Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, a birthday or even a get-well gesture, flowers can extend messages of love, thoughtfulness, congratulations or condolences. And for Loretta Hamilton, flowers mean even more — they’re a lifelong passion.
Loretta is the owner and artist behind The Ivy Basket, a full-service florist based in Midland, Ontario, specializing in floral arrangements, gift baskets and more. The Ivy Basket has been serving Midland for more than 20 years and continues to bring joy to customers in the community.
BMO and Your Financial Life sat down with Loretta to learn more about what drives her business. Here’s what she had to say…
On starting her business
Starting a business requires a lot of hard work and an unwavering commitment. But the benefits of being your own boss can also offer more freedom and flexibility, which Loretta was drawn to.
She explains, “I started my business mainly because I wanted the freedom of being self-employed.” With the Ivy Basket, Loretta has created a rosy alternative to a more typical job.
Advice for other business owners
As a small business owner, you often need to wear many hats and be responsible for everything from customer service to administrative tasks to marketing. Each day is different from the last — with new challenges and surprises happening at a moment’s notice. Though being a business owner is no easy feat, the rewards can outweigh some of the downsides.
Loretta’s advice for someone looking to start a business? “You really do have to be prepared for long hours and lots of work,” she says, “but at the end of the day, there’s a lot of satisfaction involved.”
Though owning a business isn’t easy, creating something that’s truly yours can have a meaningful impact on your life and career.
On feeling successful
Running a profitable business is something that many people aspire to, as it can be a measure of success. For Loretta, writing her very first cheque to herself encapsulated that feeling.
“I made it out to Loretta Hamilton and signed it Loretta Hamilton,” she says, “and thought that was kind of cool.”
How BMO supports her business
Loretta has been a long-time BMO customer and utilizes the small business banking services to help her run her business and finances.
“BMO has been terrific — I wouldn’t be here without them,” explains Loretta. What Loretta has enjoyed most as a customer is the personalized service, encouragement and attention she has received.
“They made it personal…I wasn’t just a customer, they wanted to help Loretta,” she says.
Looking for more business inspiration? Meet more entrepreneurs in our Small Business Spotlight series. Get to know George Kallonakis of Olympus Burger.