The 2023 Discover Basalt magazine featured of several women-owned and operated businesses that make Basalt special. Below is the full version of one of these “Powered By Women” profiles.
Yoli LaGuerre Fine Flowers is owned and operated by Yoli LaGuerre. She is known for her award-wining floral designs and floral artistry and her commitment to helping others.
Photo courtesy of Yoli LaGuerre.
What is your success story?
I began my career as a floral designer in New York City at the age of 12. As the years passed, I continued to evolve from a freelancer to owning three retail shops in NY, teaching design at the New York Botanical Gardens, writing articles for industry magazines on trends and design, lecturing/teaching and designing events globally.
I have now evolved once again and started the nonprofit foundation We Are Perennials. The nonprofit offers floral design workshops as a form of creative therapy to victims of domestic violence and those struggling with addiction. Continuing Education Scholarships are also offered, so that participants may have an opportunity to start a new career to gain financial independence.
What is it like running a small business?
I enjoy it fully! There is huge responsibility on my shoulders to make sure I provide the best floral product and top design for my clients. Sure, overhead and pay role costs are high and so having the pressure of booking events is always a concern however, I love every moment! It’s important I stay up to date on trends and fashion as well as the economy to keep my business thriving.
In the beginning of my career as a female entrepreneur, I noticed that some people were surprised that I owned my own company without any partners or financial support from family or a spouse. Often they questioned how I did it with skeptical looks, shrugged shoulders and because of feminine insecurities, I lowered my voice and message out of fear of judgment.
I am proud to say that today I’m no longer afraid to “Get Loud” and am received and respected more for it. Being a woman in business is now widely accepted and respected. The union of women banding together has made a huge difference in how women in business are received. It’s still a work in progress; however, it has changed, and I am prouder than ever to be a woman and business owner.
Why did you choose to do business in the Roaring Fork Valley?
In New York, competition was fierce! The industry was oversaturated with both legitimate and wanna-be designers who were cut-throat and hungry. As a native New Yorker, I actually embraced the competition because it kept me sharp and on my game. With the valley having a smaller population, I am able to build intimate connections with the community and my clients. I have loyal, local supporters who work at hotels and restaurants who provide referrals. This community loves art and I have clients who appreciate fine floristry, my global expertise and knowledge of art.
What do you love most about Basalt?
I feel mid-valley is the sweet spot of the RFV: there are summer concerts in the park, events at TACAW, The Art Base and just about every restaurant. I feel we in Basalt are truly lucky.
What is the impact of supporting local on your business?
It has been the perfect situation for my company by having a business in a more affordable area of the valley while being located near the resorts. Having a locally-owned floral business matters because most people want to shop locally – even those who order flowers from various places around the globe support my local floral business. I feel it’s essential to always build stronger bonds with the community for continued success. Basalt, I appreciate you.
What is your hope for the future of your business and Basalt?
I am working on building my Foundation and need the support of our community. At the moment, I am laser focused on booking workshops throughout the RFV to Denver and funding. Donors, sponsors are what we need to keep going. I would like to partner with The Art Base or TACAW to host a fundraising art exhibition showcasing floral and botanical artistry.