The vision for Bloom Shakalaka began with Ashton Events, an event planning company I started in 2010. Although I enjoyed problem-solving & client relationships, early on I kept finding myself itching to be involved in the creative process with my clients. As I learned design, flowers quickly became a highlight of each event.
However, I found myself bothered when I would show up. The floral arrangements rarely elevated the events. I had a passion to bring innovation & intentionality to events, but kept falling short with the blooms. I had an uncommon vision, and my curiosity grew in wondering if I could figure out how to wield it myself.
I reached out to a few renowned florists and started honing my skill. The more I practiced, the more I loved it. My confidence grew and I began offering floral services for my events. Right away, our community started to notice. The flowers were funky and fresh, regardless of their palette. My past clients, and even guests at events, began contacting me asking specifically for flowers. It felt contagious. It was a privilege anytime I could fulfill an order, but not sustainable.
And just like that—it was decision time. Stick with events or branch out? The idea that I could have a lot of fun with the flower side of business had taken root. The thought of spreading joy with blooms kept pinging at me. While I went about my business, I kept waiting for a hint that Lakeland, Florida was ready for a new approach to this industry.
Then, a local florist closed its doors. A food hall announced its opening... and had a retail spot up for grabs.
The timing felt right, so I jumped. What to name the new budding business? I wanted it to communicate the fun, creative offering we would have. I, of course, asked my friends for help. We all tossed around ideas over drinks and laughed as they brainstormed all kinds of punny ideas. Then someone shouted, “Bloom Shakalaka!” And the name stuck.
Turns out Lakeland, Florida really did need a funky, fresh florist. Our brand and business grew fast. I’m incredibly proud of the team we have built. In 2020, Bloom (our nickname for our shop) opened into a brick-and-mortar space in The Joinery. As the business continues to climb, so does our story. We remain true to our original promise: to spread joy with every bloom!
- Laura Ashton Shannon