Kelly Perry - 00:00 - You are listening to the Team Flower podcast where we talk about flowers and the people who have dedicated their lives to sharing them with the world. Hi, my name is Kelly. I'm your host along with Janine Harris, who is the community builder here at Team Flower and owner of the bundles and blooms in blowing rock North Carolina. Today's special guest is Mandy Hess of MJM designs. In this episode we're discussing what it means to be an every day philanthropist. Mandy is sharing how she's built her business to include work with charities that are making for city strong. It's so inspiring. This podcast is brought to you by team, our Team Flowers in an online learning community focused on educating and connecting and empowering flower lovers worldwide. Whether you're a professional farmer, florists, getting started, or just love flowers, I'll come to the party. If you'd like to know when new podcast episodes are released and receive fun video tutorials and articles, signup for our pen pal club. It's free. Visit teamflower.org and click on free resources. Well, welcome Mandy
Kelly Perry - 01:06 - Team Flower podcast. It's so great to have you here today. Um, for those of you listening, my name's Kelly, I'm the co founder of Team Flower with my husband Jesse and I have Janine here with me today who is our community builder and she arranged this interview with Mandy and we loved need say hello. Introduce yourself one.
Janine Harris - 01:25 - Yeah, this is Jenny and I'm so glad to be here and happy to be working with Team Flower and with Kelly and Jesse.
Janine Harris - 01:30 - Yes, Super Fun. Well, um, tell us a Janine, just a little bit about Mandy, why you asked her to come on the podcast today and then you can just sort of take it away here.
Janine Harris - 01:39 - Sure, yeah. I, um, was looking for some community at our team, flower community and I discovered Mandy and I was looking at her website and noticed that she does something really cool with some of her proceeds and just wanting to ask her a little bit more about that. But before we get into that, Mandy, why don't you just tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey just with flowers?
Mandy Hess - 02:03 - Yeah, definitely. And hello to everyone and I'm super pumped to be here and share this information that I can share with you guys. So thanks for listening. So yeah, a little bit about me and my business is um, so I have a visual arts degree that, you know, went to college. It was like, that sounds fun. Let's do that. I just kind of found my way through flowers by working at a flower shop. I'm in college delivering cleaning buckets, you know, all that, but normal stuff that you do slowly learning, you know, how to make a corsage during prom and how to design a dozen roses, um, during Valentine's Day, things like that. Um, and then after, um, you know, later down the road after college I decided a flowers is kind of where my passion was and I wanted to kind of explore that a little bit more and score a couple like internships with local wedding Flores here in the Denver area.
Mandy Hess - 03:02 - And I'm just kind of learned and just kind of blossomed. And luckily with my art background, it helped with, you know, the composition than the art and the color palettes and things like that. Um, so after working retail for a couple years I was like, I think I'm ready to do this on my own and started my business and Jim Designs. So we are a, uh, like a boutique wedding and event floral design studio. So I really, I really love it. This is definitely my passion job and it's so exciting to do this, you know, um, and you know, be around happiness and color and just create stuff for, for couples. It's just, I love it. It's amazing.
Kelly Perry - 03:47 - Yeah. Yeah, it's a really cool job that we have to be able to be there in those special moments and to bring them that thing that you don't maybe necessarily get to have flowers every single day and just, I dunno what do you hold them, it just really elevates the moment. Um, and I think it's a really special thing that we get to do. And so thank you so much for your work that you're doing out in the Denver area, in weddings and events and all that kind of stuff. And um, it's great to hear your story and how all that came to be. So, um, what, what else do you want to ask Janine?
Janine Harris - 04:22 - I definitely want to know just kind of how you came about to deciding to donate a portion of your proceeds to various different organization. So tell us about like how you came to that decision and if there were any influences in your life that led you there.
Mandy Hess - 04:40 - Yeah, definitely. Um, uh, so I actually have been working out a veterinarian hospital for about nine years on top of owning my business, the past four and a half. Um, so I, you know, I grew up wanting an animal and I was like, you know, Bay mom and dad get me a dog and it just never happened. So I was like, well, fine, I'm going to get a job at that hospital and being around them all the time. So, um, I would have been working in reception at vet hospitals and we see a lot of things and sad things, but really happy things as well. Um, I also have a little bit of a background in nonprofit humane work, so volunteering for local humane societies or organizations, um, helping with them with events and raising money through grants and those events, uh, to help, you know, help animals.
