Zac And Brooke owners of Fresh Urban Flowers

This fall my husband Zac and I will celebrate our second anniversary as entrepreneurs, after taking a leap of faith in 2010 and starting our own business. Fresh Urban Flowers, located in Design Studio 106 on Lower Broadway, has allowed us to create a business around our passion and purpose.

Zac and I attended Texas A&M University and married out of college.  Shortly after, we moved from College Station to San Antonio to begin our professional careers.  Zac found a job as a project manager in the construction industry, and I began my career as a florist, a passion I discovered while planning our wedding. I started with a local florist where I mastered my craft.  I then decided to take a small break from floral design and taught at a local high school.  After a semester of teaching, my passion was calling me back and I soon had an opportunity to work as the director of floral at a local florist .

After several years, I decided it was time to take my passion to another level. I could have begun the search for a more challenging job in the floral industry, but that might have required us to leave San Antonio. Zac and I knew we didn’t want to leave San Antonio. Starting our own business was always something we had dreamed about, but was now the time?

After much soul-searching and with the support of family and friends, we decided it was time.  In 2010 we took control of our destiny and created a vision for what would become our own business.  With my eye for design and creativity and Zac’s strategic planning, our vision included something different; a unique boutique with a twist and that would live up to its name, Fresh Urban Flowers.

There was never a question where we saw our new business/home.  We knew we had to be downtown in heart of the hustle and bustle. We looked for a unique location with history, somewhere with a story.  Zac and I strongly believe in revitalizing and growing downtown and we knew our business would be a true testament to this. We wanted to play a role in supporting our city, and most importantly to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and our new business.  We found a unique space downtown at the Taylor Telecom Building.  We quickly moved in and renovated for two months, spending long days and countless hours doing our own renovations.  We couldn’t have been happier when our new home was finally unveiled.

Fresh Urban Flowers arrangement
Arrangement by Fresh Urban Flowers. Photo by Kat Carey, Darkroom Photography.

When we talked about opening our own business, some thought it wasn’t the best option for us.  The economy was uncertain. Friends were getting laid off from their jobs. It seemed everyone’s jobs and stability was at stake. Zac and I decided to define our own destiny and create our own stability by starting our own business, despite those who felt it was not in our best interest.

Starting a business is a lot of hard work. It requires dedication and support: support of each other and support from family, friends and even strangers. Zac and I are humbled by the amount of support we have received. That support, we believe, is what makes San Antonio such a great city. The help we’ve received is beyond words. No one or two people can do it alone.  Everyone needs mentorship and guidance.   For that, we thank everyone who has helped us along the way.

When starting a business, it’s a given you will have to make sacrifices. We sacrificed traveling to see our families and time away from our friends.  As entrepreneurs, motivation and purpose have taken on new meanings.  We have developed a new respect for the word responsibility and have grown in ways we never knew we could.

Though Zac and I were business partners at Fresh Urban Flowers, he held a full-time job until a year ago, taking our entrepreneurship to another level.  Zac started his own consulting business focusing on building a better quality of life for San Antonio through positive growth and development. He is also now creating a company that will deliver software as a service to the booming craft beer industry. His new love of technology stems from his involvement in Geekdom, the collaborative workspace that helps and inspires business ideas to come to life at the Weston Centre. Zac recently was appointed to the San Antonio Planning Commission and begins his term his week.  In this public service role he will be a part of advising the City Council on creation of and additions to master plans for the physical development of San Antonio and recommending capital improvement projects. I am so proud of where we are, and how far we have come.  San Antonio is a city that we love deeply and are glad to be rooted here.

Design Studio 106
“Creativity is all around us at Studio 106.” Studio 106, home of Fresh Urban Flowers, lends itself to the local art community for showings and workshops by local artists. Photo courtesy of Kat Carey, Darkroom Photography.

Earlier I mentioned Fresh Urban Flowers was created with a twist.  Part of our vision was to create a shop with space that lends itself to the San Antonio art community.  Design Studio 106 includes a small gallery where local artists can showcase their talents on our walls and host art openings. Keeping the arts alive and continuing to inspire creativity is one way we give back to our community. Creativity is all around us and especially in our studio.

Vases and flowers by Fresh Urban Flowers.
This milk glass vignette was created for the Entwined 2012 rehearsal dinner. Photo courtesy of Urth Studio.

My team and I like thinking “outside the vase” by creating one-of-a-kind floral arrangements. My passion is creating floral arrangements my customers are proud to send and, in return, someone is proud to receive. I am fortunate to do something I am passionate about and truly love. Calla lilies, peonies, and many of my other favorite beautiful flowers surround me in daily life.  Zac loves to see orchids in the store because they symbolize strength and passion, both of which you need to be a great entrepreneur.  I can’t help but take in the aromas and appreciate every minute of it.

Fresh Urban Flowers has been featured on exclusive industry blogs such as Style Me Pretty and most recently The Knot, a dedicated one-stop wedding website. We have a diverse customer base and, thanks to our customers, our business has grown through word of mouth.  Our customers tell their friends, families and coworkers about our creativity.  In 2011 we received the Best New Business Award from the Downtown Alliance. The unexpected recognition is true testament to those who believe in us, and to our hard work and dedication.  We believe we will be around for many more years with the support of our beloved San Antonio! You can see more of our inspired work at our website. Please click through and let us know if we can help you with any upcoming wedding or event.

Bride's bouquet by Fresh Urban Flowers
Bridal bouquet designed by Fresh Urban Flowers. Photo courtesy of Archetype.

Check out this video, created by Weiss Eyubanks. This is one of our favorite weddings by Sweet August Events. We were so happy to do the flowers for this event. The setting is Authentic San Antonio, with the ceremony at San Fernando Cathedral and the reception at the Hotel Contessa on the San Antonio Riverwalk. Our bride and groom wanted a memorable destination wedding and we feel that is exactly what they received.

While finding our own inspiration to help build our businesses, Zac came across a quote written by Howard Stevenson, a professor at Harvard Business School:

Brooke Harris, owner of Fresh Urban Flowers, located in Design Studio 106.
Brooke Harris, artist and owner of Fresh Urban Flowers, at Design Studio 106. Photo courtesy of Kat Carey, Darkroom Photography.

“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”

We believe this quote has helped define our true entrepreneurial spirit and has helped us to see the possibilities are endless if you engage and put yourself out there.

Our message to you: If you have a dream, pursue it.  If you need mentorship or guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to others.  You can start with us – we’ll share our ups and downs as well as our challenges and how we got through them. It isn’t always easy, but it’s always an adventure and at the end of the day, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

We have a wealth of information we can share and want to be a resource to other small business owners or aspiring business owners. If we don’t have the answer, we promise we can find someone who does. Remember, there are no bad ideas. With the right plan and execution you too can persevere.

Brooke and Zac Harris can be reached at brooke@freshurbanflowers.com and zharrissatx@gmail.com.  Follow them on Twitter @SAbloomie and @ZacHarrisofSATX or Facebook at www.facebook.com/freshurbanflowers.  Or visit Zac’s LinkedIn.

Find Fresh Urban Flowers on the web at www.freshurbanflowers.com  or make an appointment to visit them at Studio 106.


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Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at iris@sareport.org