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Kayli Head on Turning Passion to "Blooming" Business

The Greater San Marcos Partnership and the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce are excited to bring you BIZtalks, a free event series that is open to the public and targeted to local entrepreneurs. Led by successful business owners in our area, speakers highlight hardships they have faced and share tips for helping aspiring entrepreneurs get started! 

In February, BIZtalks emphasized the entrepreneurial journey of Kayli Head, owner of The Bloom Bar in San Marcos, Texas. She believes her journey to be unlike any other and wants to share how she made her passion a "blooming" business with fellow entrepreneurs in her community. 

Meet Kayli Head

Floral design has been an unwavering obsession for Kayli since she took her first design class at 14 years old. More than a decade later, Kayli has designed thousands arrangements across Texas, celebrated alongside hundreds of clients, and made dozens of brides smile. "The feeling never gets old."

Kayli started working at a retail florist in the Dallas area before she went to college. She went on to study Public Relations and Marketing in Nacogdoches, which she new credits as contributing to her success as a business owner. Upon moving to the San Marcos area, she felt passionate about becoming an active part of the local community and ended up diving into the non-profit world. She had the opportunity to be surrounded by entrepreneurs every day. Before long, she couldn't ignore the passion burning insider her to start a floral shop.

That's why she has finally taken the leap of faith to open her own floral design studio in San Marcos, Texas. As a Central Texas wedding florist, she is constantly blown away by the beauty and laid-back elegance of the Texas Hill Country, something she tries to infuse with each design. Now, she wants to share the story of her unique journey with you! 

Planting Her Roots

Kayli started her career when she moved to San Marcos, Texas from Nacodgoches, Texas. Due to her strong desire to play an active role in the local community, she fell to working with Main Street in San Marcos. Through this experience, working with local entrepreneurs and hearing each of their unique stories consistently inspired her. 

"I started working with entrepreneurs on a daily basis and I was so inspired by them."

Kayli thrived on picking their brains, hearing their stories, seeing others success and failures and taking each as a learning experience for herself. While an active member in the San Marcos community, she was also freelancing as a floral designer in Austin. 

Before long, Kayli had made an impactful mark within our community and another city offered her the director position at a neighboring Main Street program. This was a safe job with the benefits her family convinced her was a good choice, but she couldn't shake the gut feeling that this wasn't meant for her. She could not ignore her gut any longer! 

"My gut was telling me, you need to do this! I would rather fall flat on my face then spend one more day living someone else's life."

Kayli's decision to change her career path seemed to come at the perfect time. She discovered that the studio she had previously worked at in Austin just happened to be for sale. By this time, the current owner had built up her own business as a successful wedding florist in Austin. Kayli made the easy decision to take on this project with her former boss. Kayli loved learning from others successes and failures and she started making her own ideas of how she could be successful. However, every good story has a twist.

After some time had passed by, the previous owner decided to take a step back, giving Kayli another perfect opportunity. This time, she was going to do it completely on her own.

Budding Business

Kayli soon started to think of ways she could make this happen again from scratch. Her good friends in the business world gave her some tidbits of advice and gave her the idea to start it out of her home. A good idea in theory, but flowers can get messy and require a lot of supplies and storage. After some thinking and a good evaluation of her resources, she noted that her living room already had a tile floor. So she turned to her husband:

"Picture this: We are going to start a flower shop right here in our living room!"

That day, she and her husband cleared out all of their furniture, set up a design table and immediately got to work. With about $500 in the bank, she launched a website, bought some flowers, and reached out to some planter friends she used to work with in Austin. Originally looking for some support, they immediately sent her some clients on the spot. At this point, Kayli started using her strong network to her advantage. 

One of the biggest challenges of starting a business from scratch is rebuilding a portfolio. She had created all her other designs under the names of previous businesses, which they technically owned themselves. Luckily for her, she had five of her best friends get married within a 3 month time period. This gave her a lot of material very quickly and, soon enough, her business was "blooming".

As her business took off with rapid success, Kayli and her husband had expanded their living room project to the garage and even overflowed into a second bedroom. They realized they were out growing themselves. 

"I have a picture from where i started in the garage with stems everywhere and it makes you really appreciate where you are now."

How it Blossomed

Kayli discovered a building on South LBJ Street in 2015 that her landlord was renovating. He was aware of her affinity for all things historical and raved "you have to check this out!" At first glance, Kayli was less than amused. There were drop ceilings, the space was split into two units and overall, she found it to be an uninspiring place. However, upon elevating the ceiling, she discovered beautiful tin moldings and unique murals that were hidden on the walls! Feeling inspired, that same night she sketched out The Bloom Bar logo that she uses today. A year later, the landlord says, "I think you need to be in this building."

