Here at LIVELY, we’re constantly surrounded by swoon-worthy women that are killin’ it in their businesses. We're launching #WomenCrushWednesday to celebrate the boss babes who provide us with a constant flow of inspiration, support, and endless girl-crushes.
Up next, Founder and Owner of Flower Girl NYC, Denise Porcaro Tupper
Where are you from?
I’m a native NYer, specifically from Jackson Heights, Queens.
Where does your passion for floral design come from and how did you transition to the industry from production design?
I believe as a creative, you gravitate to creating with different and often many mediums. I feel the creative passion and approach encompasses many areas. My work out of college in the film world naturally led to flowers while I was working in the restaurant business by night and on film-sets by day/in between jobs. Flowers were yet another medium for me to work with and it built from there.
What gave you the courage and confidence to launch your own business?
Funny question — in our 20s I think we feel we can do anything! I also came from a strong family who believes in me and supports me. I was young and whether it be courage or naivety, it all lined up.
How do you fuel your inner confidence?
I think that staying true to one’s self is the most important fact here. It is important to remain inspired and in the mix, however being that the confidence you ask about here comes from within, only you know you the best and what makes it all work. Staying true to that helps me stay on track and real.
What does your personal life look like and how do you manage work-life balance?
Life is truly all about balance. My business is seasonal yet always busy being a small company. I happen to be moving and in a renovation right now personally. I think you have to take it all as it comes, prioritize, see the light at the end of the tunnel, and stay focused. There are times when it can feel like too much, but you ride out the wave and then just like that, you are on the side of sheetrock dust or a double-wedding weekend.
When do you feel most empowered?
I started this business 14+ years ago, which is a little insane to say… It takes a village and I think that while the notoriety that I receive or the huge projects that we get to work on have all been empowering, I think that I feel the most empowered when I have the support of my team. I think when we are all working together and there is a common trust, respect and underlying support, I feel pretty wonderful and empowered by them.
We believe in the power of women supporting women. How do you support women in your life and how have you been impacted by other women?
I grew up with a strong grandmother and mom, and I feel for me, the power of women was apparent. It happened that I wound up with a business that is quite feminine and there are more women working in the industry than men. It feels great, especially considering that wasn’t a real part of the plan in starting Flower Girl. That being said, where we are as a society these days it is a refreshing place — a women owned and mostly women driven small-business in NYC. We often partner with other like-minded brands to join forces and support the changing times as a whole.
What is your advice to women that want to start their own business, but have no idea how?
I think that this is a soul-searching question. I of course can say things like, make sure you know it will be your baby, that you will be married to it, etc… but I think only you know if you have the inner-passion, constant drive, work-ethic, leadership, confidence, forgiveness, stomach, etc, to start and run your own business. I encourage people to try. My father always made me try everything, every food, sport, etc, that I said I wouldn’t like and he would say “if you don’t try it you will never know”.
People often say that starting a business is easy and keeping it is hard. What would you say has been the most challenging part of continuing your business after launch?
We are a luxury business, although some people (myself included) may argue this, people do not need flowers to live. I feel that a seasonal, luxury business can be tricky. We have had our moments over the years but I think circling back to your inner confidence and staying real and true to yourself gets you through those times. Of course, if the numbers weren’t there and I felt it was not moving forward at all, I would have had to make decisions accordingly, but it has always been moving forward, even if at times it was my drive and determination shuffling it along.
Would you say that you rely on the advice of others or do you rely on your gut?
I would say a little of both. There are some instances where it is all gut, but most of the time, because I began this business organically, I have had to learn a bit along the way. I often relied on the advice or input of others, but there is no rule. You can take the advice and have it be all wrong, and wish you trusted your gut, or many variations of the same thing. I think being okay with not always knowing is okay too. This business thing is often a bit of a gamble or at least can be when you are first starting out.
What’s the best advice you’ve received from a mentor?
Not to take things personally. Not always the easiest thing to do when you are the sole-owner of a small growing business. It takes practice!
What’s your advice for maintaining good mental health?
Balance. When I am in my set routine, I like to work out daily — something to just get out of my head. I have been trying to work a small dose of meditation into my morning routine as well. I think the pause or the walk or the step back from your day or situation is important. It gives one fresh eyes, a new perspective and time to think. As a business owner you are often a problem solver and a lot weighs on you. A moment to step away can be immensely helpful. I am big on self-care as well. I think a bath or a massage, listening to a podcast, or reading can all be wonderful for one’s mental health in this super-busy world.