Today on the show I’m talking to Rachel Kelly of Make Lemonade about her journey over the past year: closing her physical coworking space, navigating her “fruitcake phase”, and then deciding to become a florist! 🌼 We discuss how important it is build a life outside of your business, to let yourself dream bigger, and to follow your curiosities wherever they might lead, even if they don’t “make sense” at first.
Rachel is such an inspiring person with such a zest for life, and it was really great to learn from her journey and see the new avenues opening up for her as she pursues her floral dreams. Most of all, I loved the reminder that nothing is ever wasted: the confidence and skills we learn in one area of our lives are transferrable when we move in new directions. I hope you love this conversation as much as I did.
- Learn more about the Make Lemonade space here
- Toronto Life: “I gave up my career as a TD executive to become a florist”
- More info on Rachel’s floristry school experience
- Rooster Coffee House
- Book: Serena Singh Flips the Script
- Facials at Six Apothecary
- Stella Moto Jumpsuit
Welcome to Slowpreneur, a podcast about building a business without the busy. I’m your host Stephanie Pellett and I’m a coach for thoughtful, values-based entrepreneurs just like you. On this show, we talk about creating a business with intention, heart and sustainability in mind. Join me as I connect with my friends and clients and share my own reflections on why slow and steady entrepreneurship will always win the race. On today’s episode, I’m talking to Rachel Kelly of Make Lemonade about navigating your fruitcake phase, following your curiosities and making time for your life outside of your business.
Hi, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of Slowpreneur. Thank you for being here and for joining me for another interview today. I’m really excited to be bringing you my conversation with Rachel Kelly of Make Lemonade. And if you don’t already know Rachel, you are in for a real treat because Rachel’s energy and love of life is so infectious. I was lucky enough to sit down with her in her colorful, vibrant home and hear more about her colorful, vibrant life and business.
We cover a lot of ground in this episode because Rachel has been going through a lot of changes over the past few years. And has really made some major shifts. She closed the physical location of Make Lemonade and is now pursuing floristry. So we’re going to talk about all of that and everything that she learned along the way, including this wonderful delightful concept of being in one’s fruitcake phase, talking about how good work is never wasted and how she’s planning to apply all of the skills that she learned building Make Lemonade to these new ventures that she’s starting to pursue. We also talk about the importance of making space for your full self both inside and outside of your business and why it’s so important not to wait until every single condition is right in order to start pursuing your curiosities and your passions. I really hope that you enjoy listening to this conversation as much as I enjoyed having it. So without further ado, here’s Rachel.
S: Hi, Rachel.
R: Hi Steph.
S: Thanks for having me.
R: Thank you for having me!
S: I’m really excited because if all of you could see Rachel’s space it is just exactly the way you would think your space would be: colorful and bright and sunny and color colors everywhere.
R: Thank you. Yeah, this is really like the inside of my brain on walls.
S: Just like bright pink. Bright yellow, bright blue. Yeah, those are those the vibes. I love it.
R: Thank you.
S: Well, I am so happy to see you. We just spent like an hour and a half catching up because yeah, it’s been so long. But I’m excited to see you for other reasons that have to do the podcast too because I want to hear like how are you really? You know?
R: Yeah, yeah. Oh my gosh, well, I mean, I’m a lot better than I was at the beginning of the pandemic. I think it’s like I think it’s like naive to say that you know, you’ll ever be like 100% okay, like, I’ve got my great days and I’ve got my my dark days, but the change of weather has just really made me feel a lot more like myself.
S: Okay, and speaking of yourself, let’s start there. Okay, if anyone hasn’t heard of you, which I can’t imagine how that would be the case. Rachel Kelly, can you tell us about yourself? And actually I interviewed my friend Julia for the podcast recently and I preempted the whole thing by being like, I hate elevator pitches. This is not an elevator pitch. You don’t gotta be short.
R: You don’t gotta be short.
S: Just tell us about yourself.
R: Ah, I love that. Well, I am a Scorpio. I couldn’t tell you my moon and my sun. (S: Scorpio’s your sun) my moon and my rising and my setting. It’s actually on a note on my phone because I always forget. (S: And everybody always asks you I’m sure!) Absolutely. But who am I? I am just like an eternal optimist at heart. I used to think it was like a very annoying trait, but I’m like, this is one of my biggest skills and it’s just who I am. I love color. I hate being bored and you’ll rarely find me in a room without music and all of those traits conspired to me creating my first business called Make Lemonade and I opened that in 2017.
And I created it because I was working from home alone or working from coffee shops alone and I was freelancing, just doing like, I was kind of like a Jill of all trades. It was like I have kind of this knack of kind of just falling into these opportunities or these positions, a lot of freelance remote opportunities. But I was doing them all from home, just me and my computer. And I’m I’m an extrovert. I love being around people. And I just remember one time just like sitting on the subway and just being like I can’t keep living like this. Like I’m gonna go crazy if I’m just alone all the time. And why do all of my friends who have these other jobs and offices get to have all the Christmas parties? Why don’t I get to go to the infamous holiday parties just because I’m working for myself?
And so I decided I’m going to open a co-working space and it’s going to be a kind of a combination of like, what it looks like in my home crossed between the coolest coffee shops and be a practical co-working space and I’m gonna get to meet all these people who are just on the same level as me. And so that’s what I did.
