Sharing stories about young, passionate entrepreneurs is what I love most about writing.
I also love sharing with you people who have the vision and courage to step up and rescue flagship small businesses in our community. Christy and Brian Hulsey are both.
This dynamic duo founded Red B Power in 2007, a leading electrical contracting company. Then in 2012, the couple stepped up and rescued Colonial House of Flowers. The iconic floral shop was founded nearly 50 years ago by Carolyn and the late Elmer Phillips, and with the Hulseys' acquisition, they not only kept the business alive but also in the family.
"When Brian and I purchased Colonial House, it had been relocated from its original location in downtown Statesboro to its current location in the Market District," Christy Hulsey said. "The business was experiencing a moment of decline, but with hard work, determination and by surrounding myself with a wonderful team, we have rebranded and resurrected a beloved Statesboro business."
Ironically, her initials are C.H., hence the move to use those initials as part of the rebranding. Christy's core team includes Sydney McDougald, Laura Godbee, Amanda Currier (Christy's sister), Megan Johnson (a recent Miss GSU) and the original founder of the business, Carolyn Phillips.
One thing you will quickly learn about Christy, other than her contagious smile and lovingly optimistic attitude, is that she is a bit humble about her success.
The floral industry is one that has struggled greatly in recent years as we have seen other substitutes for flowers, such as benevolent charitable contributions. Being in the South, flowers at a funeral is as common as delicious fried chicken at Grandmother's house for Sunday lunch. However, not many of us still eat Sunday lunch at Grandmother's house. And if we do, chances are a local restaurant in town cooked the fried chicken.
"When we purchased the florist, I had no experience as a designer or owner of a florist," Hulsey said. "My degree was in journalism with a major in advertising. I quickly discovered that everyday was a workshop.
"An unusual thing happened along the way," she said. "People were cheering me on as I learned. I was cheering them on as they learned. Together we pierced the learning curve, and now me, my fans and students can create really beautiful work. Through this, I learned that my gift was as much in teaching, inspiring and leading others to explore their own creative possibilities as it was designing."
In rebranding the business, Hulsey discovered that she may not be the best floral designer, but she has uncovered a gift to inspire others to bring more joy and love into their lives through flowers. She enjoys teaching others her love of working with flowers and helping give them the confidence to make flower arrangements on their own.
Her motto is, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful!"
A wonderfully talented writer and prolific blogger, she focused on new media and marketing that most small businesses barely understand, let alone embrace. Before she knew it, Pottery Barn had discovered her talent, and she has become a featured designer and instructor for the company's blogs. Along the way, she has grabbed the attention of many of the leaders in her industry and a few others, like Garden and Gun magazine. Hulsey is consistently featured on all of the top blogs in the floral industry with a style that is very on trend.
This week, Mayesh, the preeminent specialty flowers wholesale florist supplier in the United States, named Hulsey its 2017 Mayesh Design Star. In addition to a substantial cash prize, she will become the featured presenter at Mayesh design workshops throughout the country.
"What attracted Mayesh to us is the fact that Colonial House is so much more than a florist. We have become a lifestyle brand," Hulsey said. "Our store is packed with wonderfully unique products that will make your life better and more fun. In addition to selling traditional floral arrangements, we sell everything you need to do-it-yourself flower arrangements. We even hold workshops to teach you the process and techniques of floral design. If you haven't been in our store lately, we would love the opportunity to make your day equally as you will make ours by visiting."
I feel sure HGTV will be calling soon. Chip and Joanna Gains of "Fixer Upper" fame have nothing on Brian and Christy. As both of their stars continue to rise, I know great things will continue for them. Mayesh is keen to learn what so many of us have already discovered: They are real stars in our community.
Please email DeWayne at email@example.com or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.