A floral fixture: Amy Berg reflects on opening Petals and Pine Floral Studio
Amy Berg's new business, Petals and Pine, specializes in floral subscriptions and delivery in the Bemidji area.
BEMIDJI — In just four months, Amy Berg has made a name for herself on the floral design scene.
Her new business, Petals and Pine Floral Studio, specializes in weekly, biweekly and monthly floral subscriptions and delivery. Launched at the beginning of September, Petals and Pine has quickly become a floral fixture for the Bemidji area.
“The community has really embraced the idea and I gained a lot of followers quickly and have a lot of repeat customers,” Berg said. “It’s all about building those relationships.”
Berg took note of past experiences that convinced her to open up shop. One motivator was her former boss at a flower shop in Devils Lake, N.D., where she worked her way into floral design when taking a break from teaching.
She earned certification through the Floral Design Institute in Portland, Ore., shortly after which Berg and her family moved to Bemidji in 2019. She would soon pick up teaching again — wrangling first-graders for a couple of years starting in fall 2020 — before coming up with an entrepreneurial vision.
“This idea kind of came to me. I called the lady I had worked for and said, ‘talk me out of this idea I have,’” Berg said lightheartedly, “and she didn’t. (She said) ‘It’s really a great idea to do it from your home and not have to manage a storefront or employees.’”
Sept. 1 was the official start date of Petals and Pine with the namesake coming from Berg’s love of white pine trees, which she also incorporated into her logo.
From that point onward, she was set up to operate from her home garage.
Stepping down from teaching to focus on the business, Berg has navigated the learning curve of managing all the operations that lead to a beautiful bouquet.
“Keeping up with ordering flowers, doing the design, keeping the website up to date, booking classes,” Berg detailed. “Maybe one day I’ll have a social media manager. It would save me some time.”
Berg enlists occasional help from her five kids and husband, Eric, for various tasks. Though she doesn’t technically employ anyone, her kids may get a little extra cash for helping out.
“If they want to earn a little money, they can wash buckets, sweep the floor and that kind of stuff,” Berg said. “Then they want to be paid immediately, but I always say, 'Hey, that’s not how it works.'”
Holiday seasons are particularly busy, so order delivery may become a family affair.
“Gearing up for Valentine’s Day, I’m like ‘where are my delivery people going to be?’” Berg added.
Floral arrangements range in frequency of delivery as well as size and are available as sympathy, wedding and designs for other special occasions. A vase exchange takes place each time a bouquet is delivered, meaning nobody has to collect vases that they may not reuse and it saves on costs as well.
The range of bouquets leaves little room for predictability during week-to-week deliveries.
“I have my subscriptions which give me a lot of consistency, but you never know when there’s going to be a funeral or a last-minute birthday or anniversary order,” Berg said. “Really, each week is different.”
Being able to take part in these special occasions through her bouquet creations and getting to know her customers is part of Berg’s favorite part of the job.
“I have one lady who says, ‘I just love every other Monday,’” she said. “Her work ladies gather around and they open (the bouquet). It’s like an unboxing experience.”
Flourishing into the future
By not setting specific work hours, Berg maintains a good work-life balance.
“During the day, if I have to bring somebody to an appointment, I can,” Berg mentioned of being a business owner and mother. “Then I can make up that time after the kids go to bed.”
What comes with scheduling flexibility and avoided brick-and-mortar costs, however, is a higher electric bill for running coolers and refrigerators that were repurposed from different sellers, including Cherry Berry when they relocated.
“Ideally, most floral shops have a big walk-in cooler, but we obviously can’t turn this (garage) into one of those,” Berg noted.
As it turns out, that higher bill is a small cost to pay with Berg being able to live out her dream. Moving into the future, she hopes to grow her subscription base and continue to offer floral design classes in the area.
“The classes have been super popular. People love to try their hand at design and learn a few things, tips and tricks about flowers and designing,” she said, “and walk away with a finished product.”
Above all else, she wants to continue spreading the happiness that comes with each floral arrangement.
“Being able to see the joy that it brings people when they receive flowers,” Berg left off, “it’s just really rewarding.”
More information on the business can be found at www.petalsandpinefloral.com.