WAUWATOSA, WI — It is a good sign when you make beautiful things that everyone wants to grab and buy, according to Deb Fowler, owner of the Flower Lady in Wauwatosa.
“We are finding our customers are gravitating towards three main trends: sparkly, cozy and nature — anything that makes us feel better this season,” Fowler said.
Anything that sparkles, such as a twinkly ornament, catches people’s eyes and makes them feel really good, according to the Wauwatosa resident.
She used the example of candlelight and how it activates the part of the brain that holds memories and good feelings. The act of lighting a candle has a calming effect, she said.
Fowler told Patch that candles are a good gift this year because people are in need of comfort and candles boost the mood.
Fowler said that if Grandma can’t have candles or little ones are in the house, people can buy flameless remote-control candles that flicker.
Fowler said decorating isn’t just about the holidays but is also about making people who work from home feel better. She said people complain their home is drab and want something to cheer them up.
Many displays can incorporate items from homes such as wooden boxes, plates, scarves, trays, a blanket or mirrors. People can buy a candle and wreath, and use it for the display.
“Maybe your investment is a candle, but it becomes an activity with your kids,” Fowler said.
About the Flower Lady
“My parents taught me at a young age if you are going to do something, do it right. Or you just don’t do it,” Fowler said.
“We have been doing this for so long and caring for people for 26 years, so we are good at giving advice,” Fowler said.
She said the store has a good reputation for its design and decoration assistance. Customers can come into the store and say they need a centerpiece or a gift, and staff will come up with something amazing, she said.
“This morning, we had a few customers looking for gifts for people who were ailing. People often ask what is comforting,” Fowler said.
The store has a line of lavender products, heat wraps and candles.
Right now, The Flower Lady is helping customers send gifts to loved ones they can’t see due to the pandemic.
“Because of COVID, people can’t see their friends or give them a hug and make them feel better. So they are sending more flowers, as it shows people you care,” she said.
Fowler said flowers are a thing of beauty and nature, and are well-received.
Since the pandemic hit in March, the store has received requests for gifts for people struggling in some way, such as with the loss of a loved one, a job or a pet.
Life of a small business
Fowler said she knew at a young age that she was an artist and attended art school. She received a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and worked as a graphic designer.
“I thought I could serve the community better being out of the cubicle,” Fowler said.
She invented her own job. She grew up loving flowers and doing art and eventually started selling items at the Wauwatosa Farmers Market. Every week, she sold out — and developed a small following. Her success led her to open her own business in “a store as big as a bedroom.” Fowler built her business from the ground up and now has the expansive space on Underwood Avenue.
“As far as small businesses, we all have to keep thinking and problem-solving. We have to keep trying to come up with new and different ways to stay in business,” she said.
Fowler added her store has rebuilt its website and added products that are available in the store. She wanted customers at home to get a snapshot of what is available. The store also started shipping and doing curbside pickup.
“If you are a problem-solving person, you have to keep thinking,” Fowler said.
There is no solution to the coronavirus, but business owners have to stay on their toes to get through the pandemic.
Fowler also discussed the importance of shopping small. She is concerned that if people don’t support small businesses, the loss will be the local stores, restaurants and other places that make Wauwatosa a great place to be.
“That would be a really strange retail landscape if we only had big box stores to shop from and be employed in. We need our small businesses, and they need the help of people right now.”
More information on The Flower Lady is at www.theflowerlady.com.