I opened Make Lemonade and I call it Make Lemonade because I had this job opportunity that kind of went a little bit sour. And I really was like okay, like, it’s time to Make Lemonade. And that’s what sent me on to the path. And I was running the space for I think two and a half years. And I really remember like this point and it was like January and February of 2020 being like wow, I finally made it, like I just remember looking at the space and everything was so cool. Like it was just bustling and all the right people were there and everything was just happening the way it was like in my vision board in my mind.
And then like a month and a half later, the world was like okay, cool. You’ve had your time. I’m glad you reached your goal. Here’s a pandemic for you. And I’ll just never forget it because I was very like, oh my gosh, what am I going to do? And my awesome team member at the time, Ashley? I said to her hey, you can go home if you want, this is the day we were closing, and I told her you can head home if you’re if you’re ready, if you want to. And you know we’ll jump on Zoom call and we’ll figure it out. And she was like, I’m not going to leave the office until we have a plan. And it was a very like, I just knew at that time I was like okay, I’ve got a partner with me. Who’s going to help me figure out this next weird thing like we’re gonna we’re gonna figure this all out together.
S: Let’s just have a moment for Ashley. (R: Ashley is amazing.) Ashley is just one of the best people.
R: Yeah, Ashley is sunshine in human form. Yeah. So I was so lucky to be working with Ashley during the first year of the pandemic. Oh my gosh, even longer than that, time doesn’t mean anything. Because really like we we were living in a lot of senses very similar lives, similar family relationships. Both living on our own, both working for Make Lemonade. And so we really could kind of go through a lot of the emotions together too, which was it was just nice to figure that all out together. So basically, we just did a million things to help the business survive because running a co working space is not a cheap business.
S: No, no. And I also was reflecting on this before probably like one of the hardest hit kind of industries because it relies on bringing people together specifically to be together. Whereas like a store, you’re going to a store. At a co working space you need to be together.
R: Exactly, and like having a store: okay, cool. There’s shop online and I’m like, how do I make coworking an online thing? Well, we did it. We started offering free virtual co working and then we ended up turning that into a four week program and then the pandemic kept happening. So we turned it into a membership called The Get Shit Done Club, which is now like the primary thing that I do. Yeah. So flash forward. That was in March of 2020. It’s now May of 2022. I don’t even know. And so in September, yeah, like September 1 2021. I closed the space, the office space and that was a big thing that I wrestled with. In the middle of 2021 with being like, okay, this online space is working really well. I kind of need to choose. I can’t do both. I’ve got I’m on like a teeter totter all the time and my energy is drained. The passion isn’t the same way as it was before. It was kind of like I was living this dual life and, you know, we’ve learned so much with this pandemic of being like, you have to live in the now, life is so short. So yeah, so I found a sub tenant and was like, how can I you know, close the space in a respectful way? So I did that in September 2021. And now flash forward, eight months almost, you know, the better part of a year later. And now we run run this online community a couple days a week. Yeah, yeah. That’s where I’m at now.
S: You’ve had a journey!
R: Yes. It’s been a lot.
S: Yeah, I think as it has been for everyone. But as you said, there are some very unique challenges I think to navigating co working and especially that decision to close the space. I think I was there one of the last couple days and we were talking about this before of there was just such a special energy those last few days because everybody kind of came back to pay their respects to the space. It was such a vibrant space for anyone who’s listening who didn’t get a chance to spend time at the Make Lemonade office like there have been things that hatched in my career that I will never forget from Make Lemonade, like the first time I filmed a video for you on like professional equipment. Sonja and I used to do planning sessions, I did a workshop, you gave me that opportunity. Like, and I’m just one person out of the hundreds if not thousands who had their lives changed by Make Lemonade.
So it was a really incredibly special community. And I just want to touch on that if you’ll allow me R: You are allowed!) because I remember talking to you that day, and actually sort of similar to what you’re talking about now. About living in the now and you had just finished your motorcycle license. (R: Yes, yes.) And I remember we had this conversation at the front desk where I had come to plan to work but then I saw you and I was just like, let’s just talk for an hour. And you talked about how in the pandemic, you’ve realized that that you can’t wait to do these things that you love.
R: Yeah, I’ll share that story. So my dad rides a motorcycle. He grew up I think when he was like 18, no you know what, he was younger, that was his first vehicle was a motorcycle. And then he had a family you know, things change. But anyways, he got one again when you think I was like maybe 13 or something and I remember at the time, I was like, oh my God, you’re not very cool. And then I ended up going on a ride with him and was like, this is the coolest thing ever.
And it was and I kind of was like this bucket list item, like I’m gonna get my license at some point. And that was on my list of goals. I had this huge sheet of paper, this is kind of flashing back years and years ago before Make Lemonade and I had like, get my motorcycle license, celebrate Holi in India, climbing Kilimanjaro, do the splits, open a business, and I had all these goals. And I think it would been like five years had passed since I’d written all these goals and like the only thing I had accomplished was opening my business.
And in the summer of 2020 I went on a ride with my dad and like on the back with him. And I remember thinking like, okay, this is fun, but why aren’t I the one driving? And it was like in that moment, I was like, okay, like, I need to, I need to do this like this pandemic is, is hard enough, but like I can’t I can’t let just running my business and a pandemic like get in the way of going after other things that are important to me too. So flash forward a summer I got my license and now I’m the proud owner… and you know what, just like my dad, my very first vehicle is a motorcycle. Her name is Susie.
