In the past six months that I've embarked on this journey of entrepreneurship and launching Reiley + Rose, I can't even begin to count how many times someone has asked me "How did you come up with the name?", "Where is your studio?" "What's the story behind everything?" and many other intriguing questions about R+R. I love that other people (besides me, and my family) are interested in this little piece of heaven I've created. So I've decided to spend a little time and tell you all about it.
We'll go back about a year ago - I was working in a retail floral shop learning the ins and outs of wedding work and designs, but I was feeling stuck. I wanted bigger and better and I wanted to devote 100% of my time to weddings and events. This was something I learned very quickly - my passion in floral design lies in creative wedding and event designs. Ask me what my favorite design to create is and 9 times out of 10 it's going to be a hand-tied bridal bouquet. I love the creative challenge and passion it brings me. Knowing this, I found that where I was, was not where I was meant to flourish. I struggled with this for a really long time. Not even a year out of college, how could I leave my first job? There was no way I was financially, or even for that matter, mentally, prepared to open my own business (hello, 5 year goal - see my Senior Seminar paper). I've said it once, and I'll say it a million more, the path we live every day is destined by a wonderful and powerful God. He knew the plans he had for me, I only needed to trust in him.
I remember scrolling through Pinterest late one night and the picture above stopped me dead scroll. Powerful, and so true.
In August of 2016, I left my job. I walked to my car that afternoon and drove straight to my best friends house for a weekend fishing at the beach. Nothing cures a confused mind or a broken heart like salty wind in your hair and a weekend on a boat. When I got home that Sunday, I knew what I was going to do. I might have been young and I might not have been as prepared as I would have wanted to be, but I could do it. I knew I could. I was destined for this, and God was calling me to it - somehow, someway I'd figure it out. I always do.
Months before this turn of events, I had promised my best friend I would make her bouquet for her bridal portraits and I was destined to still make that happen. I started brainstorming how I could make it work.... Where would I keep the flowers? Where would I work? We ALL know Debra would kill me if I cut and arranged flowers on the kitchen island... and that's when it hit me. My grandmother, Rosemary, has a building off the side of her house that she once used for her catering business. The building had a big walk in cooler and would be perfect for me to store a few flowers in for the week. My grandmother had used the building mainly for storage at this point. It was filled with boxes and boxes of old kitchen utensils and supplies, and childhood memories of all 4 Reiley Boys were stacked high in cardboard boxes. There was no air condition in the building while I worked in the Texas 90 degree heat... and I was certain there was probably some type of animal that was going to come out at any moment. But it worked, and that's all I needed that week.
I let that day spent in the building working with flowers sit on my heart for a few weeks, and I knew this was where God was leading me. The next day, I drove to my grandmothers house, sat around her kitchen table eating her famous cookies, and asked her if I could turn the building into a studio and a home for my new business. The smile on her face was enough of an answer for me. She was proud and she was honored, and I was ecstatic.
I had a wedding coming up that October - I had exactly 3 weeks to get the building "wedding ready" and I couldn't mess around. My Nanny and I spent nearly a week and over 10 trips to Goodwill cleaning out the building and sorting through her storage. We laughed, we listened to classic country and a few times we almost cried. That week has been one of my favorite times spent with my grandmother. The stories and wisdom she shared with me as we fumbled through things; I'll cherish those days forever. That's when it hit me. I knew exactly what I wanted to name my new business.
Reiley and Rose.
Reiley for obvious reasons, my last name. But it also intails so much more. My being, my identity, but most importantly, my family - the heart and soul that keeps me going. One day I may lose that part of my name, but now I'll forever have it in a business. Then comes Rose; of course it seems obvious to use a flower in the name of a wedding floral business, and while yes, that does help the name, it's real meaning comes from Rosemary. The matriarch of the Reiley family, the strongest woman I know and easily the most loving and caring. That's what I wanted my business to be about: strength, love and care. Everything that my grandmother embodies, I wanted to reflex in my business.
And there began Reiley and Rose.
This past weekend, we completed our 10th wedding in the studio and wow, have we come a long way. We have about 20 more weddings slated for 2017. We still have a ways to go, and it's a constant work in progress; but it's home and it's our happy place.