Carrie Hayes has always had a thing for flowers.
“I was the little girl out picking flowers,” she said. “Any opportunity (to arrange flowers) I’d take. I’d do it for free (for weddings), because I enjoy it so much.”
The Union County native’s new business, Bloomerang Flowers, offers flower arrangements to Baker and Union counties, but there’s a twist: flower subscription.
Customers have the option of subscribing to Bloomerang Flowers and receiving flowers weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
The service allows customers to choose from three arrangement styles — country, elegant and contemporary — as well as the size of the arrangement.
Also, if customers do not want to keep the vases their arrangements come in, the vases can be returned to Bloomerang Flowers.
Bloomerang Flowers currently does not have a storefront, but customers can order flowers on the business’ website or over the phone.
The business is serving Baker and Union counties and does not charge for delivery. Free delivery is a service Hayes plans on continuing long term.
“I want to keep prices low,” she said. “I’m going to enable our community to have a so-called ‘luxury item’ for budget prices.”
In addition to a subscription service, Hayes offers flowers for weddings and “one-time selections” for those who don’t want to subscribe to the service.
Hayes has more than 20 years of experience in the flower business. Her mother, Renee Moseley, who owned “Custom Cake” in La Grande, would allow her daughter to do the flower arrangements on the cakes.
Hayes decided to change a hobby into a business “at a turning point in my life” when she and her husband, Jarrod, were considering moving to the coast.
“I was going to start a housekeeping business for vacation rentals,” she said. “(For) part of that business I was going to offer a flower service.”
While the move did not happen, the idea of starting a flower business stayed with Hayes.
“(I thought), ‘Let’s do this, and let’s do it locally,’” she said.
Hayes got her business license on June 6 — a week before deciding to go into the flower business.
“I just knew it was the right choice,” she said.
Bloomerang Flowers is currently being run from Hayes’ home in La Grande. Although Hayes is planning on expanding the business if necessary, she said she is hoping to avoid opening a storefront.
The lack of a storefront allows Hayes to keep the prices of her arrangements down and offer free delivery.
In order to craft her creations, Hayes visits Safeway “every day” and receives weekly shipments from wholesale suppliers in Boise. She also gets supplies from the Tri-Cities.
“I look for the best quality product at the most reasonable price to keep prices low for my customers,” she said, describing how the process works.
Hayes also uses a smartphone application, Shopify, that notifies her whenever a new order is placed and tracks her orders.
In addition to running a new business, Hayes works as a bookkeeper for her brother’s construction company and cares for five children; Lauren, 14, Xander, 12, Avery, 9, Hannah, 9 and Chloe, 2.
She credits her husband, who works as a land surveyor for Anderson Perry and Associates, for helping her dream business be realized.
“My husband is amazing,” Hayes said.
Hayes has many plans for Bloomerang Flowers’ future. Within six months she is hoping to expand the business to Pendleton and Boise, Idaho.
She is also hoping to incorporate local life into her arrangements, such as collaborating with local artists or working with a hospital to furnish clinics and/or rooms.
The stress of running a new business has not dampened Hayes’ enthusiasm for flowers.
“It is so much fun,” she said. “I love to create. I love hearing what (someone is hoping) for and (then) bringing that to reality for them.”