S: Susie! Did you know my middle name is Susan? (R: No.) So I’m, I have a bond now with the motorcycle. But I remember that that conversation was so pivotal at that time, and I think until today you didn’t even realize how pivotal it because I was so inspired by this idea. I think I like many people, had been very much in survival mode. Yeah, the pandemic was very, very difficult for so many of my clients and myself on so many levels, but also on a business level, financial level. And so this idea of like, we can’t wait for this future where everything’s gonna suddenly feel balanced and normal and safe. We have to go and find that magic or chase those dreams. And I remember talking to you at the time because I had just seen a little doggy, little puppy eight week old puppy online over the weekend. And I was like yeah, kind of thinking about getting a dog and we had a cool conversation on the motorcycle thing. And then later I had another I had another couple of really pivotal conversations that same day and I’m telling you there’s something in the air I Make Lemonade that day, because I messaged the person I’m pretty sure from Make Lemonade. One of the last things I did before I left for the day.
R: That office was like an initiator. It like, eggs you on.
S: And I got back from a walk in that beautiful park at OCAD it was I remember walking in circles around this park having conversation with my friend and I and I remember saying at the time like I could get a dog but I could also just like do like a challenge like a fitness challenge. I remember her saying like, yeah, but there are certain challenges that feel more fun. You know, because like a fitness challenge for some people, it might be fun, for me it’s fun at some moments but this dog thing would be like a really deep challenge. It’d be something like this motorcycle license where you learn things about yourself. I got back and I sent the message from the desk and then I went home for the day and literally two days later had a puppy in my home.
R: Oh my god. Oh my gosh, you ask and you shall receive right?
S: Yeah, in my home terrorizing me for the next two months. But really, I think there was just that energy that was there. You say it was like an initiator. I just, I just feel like that was so true for me and for so many people. But I want to kind of talk to you about what did you do to end that chapter of the office, did you do anything to kind of mark that?
R: it’s a great question, because I think honestly, I think for almost two years, like from March 2020 up until closing the office, I was running on a lot of adrenaline. And I didn’t really realize it. And I didn’t really do much to mark the ending. I did one thing but I can’t talk about it on the podcast. But I mean, I definitely remember the night like the last day that we were open. I said hey, we’re also going to do some pizza and champagne at the end of the night, which also was kind of funny because throughout the weeks we were offloading and selling furniture left right and center and it was amazing how you know then we do this pizza party and then we’re still there until like midnight, like unloading like what other crap could still be in this office that we have to bring back and it was a funny sight for weeks like my my apartment was just like filled with all this random office supplies.
But um, that night when we had everybody for pizza and for champagne. We did kind of like a lemon mixer kind of style, like that was like our very first event and for those who don’t know our lemon mixer is like Make Lemonade’s kind of signature style event. It’s an ask and give circle, you share this is what I this is what I do. And this is what I need help with and this is what I’m great at and this is what I can offer help with. And then we asked you know share your kind of like Make Lemonade experience and whatever. And the coolest thing like this is the last day that we’re open. There were some people who like this is like their 100th time being the office and there’s some people’s their first day. Yeah, it was so cool. I also was like, well it sucks to be you, sorry this is real awkward. Join us online instead. We can virtually eat pizza together. So we did that.
And then my mom, dad, myself and Ashley all unloaded the rest of the office but it was like once everyone left was like okay, cool, running shoes on, time to clean out. And we all kind of just you know, took some photos, had a moment and then everyone like went down I was like okay, I’m just gonna go upstairs and like have this moment myself and this is so funny. It’s like so cheesy, but I remember it was I think it was like the winter of 2017 and the song um, but is it Donna Lewis? Like “I Love You Forever”. I was like closing up for one night and like the twinkle lights are on I like blasted it and was like oh my god, like look at what I created, you know, all that stuff.
And so anyways, I blasted that song for one last time and kind of just looked around at this office and was like, okay, cool. Like, this is the end of the chapter. I’m really sad that it’s over, but I’m really happy it happened. And it’s like I said, like I wrote this beautiful newsletter about maybe a month prior when I had to announce that we were closing and I said okay, this is sad, but this is this is a catalyst like the space is special, but it’s more about like the energy that we created like as a community together. It’s like we said like it’s an initiator. It’s an instigator of other awesome things and like, yeah, it was the beautifully designed space, but like the end of the day, it’s just four walls. And it felt like the end of a chapter but as we’ve been kind of reflecting this afternoon like it was also the start for so many new things.
Yeah, the thing that I didn’t expect to happen was that it was like three months later after closing the space, Ashley ended up, I think it was like the same week that ended up being her last week working for Make Lemonade. She got this new job and it was like a sad thing but like a really fantastic thing too. And we’re still like really fantastic friends now. And also like that was an amazing opportunity for now our friendship to blossom many ways to and we’re actually I think closer for it. But I wasn’t expecting to feel grief, to feel depression, to just feel like I don’t know what I’m doing next because then what ended up happening is it’s like it was just me and my laptop and running this online community which I love. But I’ve really, really I can never relate so much to who I was five years prior to opening the space and be like, it’s just me and my laptop again.
S: Right, right. Oh my gosh, I want to get to that. But I also just want to say I’m so glad that you had those moments to sort of honor what it had been, because really, it was such a special thing. But I love what you said about it just being four walls. And the thing that came to my mind when you were saying that I was like, yeah, it was four walls that you built. So if you did it once, you can do it again. And you had help and you found people and you’ve made these connections that as you say with Ashley have gotten even stronger and you’ve met so many incredible people through Make Lemonade like just the tendrils of that just continue to grow. So it’s really, really special.