Mandy Hess - 05:30 - So that's kind of where, where things kind of started as like I saw the nonprofit world, I saw how it works, I saw how difficult it is to, you know, it's hard asking people for money, um, but you have this awesome cause that you want, you know, you want to share with people and you want to share that passion with people. So as an expression of my own values, I added that into my business plan when I created my business. Um, so it's just something that I wanted to, in a sense give back to my local humane societies and other organizations within the area. Um, just because I feel such a passion for animals, you know, and they, they can't speak up, they can't talk for themselves, so that way, you know, giving them, you know, however much it ends up being, you know, can be $20 and that helps feed dogs, you know, it could be a blanket, it can be, you know, anything that helps, um, and you know, of course not just dogs and cats and all animals that need it and to help with the adoption process and things like that.
Mandy Hess - 06:31 - So I wanted to make sure that that was part of something that I was able to do as my business is to, is to give back to those organizations.
Kelly Perry - 06:40 - Yeah. And something I love about, um, just what you said, you know, even if it's just $20 or it's just a blanket or it feels like some small thing, you know, we all want to see like poverty eradicated from the face of the earth, right. Um, but it can sometimes whenever we feel like that what we have to give isn't enough. It can keep us from giving in the first place. And so the thing about these big projects is that it's something that's cut out for a team of people to do, right? So, um, you've got $20, I've got $20, you've needs, got $20, all of a sudden we've just like tripled it. And so it's just, it's just those, it's those small steps in those little things that really do add up to be something that is, um, you know, significant and in helps a lot of people.
Kelly Perry - 07:31 - Teamwork is a really beautiful, beautiful thing. And I love to like how, you know, sometimes it can be a little bit confusing, like, you know, well where should I give or what should, what should I do because there are so many great causes to give to. And I love that you chose the one that had so clearly intersected with your life and your passion and that you're able to, as a result of being so involved in that particular thing, you're able really to be extremely knowledgeable about it and to be kind of like a spokespeople spokesperson for the animals. They can't speak for themselves or for, um, you know, any number of other types of organizations where there just needs to be somebody who has a voice and a passion about it and it just came naturally spread. So I think that, that, you know, if you're a listener that's, that's on today and you're thinking, you know, there's all of these needs are, you know, I really liked the idea of that, but how, you know, it really, it doesn't have to be a lot and I think that that's what we've really just this month at Team Flower, we, we'd really like to just encourage you that it, it just does small, small things can make a really big difference.
Kelly Perry - 08:46 - So thank you for doing that and for sharing it. And also, I just, I love to like about how, you know, your art background, you recognized, you saw that there were transferable skills in that and that you were drawing from that and you're translating it into your work with flowers because there's a lot of people who, um, maybe have gotten into flowers and they haven't been, you know, quote unquote formally trained or, you know, something like that. But really like, we've been training our whole lives for this, we really have and there's so many. That's what I love about all the different stories of Team Flower members is that we all have really interesting diverse backgrounds and these beautiful blends of experiences and how those can translate into our businesses and work is something that's really cool. Yeah, I totally agree. Um, so you'd mentioned, you know, the humane society that you're, I'm working with. Are there any other organizations that benefit from your donations?
Mandy Hess - 09:46 - Yeah, um, unfortunately my brother has a traumatic brain injury, so what they call a Tbi. Um, it happened about two years ago, so I added, um, the um, I'm sorry, brain injury alliance of Colorado Organization to my list of charities that I donate to the help with getting the word out about what a traumatic brain injury is and you know, helping with research as well as finding information on finding a specialist in that, you know, specialized doctor in the area rather than like with him, he had to, you know, search for months and months trying to find a doctor that will help him and understand what exactly is going on to help him start healing. So that's another way that I try to give back is that I've created a passion for this and want to let people know what a Tbi is and what that entails and unfortunately it's what they consider like an invisible injury because it's, it's, you know, has to deal with the brain. And so Olin isn't missing or you know, my brother isn't limping or anything like that, but he does have an injury that he deals with every day. So, um, that's something that is very, very personal to me that I like to donate to as well.
Kelly Perry - 11:06 - Absolutely. So, um, you want to tell us just a little bit about what it is and um, remind us what that specific organization was again.
Mandy Hess - 11:15 - Yeah. Um, so it is the brain injury alliance of Colorado, so it's specific to Colorado, but you can find organizations in every state that helps with this and nationally. Um, so they have the third mission pretty much is to help through guidance with resource, sorry, resources, support and education, um, that, you know, to help with the lifelong growth of Colorado ones affected by injury of the brain. So what happened is my brother was in an atv accident, he had a helmet on, but he basically and landed on his head with a major. Um, so that's kind of any, you know, any head trauma can be considered a traumatic brain injury and it depends on person to person, how they're affected by it. For like him, he has memory loss and um, he has obtained a little bit of an arm twitch due to some. We don't know why, but just something to do with everything else.
