Flowers are symbolic of many different things, but most importantly, flowers remind us that diversity, as well as color are things to be both cherished and celebrated. And while Houston mourns the tragic loss of George Floyd at the hands of the police, it is important now more than ever to stand together and hold fast to this precious principle and fight back against racism. One of the ways we are able to do that as allies of the Black Lives Matter movement is to share and support Black Owned Businesses. Over the past week, I have had the honor of interviewing four extremely talented Houston florists with combined decades of experience, unique design styles, and inspiring stories of success and perseverance. Last Sunday, in a display of unity and togetherness, these four florists along with so many others joined together to create two beautiful installations for George Floyd’s Memorial. Here is a little bit about them, their businesses, and their stories.
by Frank Manzano
Sherronda Scoggins/ KC Events and Florals
Sherronda is easily one of the sweetest people I have ever spoken with. With over 15 years of floral experience, Sherronda began her business out of her home and has grown KC Events and Florals in to a Houston institution that specializes in corporate events, weddings, and everything in between. If you’ve ever stayed at the Hilton Americas in downtown Houston, you have Sherronda to thank for all of the beautifully crafted arrangements that brighten the atmosphere. As I learned more about KC Events, it became clear that they are a family business through and through. A loving mother of 7, Sherronda has many hands at the ready to help with daily operations, but like many of the other florists I interviewed, it is clear that as a successful business owner, she proudly wears all that hats! A message that Sherronda wanted to share with all flower lovers is that the industry has not always been the most welcoming of Black people. Sadly, she shared with me that she has even lost business and accounts simply because of the color of her skin. Even still, as we spoke, she called for unity within the floral industry and our communities stating, “We can’t get by without each other. We are stronger together than we are apart.”
Shamira Preston/ Magnolia Rose
Shamira, owner of Magnolia Rose is truly a tastemaker in the Houston Wedding and Event scene. Located in the Woodlands area, her exquisite design sense veers toward fine art, garden and gather events, and light and airy style florals. When viewing her portfolio, it is clear that she has more than mastered the timeless, yet Instagram-esque designs that brides crave. If there is anyone who can create an atmosphere that begs to be captured and treasured forever, it is Shamira. A Navy Veteran and Norfolk University graduate, all of her paths and acquired skills seemed to converge when she built Magnolia Rose from the ground up. Apart from the business, Shamira had some poignant thoughts to share regarding the need for unity in the floral community. I was absolutely struck when she began to articulate the floral community's need to remain in constant conversation and education when it comes to race and inequality. “Reach up, reach out, and get out of your own bubble, and build friendships”, she stated. Additionally, Shamira powerfully voiced that, “There is no room for added noise when our artistic side is expressed.”
Dexter Rodgers organized Houston florists to create two floral installations for George Floyd's memorial service. Flowers donated by Greenleaf Wholesale.
Keisha Ervin/ Keisha’s Kreations
Keisha’s Kreations was birthed out of pure passion. Since her full-time start in 2007, Keisha’s success has only grown. Not only do her events service thousands of guests, Keisha has also further staked her claim in the industry by providing florals for NBA and NFL athletes, as well as being featured on Houston’s local news station KHOU for her incredible design work. With a background in civil engineering, her ability to not only see, but also transform space in a unique way is something that characterizes her design strength. Another business owner who has many irons in the fire, she is extremely hands on with every aspect of her operation. During our conversation, one thing she wanted flower lovers everywhere to understand is that, “Love, peace, and unity transcends everything.” and “The artistry of what we do has to be on the forefront.”
Dexter Rodgers/ 19eleven Events
Dexter is someone whose career has taken him to amazing heights. From providing florals for Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff, to meeting Obama himself, Dexter’s skill and innovative style is nothing short of amazing. Most recently, Dexter organized upwards of 25 florists to create the stunning installations for George Floyd’s memorial service. With over a decade of experience under his belt, there is no job that is too hard for him to tackle. As we spoke further, I was honored at the fact that he spoke so candidly with me in regards to what it is like to be a Black man in the Houston floral industry. No stranger to prejudice, Dexter wanted to make it clear that instances of his artistic ability being judged due to the color of his skin is an occurrence that happens far too often. With Dexter being a successful business owner for many years, not to mention an incredibly accomplished designer, being mistaken for a delivery guy is no small offense. Yet still, adversity has not slowed Dexter down one bit and he remains a continual inspiration to the Houston Floral community.
In closing, I hope that this not only highlights a few of the amazingly talents Black florists and event planners of the Houston area, but also serves as a challenge to actively support one another, continually educate yourself on what it means to be an ally for Black lives, and stand up for racial equality within the flower world.
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