By Miriam Schwartz | July 13, 2018 | 2 Minute Read
The Always In Bloom flower and gift shop is so much more than it seems. Having spent more than 35 years as a flower design professional, owner and operator, Sharon Monteiro, is a pillar within the Marion, Massachusetts, community. Aside from being a place to pick up a bouquet, Always In Bloom is a gifting destination welcoming loyal customers and new faces. Monteiro’s unique touch is everywhere, as she personally curates the shop’s tasteful selection of gifts—from jewelry to home decor items.
Monteiro, along with four full-time and four part-time employees, services the south coast Massachusetts area, and was voted the number one florist in Marion, Rochester, and Mattapoisett. Even for someone with nearly four decades of experience, running a successful flower business in the era of online-based flower brokers is tough. “Our industry is dying—it’s hard to find a good, old-fashioned flower shop,” says Monteiro. “But our growth has been amazing. We get referrals from Cape Cod to Boston and Rhode Island.”
Her expert eye for flower design has helped Monteiro launch her business, but it’s the personal relationships she has with her customers that have continued to propel Always In Bloom forward. “I know the industry very well because I’ve worked in it since I was 18, but I’ve had a lot of clients since the 1980s that are very loyal to me and I’m so grateful for that,” she says. Monteiro greets every customer and enjoys getting to know them by name.
Walking into Always In Bloom, you might think it’s a tiny shop, but wander through and you’ll find three different showrooms and a selection of hard-to-find flowers from all over the world. The shop also makes all of its own wreaths in-house, guaranteeing that customers will get something fresh and one-of-a-kind.
According to recent data from SCORE, a nonprofit resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the number of women-owned business is growing at five times the national average. There are currently more than 11 million woman-owned small businesses supporting nearly 9 million jobs and 1.6 trillion dollars in revenue. But there are still many challenges for women-owned businesses, including the ability to find sources of financing and cash flow. Men were 9 percent more likely to seek financing than women, and men were 3 percent more likely to successfully acquire loans or equity financing. The biggest differences in funding sources between men and women came from credit cards and equity from investors. Seven percent more women reportedly use credit cards as funding for their businesses as opposed to men.
“As a small business owner, I kept thinking when do I just get to sit back and go on vacation and just watch the business? I don’t. You have to be hands-on. I’m doing what’s in my blood. I love to design, but I’m busy running the business,” Monteiro says of her need to find a balance between creating the hundreds of wristlets and boutonnieres for prom season while running the day-to-day operations of her business.
“The struggle is real for women business owners. It’s seven days a week, it’s a lot of work,” says Monteiro. “I’m very proud of it. I have a couple of great mentors. I had to struggle to make it work after losing a partner in business, and I had lots of sleepless nights, and now I’m happy to say that I own everything and that I built this business.”
Support local, women-owned businesses and visit Always In Bloom.