R: Thanks. I’ve really appreciate that. And it’s like you what you said like you know you did it once you can do it again and I’ve had this question like so are you gonna open another space? Are you gonna do it again? And it’s like, I don’t know, maybe! Maybe I will, maybe I won’t or I think there’s gonna be a new iteration or it’s gonna be a little bit different. I think what’s hard about building your career and kind of fitting into this identity – I’m very existential by the way with anything I think about – is that you start to build yourself into this category of who you think you are. And people start to kind of oh, yeah, you’re Rachel. You’re the Make Lemonade girl. You’re the community builder.
And that’s something that I’ve really over the past eight plus months since closing, have really been like, am I a community builder? I think that’s one thing I do, but I think I’m more than just that. Like I’m great at creating an awesome space and making people feel like they can show up exactly who they are. But there’s other things that I’m interested in too. And I think it’s a thing that a lot of us wrestle with, like living in a society that wants to fit us in a box or, you know, what do I put beside your job title when you do a million things. It’s even you know, who’s Rachel Kelly, like, well I’m a million things, right?
S: Exactly. Yeah. And making space for all of that can be tough when you feel the pressure to sort of inhabit these certain roles, but I love that you’re expanding into new identities.
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S: Before we get to that, I do want to talk to you about the thing that started at all that made me say, Rachel, I need to talk to you for this podcast, like instantly, was your newsletter about the fruitcake phase. Because I think these eight months that you’re alluding to from closing the office to now, those have been your messy middle, your fruitcake phase. Yeah. Can you tell everyone what the fruit cake?
R: Yes! And I’m really happy that I figured that out for myself. So the fruitcake phase is something I guess I kind of made up but it’s to give you context to understand what the fruitcake phase is. So my parents are entrepreneurs. Were. Now they’re awesome retired people. And they started this business. They started a business together and they started off selling fruit cakes. And it was like, I think kind of like door to door fruit cakes. I don’t know how it all worked. I just know that they sold fruitcakes. Yeah. I don’t know how it all like, I don’t know the logistics but they pivoted a million times of what they were doing. And what they ended up like kind of like sticking their claim in and being very successful in was automotive manufacturing. They ended up actually like with their company, they bought the land, they built a whole factory over a million different iterations. They didn’t start that on on day one. Fruitcakes obviously it was day one.
S: Did they make the fruitcakes?
R: No, they bought it from suppliers.
S: There’s not even really a market for fruitcakes!
R: There was once upon a time apparently. So they built this automotive manufacturing company, they built the physical factory because they outgrew their original place that they were leasing and they were just growing and growing and they made backup alarms, brake lights, license plate frames, and it was like these are things that were manufactured in their office or not in the office, in the plant, in the factory. And you know they were created for Ford, for John Deere, for these big automotive companies. Yeah, and they ended up doing super well. They sold their company and both my brother and I had worked there over many months. My brother ended up having like a full time position. I worked there for many summers. I worked on the line, I’ve worked in the reception, all sorts of things.
The reason I guess I’m like sharing this story is because throughout the years of running Make Lemonade my parents have been my hugest supporters of everything that I’m doing and you know through all the ups and the downs and being like, I don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m at, my mom has like kind of told me all these different stories, how much money they spent, how much they were in debt, this and that. And she’s like, you’re gonna figure it out. And she’s like Rachel, we started off selling fruitcakes. We’ve evolved so much and so many things have changed, and she didn’t tell me I was in my fruitcake phase. I alluded and realized I’m like, oh my god, like, right now. I’m selling fruitcakes. Like I’m doing something where I’m at. This is where I’m at right now but I’m in my fruitcake phase. I’m gonna figure it out, like things are things are going to evolve and change and like, I think we get so stuck just like we were saying, like, you know, kind of trying to fit in this box, but like we’re allowed to change just because we start off selling fruit cakes doesn’t mean we need to sell fruit cakes forever.
S: Right? And I think the other really cool part of that story for me too, is I’m sure growing up when you’re working in the summers, you’re going to reception, you’re working on the line. You’re in a business that’s so established and it feels like it’s always been this way, you’ve always been such a well oiled machine, wink wink, nudge nudge, pun definitely intended. And you forget that that what preceded this amazing yeah, factory that works so well is door to door fruitcakes that maybe didn’t work so well. And I just really really appreciated that reminder because I feel like I’m in a fruitcake phase. I feel like so many people we know are in fruitcake phases. How also could we not be with the factors that have been happening around us over the past couple of years, but I just really appreciated it. It’s a more joyful take on I think the messy middle.
R: It’s so true! I’m just selling fruitcakes!
S: We’re just selling fruitcakes and that’s okay. And it will take us time to figure it out. And I actually wanted to read something that you wrote.
R: No way! Oh this is so cool.
S: Where you said it in your most recent newsletter because I really feel like talking to you today, it feels like you are kind of seeing this new chapter opening up but the last several months were a messy middle. So you wrote, “I found myself forced to readjust pivot and redefine after I closed the office doors, and I’m now training to be a florist. But the messy middle is the hardest place to be, because no amount of gratitude or affirmations will show you the light at the end of the tunnel until you can finally see it for yourself.”
R: Oh my god, I’m like tearing up.
