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Emily Fyten: The Personal Touch for the Floral Language of Love

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Since ancient times, flowers have played an important role in weddings, prized not only for their beauty and fragrance, but for their special meanings as well. Roman women passed down the aisle with gatherings of herbs that signified fidelity and fertility and warded off evil spirits. In Tudor England, brides carried marigolds dipped in rosewater. Later, they ate them because they were believed to be aphrodisiacs. The Victorians gave definitions to each of the blossoms contained in their bouquets, and guidebooks were published to ensure the bride communicated the proper message by the flowers she carried.

Today’s bride-to-be has a plethora of flowers to chose from thanks to greenhouses functioning throughout the world, offering exotic, rain forest varieties down to the perennial favorite of many, the rose. Given that the flower budget for weddings ranges from $2,500 to $4,500, these beautiful blossoms, buds and greens play an extraordinary role in our modern day marriage ceremonies. From bouquets to boutonnieres to petals dropped before the bride marches down the aisle, flowers are a significant part of countless wedding plans.

When you’re contemplating your wedding day flowers, look to the experience and knowledge of Emily Fyten, owner of Flowers by Emily, in Park Place in Leawood, Kansas. “We do a lot of weddings and all sizes, up to 500 guests. For a smaller wedding, we might only do a bridal bouquet, boutonnieres and centerpieces, while larger ones may require flowers costing thousands of dollars,” noted Emily. “We’ll ask customers about colors they want, types of flowers they like, and a preference for a short or tall style of arrangement. Basically, we try to understand if they have an idea, and sometimes they have nothing in mind but a price point.”

The electronic age helps a great deal, as many brides-to-be bring in their Pinterest boards and will review the styles they’ve saved through their pictures. Emily says it’s incredibly helpful to have some type of design in mind before you arrive. From there, she and her staff will help you narrow the field to find the perfect look and style for you and your wedding day. “For a long time, the trend was somewhat rustic, a farmhouse or barn type of wedding. Now we’re shifting to a classical style that’s more formal,” she revealed. “The trending colors are a lot of blush, gold and burgundies, giving you a soft yet dramatic look.”

The Kansas City-area native has her love of flowers rooted in her early life. Emily’s adoration of floral arrangement and design goes back to her college days, when she worked part time in a local shop. She loved the creativity and challenge, and later, with the backing of her parents, she decided to open her own shop.

“It was my mom’s idea, and she suggested opening a shop together. She had retired and wanted a new project,” Emily enthused. “Of course, I was all about it because that was what I wanted to do. My dad helped out a lot, too, and on February 7, 2007, we opened the first Flowers by Emily at 151st Street and Nall in Leawood.”

Emily recalls that her first Valentine’s Day was incredibly busy for the shop, which had been open for only seven days. At times she felt over her head because she was so focused on the mind-boggling number of details demanded in simply opening the doors. “I spent a lot of time figuring out the gift items, and I didn’t realize all of the work involved in getting people to know about me,” she remarked. “I simply wanted to do the everyday flowers such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and parties.”

While she had a limited business understanding, her father offered his guidance and experience that came from working decades at Hallmark. He was a chemical engineer, a member of the team that developed the Crayola® Color Wonder, which allows children to color only on special paper. But it was Emily’s mother who provided the most support by building the business plan for this new startup. Unfortunately, she did not get to enjoy a great deal of the success of the family’s efforts. She passed away in October 2008.

“Even with the support of my family, I was scared that I wasn’t going to make it. Occasionally, I still think about it,” she shared. “It’s a lot of work and you do wonder if it would be easier to work for someone else, but then I realize I love what I do and I’m my own boss. I don’t want to give it up.”

Competition is another source of concern for Emily, as there are many businesses selling flowers, from large shops to grocery stores. But she points to the personal touch that distances Flowers by Emily from the crowd for flowers and other unique gifts. “What separates us is the convenience we give our customers versus that of the bigger companies out there. If you don’t have the time to come in, you can shop online, and there are no extra fees for doing that. To make it even easier, you can pick a designer’s choice,” Emily commented.

“Because we’re a small operation, you don’t have to worry about a person you’re talking to on the phone relaying the information. Many times you’re talking to your designer. I have four floral designers working with me; each one has their own style. We’re inspired by different things; even a dozen roses can be designed differently. We try for unexpected color combinations and use the best flowers available while giving you the most value.”

Although her business was solid, Emily wanted more walk-in traffic. That’s when she decided Park Place, with its many other small businesses and restaurants, offered her another chance for growth. For about seven years, she was at a 400-square-foot location. But when a larger facility opened just around the corner in a new section, Emily jumped at the chance to double her square footage and locate next to a bridal shop.

Emily’s been married for nine years to her husband, Dave, and they have a three-year-old daughter named Phoebe. She finds her days are filled to the brim either at the shop or at home with the family. “My time is spent either working at the shop or spending time with my daughter. My husband is a musician, and I love music and seeing live shows,” she noted. “He played guitar in a local band called Red Line Chemistry with six Top 40 rock hits. But three years ago he formed a new band. They’re in the studio right now recording an album.”

For others who might be contemplating stepping out to form their own business, Emily offers some sage advice. “Do a lot of preparation and figure out what you’re hoping to gain from starting your own business, rather than having that passion and working for others,” she shared. “There are pros and cons to both, so have a good plan going into it, and really understand who your customer is.”

Emily also shares that collaborating with other small businesses has been a key to her success. “Have a community to fall back on and not just yourself,” she stated. “I provide flowers for Bar Method and Fusion Fitness, and their clients see them and order from me. I also partner with Blue Chip Cookies and a customer can add cookies with their flowers, on line or in person. It’s been very successful.”

While lily of the valley ranks as her favorite flower because of its delicate nature and pleasing scent, and peonies come in a close second, Emily is keen on understanding your floral needs and meeting them with a fabulous bouquet and more. While the meaning of flowers has roots in ancient times, Emily and her staff realize it’s about delivering the freshest, most spectacular arrangements possible that communicate love to the recipient. ■

Visit the shop at 5230 West 116 Place or online at