After over 20 years in the floral business, a mother-daughter duo recently opened their own floral boutique, Styled Stems, in Blaine.
Leah Schmidt and her mother, Sheri Mallon, opened Styled Stems last month at 4365 Pheasant Ridge Drive NE, in The Village of Blaine Shopping Center.
Schmidt and Mallon are both from Big Forks. Schmidt now lives in Coon Rapids with her family. While Mallon and her husband still live in Big Forks, they also have an apartment in Lexington.
Earlier this year, Schmidt and Mallon were doing office work for Northern Horizon Pipeline. Mallon was planning to retire, and Schmidt was going to take over her position.
Suddenly, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, business slowed and Schmidt was laid off. Mallon was also laid off just before she could retire.
Schmidt had told her mother if she was laid off one more time she would open a flower shop.
“She didn’t think it was really going to happen,” Schmidt said. “And then it did, and I said, ‘That’s it! I’m done working for the man. I’m doing it!’”
Schmidt has worked as a floral designer for nearly 20 years, starting out as a basic designer when she was 15 years old, working her way through both retail and wholesale aspects of the floral industry and eventually became a manager of the wedding department of Bachman’s.
Schmidt took a sabbatical for a couple of years and worked for a tax firm and as an administrative assistant at General Mills.
On the side, Schmidt worked out of her home as a florist and received help from her mother for weddings and other events.
“Administrative work just wasn’t for me,” Schmidt said. “I missed the creative side of being a florist, and I really wanted to open up my own shop.”
Schmidt and Mallon decided on a location in The Village of Blaine for their floral boutique.
“There are a lot of flower shops around here that are very prominent and have amazing designers and have been in the community for so long,” Schmidt said. “We didn’t want to step on their toes. I wanted to find a place where we’d be as far away from them as possible and focus on an area that needed a unique boutique.”
Styled Stems offers unique floral bouquets, plants and arrangements that range in price from $20 to $500. The shop also has a Bouquet of the Month Club where members can pay $50, $100 or $150 a month for five months and receive a new arrangement each month.
“We want things to be affordable for our customers,” Schmidt said. “Oftentimes you go into these flower shops and the prices are astronomical, so we really wanted a place that could be affordable.”
Styled Stems has arrangements for every occasion from weddings to birthdays and from hospital stays to holidays.
Schmidt said Styled Stems can cater to a variety of events, including birthdays, weddings, funerals and more.
“We’ve unfortunately had some COVID-19 related deaths, and as with all funerals, we try to be as personable and sympathetic to the families that come in as possible,” Schmidt said.
“You really get to know these people and your heart goes out to them,” Mallon added.
Styled Stems provides wedding consultations and is currently offering smaller packages for weddings that have had to reduce in size due to the pandemic.
Schmidt and Mallon estimate they’ve provided floral arrangements for hundreds of weddings and special events in their careers. They’ve also created extravagant arrangements for some VIPs such as the king and queen of Sweden, Elton John and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, according to the shop’s website.
Schmidt and Mallon said the best part of opening a shop together is getting to work and be creative with each other.
“I’ve never had so much fun in my life,” Mallon said. “I get to be creative all day long. It’s a blast!”
Styled Stems also offers handmade gifts, many by Minnesota artisans, such as painted purses, leather flower wine stoppers and pheasant feather clocks. Customers can also pick up the usual balloons and boxes of chocolates.
“We wanted to have a unique floral boutique that not only had the flowers, but also had unique gifts,” Mallon said.
All the gifts and arrangements can be viewed on Styled Stems’ website.
The boutique also has a play area for children where they can read children’s books by Minnesota authors with furry stuffed animal friends or can sell their own flowers in the kids flower shop.
Styled Stems also hosts special events and design classes for the public.
The shop is open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and by appointment on Sundays.
For more information Styled Stems, call 763-951-2772 or visit styledstemsmn.com.