging their wedding flowers. In 2005 I decided to reserve a booth at a local bridal show to see if I could reach more clients—it was a costly risk, but so worth it as I was able to connect with not only newly engaged couples, but also other businesses in the industry. Shortly thereafter, and with the support of my husband, family and friends, I was able to turn my full-time love of flowers into a full-time job as an entrepreneur and small business owner. In 2010 we welcomed our 1st daughter, Avery, and 28 months later we had our 2nd daughter, Taylor. Luckily, I was my own boss and therefore was able to spend time with our daughters whom I love while still doing what I love. I continued arranging wedding flowers, always grateful that (most of the time) I was able to find a balance as a wife, mom and small business owner. Flowers by Erin is an intrinsic part of who I am. I say that Flowers by Erin was my “first baby” and as such I still nurture, love, and watch it grow. I am blessed to have meet so many people who have trusted and supported me. Now as my girls are growing older, they are also becoming a part of Flowers by Erin’s ever evolving journey.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am so grateful to do what I love, and that my couples feel that love when I meet them and discuss their wedding flowers! I have met so many wonderful people in my life who have been encouraging, caring and amazing. I still feel like pinching myself sometimes that this is my “job.” I am so blessed that people refer me to their friends and family for not only weddings, but events, holidays and “just because,” and without their trust and support I would not be where I am today.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If you were to come visit me in San Diego for a week of memories and fun we would start by hanging out in our backyard for a long afternoon into a later evening. We’d have wine (of course), and not wanting to worry about cooking we would snack on random food from the fridge and pantry as we caught up for hours. My husband, Adam, and girls would hang out too, as would your family and friends– the more the merrier! We would take a bike trip around Fiesta Island and walk down in the evening for dinner and drinks at Luce. Adam would make an awesome breakfast while I squeezed fresh oranges from The Fruit Stand and after a long walk around the neighborhood we would have a late lunch at Bay Hill Tavern followed by a movie night for the kids on the couch. Another day we would pick up food to grill at Seisel’s or fish to sear from Catalina Offshore. We would take the kids down to Western Hills Park (which I still call Garfield Park) to explore the eucalyptus groves and play catch. I would be remiss not to show off my daughters doing silks and handstands at Aerial Revolution one afternoon and afterwards we would swing thru Urbane Café and Nico’s on our way home for an easy, favorite dinner to go. When we decide to venture outside of Bay Park we would head down to Mona Lisa in Little Italy to pick up the makings for prosciutto sandwiches to take to Balboa Park for the day. We’d also bring a freezer bag to pick up fresh pasta at Assenti’s Pasta to leave in the car because we would find ourselves at Panama 66 for an early dinner and drinks while the kids played in the San Diego Museum of Art’s Sculpture Garden. Depending on the time of the year, we would most definitely catch a game at Petco Park, and if you’ve never been to San Diego before (and don’t get seasick) we might take a “Best of the Bay” tour around San Diego Bay on the Hornblower while discussing a trip to Cabrillo to walk the bluffs and check out the tidepools. We would swing thru Sardina’s to pick up family-style dinner on the way home because it is much more fun to relive the day with delicious calzones and calamari sandwiches than it is to do dishes. Before the week is up my amazing mom (aka Garden Grandma/Grandma Chris to all who know her) would no doubt offer to watch the kids so we could have an adult night out. We’d get dressed up for dinner at the Brigantine on the new Portside Pier followed by an after dinner drink upstairs under the twinkling market lights of Top Sail overlooking the glittering lights of downtown San Diego and out over the Bay to Pt. Loma and Coronado. We’ll come back home to Bay Park afterwards (in an Uber of course) for one last late night together while the kids had a slumber party at Grandma’s house.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Aside from my amazingly supportive husband, Adam, I would not be where I am today without my Grammie and my former neighbor, Barbara. These two incredible women sat with me in my garage for hours on end processing flowers, keeping me company and sharing stories during the first few years of my business. Unfortunately, Barbara moved to be closer to her family in 2014 and my Grammie passed away in 2016, but not a wedding goes by that I don’t miss and think about them still.
Facebook: Flowers by Erin
Yelp: Flowers by Erin in San Diego
Courtney Welden Photography