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Nurturing Dreams – A Rural Business Owner’s Journey Through Limiting Beliefs


Janine Carpenter
Petals And Stems
Rural Vermilion, Alberta, Canada

Rebecca Westman
Rebecca Westman Photography
Lashburn, Saskatchewan, Canada

The “Petals And Stems” story is filled with many chapters – some pleasant, some less so. Some filled me with confidence, while others overwhelmed me with crippling fear, self-doubt, and imposter syndrome. Yet, among all these chapters, I have a favourite. It’s the one where, with unwavering support from my husband and children, I forged ahead anyway.

Being introduced to the world of flowers shortly after graduating from high school in 2001, I fell in love with telling stories with flowers. I loved the emotions I could express, but also the emotions I could express on the behalf of others. Over the span of 18 years, from my first job in a flower shop to many different events, many life changes took place. After all of our children were born, I also spent some time in a greenhouse setting seasonally which was where one of my favourite “cozy” childhood memories started to ignite once again. Every now and again, as I would work away in the greenhouse, there would be a trigger, something that would make me long to create what I experienced so many years prior when we visited a rural business, that our family still loves today. A place that wasn’t just about the things they offered, but was a family run business that brought people together and fostered feelings. The dream of creating my very own business that embraced those same qualities started to grow at a rapid rate within me – right along with my resistance.

Every time I would let myself consider all the plans that were building in my heart and mind, I just kept shoving them down. In desperation to quiet the burn, like a fire in the pit of my stomach, I started to consider other options. I started to look for other avenues I could pursue that would capture the same “feeling” I longed for my rural business to have, but without the fear of stepping on the toes of those I respected in the floral industry.

After years of burying the dream, convincing myself I dare not even think of starting a business that would make me in “competition” with those that raised and nurtured me in the industry, I began to probe the depths of my heart and desires. What were these invisible chains holding me back, and what could it look like if I could push doubt and fear aside? In that moment, I made a conscious choice to not keep resisting but to grant myself the complete freedom to imagine precisely what I wanted for my future business.

Each excuse that arose became a point for examination. Take, for instance, my concern about potentially unsettling those I loved and respected in the floral industry. It struck me with clarity, their careers began as dreams too. Even the most accomplished individuals in this field once stood precisely where I stood now. They too, created their own ripples when they embarked on their journeys, just as I possibly would by establishing my business. Everyone, without exception, had to start somewhere. Though not resolving all of my inner conflicts, this process reduced the intensity of some, as I confronted and challenged the thoughts I’d accepted as truth and dispelled some of the self imposed limitations.

With this newfound understanding and a lot more courage than I had previously possessed, I took the leap. I initiated the start of Petals And Stems, a wedding floral and seasonal workshop business, with a heart filled with hope and excitement but also with traces of fear and self-doubt. Determined to move forward, I worked on letting go of some of my most consuming worries. While I may have overcome the fear of getting started, I still had many limiting beliefs.

The concerns I held around stepping on toes and feeling like I had to compete with esteemed industry peers I deeply admired began to slowly dissolve. It dawned on me that I wasn’t engaging in a rivalry with those around me; rather, our strengths could harmonize and complement each other. I began to understand the beauty there is in looking inward, getting in tune with my own style, and presenting offerings that flowed from me easily and authentically. There were many areas where what I was offering crossed over the offerings of others in the industry, but I took courage and comfort in the fact that we all could present our own vision, in a true and unique way, each of us catering to our own people. We could complement each other and not compete. When we all stand in our own uniqueness, there is room for everyone.

So here we are – This is Petals And Stems. A wedding floral business during the busy summer months and seasonal workshop company that hits its most intense window in the winter months. Based out of rural Vermilion, AB our goal is to bring people together, into a warm and inviting atmosphere, where we can sip hot cider and enjoy time together creating, laughing, and learning. I have a deep love for helping others use flowers as a way to tell a story about themselves, and express a little of who they are. This is a dream that took many, many years to transpire, but taught us to trust the process – not our limiting beliefs. Those get us nowhere.

January 23, 2024

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