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Life & Work with Paul Gillispie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Paul Gillispie. 

Hi Paul, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
My Floral design life started out of a need to be creative. In 2010 my husband accepted a position with the headquarters of Costco in Issaquah, Washington so as a result, we move to the “Emerald City,” or as I call it, NOSUNLAND. I was so bored with the gray of Seattle that I started looking for ways to brighten up our house with color so I started making arrangements at home and found that I had a knack for it. 

Pretty soon after, I walked into our Safeway grocery store and started asking questions about working in the floral department, and BAM just like that, the management team hired me right on the spot. This is where I started experimenting with my signature style. A brand of modern chic romantic is how I describe it. 

After having enough of Seattle, we moved back to California. This time we were in Central California with the sunshine and the rolling hills, not to mention the Cali style vibe. We just happen to wind up living next door to some members of a family who owned the nicest most upscale floral shop in all of the Central Valley. 

Yonan’s Floral is the place where I learned the large-scale production process for high-dollar weddings and events. I was like a sponge learning from the ladies that I worked with. Given the creative freedom that I needed all while honing my technique, I received a Master Class in floral design and production and I am grateful for that experience. 

In January 2019, my husband accepted a position here in Tampa so we made the move to Bayshore Blvd. When we first arrived, I was going to take off from working for a bit and get to know South Tampa and Florida in general. This led me to go on a journey to find the closest Costco. My GPS was taking me in circles so I decided to ask for directions. I stopped in what looked like a floral wholesale called Jennies Flowers. 

As soon as I walked in, I was completely surprised. The store was filled with floral designers and it was busy with customers. The man behind the counter greeted me and before I could say anything, he said “you’re a florist huh?” I said, “yes but I’m just looking for directions.” He just handed me an application and said, “you know Valentine’s Day is coming!” I was asked to do an audition to show my skills and got hired. Soon thereafter I moved into the Wedding and Events Stylist position and currently, I am Manager of Wedding and Special Events. 

Previously, I was an Executive Chef, a USN Radioman, a dancer, a singer, and a musical theatre performer. I find that for right now in my life, being a florist/ wedding and event stylist is where my passion and creativity thrive. It brings me great joy to have a part in bringing a smile to the faces of my clients at Jennies Flowers. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
In my opinion, obstacles are only mislabeled opportunities to shine. Being a Wedding and Events Manager is not just having tea with brides and playing with flowers. The work is elaborate, detailed and quite physical. Having a Culinary and Military background, my expectation are quite high. I like to live by the credo “if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.” 

Dramatic minutiae and minor problems/ obstacles don’t phase me. I feel like it is part of my role to make things as easy and enjoyable for my clients and I take great pride in doing so. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
With both refinement or abandon where needed in mind, I specialize in bringing the vision of my clients to life. I love most about my work, the fact that when I wake up in the morning I am literally, physically, and mentally exactly what my role at work is. 

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
I don’t ever compare myself to anyone else. 

Contact Info:

  • Email: PAUL@JENNNIES.COM
  • Website: www.jennies.com
  • Instagram: @jenniesflorist

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