Connor Jordan, one of EVstudio’s Structural Project Managers, has recently started a new venture: co-owning a flower shop! We asked Connor a few questions about this new endeavor, and how his work as a project manager has helped him along the way.
Tell us about your shop! When did you open, and where can we find it?
The shop is named KaraKara Flowers. My business partner, Kara Admire, and I opened the shop on September 10, 2022 at 17 E. 4th Avenue, Denver, 80203. Our website is shopkarakaraflowers.square.site
How do your skills as a structural project manager translate to running your shop?
Opening a flower shop is substantially similar to project management. You’ve got site restrictions you have to work within, budgets, deadlines, supply chain problems, etc. Working as a project manager helped inform the process of opening the shop.
Before we opened the flower shop, the space was used by a local coffee shop to roast their coffee. We had to transform it from what was functionally a manufacturing space into a retail store. It required a very deep cleaning, completely repainting the whole store – walls and ceilings – renovating the bathroom, installing a few extra sinks, building a flower cooler, and installing shelves and custom flower displays.
The process is not dissimilar to managing projects with EVstudio.
The first step for any project is establishing budgets and timeframes and defining the scope of the project. In the case of the shop, it was important to build out a schedule so that we could market for our Grand Opening.
Once all that was established, it was a matter of working to make sure that we had the necessary supplies and had made all the necessary decisions on time for each step of the transformation. Because we had to stick to a budget, we had to get creative in our problem solving and design choices – a similar exercise the value engineering a project with EVstudio. The guiding question of value engineering is, how can we achieve the desired outcome without spending more than we need to?
There were a few delays along the way. Sometimes we couldn’t get the supplies we needed in time and had to pivot. One of our service providers at the shop failed to work the way it was described and we had to make a last minute change. These things happen in project management with EVstudio, too. It’s my job both as a structural project manager, and as a co-owner of the shop, to try to anticipate these delays, build a little extra time into the schedule, and be ready to make alternative choices to protect the project timeline as best as I can.
Where do you source your flowers from?
We source most of our flowers directly from the growers in South America. Our primary source is a group of flower farms in Ecuador. Buying directly from the farms ensures that our flowers are as fresh as possible. It also helps lower our costs, which we can then pass on to our customers. It’s a goal of ours to make flowers more accessible and affordable for anyone.
Are there any tools you use that overlap between the two jobs?
The overlap between my work at EVstudio and the shop is primarily in the management side of project management. Time management, inventory management, scheduling, budgets, etc.
We design floral arrangements and pieces for countless weddings and events throughout the year and it requires diligence to plan and coordinate.
On any given project at EVstudio, I work to coordinate with the architect, engineers, clients, building departments, contractors and subcontractors, nosey neighbors, HOAs, etc. Producing floral requirements for a wedding demands a similar level of coordination. I have to work with our suppliers, our client, sometimes their family, the wedding coordinator, the venue, the photographer, the caterer, and other vendors to make sure that everything works together.
What is your shop’s focus?
We are a one-stop shop. We do daily arrangements, weddings, and events. We also offer a wide range of houseplants. We have customers that come in once a week to grab some flowers for their coffee table. We have a wide assortment of new and vintages vases and other fun finds you can buy as gifts, or just to make your arrangement more unique.
What made you want to start a flower shop?
My business partner has been a professional florist for over a decade.
Kara and I met in architecture school and together dreamt of one day opening our own design firm – not just architecture but anything that inspired us. We’ve designed and built chandeliers, neon signs, jewelry, furniture, graphics and logos, a magazine, we’ve started writing a book… our partnership is a wonderful creative outlet for us both.
As we started thinking through how to turn our goals into our reality, we settled on the flower shop as step one. It would allow us the opportunity to express our creativity in a medium in which we already have extensive experience and provide us the opportunity to develop and realize our bigger goals.
The flower shop takes up the main floor of our space, but we chose this space specifically because it had a second level where we could have a workshop. This allows us the space to get creative, to prototype new designs, to work through ideas, and make the things that inspire us. Whenever we have the time to spare, we’re in the workshop tinkering and designing.