We’re so excited to introduce you to Gayle Zerr of Florist Fire. We met Gayle four years ago when she was sharing a creative studio space in Seminole Heights with Ashlee Hamon of Ashlee Hamon Photography, Regina Rached of Regina as the Photographer, and Becky Daly of Daly Digs (then Tufted Vintage Rentals). Today she owns & operates a brick & mortar all her own in Hyde Park Village. The first time Gayle stepped into a floral shop was in high school. The artist in her found her creative footing in floral design 16 years ago and she hasn't looked back since. She's faced many challenges and used what she learned to grow her floral empire in a way that’s true to herself. If you're local to Tampa Bay, come by tonight's Pop Up event at West Elm to meet Gayle, sip wine, & hang with Boss Babes like you! Without further ado, enjoy Gayle’s words & badass wisdom.
Tell us about yourself and what you do!
My name is Gayle. I'm floral designer with 16 years experience, and I specialize in weddings and event design. I also have a retail shop in Hyde Park Village that focuses on everyday floral design and design workshops. Annnnd, I have a slight obsession with scuba diving, sharks, death metal, and bacon.
How did your business begin?
After being the lead designer for 10 years at a local florist, I decided to start my own wedding and event business in 2011.
What’s 1 challenge you’ve faced and 1 success you’ve had since you’ve created your business?
The #1 challenge I've faced is balancing managing a team, while at the same time not compromising our artistry and creative flow. It's definitely been a learning curve, but I think my team and I have a good thing going now. As for success, it was a huge personal success for my business to make it to the 5 year mark and be thriving. We are now in our 6th year and there are no signs of slowing down!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and has it come in handy for you?
It's pretty simple, but when I started my business, my dad told me, "Use your head". As an artist (and a Taurus), I tend to lead or react with my emotions first. I'm learning to slow down, use my head, and really think through solutions and smart business moves before responding with my emotions.
When are you at your happiest?
Work-wise, when my team and I have completed a challenging project and we can step back and appreciate all of our hard work. Outside of work, I'm absolutely my happiest at a concert or relaxing at home with my boyfriend and our dog, "Dude".
What do you tell yourself when things get difficult?
You got this.
What are you grateful for?
I'm grateful that for the first time since 2013, I was able to take a vacation and a welcomed breather from design for a week. Years of hard work and feeling confident enough in my business and my amazing team allowed me to step away and really relax.
What’s 1 personal goal and 1 business goal you plan to accomplish this year?
My personal goal this year is to be more intentional about taking time for me and the parts of my life that are not work-related. My business goal for this year is to expand and start planning for a second location for our company.
Where can you be found on a Tuesday afternoon?
Probably at home binge-watching something on Netflix.. It's my only day off! :)
How about on a Friday evening?
Putting the finishing touches on design work for a Saturday wedding.
A Sunday morning?
In bed recovering from a Saturday wedding.
Finish these sentences:
I love: Panera delivery.
I’m always looking for: the Panera delivery guy.
My inspiration is: the creativity afforded with a You-Pick-Two.
I’ll never: share my chicken and wild rice soup.