A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with Carolina Mata from Sticks + Stems Co. on a fun holiday photoshoot. After talking and working with her, I was able to hear her wonderful story and how, at such a young age, she was able to turn her vision and dream into a reality. With the Holiday Season approaching and her new Curated Gift Boxes being launched, I thought an interview with a great female entrepreneur was appropriate. So, let’s jump right in!
And as a special treat, enjoy 15% off when you use the code NICOLE15 when placing your order!
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Did you always know you wanted to start your own business?
A: I was born and raised here in Miami, FL. I’ve lived in the same diverse neighborhood my whole life, which has doubled not only as an enlightening experience, but as a window into the different cultures of the world. It has allowed me to be open to change, be free of judgement and see life from multiple perspectives. I’m not sure if I was born with natural leadership qualities or if I developed them over the years, but one thing I do know is that my main objective in life has always been to dig deep into my dreams and make them come to life. One of those dreams has always been to work for myself, be a powerful woman and become a role model for younger girls who need a reminder that they too can do anything they set their minds to. I truly think my sense of entrepreneurship goes deep into my cuban family roots and has somehow been genetically passed down to me. My father was a successful businessman here in the United States and his father, grandfather and so on were all Cuban businessmen. I don’t want to get into that because it will require a whole different blog post, but I am the first female entrepreneur in my family and hope to pave the road for the women that are yet to follow.
Q: How did you develop a passion for flowers?
A: I have always enjoyed nature and being outdoors, but one thing that always captivated me was the effortless beauty of plants and flowers. Growing up, I would spend many of my days in the garden with my grandfather – we would grow fruits, veggies and of course, flowers. When I turned sixteen, I wanted to feel a sense of independence, so I started looking for jobs online. I saw an ad for a flower shop associate, sent my application on a Monday, got a call on Tuesday, interview was on Wednesday – I started the following week. Within the year of working at the flower shop, we opened up a new location which I then managed for 5 years. The rest is history.
Q: With that being said, how did Sticks + Stems Co. get started?
A: Even after a few months of not working for a flower shop, I would still stay in touch with my clients, looked for reasons to make arrangements and continued to feel captivated by seasonal florals. It was a passion that I did not want to shut down. This is what I was born to do. As a full time college student and a dog mom, I didn’t have the funds to open a brick and mortar store, but I did have sufficient funds to launch my website. I still consider myself to be in the beginning stages of my business, but I have plans to grow into a physical location and be one of the top floral designers in South Florida within the next few years.
Q: What do you use as inspiration for your flower arrangements?
A: Inspiration is everywhere if you really know where to look. My inspiration for my floral arrangements may come from looking at nature, new architectural designs, the clothes that are in season – really anything can get my creative juices flowing! I think my inspiration usually comes from seeing something I like and interpreting it in flowers.
Q: What makes you different than other online flower shops?
A: I think I’m different than other flower shops because of my engagement with my clients. I don’t have your typical grocery store bouquets or everyday arrangements. I will ask you for your vision or the occasion and bring an art piece to life. I think my main objective when delivering my work, is to get that WOW factor across to my clients.
Q: What services does Sticks + Stems Co. offer?
A: As a full service floral studio, I offer a number of services – all of them revolving around flowers, plants and design. I do everyday floral arrangements, gifts & deliveries and I offer landscape design & maintenance. I manage weekly and monthly corporate floral accounts and can host an event from thirty people to three hundred people.
Q: What has been your most unique arrangement?
A: My most unique arrangement was for Zuma at The Epic Hotel last year for art basel.
Q: How can people order your arrangements?
A: I am still working on my online shop, but I have a few of my arrangements on my website and you can either order online or give me a call.
Q: I know you’re promoting your Holiday Gift Boxes right now, can you give a sneak peek to what is inside?
A: Of course! My curated gift boxes are made with the relaxation of the recipient in mind. I really think when gifting others in your personal life and in the corporate world, one must incorporate a little stress relief for both men and women. My feminine boxes include a hand made bath set, a hand poured double wick soy candle, a bottle of Baileys Irish cream and fresh pine and eucalyptus. My man boxes include a bottle of Black Label, two premium hand rolled cuban cigars, a cocktail shaker and fresh pine and eucalyptus. Both boxes come with a hand written holiday greeting card for the recipient and price includes delivery + shipping.
Q: Do you have any other upcoming projects?
A: I have a few projects in store for the upcoming seasons, but I will close all deals once the holiday season is over. I like to take one thing at a time to avoid going into a creativity funk.
To order any arrangements or gift boxes from Sticks + Stems Co., go to wwww.sticksandstemsmiami.com and make sure to use the code NICOLE15 to get 15% off of your order!
Pictures from the photoshoot and more flower arrangements from Sticks + Stems Co.: