Kim Lahargou went from working at a bank, to owning a restaurant, to becoming a well-known Paso Robles Wedding Florist. We spoke to her to learn what inspired Flowers by Kim and what makes her business unique.
Kim filled all her electives at Cal Poly with plant science courses and graduated with a degree in Agriculture Business. When she bought her first house she planted a huge floral garden and starting bringing fresh bundles to work for her clients and coworkers as a Paso Robles wedding florist.
For twenty years people told her she should design flowers, but she believed she was too much of a math person to do something so artistic. After working at a bank, she bought a restaurant in Paso Robles where she learned about business and management. After she sold it, her husband asked her "what now?" At 40-years-old, her combined passion for growing things and business led her to enroll in the Floral Design Institute in Portland, Oregon. A few years later, Flowers by Kim was born.
What inspires you?
"I couldn't do what I do without my team. They give me so much more than what I can just create on my own and are constantly making me stay fresh. Each person is talented in their own way."
What's your all time favorite flower?
"I bet that every person says the same thing... Peonies. I also really love Butterfly Ranunculus too, they're just super darling."
What do you usually ask the bride and groom?
"Sometimes it can be difficult for clients to articulate what their style is. I love to know what they're wearing because seeing the bride in her wedding gown is a great indication of what her style is. If she doesn't have her dress yet, then I ask about where they shop, be it Nordstrom, Target, West Elm. This can start to get us down the right path. We talk a lot about color, and always keep in mind their ideal budget."
How would you describe your ideal couple?
"People that are kind and have a bit of wiggle room for accepting ideas and trusting their vision to you, capable of understanding that flowers are not always perfect."
"I love using dry elements to add texture. It's kind of a revamp look of the 70s. The great thing about using dried flowers is that we can oftentimes reuse them and have less waste."
"As far as the next trend, I'm thinking color. Color, please!"
How do you navigate clients through setting their floral budget?
"Luckily now, most brides and grooms come with a coordinator who have a grasp of how expensive florals can get which can be extremely helpful. If they don't have a coordinator, then during the conversation I start to mention costs so they begin to realize how quickly things add up and we can create a realistic budget. I'll of course recommend flowers and ideas that can bring the cost down."
What do enjoy doing on your day off
"Usually an outdoor activity like hiking. camping or fishing. I'm not super girly and I like to involve my two older boys and my husband in something. We really enjoy traveling as well."
Where do you see your business in the future?
"I see only positive things. The central coast is growing so quickly and there are several fantastic vendors in the area who are taking great care of the couples. Looking forward, I'll be taking fewer clients each year. I think that millennials are going to have different expectations and needs, so I'm excited to trying to figure out with direction they want to take."