We had the good fortune of connecting with Jesse Zmuda and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jesse, what do you want your legacy to be?
I’d like to be remembered as someone who lived life full of love, compassion, and empathy.

That I loved taking risks and always stayed true to myself. That when I designed florals, I did it with care and put my heart into my work.

Most of all that being a mother was my life’s greatest accomplishment and nothing came before my daughter.

I’d hope to be known for being a good daughter, granddaughter, sister, partner, and friend.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
I’ve never wanted to be a traditional florist. I first discovered my love of floral design when I was 15 and landed my first job in a flower shop. I loved the work but soon felt bored with your typical style of floral arrangements. I was fascinated more with the non traditional style of floral design. I’ve stayed true to my design style and aesthetic and always strive to keep things fresh and unique.
I design fresh and dried floral arrangements for daily orders, local deliveries, and events. You can choose from a wide selection of dried flowers, order an arrangement, or pick up one of our fresh grab-and-go bouquets! When I started Backbone I knew I wanted to find ways to give back. We started Billie Basil Bouquets The first week of opening. Billie Basil is my 8 year old daughter who designs mini bouquets and bud vases for a cause, check them out on our site! When not designing florals, my team and I are curating our favorite vintage goods for the shop. I love collecting 1980’s modern vases and love anything with a mid-century modern or bohemian vibe. I am a sucker for anything that gives me those nostalgic vibes. At our shop, you can find a unique rattan chair, a floral painting or brass candle sticks..
I love what I do. I definitely had to go through some challenges to get here today, but I know in my heart that the challenges helped shape me into who I am today and I’m grateful for them everyday. I crave risk and I love to face up to challenges. I’ve learned that following my heart has always guided me along the right path. 2020 didn’t exactly go as planned considering I open my doors in early February only to close in March. But I will continue to stay strong and move forward with gratitude and grace in 2021.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am imagining it is Spring time, there is no Covid, and I am fully staffed at the shop and ready to enjoy this gluttonous week ahead…. We would start my grabbing some coffees from our local coffee spot, Heartwork.. Then head east to my favorite hike in Mt.Laguna , spend most of the day there and then head back to the city, We would wind down with some amazing natural wines and homemade empanadas at the Rose wine bar in South Park. Day 2 We’d grab some coffees at Kettle and Stone just down the block from my shop. I’d show them around to all of the cute neighboring boutiques and shops on West Lewis St. After that we’d take a little tour of Liberty Station shops, and markets. and when ready for dinner we would end the night at one of my favorite sushi spots, Sushi Lounge, in Point Loma. We’d sit at the outside bar, share some sushi and good times. Day 3 Balboa Park, my go to and always favorite walk and tourist stop. We can check out all of the museums, have lunch on the grass at Panama 66, take the kiddos to the zoo and if we don’t crash by 5 pm, head over to Madison for some cocktails and delicious bites. (sans kiddos) Day 4 – Let’s go North and see the flower farms in Carlsbad! An absolute favorite spot of mine to take in. Then we’d head off to Oceanside and hit some up some rad vintage stores, thrift shops, and have lunch on the beach. Wind it down by heading back to the city and hanging at one of my favorites, Vino Carta. Sip some wines and relax. Day 5 Downtown/ Seaport – I have a very soft spot for Seaport Village. It reminds me of when I first moved to San Diego and would bring my family there as soon as they landed. The shops, the harbor, and a few years back my daughter riding the carousal over and over and over again. After walking around all day we’d head downtown to La Puerta and get some of my favorite Micheladas, and Burritos. Day 6 Head to the beach area and grab an iced chai from The Grounds Bean Bar in Crown Point on the way to Torrey Pines or La Jolla trail for some hikes and views. We’d cap off this evening by having dinner at one of my favorite San Diego spots, Charles & Dinorah in The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Day 7, I’m broke and my heart and belly are full. Lets just chill at Bird Park and relax…

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family and friends have been so helpful. I’d have to start with my daughter, who is my inspiration, my drive, and the one who helps me forget the hard days. Then of course, my boyfriend, who is always there for me when I need a handyman job, some heavy lifting, or just need advice. He also just built me a new kickass website and supports me in everything I do. And there’s my mother and sister who are rooting for me from many miles away, checking in to see how business is going and listening when I need to vent. I am extremely grateful for my best friends who continue to support me by helping spread the word locally, ordering flowers, shopping in the store, and just being there for me every day. I also want to give a shout out to all the self help authors and podcasters I have read/listened to recently. I’m obsessed with Blinkist, self-help audio books and Shortcasts.

Website: https://www.backboneco.com/
Instagram: @backbonefloral
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/backbonefloralandvintage

Image Credits:
Arlene Ibarra Founder / Photographer Arlene Collective, LLC.

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