S: When I read that, I was like, that is just so true. I really feel like we have so much advice thrown at us to just like be optimistic and see the bright side and you said you’re an eternal optimist and I think that’s a great way to be. However, what you just said is so perfect. You can’t necessarily see the light at the end of the tunnel until you can see it. (R: Yeah.) So talk to us about the last several months. Oh, how it’s been.
R: It’s been. It’s been a lot of ups and downs. And I really want to like preface this with like, and it’s like, I feel like I always have to I don’t know like apologize or whatnot. Like, I love what I’m doing. I love being able to connect with everybody in The Get Shit Done Club and that is awesome but downsizing a business that really took a lot of my physical self. I was commuting to the office, I got to touch the walls, like we wrote on the bathroom walls, like it was just, it was just a different thing to being connecting with people online and being just me and my laptop and that doesn’t diminish any of the amazing relationships and the magic that happens in this current iteration.
But what I was really realizing is I’ve downsized my business so much that my time is spent in a different way and a lot of it is like with not interacting with people. It’s not using my hands and getting creative and I felt very down about that because I felt very guilty about not being grateful, like not being entirely fulfilled in what I’m doing. Like, I created this thing, shouldn’t I be happy that I did it? And I think it’s like, just maybe what we’re talking about the motorcycle license or whatever. It’s like, I’m allowed to want more. Like, this is great. It’s not enough though. I’m allowed to want to fill it up with other things. And so yeah, now I’m now I’m going to school to become a florist.
S: I love. When I read that newsletter I was like I am obsessed with this. Well, it’s sort of like you’re allowed to be more than just your business. So that’s kind of the vibe that I’m getting from everything you’re saying. That we try so hard in our businesses, and we put ourselves in these identities and in these boxes, and we work so hard at them. And that’s important and great, and you know, we have to do it when we’re starting out but reminding yourself that not only are you allowed to want more, but you also are more than just a business owner and that your passions for things outside of what you’ve deemed your business role can also be iterative. We were having this conversation that we’re gonna get into now about your floristry experiences and opportunities that are coming your way and how choosing that thing that you want and that you love and the things that you are missing: the tangible element of being able to touch and feel and see something. I mean, being in your apartment. It’s just so vibrant, right? It’s alive with things. A screen is not alive with things even if you have these amazing relationships with people are on the other side of the screen. It’s not alive with like greenery and color and all these things. So you following that is going to open up so many new opportunities that you couldn’t have even thought of if you hadn’t allowed yourself to embody a new like burgeoning identity, of florist. Let’s discuss. Floristry! How floristry, why floristry? Like when did this begin?
R: That’s a great question. So it was like, well, I think it’s now the better part of a year ago, Toronto Life came out with this article about this woman who was working very high at C-Level at TD was like you she was working from home you know, pandemic seriousness, like it was just like in the thick of it all, and would go to her local florist every once in a while. And she said to the florist, I wish I could work here. And the florist said to her, why couldn’t you? And that thought stuck with her and she really was like, hmm, interesting. Flash forward a couple of months. She quits her job and goes to floristry. And at the point in the story now has like an internship with the florist. And I remember reading this, I think it maybe was around the time that I closed the office. And that story stuck with me. It just was like yeah, why? Why can’t you just do something completely different?
And so I finally took a vacation in March, and it was the first time I feel like since all of this I really had time to just think and breathe and be like, what else do I want? What am I really craving and I remember a few things of kind of like my prerequisites of when I opened Make Lemonade I was like, I don’t want to work behind a laptop all the time. And I was like, well, isn’t that funny because we’re working behind a laptop all of the time. 100% of the time is all behind a laptop.
What else do you like? What else are you passionate about? What are you curious about? There was just something that came to me was like floristry. Why don’t you look into that? Why don’t we explore that? And there’s a deep knowingness in me that I will be okay at this. Like that I’m going to figure it out. And so yeah, so I took a couple of workshops in the city just to see like one off things with some florists, and then I ended up signing up for full on floristry school.
And I remember thinking to myself, well, if I want to do this and I actually want to be able to sell it and you know, build a clientele with the florist creations that I create. What advice would I give myself? What did I feel like I quote unquote, did wrong at the beginning of opening Make Lemonade? And like hands down it’s that I kept it a secret. I didn’t tell anyone I was opening Make Lemonade until the last final minute. I just wanted people to like it because they liked it and not because they liked me. And it was a good way to kind of me test out the product. I think that’s a way to go about things depending on the industry as well. There’s a market for people who like flowers. And I was like, okay, and this is the advice that I’m giving everybody, all of the lemons who are in the community. I tell them talk about your goals. Tell people what you’re working on. And it was like, oh, shit, I hope I can swear here.
I was like, oh shit, this is the advice that I’m giving everybody, I need to take this advice for myself. And so Hump Day Magic, my regular weekly newsletter comes around, and I’m like, well, what am I going to talk about? And it was like, uh oh, I’m telling everybody I’m going to floristry school and it was like, let’s just like let’s just be honest and open about it.
And I think it was like a way when I told everybody it was almost like a reclaiming that Make Lemonade is I don’t know, it’s like a, it’s an adventure theme park. Like there is a lot of different things that are gonna happen and I’m just the conductor trying a bunch of different things. And you know, we started off as a co working space, we have this virtual co working community. And hey, I’m gonna sell flowers at some point too. And the coolest like lesson from all of this is that I haven’t even gone to the floristry school, it literally starts tomorrow. And I booked my first wedding.
