Rosaprima’s Florist Spotlights are segments where incredible florists from around the world are recognized for their talents and provided a space where they may share their stories and insights.
Ana Galena is a talented florist, business-owner, teacher, and overall gifted artist. She has created an incredible platform where she has helped hundreds of flower-lovers learn how to make it in the floral industry, from teaching them how to start a floral business to sharing amazing tutorials and advice. While Ana spends much of her time creating and designing, she has a passion to share the joy of flowers with the world, one stem at a time.
What inspired you to become a floral designer?
It all began when I was working at my mother’s flower shop while going to college for a marketing degree. Since I had a background in marketing, I decided to step into the business to help drive sales. A good marketer knows the importance of understanding the wants and needs of their customers, as well as having a vast knowledge of the product they are selling. I decided to learn everything I possibly could about the floral industry, flowers, design, emotions, colors, absolutely everything! By the end of the first year of my endeavor, I read a total of 144 flower magazines and 12 flower design books. The more I learned, the more I fell in love with the magic of flowers and the impact they were having on so many people, truly changing their lives – it was so beautiful and powerful to see!
One day, I went to my mother’s shop to pick up an arrangement for a delivery, but when I saw the arrangement, I did not like it, something was wrong, it wasn’t conveying the right message. I tried to rearrange some stems, but since this was a tropical-flower arrangement structured on foam, it completely fell apart. I realized at that moment I was going to have to re-create this arrangement myself, and while I had never made an arrangement myself, I had watched enough florists and read so many books on the topic that I felt confident enough to try. So, there I went and created a brand-new piece. Long story short, when I finally tried to make the delivery no one was home, and since this happened during a time where no one had any cell phones, I brought the arrangement back home. When my mother saw it, she said, “Ana! Who made this beautiful arrangement?” The excitement I felt was unimaginable! And that is how a florist was born. Now, I’ve been playing with flowers for 23 years. I’ve never taken a flower course, but I am constantly learning, reading (over 100 books about flowers so far), and following other creatives which helps my own creativity and craft.
I know flowers, they know me, and they always tell me what to do. We have this deep connection that is truly magical.
Tell us about your passion for floral design. How has it helped you through difficult times?
More than I could have ever imagined. I am confident that I am an optimistic person thanks to my relationship with flowers, I am always looking for the good in life. Being around flowers gives me so much positive energy. I always say, having flowers around won’t make your problems disappear, but your attitude towards them will always be about finding joyful solutions. When you are surrounded by beauty, you expect beauty in life.
Flowers have also taught me how to live in the present. Like seasonal flowers, there is a time for everything, and I’ve learned to fully enjoy the moment and embrace life. Seasonal flowers have especially shifted my attitude to where I am not longing for what I do not have, I enjoy what I do – that’s an attitude I try to bring into my life and one I teach my kids.
How do you think flowers influence our emotions and behavior?
Color and beauty play such an important role in our emotional state. Being surrounded with beautiful things lifts our emotional state. Imagine having a vase of flowers in your kitchen, you clean up the space where you will put them, organize everything in its place, you unclutter because you want everything to look pretty so that you can better appreciate the beautiful flowers you have. Finally, when everything is in its place, walking into that room gives you peace, comfort, and a sense of wellbeing. Then, imagine walking into that same room and seeing a small jar with roses, you immediately smile. I really believe that when flowers are a part of your life, you feel at ease, you smile a lot more, and you therefore become more positive in life.
How do flowers shape your perspective on the world around you?
Because flowers are living organisms, they have energy. Being able to enjoy their evolution process from a tight button to a blooming flower is magical. Flowers teach us about patience and understanding, they teach us that beautiful things take time to unfold.
Learning to enjoy the diversity we see within flowers in nature also teaches us how to happily enjoy and celebrate the diversity we see in the people we meet every day. Flowers are great teachers, one day they are there, we enjoy them, and then they are gone and we have to let go. Just like everything in life.
Tell us a little bit about your experience in the flower industry as a woman.
The floral industry has always been great to me. When I started 23 years ago, it was mostly a male-dominated industry, still, I have always felt the support from my colleagues and vendors. However, my biggest obstacle as a woman was my culture. Back then in Mexico, women were not entrepreneurs, we were mostly expected to take care of the home and our children. Truthfully, I never felt any judgement from others other than myself. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a great entrepreneur, a great florist, a great, wife, mom, daughter, sister – great is actually an understatement of the expectations I put on myself, I wanted to be the best at all of those things 100% of the time. I needed to prove to myself that I could really do it all. Of course, those expectations eventually broke me and for a while I put my work on the side so I could better focus on my family. Until one day I realized that I was a better example to my kids by working for my dreams than by putting them on the side to focus exclusively on the home. I learned to find a balance and found a way to do both without the guilt. Guilt is a big thing in Hispanic cultures and while my family and my husband were always very supportive of my passion for flowers, it was still something I occasionally struggled with, even now from time to time. It is so important for me that my kids discover their passion, that they learn that it takes a lot of work to make dreams come true, and to support those around them. I want my sons to respect women in the workplace and I want my daughter to never feel guilty for working and following the path to her dreams.
What is your advice for other women entrepreneurs in the floral industry?
Enjoy what you do, support other women in the industry, and never feel like you are competing with one another. If we unite, we can accomplish a lot more than as individuals. Build your support tribe, you are not alone, we are all in this together, and talking about it is always better.
Tell us about your new project: Bloom TV.
I am so happy to be a part of the very first flower channel. Our main goal is to bring the beauty and magic of flowers to everyone in the world. That is why we have experts from a variety of fields in the floral industry and from so many countries, sharing their passion and expertise. I myself have a miniseries on the joy of living with flowers. My main objective is to teach others how easy it is to incorporate flowers into your daily life. Currently, I am working on a different series where I am on an expedition to discover the magic of flowers in all sorts of different fields. One of my favorite episodes is about the smile that flowers inevitably create on peoples’ faces; other episodes I love cover things like edible flowers and the magic of the rose!
How do you stay creative? Can you share some tips with us?
I need to be in constant movement. My days have little or no routine at all, when things follow a pattern, I feel really numb. I usually live my life in accordance to how I feel, my husband hates this, he is very much into routine. I am a “just-in-time” kind of person. I’ve learned that when I plan too much, things usually don’t go as planned, so I pretty much live in the moment; I believe that is how my creativity blossoms. I like to pay attention to my surroundings, to the people around me, the weather, the ambience, I am a very perceptive person – this is where I start, and from there, I create. My design style is an invitation into to how I think we should be living. Right now, I think we need to move with ease and grace, and that is pretty much the style of my arrangements.