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Meet Rachelle Bland of Baltimore Blossoms

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachelle Bland.

Rachelle, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
As a child, I would play in my grandparent’s garden. They had fruit trees, vegetable patches, and many flowers — I was particularly enthralled with my grandmother’s prize-winning roses. My grandfather would take me to Norman Holt, an iconic West Baltimore florist, and buy me small floral arrangements. Mr. Holt was a huge staple for the Ashburton community. He always provided a helping hand to the people in his neighborhood. I was inspired to be an entrepreneur as a young child, as I watched both of my parents start and run successful businesses over the years. One memory that stands out is visiting my Uncle Bill’s dry cleaning business that was located in Walbrook Junction. I stared up at the sign that had our surname on it. That memory has never left me. As a teenager, I started planning baby showers, every aspect from the food, to the flowers and games. In the early 90’s I attended and was among the 2nd graduating class of W.E.B. (Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore). I started a kiosk business in Towson Mall where I made and sold accessories and clothing for children.

I planned and designed flowers for weddings of family members. I took a few floral design classes to hone my skills. Eventually, I went to get my floral design certification, so I could learn as much as I possibly could.

Over time, the style of dressing children became more simplified, so I decided to close my Kiosk in the mall and worked at several different flower shops collecting knowledge and experiences during and after. As my children got a little older, I took several different kinds of creative jobs, however, my passion for flowers continued and I always knew I wanted to open my own shop. I gave myself over a year to save money and gather everything I needed to start the business, even though I didn’t know where the location would be. I saved an inspirational picture from a floral magazine, a ceiling of a flower shop in California, that I always carried around with me. After leaving dinner one night, I saw a “for rent” sign on a storefront. I peeked in the window and it had the same ceiling (in a different color) as the photo I’d been carrying around. I called the number, and within a short time, I had rented the space. In 2003, I was able to open my own flower shop in that building, on Howard Street’s Antique Row, and eventually, I was able to buy the building. In 2008, right before the great recession hit and my oldest daughter had just gone off to College at Howard U. I sold the building and continued to do flowers from my home for my corporate accounts, weddings, events, and freelance work for other local shops. Selling the building was a tough decision, but it gave me the freedom in 2009 to help my mother who was sick. She passed away in 2010, and after that, I decided that I was going to slowly start preparing to open a retail shop again. By 2015, after years of research and planning, I opened the Dolfield location. This was shortly after the uprising, and I wanted to reinvest in the community where my family was from. I wanted an upscale, full-service florist, in an area that I knew and loved. In 2016, my oldest daughter and son-in-law moved back to Baltimore to help me run and grow the business. In 2019 we opened our new location at the former Norman Holt, a true full-circle moment. It happened organically and quickly. We feel blessed.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
In 2019, we began setting up a new store. A few weeks before opening a car crashed into the side of our building. It was traumatic as where the car hit we would’ve been sitting. Thankfully, no one was hurt! However, it was disappointing that nearly a year’s worth of hard work went down the drain. We finally were able to put all the pieces back together and reopen, at the start of 2020. Less than a month later, COVID hit. We are considered essential workers, so myself and a few essential staff members. We were closed to the public, delivery only, however, we never closed. Also that summer, a storm blew out several of our large windows at the front of the store, but luckily no one was hurt.

We love our location, and we are grateful that the community has embraced and supported us, however, it has been challenging operating a retail store in the city, dealing with the same societal issues that any other Baltimore residents face.

We have also done our best to be a part of the solution for some of these issues, including; partnering in a food drive with our neighboring church, giving out free toilet paper, PPE, and plants during the height of the lockdown, and donating funeral flowers to unhoused locals.

We’ve been impressed with Baltimore Blossoms, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We are a black woman-owned and family-run, full-service retail flower shop. We are able to accommodate all budgets and are skilled in all facets of design. We can design everything from weddings, birthday parties, flower crowns, dried and preserved arrangements, sympathy, and just because of flowers. We go above and beyond for our customers adding a personal touch. It’s not just a business to us, what we do is who we are. We are our brand. We’re driven by a genuine, innate passion. We truly care about what we do and we put 100% of ourselves into it. We’re hands-on, involved with every facet of the job. From washing buckets and processing flowers to consultations and putting together contracts for clients. One of our proudest moments was moving into our new space. Also, last summer when Bravo reached out to us to design floral crowns for the Real Housewives of Potomac, which were featured on virtual promotions for their 5th season.

Who else deserves credit in your story?
My entire family. My parents, who have both passed on but their lessons live on. My daughters and my son-in-law, my siblings, nieces, nephews, and cousins. My customers, some who have supported me since Howard Street and some since the dolfiel location. Neighborhoods of Ashburton, Arlington, Hanlon, Forest Park, Walbrook, Panway-Braddish, Mondawmin, Longwood, Druid Hill, and Park Heights. I appreciate every single customer, whether they buy 1 rose or book us for an event.

Pricing:

  • ​​Flower Crowns Children Start at $25, Adults Start at $100
  • Designer’s Choice Vase $50
  • Designer’s Choice Wrapped Bouquet $45.00
  • Summer Sunflowers $40.00
  • Tropical Arrangement $100+

Contact Info:

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