S: So cool. Yeah, congratulations on that by the way. Like yes, it’s just such an incredible story on so many levels. I just feel like anybody who’s listening to this right now is just being hit with like, tidbit after tidbit of just mind expansion, because listening to you talk about it, it really is so powerful to hear that you first gave yourself the space to listen, you took yourself somewhere where you could actually hear your real desires.
And I think sometimes the hardest part is just wanting what you want admitting what you want. And you broke it down into like the smallest components too, like I want to be with people, I want to be touching things, I want to be seeing things that are pretty with my eyes. So not only that, but then you also realized that you can do this in community and that it’s better in community. I remember, I haven’t been on Instagram that much. But I remember seeing your story about the day that you posted that newsletter and the amount of responses that you got.
R: Oh yes, everyone was like oh my gosh, F yes. Like this is amazing. When can I buy your flowers. Like it was just like it’s like it’s so awesome to get the validation but what’s nice is it’s like I didn’t need it, because I had already decided beforehand, but then for everyone else to be like, oh, I could totally see you doing that. That makes so much sense. And it’s like, y’all have never seen me create a bouquet before. It’s like it and you know what, maybe I’ll pull up a quote that I shared earlier, please. I saw this thing that was going around on Instagram. It says the only natural talent an artist has is the desire to create, everything outside of that is a skill they have learned. And I’m like cool. This is the skill I’m going to learn and I’m going to create because I do have this desire to create and I’ve done so much of our social media and all of our graphics and content creation for Make Lemonade, but I’m like I’m I’m really tired of doing this in a digital medium. So I want to do something different.
S: Yeah, it’s so cool. I love that quote because I also hear so much confidence in the way you’re telling this story. About your knowledge that you can do this, that you’re overqualified to do like it was joking before nothing could be harder than opening an office space on Adelaide Street in downtown Toronto. What can be harder than that?
R: Yeah, it was really freakin hard.
S: It’s extremely hard and so I also love this lesson that you’re teaching us too that all of the skills and all of the experience that we build in anything in any endeavour, you’re never starting over. I always say this phrase to clients like good work is never wasted ever, even if you were to write the ebook and never sell it, even if you build this course, and it never goes live. That is never wasted because you either learn something, you can repurpose it, you can sell it five years from now. You know, it’s never going to be wasted and so to hear your confidence and how you’re talking about it, it’s just so clear, I think and, and so amazing. You said, you’ve never seen me make a bouquet before and I was like I’m gonna go full cheese on your ass. Because what was Make Lemonade is not this incredible bouquet of people?
R: Very, very, cheesy, but you’re absolutely right!
S: And experiences. Yeah, and you said also that you’ve always loved curation. So it strikes me that you have been practicing curation in a lot of different ways over your career. I think one of the things we always struggle with, that I see in my clients, that I see in myself, is this desire to make it make sense. Like, how will flowers make sense in the context of Make Lemonade? And what I love about this story, is that you you just set it you just decided for yourself. You didn’t need to have validation from anyone. You just decided to make it make sense.And now it does make sense.
R: Yeah, it’s so true. Like nothing ever made sense until we kind of decided it did! Why did we decide a fork was called a fork like, make that make sense? Yeah, oh, thank you so much. This is this is I just, I’m feeling awesome right now.
S: Well good, you are awesome.
R: Thank you.
Pause: This is not an ad, it’s a pause. I’ve decide to build an intentional break into every episode of Slowpreneur because I know I’m throwing a lot of ideas and hopefully inspiration your way and I wanted to give you a moment to integrate it, to not have to pay attention, to not have to absorb any more, to just marinate in what we’ve talked about so far. And take a breath before we continue. Now let’s get back to the show.
S: I think it’s really neat to see that you’re going to be able to parlay all of your skills and everything into this new chapter. And I’m so glad that you have all of the connections that you have and all of the experiences that you have to kind of make that into this new part of your journey and didn’t I hear that you’re also going to have a bus at some point??
R: I know my ideas I like I really did overshare on my email. I’m imagining that maybe there’s some sort of like flower truck or something like that. (S: Can you imagine??) I can, my Pinterest can too. But I don’t want I’m not imagining it like not like a school bus truck or something like, I’m just imagining like I pop open the trunk and like and it’s going to be obviously a cool yellow thing and like, I don’t know, there’s some sort of image that I have in my mind because like I mentioned, my motorcycle is like my only mode of transportation or my bicycle. And like that is not maybe the most practical like way of delivering flowers. (S: But maybe it could be!) Yeah, so we’ll see. We’ll see what delivery method the blooms arrive on. But you know what, like, even like actually learning how to make a bouquet, like those are just the details. I can learn how to figure that out. And I think that’s like that’s any of us in business like we didn’t really we didn’t know how to do it beforehand. We just make it up.
S: Yeah. And that’s the most important skill to learn is that you can figure it out. Yeah, that if you choose to do something and you decide, then yeah, you can figure it out. Which is just so cool that you’re gonna be figuring out with something so beautiful as like flowers and I cannot wait to see some of your creations. I’ve seen like a couple from your different workshops, but I feel like there’s going to be so much more and you’re allowing yourself to have that and oh my gosh, what could be better than the flower truck. Make Lemonade flower truck. I’m picturing like a little yellow like Volkswagen converted bus where you can come in and then there are bouquets everywhere.
