St. Pete startup offers floral education through parties

A local entrepreneur has combined flowers, education, wine and camaraderie to create a burgeoning mobile business.

After a four-week summer vacation, the St. Petersburg Greenhouse was back hosting area founders and business leaders at Thrive DTSP for Wednesday’s 1 Million Cups event. Erica Holland presented her growing company, The Roaming Petal, which brings floral design workshops to business events and home gatherings.

Holland, who launched her startup about 18 months ago, explained that Roaming Petal delivers the flowers and supplies for the workshops, where she provides step-by-step instruction on how to create floral arrangements.

“Really just educating people about how to take care of their flowers, keep them alive and keep them fresh, so that they can last a lot longer, and not just in our workshops,” said Holland after the event. “But also have fun – we like to have fun.”

A key aspect of the business, said Holland, is its mobility. That allows Roaming Petal to offer its services throughout St. Petersburg and the region at offices, events and homes – where she said the workshops could provide an added element to baby and bridal showers or birthday parties.

Holland said the surrounding area has eagerly welcomed her startup since it launched in February of 2021, and she recently hired her first two employees. She added that 1 Million Cups provides critical exposure for the city’s entrepreneurs and the panel of local business leaders offers creative advice and feedback on successfully growing a company.

“As well as giving that input of what I’m doing in the community and how we’re growing to other members that might not know who we are yet,” said Holland.

At the event, Holland explained that she came up with the idea for Roaming Petal during a trip to Bali. She said she “fell in love” with how the country incorporates flowers into its culture and began helping a local florist who taught her various techniques to care for them.

“What I realized was – that while lots of people love receiving flowers, getting them as a gift or purchasing them from their local grocery store or market, nobody tells you what to do with them,” said Holland. “So, we came up with a solution to bring education and fun together.”

After returning home, Holland created Roaming Petal and now shares what she learned in Bali. Over wine and conversation, her workshop’s attendees create floral arrangements and receive tips they can use in their personal lives.

Holland purchases the flowers Roaming Petal provides from wholesale companies in Largo and Tampa and only buys them as needed. She also eschews a storefront, which she said helps keep her overhead low.

Using Book and Bottle in downtown St. Pete as an example, Holland said she works with local businesses to identify open dates to host a workshop. They iron out details, like if the event’s ticket price includes wine.

Roaming Petal offers a two-hour floral design party that includes flowers, foliage and vases; private events that provide a mix of seasonal blooms and require a minimum of 10 participants; and a virtual workshop where the company delivers the flowers and live instruction occurs online. Prices vary accordingly from about $40-$60 per person.

Holland told the panel that her workshops typically include 10-20 people, and she would like their help expanding her service to larger corporate events with 20-40 participants.

“If there is a budget, we can kind of work within that,” said Holland of corporate functions. “Just bring different types of flowers or different types of elements to use versus the traditional stuff that we bring to our events.”

In addition to Roaming Petal, Holland works full-time as a graphic designer for a local advertising agency. She runs her company during the evening, on weekends “and every other hour in between.”

With the two recent additions helping her schedule more events, Holland hopes to continue establishing a presence in the community and successfully scale her business.

“I’m really just looking for connections,” she said.

For more information on The Roaming Petal, visit the website here.

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