Empowering People
& Revitalizing the Community

A Moment With Our EDTP Graduate: Meet Krista Bey

Posted on 9/1/2016 by EDTP Coordinator
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Krista M. Bey is the owner and operator of Elegant Lotus, and a graduate of LAEDA’s Entrepreneurial Development Training Program (EDTP). We had a chance to sit down with her to ask about her experience with entrepreneurship and LAEDA’s training program. Entrepreneurship is a very challenging path to take, with many different possible directions. What made you decide to become an entrepreneur? Why did you choose the florist industry?

“I began Elegant Lotus as a business when I retired in 2012. Over the years, I had enjoyed giving flowers and gifts to friends and family and they had always praised the creativity displayed in them and encouraged me to start a business. However, I was always “busy.” With one excuse after another, I realized that I would have regrets if I did not pursue the ever-stronger desire to be an independent entrepreneur. Although, I had not had any formal training, I had the confidence that I would find a way to develop the business. I did not want to have any regrets in my life so in spite of being “older” I took a giant leap into the business world. I have found a ‘mentor’ in the business and have had a steep learning curve for the industry as well as business in general. Flowers speak to me and allow my spirit to sing.”

Tell me about your experience while attending EDTP. What have the major takeaways been from the program? Have you had any “Ah-hah!” moments? How did the program help you?
 
“A friend and colleague told me about LADEA. I had previously been in Education and was eager to learn about the business world. I was told that the nine-week EDTP experience would be quite demanding so even though I was excited to participate I postponed beginning the seminars for some time. However, I was encouraged by Gabriela and finally determined to take advantage of the educational opportunity. I was thrilled with the information as well as the instructors who were all well qualified. I feel that EDTP gave me an overall view of what I would be exposed to in the business world. As I actually worked on the various components of my business I found that it takes so much more time than I had expected. I would like to move faster, however, I realize with each step, that I am exactly where I should be in order to be the “best” at what I do. Anything worth having is worth working for step by step. The EDTP support offered by LAEDA is priceless. I always know that I can use staff as a resource whenever I have any questions.”
 
Tell me about your journey on the road to business startup. What have been some of the challenges, successes, failures, etc.?
 
“Challenges during this journey have included time, money, and patience (mostly with myself). I determined to keep costs down: overhead, additional insurances, and liabilities, etc. Elegant Lotus is a home-based studio business. Marketing was and is a huge challenge; however, I have found that networking is invaluable! Many people offered advice; however, it was not always appropriate for my particular business. Gaining a sense of business cycles was important and it has taken several years to better understand factors that affect the industry, ex: Seasons, holidays, fads, and trends, etc. One year I bought a big supply of flowers for Mothers Day, expecting fabulous results. However, I had not done sufficient marketing and ended up hustling in order not to have a loss, ex: dead flowers. I tried going to different types of vending events, but found that I should pursue alternative marketing strategies.”

Could you tell me a little about where your business is today?
 
“I am still refining by marketing niche but realize the importance of building trusting relationships with prospective clients. I would like to continue this business for many years. It gives me great pleasure to see how happy Elegant Lotus’ flowers and gift baskets make people. I now have clients who tell me what they want and trust my creative spirit to meet their expectations. My goal is to increase this group of customers and to develop stronger partners with whom I can build a team.”
 
Do you have any advice for future (or existing) entrepreneurs?
 
“Build your team early on and include participants who can be honest and truthful. Build slowly and speak with others who may have already have found answers to the questions you have. Just because a “bargain” is in front of you, does not mean that it is the right one for you. Say what you can do for your clients, and follow through with it, no matter what!" 
 
Elegant Lotus offers floral arrangements and gift baskets for any occasion. Krista Bey can be contacted at (856) 448 - 4260 or at elegantlotus.gifts@gmail.com