R: Oh yes. It’s gonna be cute and awesome. And it’s so funny. You know what like, with messy and not making sense… I think we think things are a lot messier, or like it feels messier on our side. But like people kind of just see the thing for what it is and don’t really think further. And yeah, we’re the ones who make it not make sense sometimes.
S: Yeah. And you get to decide for yourself that’s kind of what I’m getting from this as well. Yeah, you get to decide what I want is allowed and what I want make sense, or I’m gonna make it. I’m gonna make this make it make sense. I’m gonna make it Make Lemonade? Cheesy. But I do think, we’re talking a lot about blooming and I think one of the things that I wanted to mention just to have it preserved in the world is the story of the little plant that you gave me.
R: Oh you have to share that.
S: On the second last day of Make Lemonade, Rachel was giving out these little glasses that had been the Make Lemonade glasses, and each one of them was a pothos cutting from one of the many pothos that had lived in the office. And I took one because I wanted a piece of Make Lemonade to live in my house. And I was so embarrassed because it instantly died. Like I got home and over the next couple of weeks it just…
R: Sorry, space is closed, it’s done forever. It was like I’m confused. (R: This is not my home!!) Exactly. And all the leaves fell off. And I just had this little cutting in a glass of water and I was like, oh my God. Like this was one of the last pieces of Make Lemonade, I’ve ruined it, all these things. And then the most magical thing happened which was that a couple of months went by and I think this would have been maybe like January or February, where the leaves started growing back.
And I remember at the time just like watching you from afar and navigating this whole transition and knowing that it was hard for you, you know, like, the same way that I knew it was hard for me and it was hard for all of us. And when the leaves came back, I was like I just have to tell Rachel but the leaves came back because I can’t imagine a more perfect metaphor for like what we’ve all gone through which is that all our leaves fell off. All the conditions were the same, it had sunshine, it had water but the leaves still fell off. It was just like I can’t do this. Yeah. And now I mean, I’m talking to you early May. The whole city is like alive. It just exploded like literally it seems like two minutes ago. The flowers are everywhere. And it feels like our leaves are coming back. For both of us. But also now that you’re also coming into this new like area of your life with the blooming of the flowers literally. I just needed to tell that story.
R: It’s such a, it really is such a metaphor for everything that were going on. And I think it’s like, it just goes back to you know what we’ve been, I think these lessons that we’ve been hearing all the time, it’s like we can’t expect to bloom all year, like that’s just not what happens and like every year in the autumn, the leaves do fall off. And yet we’re still like, what? Why is this happening? But then we kind of go into this like retreating space and it can feel so uncomfortable, but we’re not really giving credit or we kind of forget that like, that’s where a lot of growth is happening is like when we’re being quiet. Like when we just retreat to ourselves and are like, I’m just, I’m just taking stock. I’m just doing my thing and it kind of goes back to you know, my point about the messy middle and this and that, like it’s, it’s hard being there. I always struggle with this. You know, like the only way out is through. But nobody ever talks about how hard the through part is. Yeah, like it’s very hard to be in the through. But then all of a sudden, spring comes and the sun shines longer and things just feel a little bit better.
S: Feel a little easier. Like even if you’re still dealing with the same load, it feels a little lighter. Yeah, I have this phrase I say a lot which I mentioned on the last interview, so I feel like it’s just gonna be a theme which is this idea that you’re not a robot. But we could say it here as you’re not an evergreen tree. You’re not just the same all year. And we have these moments in these times where we have to make space to go inward. And it goes back to what you were saying about the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes the hardest part of the through is not knowing that it’s going to be a through, we think it’s going to be an end. Just this is it, this is the way it is now.
So I love that reminder to like look at the seasons and you’re choosing now to surround yourself with something that will teach you that lesson again and again and again. It will die and it will go to the ground, and then you will have new blooms that come. But yeah, so I think it’s just, the metaphors are all there. They’re very rich.
R: They are very, very rich. Oh my gosh, it’s so cool to share all of this.
S: Yeah. It’s really cool to hear you talk about it because it does feel like this new possibility and hope and also this idea of more integration of who you are as a person that I know is only going to lead to good things for you.
R: Yeah. Oh, thank you Steph.
S: You’re so welcome. Okay, now last thing I want to do is this thing that I’m calling relaxed reflections. (R: Oh, I like that.) Because I didn’t want to do rapid fire questions, but the name of the podcast is Slowpreneur.
R: Yeah, you can’t make us go fast!
S: But I do want to hear your reflection like yeah, first, your first reaction to what I’m gonna say. Okay, so the first one is how do you take your coffee or your tea?
R: It’s a great question already. So I it’s interesting. I drink a lot of tea, but more so in like the warmer seasons. I’m sorry, when it’s hot. No, when it’s cold when it’s cold out, I want a hot drink in me. I used to drink a chai latte religiously with either oat milk or almond milk or any sort of lactose alternative. I would go religiously to Rooster up the street because I was like my pandemic walk. It was like my sanity. And then one day something changed. And I was like, this is too sweet for me. I’m an adult.
S: Adults are allowed to have sweet things too though!
R: It was like Rachel, it’s time for coffee. But we’re scared of caffeine. And we’re scared of addiction. So let’s get a decaf. (S: Scared of addiction!). So let’s get a decaf. So I went there and I was like, I would like a latte please. And they’re like, cool, good for you. Anyways, I got it with oat milk.
