I am often curious about how people end up doing what they do. What made them choose their career? How did they get started? What are they passionate about? I believe that life is about the journey and not the destination. So here is my story of how I have arrived to this moment.
As many people do, I wandered through life trying new things and discovering new passions. I decided one day to write down all the jobs I had while growing up. And I was surprised by the number. I had 30 jobs over the last 21 years. That kinda makes me sound crazy, doesn’t it? A person with no plan or vision? Yeah, that was me. In college I was a biology major. I thought I wanted to be a nurse or doctor because I wanted to help people. But after some brutal classes (organic chemistry anyone?) and soul searching, I knew that I was not meant to be a Dr. I took a lot of natural and environmental science classes (agriculture, plants and sciences) and loved them. But the dots didn’t connect quite yet. After I graduated from college without a clue of what I wanted to do, I moved to Berkeley and tried the corporate thing. This is when I realized the 9am-5pm job was not for me. I love office supplies and file folders but needed more variety and freedom than an office job offered. So then I packed up my things and planned to move back to Orange County (where I grew up). On my way home I stopped by a job fair where Club Med was interviewing people for a job in Florida. With nothing to lose and my carefree attitude I some how landed a job and moved to Florida. After my adventure with Club Med and Florida I moved back to California for a short time. I felt restless back at home so I decided to move to Colorado for another adventure. This time it was in the mountains in Beaver Creek, Colorado where I was a ski instructor for children. After a winter season in the mountains where I froze my tush off and hurt my back (cause children don’t ski – they let gravity do its work and then fall. I pick them up and this really hurt my back after a while) I moved back home to help take care of my mother who was sick with cancer. This is when some serious soul searching occurred. To help deal with my mom’s illness, I started to quilt and craft a lot. I also began to think about my past experiences and started to connect the dots (Steve Jobs, anyone?). I did some volunteer work at a local elementary school and loved the kids and the classroom environment. So I decided to become a teacher. After my mother started to get better (10+ years of being cancer free, and thankful everyday) I applied to San Francisco State University for my teaching credential. After I graduated I taught 2nd grade for seven years.
As a teacher, I had my summers off and needed to stay active and creative. So I spent my summers working for a floral designer, where I learned about all the facets of floral design, organization, care, and attention to detail. After three years of experience as a freelance floral designer, I decided to start Huckleberry Karen Designs and branch out on my own.
Owning your own business is hard. But my past experiences have allowed me to be successful at it. My knowledge of plants and flowers come from my college courses. My organization and ability to multi-task comes from my teaching experience. My business organization comes from my days as being an office manager, receptionist and accountant. And I have my family and friends to thank for the encouragement, support and strength.