People Of Fort Mill: Heather Conner

Monday, June 24, 2019

Heather Conner is the owner of Awesome Blossoms, a Fort Mill flower shop that’s reinventing the florist experience. Her intent in establishing her business is to restore human connection … and, y’all, looks like she’s doing it.

Like so many of us who took the long way home to our passion, Heather’s journey has been winding. Despite ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys, Heather says she’s been in the right place at the right time, every time.

Here’s her story:

Around the World and Back Again

Born into a military family, Heather Conner attended 28 different schools between Kindergarten and 12th grade. Ultimately, she completed high school in Frankfurt before returning to the US with her family. The world had changed a great deal during their travels. In fact, they’d returned to the US just two weeks after the Berlin Wall came down.

Along the way, Heather gained an appreciation for the richness of life’s experiences, the priceless value of memories, and the powerful bonds form across countless miles. She also developed resilience, adaptability, perseverance and courage, and – as a military kid – a keen respect for loyalty, integrity and authenticity.

These traits have always served her well, perhaps especially in the past seven years when she packed up her midwestern life, moved to sunny Carolina and started all over again.

Puttin’ Down Roots

In 2012, Heather found herself to be a single mom living in Nowhere, Missouri. A change was in order, quickly. After 17 different recruiters reached out to her from Charlotte, she decided to pack up and head East – without a job or local family – and seize the day with her young daughter.

Heather switched careers too. She’d gained extensive experience in HR, but after moving to the Carolinas shifted to IT Project Management. A smart move. Her new gig allowed her to work remotely and in the evenings, giving her more time with her daughter.

It didn’t take long for the Piedmont to feel like home. And, considering her life’s pattern, it didn’t take too much longer for the area to become the longest place she’d ever lived.

Bed of Roses

On Valentine’s Day 2017, new-found joy bloomed inside Heather.

Enter: Christian Slater.

There was something about the 1996 film Bed of Roses in which Slater quits his Wall Street hustle to become a florist that stuck with Heather. Playing a role in igniting that funny feeling that comes over someone unexpectedly receiving flowers was intriguing. She wanted in.

With her daughter getting older and in school full time, Heather began using her daytime hours to explore new avenues – including driving for Uber a few hours here and there.

On a whim, Heather called an uptown florist to see if they needed an extra delivery driver for the holiday. And boy howdy, did they. Over the next two days, she delivered 35 arrangements.

The itch the film left her with had been scratched. She’d experienced first-hand the magic that is showing someone that they’re loved, thought about and cared for; worthy.

And so started her apprenticeship. For the next six months, she trained with the florist she’d made those first deliveries for. The second part of that year Heather was mentored by an events florist. She then rounded out her knowledge with courses from the New York Institute of Art & Design.

As her training came to a close, she realized that everything she’d come to master in her adult life was coalescing. Her HR skills enabled her to appreciate the hyper-personal aspect of floral design. Her work in project management revealed her ability to focus on the details while keeping sight of the big picture.

Carpe Diem

On February 21, 2018, Heather took the leap.

She established Awesome Blossoms (aptly named by her daughter) and committed to doing things a whole lot differently from the industry standard.

Her slogan – Putting the aww back in every arrangement – is more than a cute catch phrase; it’s a statement of intention.

No stock photography. No rinse-and-repeat assembly. And definitely no arrangements that are heavy on filler and light on flowers.

Every Awesome Blossoms arrangement is original, designed specifically for the recipient based on responses to three questions:

What 3 words describe his/her personality?

Does s/he prefer statement pieces, or something more understated?

What is his/her favorite color, and does s/he prefer bold or soft tones?

And she wants to learn of all of her customers’ special requests. If the recipient is visually impaired, she’ll be deliberate with fragrant flowers. If s/he is an artist, she’ll want a link to their work. For a corporate affair or token of employee appreciation, she’ll for sure study the logo.

Before every arrangement goes out the door, the sender receives a text and a photo – meaning they get the joy of butterflies before delivery, and can share in the experience of the happy recipient as they gush over their personalized gift.

In keeping with her commitment to restoring the human connection, she’s introduced the Appreciation By Choice Club. A concierge-level subscription program, the ABC Club enables members to keep the love alive all year long. Plans include an every-other-month delivery option, a monthly service, and even a several-times-a-month option.

There’s magic in showing the people you profess to care about that you truly care. Your wife, your kids, your employees … Heather believes they deserve to be seen and to be celebrated. Often.

And get this: Heather’s research shows that people who receive flowers experience a surge of creativity, boost in productivity, and an elevated mood. Boom. Win-win, y’all.

At Beyond Marketing, we’re raving fans of Heather’s work and her commitment to customer service is right up our alley.

Check out the Awesome Blossoms website, view some of their gorgeous arrangements on Instagram or Facebook, or give Heather a jingle at 803-594-6054. Arrangements start at $48 for ABC Club members, with her most popular pieces in the $65-85 range. In honor of her Dad, 10% of all July sales will go to the Wounded Warrior Fund.

In case you’re wondering … Heather’s words to describe her own personality are dedicated, lighthearted and out-of-the-box; her favorite color is purple (heather purple, specifically); and she likes both soft/understated and bold/statement pieces – it’s all about balance.

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