Many people ask if I have a background in flowers and the truth is, I don't - it was simply a small form of therapy for me. I'd buy flowers at the grocery store after a long day, pour a glass of wine and spend 20 minutes arranging the stems in a vase. It was tranquility for me and developed in to a dream to open my own flower and wine shop when I retired. And then, you know, COVID happened.
I decided that maybe my retirement plan might come earlier than I'd thought and began exploring what that would look like. I imagined what a flower-meets-wine shop could be - the classes I would host, the gatherings that would take place, and the community I could create. I decided to test the idea through workshops - the pandemic had made us hungry for connection and I wanted to create the opportunity for others to feel the same peace I felt when arranging a bouquet at my kitchen table. I landed on the name Bold Bouquet and ran with it.
My first workshop took place at Ramona Ranch Winery, a boutique, family-owned vineyard and winery in Ramona, about 45 minutes outside of San Diego. Having it here was special to me because I had fallen in love with wine in Ramona - there is something romantic about sipping wine on the vineyard owner's front porch and experiencing the love letter that they created in each bottle. The first event sold out and watching the experience come together was magical to me. I was hooked.
Baby Jeff and Jenna at the first workshop!
I hosted events for about a year before getting antsy. I was ready to do something more, but wasn't sure what that looked like. My husband, Jeff, and I had just bought a house and he looked at me one day and said, "If you are serious about opening a brick and mortar in the future, then you need to go all in. Get on a delivery platform, focus on social media, expand your offerings - use the garage as a studio and figure out a way to dive in and make sure this is what you want. If you want to go all in, I'm all in too."
So I went all in. I started offering online orders through my website, signed up as a merchant on DoorDash and even got my liquor license to sell wine online. I left my job, focused all of my efforts on my business, and thought of how I wanted to expand the brand to support a future shop. If you've been following along for a while, you know that expansion came in the form of a little horse trailer-turned-flower-and-wine bar named Daisy. I purchased Daisy from a produce farmer in January 2023 and officially launched in the summer after spending 6 months renovating her. If you want to check out that renovation process, check out the blog posts that outline the details here.
Daisy's first event!
Daisy was designed to give me the opportunity to get out in the community and introduce the concept to those that hadn't been to a workshop. By taking the time to build out the trailer, it allowed me to be very thoughtful about what the brand should be long term. The name Bold Bouquet had served us well - both "bold" and "bouquet" are terms used to describe flowers and wine, so it was fitting at first. However, I quickly realized that it didn't evoke a quick cognitive correlation to what we do or encompass the feeling I wanted future wine shop customer's to have when talking to a friend about where to go for happy hour. So with all of that in mind, I set out to rebuild the brand with a new feel - an emphasis on community, approachability and tranquility that had become the pillars of the brand. With that, Cork & Stem was born!
I truly believe that flowers and wine don't have to be complicated. Don't get me wrong - they can be and there are people in each industry who use flowers and grapes as their medium to create breathtaking works of art. But they can also be a form of expression - a way to show up for those you love or even just show up for yourself. My hope is to create opportunities for that expression to be on full display and continue to help others embrace their own creativity. I'm a firm believer that the world is a better place when we show up for each other - genuinely, authentically and boldly.
Thanks for being a part of the journey. I can't wait to be alongside you for everything that comes next! Cheers!