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7 Questions with Sally of In Bloom Florist

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Sally Kobylinski, Co-Owner of In Bloom Florist, as a part of the Building the Brand podcast: a series hosted by our Creative Director & Founder, Ben Gill and Christian Harris of Aqueous Films.

In Bloom Florist is a local flower shop in Orlando. Over the past 30 years, they have grown to become the largest retail florist in the Central Florida area. They serve the Orlando area and beyond with swoon-worthy florals for everyday celebrations, weddings, and events.

Read on to learn more about Sally's story and how In Bloom Florist came to be, or listen to the full podcast episode here!

1. How did you stumble into the world of flower shops and florals?

My mom did the flowers for my sister's wedding, she actually had a flower shop when I was a kid and my grandparents had a flower shop, so it runs in the family. My grandfather and grandmother had a shop dating all the way back to the '30s. I made my very first flower arrangement when I was nine, but then never had worked in the flower shop myself after that point.

When I was a young adult, my sister got ready to get married and [John] ended up working at this flower shop where my sister was going to buy the flowers for my mom to design them. He meets me because I put the down payment on flowers for my mom to design the bouquet for my sister's wedding. So that's actually when we first met, weirdly enough. And then we get married two years later.

He actually loved horticulture. When he was in college, they encouraged him to get a job in horticulture.The only thing that he could find was this job at this flower shop and he got a job as a delivery person. After 11 years is when he ended up opening his own shop by himself.

2. How did In Bloom come to be?

[John] crawls into bed this one night and he shuts off the light and says, “I think I'm going to start my own shop.”

So I turned back on the light and I said, “I think that this is one of those things in marriage that people actually talk about.”

He said, “Well, I don't know what to say, but I think I'm going to start my own shop.”

And that's kind of it. He wasn't being rude. I don't think he thought there was much more to say other than that.

So that's when it started and how it started, and it was in 1990. And that was that.

3. How was it in the beginning, opening the business?

I mean, the holidays stunk. Mother's Day, where your image (for me as a mom) of having a family meal and these wonderful cards– I'm making the cards that my kids are giving me, two days later because my husband's at work. It's one of the busiest holidays that we have at the flower shop, so my husband's really not around for that. I've never had a Valentine's Day with my husband. Holidays were not what I imagined they would be as a young married couple, and especially with young kids.

Initially [John] took a salary, so we weren't really afraid of not eating, but we definitely didn't always know what we were doing. It was kind of frightening because you really don't know, what you don't know, until you start down that road.

He had been a designer, a driver, and worked throughout the business for a period of time, but you've never been a collection agency before. You've never been a tax person before. You don't know how to go through all those different variables of having a business until you go through them.

4. When did you become a part of In Bloom?

From the beginning, I would just work holidays: Valentine's and Mother's Day. Every job I had, I would tell them “I'm going to help my husband two days before Mother's Day and two days before Valentine's, so I'm going to need those for vacation days, is that okay?” And they'd always say yes.

I just helped out on the phone for a couple of hours every holiday and then I'd go back to my regular job and that would be it, until 2008. I helped during the recession. I really didn't know up until that moment that flowers were a luxury. Literally every time I answered the phone, someone would cancel their standing order. We were doing stuff for Louis Vuitton and Chanel and all these different companies. I'd pick up the phone and they'd be like “I'd like to cancel our standing order.”

I say seemingly overnight, it went down 40% in business. But it was probably within three months we lost 40% of our business. [By 2011], it had flipped back. We were fine again. We knew we were going to be okay. Then in 2014, [John] asked me to come and help for a longer period of time.