If you ask Karyn Brooke, owner of Sidelines Custom Floral Designs in Martin City, about how she got her start in the floral business, she’ll tell you it didn’t start with flowers at all. It actually started with branches.
Brooke’s father had hoped his daughter might make a career out of working at the Red Worm Ranch, but she had much bigger goals for herself and set her sights on owning her own company.
Brooke began messing around with branches and making creative arrangements out of them for fun in her spare time. Her branch arrangements were so unique, she thought she could add some flare with flowers. She bought a book at the local dollar store and began teaching herself as much as she could about flowers and how to arrange them with branches. She became so inspired by her own arrangements that she started taking classes on the subject and was eventually offered her first job at Steve’s Shoes decorating flowers in the windows.
While having a job doing what she loved was great, decorating flowers in the windows of someone else’s shop was not as inspiring as she had hoped. The idea of decorating and arranging flowers in the windows of her OWN store was much more appealing so in 1984, she founded Sidelines Custom Floral Designs.
Brooke worked tirelessly to earn the trust of the local commercial and wedding industry professionals. Indian Hills Country Club was her first customer (they are still a customer today!), which led to a string of other country clubs who wanted to do business with Sidelines.
As great as the country club business was, Karyn had several fails. No bank would loan her money and she could see no viable way to keep the business afloat without a second income so she started cleaning office buildings on the side. Most people don’t know this but she cleaned over 60 office buildings while still trying to maintain and grow the floral business.
Everything changed once she was hired for the Delbert Dunmire wedding in 1986, which was at the time said to be the largest, most lavish wedding in the history of Kansas City. The Dunmire wedding gave her an opportunity to really showcase her work on a grand scale and the exposure from that event catapulted her floral business to the next level.
Thirty years later, Sidelines Custom Floral Designs and Karyn Brooke’s team have accumulated numerous honors and awards and are humbled by the tremendous response they continue to receive from their customers. Sidelines was chosen by the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce as the Small Business of the Year in 2005-06 and by 435 South Magazine readers as the Overall Best Florist from 2009-2012. Brooke is also a member of the prestigious American Institute of Floral Designers, a professional organization committed to establishing and maintaining excellent standards in floral design.
We congratulate them on all their success and wish them a Happy 30th Anniversary! We are lucky to have them here in Martin City! Feel free to wish them a Happy Anniversary on their Facebook page!