Name: Fani M Szterenbuch
Name of Business: Fani Flowers LLC
Length of time in business: I've been working with flowers for 20 years and opened my own business 8 years ago.
Number of kids and ages: I have one son, he is 15 years old now.
Before starting this business, what was your career? Before becoming a Floral Designer, I was Assistant Manager at a 5 star Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I moved from Brazil to the US in 1997. While I was on vacation in NYC, I met my husband, also from Brazil, and moved here to be with him. We got married in 1999. He was living in Greenwich at the time and was in the process of getting his GreenCard. I applied for mine right after we got married and while waiting (7 years), he became a citizen. I then reapplied and got my green card 3 months later. I've been an American citizen since 2015.
Why did you start your business?
When I moved to the US, my first job was for a wonderful lady in Stamford, Mrs. Rosenthal. My husband was her cook and I was the housekeeper. We got married there in 1999. Mrs. Rosenthal was 89 and her fiancé was 92, and they got married a few months after us! While working for her, I fell in love with her garden and all the seasons (the seasons have not much change where I am from). I wanted to learn the proper way to care for the garden, the wonderful flowers I was discovering and flower arranging. That’s when I started taking classes at The New York Botanical Garden. Before I knew it, I had all the requirements to get the Floral Designer Certification, Class of 2004. I started my business in a small room at my house in Rye. I began to provide flowers for friends, school events, and holidays. Little by little, and with the support of so many local entrepreneurs, my business has been only growing since then! :)
What do you love most about what you do now?
It is hard to decide what I love the most. I guess I love everything about what I do! The amazing variety of flowers, the creative process, the vision coming to life, the surprised faces at delivery, a happy customer, and all the friends I make.
What did you have to do to start this enterprise?
I had to lose in order to gain later. In the beginning I didn’t have many orders. To provide the best quality and fresh flowers, I'd buy flowers as I needed them. Most of the time I had to purchase more than I needed. For example, 1 bunch of flowers comes with 10 stems, but if I only needed 3...I'd buy the 10 stems anyway. I would never deny an order and I feel that no request is ever too small. So if I don’t have any other order I will have left overs. Nowadays I get many orders throughout the week. Not much left overs or loss anymore.
What was the biggest challenge you faced?
My biggest challenge is running all other aspects of the business besides designing flowers. I am a one woman show--and proud of it. I have so much more to learn.
How did you overcome that challenge? It's still a work in progress. One step at a time. I learn something new every day.
What is the thing that has surprised you most about this venture? I really love to look back at my designs and see how much I've improved, and how far I’ve gone at my own pace. I've grown from one client once in a while, to so many clients everyday. I‘ve made so many friends in the industry and so many customers became friends. Love that. Getting involved in the Rye community has been a big reason for my success!
What is your best tip for fellow entrepreneurs? Create what sets your heart on fire and it will illuminate your path ahead! Do what you love! Everything else will come if we work hard.
Your website? Faniflowers.com Your Instagram? faniflowers
Fani's work is featured in Hudson Valley Wedding Magazine, Westchester Wedding Magazine Annual 2020, Pure Wow Weddings, Red Oak Weddings, Black Nuptials, Borrowed and Blue, Tacari Weddings, Whimsically Wed, and Strictly Weddings.