We had the good fortune of connecting with Jen Lagedrost Cavender and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jen, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
There’s a saying that instructs: “find what you love, and stick with it,” but for me, especially in the realm of career, I believe that an authentic life is one lived in many chapters. I think a better mantra would be to find what you love, live into it fully, and listen for when your being creates a new calling for you. You evolve and become your whole life, and each chapter, relationship, location, job, career step, and discovery is part of that journey of becoming. Each experience brings change. As you change, what you love to do may too, and so I believe there’s no need to feel you must “stick” when you can flow, evolve, and thrive, which is what all of nature does too.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Nectar + Bloom is a floral designs studio and learning community, and our aim is to offer a holistic and creatively empowering brand experience for all of our students and clients. Nectar + Bloom celebrates floristry as a fine art as well as healing art, offering experiences devoted to wellness and wholeness, building community, and supporting fellow artists and entrepreneurs to authentically manifest the dreams they are called to bring forth. I think Nectar + Bloom is unique in that we pair floristry with wholeness, and we share and promote designing with flowers as a form of storytelling and poetry in a way that is tied to my own passions and background as a writer, academic, poet, athlete, and student of healing modalities. I think all small businesses and brands in some way are a beautiful weaving of the cumulative and ever-growing life experiences of their owners, and I encourage my students and mentees to draw from the rich set of tools and perspectives they have from all of life and apply it to an authentic small business that in doing so offers something unique. Personally, more authentically I build from who I am and what I value, the better I can serve my students and clients, who can also find and connect with our offerings with greater ease. I can’t recommend this enough to other small business owners: if you haven’t already, do a deep dive into who you are, what experiences and assets you bring into your current work from other passions and chapters of life, and what the values of the brand you are building are. This makes doing your work more rewarding and also helps define your brand to attract the clients you seek to serve.

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.
Ok, well this will be easy, because I LOVE San Diego! I am partial to South Park, so I’d recommend a big hike or run through Switzer Canyon and around the golf course to Golden Hill Park, down the hill to Pershing, and back up to Morley Field. We could grab juices at Rad Habits, lunch at Cafe Madeleine or The Station, and enjoy the sweet little boutiques of Gold Leaf, Thread and Seed, and Communal Coffee, among others. Pick up dinner at Del Sur and picnic in Bird Park to watch the sunset over the eucalyptus trees and the city, or try amazing and unique wines at our favorite Rose Wine Bar. (If you follow this itinerary you are sure to see my husband Carr and me at least once!). Other favorites I’d recommend include a long run or stroll on Mission Beach as far as you can go (South Mission to Tourmaline if you like!), an açaí bowl from Juice Wave, a visit to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, and a vegan meal on a rooftop in La Jolla at Trilogy Sanctuary. There are so many trails, beaches, cliffs, and canyons, not to mention wide open park spaces and old towering trees to visit and be inspired by, which are my favorite places of all.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout is wholeheartedly for my husband Carr, who is the most supportive and amazing human being I know, and it is also for the kind and inspiring community of friends we are so grateful to have here in San Diego! See my last answer for a ton of local small business shoutouts to so many of our favorites too. I also want to shout out to the events and floristry community here in San Diego, from my fellow floral designers to the flower shops, local growers like Psalter Farm Flowers, and our wholesalers in Carlsbad. We have so many kind, talented, inspiring flower people in this city and region! Finally, I’d like to point out that inspiration is waiting for you wherever you look. Coming from an academic and language arts background, if I hadn’t been looking after my wedding (which inspired me to no end that there was this industry of creatives making magic, particularly with flowers, that I can tell you was NOT on the “list of majors”!), and had I not gone to a local wreath workshop while I was still teaching at the university just to let myself explore the excitement I was feeling for this new field of floral design, I might not have discovered that what I love and do now was even a career option. I think lots of adventures and life chapters begin that way, with an epiphany or a revelation of something that had before that moment been hiding in plain sight… They say “when the student is ready, the teacher appears,” and that is a saying I do find to be absolutely true!

Website: Nectarandbloomfloral.com

Instagram: @nectar_and_bloom

Other: Pinterest: @nectarandbloom

Image Credits
Mandy Ford Photography Eline Jacobine Photography Stetten Wilson Photography Shauntelle Sposto Photography

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