Starting with something simple, she placed a little design table in the front and the rest of The Bloom Bar that we know and love today came to life. 

Kayli was back to her roots of being downtown and thriving. Her situation inspired her to start getting involved with the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce and other industry groups. A knock on effect occurred and Kayli discovered several wedding specific industries she got involved in. From there:

"It took off like wildflowers!"

Kayli's journey did not actually start with a traditional business plan. Instead, she trusted her friend and faithful business coach. She says that the best thing that she could have done is been told to simply stop overthinking it and just do it! It is better to get something done than to get it perfect. If you try to get it perfect, it may never happen!

Kayli attributes much of her success to her continual networking through channels she has created and been a part of. 

"I am not a business person, but I am a people person."

Kayli feels very strongly about giving back to her local community. When many people ask her why she in in San Marcos when most of the weddings are in Austin, she says that she simply fell in love with the town. Although there are less wedding venues in San Marcos compared to Austin, the support of the San Marcos community has helped Kayli to catapult to the next level. Kayli's team worked 75 weddings and events in 2017, each weekend at least one to two. Everyone knows someone getting married. 

Every Rose Has its Thorn

Looking back upon her actual first steps while starting her own business, it did not come without its challenges. Kayli started by creating a spreadsheet to layout her general budget, which ended up being the launch pad for creating an overall plan. She is not shy to admitting that the financial side of the business truly is the hard part. As a 100% right-brained individual, she was a communications major in college because she hated math. The best piece of advice she received on the matter was to do "as much as you can, as cheap as you can, as long as you can." With that mindset, she started out of her house, she waited to get the fancy things until she could afford it, and she understood the basics of how much do I need to make in order to survive and make money? She was able to do all of this with no loans, and managed to maintain good credit throughout. At the end of the first year, she blew it out of the water and tripled her financial goals.

Especially in the beginning, self-doubt was arguably her biggest challenge. When she was launching her business, she essentially just dealt with the challenges as they came. This risky and unpredictable day-to-day, made her doubt her abilities. Today, she has the security of owning a profitable business and takes a more retroactive look to see what she can do better now. What was once, "get stems out the door and I will deal with the clients later", has turned into

"How can I grow my business even better than before?"

A Petal for Your Thoughts

If you are interested in starting your own business, Kayli recommends contacting the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The San Marcos office is located at Texas State's STAR Park off of Hunter Road and McCarty Lane. This resource can help small businesses at every level, connect you with mentors that help create a business plan, and strategize your plan to start generating capital. Kayli did not utilize this resource in the beginning, but now considers going back to take her business to the next level.

"I can't play it small anymore. That didn't last very long."

Kayli believes that strong entrepreneurs are effective at growing a team they can trust and are good to their people. It was hard for her to give up some of her control at first, but once she did, she was able to utilize everyone's unique talents to improve her overall dream. Push the fear aside!

"I couldn't wait any longer to pursue the passion."

Creating an enjoyable environment for her tight nit team to come into work everyday truly proves that happy people are the best employees. She breathes her passion into her business and her team feeds off it. That is the key to making it work. "It is fun work, it is not easy work, but it doesn't feel like I am working."

Looking Forward

In the future, Kayli and The Bloom Bar have some long-term goals. She wants to expand the team and there is a lot of potential for growth in the wedding world. She takes so many more risks now than ever before, which means now she gets to dream bigger! 

"I know my neighbors and they support me and we support each other. It is a tight community."

Being in San Marcos is a great place to do business because of the supportive environment. Just the other day, she watched a parade go by the door. She didn't know what it was for but she loved it! Kayli raves that "everyday, I get to be in a community that I love and I try to share that with my clients as well. You really get to know someone within that first consultation. I get to talk a little about he inventory, we make a vision board and really plan the arrangements from the ground up. Being in the business for so long now, I have really gotten to know clients that we really gotten to know clients, we really mesh and have a good connection."

"[Couples] are so excited to be getting married and I just get to share the joy of it - that's why I like weddings so much. I get to be a small part of that big day for them. You just get to feel the love."

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Didn't make it to BIZtalks this month? No problem! The entire presentation is posted on Facebook Live via the Greater San Marcos Partnership page. As you can see, this event is a great opportunity for local entrepreneurs curious about starting their own business. Like us on Facebook to see where the next BIZtalks will take place on March 23rd at 4PM. You can also stay up-to-date by subscribing to our monthly newsletter, GSMP Reports, at this link: https://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?llr=rsr456cab&p=oi&m=1102664681041&sit=umprzcmeb&f=ee94ada8-70c9-4341-a1a0-af250d675268