S: Did you ask it to be decaf though?
R: Yeah! A decaf latte with oat milk…
S: I thought this was going to take a turn. Into addiction.
R: Yeah, now I’m addicted and it’s just hooked up on the veins, I wake up at 3am every day drinking coffee. No but so I started off with just oat milk but at Rooster Coffee there was one awesome barista who was like, but have you tried it with half macadamia nut milk? So now I have a decaf oat milk, or I have a decaf latte half oat milk, half macadamia nut, please.
S: Any sweetener?
R: No because the macadamia nut and the oat milk make it quite sweet. So every time when she’s not there, I’m also like, by the way somebody who works here told me that this is what I should order. And now I’m kind of getting them iced lately. Now I’ve just been getting an iced coconut milk latte. Decaf.
S: That sounds good. Oh, decaf. So interesting. I would not have pegged you for a decaf.
R: Really though?
S: Because you already have so much energy? (R: Exactly. Yeah.) Okay, that makes sense. Yeah, you seem like the level of caffeination that most people strive for.
R: Yes exactly. I’m like, I wake up and I’m like, I’m good to go. Like I go to the gym three mornings a week, and I don’t even eat beforehand. I’m like, Cool. Let’s do it.
S: Ooh I meant to ask you about that actually. Because you’ve been you’ve been lifting, you’re doing so many cool things. We have to come back and do another podcast. But yeah, it’s cool to see everything that you’re that you’re up to. Okay. Second question. What is your favorite place on Earth?
R: My favorite place on earth? What a question.
S: You can say more than one.
R: Yeah. You know, okay, I’ll tell you my favorite place is. My favorite place is on my bicycle on like, a very like, it’s like a day like today, like it’s not too hot. Not too cold. The sun is out. Everything’s great. And you’re riding along the street. And just when you think you need to stop, the light is green. That’s my favorite place to be. Like the momentum takes you.
S: That’s a great answer. Although I’m so scared to bike in the city. I’m like, as scared to bike in the city as you are of caffeine.
R: It took me a long time to get up the courage to do it. And I brought like my old bike from like a teenager to the city, I practiced on that, I used like the Bixi bike things. And then I eventually bought like my really nice bicycle. That just makes me feel so wonderful. I have fallen twice in the middle of the track streetcar tracks. (S: I’ve heard those are the worst.) It’s been very scary, but thankfully like just like a little scratch or bruise or something. But it’s just such an awesome way to see the city but I think you have to feel calm, like comfortable doing it. So I take a lot of the dedicated bike lanes kind of thing.
S: Yeah, what color is your helmet?
R: My helmet is white but okay, bike is bright orange and on the basket there are yellow flowers.
S: Oh, cute. Okay, yeah, good. I was like that doesn’t check out. Okay, third question. What is the best book you’ve read lately?
R: Oh, I just finished reading this book called Serena Flips the Script. Oh, it’s about a girl, she’s in her late 30s. Her and her family are Indian and there’s a lot of cultural ways that they want her to live her life. And she’s in this career that she loves and she’s like, I just… it’s a romance kind of like, I just love romcom kind of things. And she kind of just like, she’s in her mid 30s and is like I don’t I don’t want to get married. I don’t want to have kids. Like I’m happy with my career. And it’s just one of these awesome books about somebody who I could kind of relate to and it was just such a nice, refreshing take on a romance novel. Yeah, I really loved it. So Serena Flips the Script.
S: Amazing. I’m in a romance novel book club.
R: Oh I know.
S: We’ll talk about that later. I’m obsessed with it. Okay, and then the last question that I have for you is what is something that you would like to get yourself as a gift?
R: Hmm, so you know what, okay, I want to get myself a facial from this place called Six Apothecary. I went once maybe a year or so ago. My friend is an aesthetician. And she and her and I were kind of talking about what’s good, what’s bad. And I’m like, well, I’ll only go like on places that you approve of. And we’re talking about facials and she’s like, this is the only place I’ll go to, it’s Penny. She’s the one who owns it and do amazing the only person I’ll let touch my face. Yeah. And so I had a facial with her I think a year ago and I’m ready for my tune up.
S: Ooh, I’ve only had a couple of facials but they are so relaxing to me. I have fallen asleep one time because I was like so relaxed. It was just such a good experience. And that’s a great answer. I love that. I asked Julia and she also said an experience which I’m like, y’all my people. But also a real gift is good too.
R: Yes. Yes. I mean, the other real gift I want is like there’s this awesome company called Stella Moto, Stella Moto Gear. And it’s like motorcycle gear but like it looks really really cool. And it’s just like yellow jumpsuit. It is so cool. But it’s like a million dollars. And I know like the reasoning for getting things is like you’re allowed to just want it, but like that’s a lot of money to justify a want.
S: Oh my gosh, but one day. I need to see you just motoring down the street on your motorcycle in your yellow perfect jumpsuit with your flowers coming out the back basket.
R: Yeah, it’s all going to come together.
S: It’s all there. Well Rachel, this has been so wonderful.
R: This was so good!
S: Thank you so much for doing this with me.
R: Thank you. Anytime.
S: Thanks so much for listening to Slowpreneur. If you liked this episode, please share it with a friend or reach out and let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, I would love to hear from you. As always, you can find show notes for this and all episodes at stephaniepellett.com/slowpreneur. Thanks for listening, and I’ll talk to you soon.