Christy Doramus has turned her love of flowers into a business. Christy is founder and CEO of Crowns By Christy, a New York City-based floral styling company that specializes in custom fresh and faux flower crowns. Christy and her team now host DIY flower crown making workshops in their beautiful, flower-filled office and at private events. Christy and I became fast friends after meeting at a Six Degrees Society event and I had a chance to watch her in action at an event they hosted together. Take a tour of her g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s office and get inspired by her story and advice.
What inspired you to start Crowns by Christy?
My business developed sort of accidentally after realizing that there was a strong demand for custom flower crowns in NYC. When I started @CrownsbyChristy, I was working full-time as a beauty publicist and made flower crowns for a couple of client events when we couldn’t find them at a reasonable price point. Friends, colleagues, and editors were kind enough to support the idea and as a result, I was able to turn a passion and hobby into a full-time job! Flowers do truly make people happy so I am thrilled to have the chance to bring happiness to others through flowers every day.
What were the first logistical steps you took to start a business?
I always say that I started my business a bit backward, so I am still having to retrace my steps a bit to set up the logistical side of the business. I was creating and distributing product to friends and family with the intention of doing it as a hobby when I started to receive orders from strangers. Without intending to start a full-time business, I was behind on setting up my trademark, LLC, and books to manage expenses. Now that I have all of these items set up, I am able to bring on creative project managers to help me grow my business and take on more exciting projects.
What is a day as Christy like? Please walk me through a day!
As a florist, you must be an early bird! I typically get out of bed around 5:30 AM and either head to the flower market or catch up on emails before going to my new office on Elizabeth Street. I always say that the bulk of my work gets done between the hours of 6 AM- 10 AM, which is typically before my team gets into the office. Once they arrive, I give out assignments for the day depending on what projects we have in the works and help where I can to make sure that everything gets done! My publicist and partner in networking crime, Victoria Natenzon, always keeps me on my toes with evening event commitments to make sure that I am constantly meeting and being inspired by amazing women in the industry.
What are your responsibilities as the founder of Crowns by Christy?
I wear many hats every single day which can range anywhere from project manager to girl on a ladder and even janitor sometimes. I always say that the words “I can’t” are not in my dictionary, so I take on just about every challenge that comes my way and do my best to figure it all out along the way. There is no guidebook for my type of business as we are constantly trying to create newness and come up with creative ideas that are fresh and unique. I am very involved in everything we create so I try my best to really train the amazing ladies who help me which typically means that I am building and creating with them most of the time.
What has been your proudest moment from your career so far?
The day that I signed the lease for my first office space was huge! Moving my business from my home to a great working location for my team was a major accomplishment for me that I am so proud of.
What have you learned about yourself since founding Crowns by Christy?
I have to remind myself constantly that I am only one person and I cannot do everything myself. I am incredibly stubborn so I attempt to take on too much at times which never ends well. It takes a village and a support system to make it all happen and I wouldn’t be where I am without so many supporters and helpers along the way!
What has been the biggest challenge and, on the flip side, the biggest reward of starting Crowns by Christy?
As a creative person, I do not have the most analytical brain so bookkeeping and paperwork is a constant challenge for me. On the flip side, it is incredibly rewarding once these things are in place as it makes me so much more confident about growing my business.
What is the most important characteristic for entrepreneurs to have?
The best inner circle. Making decisions is tough and yes, you should always trust your instincts, but it helps to have friends, colleagues, or industry mentors who you can trust and bounce ideas off of. I am constantly inspired by other entrepreneurs and strong women who give me the confidence to make logical decisions while attempting to grow and expand. “Girl Power Gatherings” as I call them are much needed for me and help boost my confidence and keep me inspired while attempting to do the same for others.
What is one thing that you wish you had known when you were starting out your career?
Running your own business is a lot harder and more expensive than it seems. There are a ton of items you need that can be costly such as…insurance, taxes, office supplies, bookkeeping software etc. that you must budget properly for.
You’ve had amazing press! What advice do you have for other people hoping to get featured?
Thank you! I have been so lucky to have the support from media friends who have been very generous to me from the beginning. I also have a fantastic publicist, Victoria Natenzon of Victoria Marie PR who keeps me relevant! A great PR gal like Victoria is the key to great press coverage!
You’ve also had great brand collaborations! Do you have a favorite creative project you’ve worked on thus far?
I love a good challenge! Recently, we made flower walls for two amazing beauty brands which presented a fun challenge! I am now starting to take on projects that are not limited to flower crowns such as floral installations, flower walls, and creative centerpieces.
What is on your desk right now?
My very long to-do list!
What is your morning routine?
I go to the flower market about three mornings a week and on days that I do not, I try and answer as many emails as I can before we get started with floral projects for the day! Every morning before getting my day started, I make sure to skim WWD to keep up with industry news and happenings.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Know your worth!
Know your worth!
What are you reading right now?
I need a new book. Any recommendations? I do read WWD and Page Six every single day. On Thursdays and Sundays, I love taking a moment to skim through the NY Times Style section!
What is your career advice for other young professional women?
Always have a goal and work toward it every single day. Everyone starts at the bottom and, if you have to be an assistant for a few years to someday reach your goal of becoming CEO, then be the very best assistant that the company has ever had. Those who understand the reality of paying your dues to reach an ultimate goal will always be successful.