Mandy Hess - 12:16 - Um, but you know, he, he can't work right now because he can't stare at a screen all day like a computer screen and he can't do physical labor because he just gets exhausted. So it's kind of like this whole snowball effect of everything that's going on and he's trying to deal with and every person that has a traumatic brain injury is different. Um, the, they can have different symptoms, they can heal quicker than others. So it's kind of, it's kind of hard to track right now, but you know, that's why, you know, giving and helping with those resources is so important.
Kelly Perry - 12:50 - Yes. Well, in, to, to have support that is outside of a doctor for something like that is really huge, really, really huge. Okay. That's really great. Any other organizations that you want to mention while we're on today?
Mandy Hess - 13:03 - Um, I mean the most is all local organizations. I try to help with the. I'm a Colorado Children's hospital. Um, and then there's also an ordination organization that's located here in Colorado, but I believe they're nationwide. Um, which is um, the Morris Animal Foundation and they help with research for animals who have cancer, so they're kind of doing cancer research for animals. So that's, um, I had a friend that dog had cancer, so it's Kinda like, well I'm going to donate under, you know, her dog's name and things like that. So, you know, as my main donations are for like the humane society and then the brain, the brain injury alliance of Colorado. I do donate here and there to a smaller, not smaller organizations, but my donation, which is a little bit smaller compared to the other two just for like, you know, try to, you know, if something strikes me and is like, Oh, you know, I'm going to donate to them. I just take that feeling and in and go with it. So it's not just Zach.
Kelly Perry - 14:14 - So I love that you're just open to it and that the answer's yes. The answer is just yes. I think that, at least for a long time, actually for me, I was so much in the habit of, you know, even just when you would go through the grocery store checkout line or something like that and they're like, hey, would you like to give a dollar to this or that or whatever. I was just, you know, the person in front of you says No. The person in front of them says no, you're just going, oh no, not today. You know, like it's just a habit. But like in reality, like it was like, oh no, like I really do like actually want to do that. It was kind of just like this. It was just really, it was just like a habit. Um, but yeah,
Mandy Hess - 14:54 - see, like the go fund me pages that come across on your facebook, you know, what I can, I can give $10, you know, that's fine, that help for me. You know me, it's always animals. But even, you know, your sister's friends whose daughter is going through something like there's always something that comes across you can come across to donate to.
Kelly Perry - 15:14 - Yeah, love that.
Janine Harris - 15:17 - You know, Mandy, one thing that I really love about what you do is how you are keeping so much of your donations local, you know, we've been talking about community building and how can we do that better and how can we do that with Team Flower and we've really just focused in on that local community and how can we bring people together to serve one another, but also to serve the community that they're in. So thanks for doing that. Well, yeah, I think that's really awesome and I can tell that you, being a part of these organizations, even in whatever way possible that you can, has definitely impacted you personally. Um, I also would love to hear how this has potentially impacted your business. Have you seen clients come to you saying, Hey, I love that you do this, I want to work with you because of this?
Mandy Hess - 16:14 - Yeah, I haven't had a good handful of couples. Um, you know, either through consultations or through website know, contacting me and saying, Hey, I saw on her website that you donate. I'm a part of your profits are part of each wedding basically to charity. And I love that and thank you. So it, it's, it's been great. And um, I want to do like a shout out to black sheet bride, which is an inspirational site that features wedding products planning and professionals that give back. So it's a nationwide website that you can sign up for that basically you're just pledging to give back in some way, in any way and they kind of just featured you on their website as I'm a wedding professional and this is how I give back and this is who I give back to. Um, so I, I've gotten a lot of great response from it and not that that's what I am looking for. It all. It's, it's more of a personal thing for me. Um, but the, you know, the couples that do hear about it even down the road after they booked me or whatnot, they're like, that's awesome. So it's been great.
Kelly Perry - 17:24 - Yeah. So cool. Well, if you could say something to somebody who maybe has never, never thought about this before, maybe this is the first time that they're like, oh, like I could do that. Um, what kind of advice would you give to them or how would you encourage them to take that first step and get started?
Mandy Hess - 17:46 - Yeah, I mean, I think if they about like what they were passionate about and how, you know, if it was human, you know, child trafficking or human trafficking and um, you know, just even things to do with humans. With me, it's just humane with animals. Um, but I mean, it can be anything that you hear about and you're like, oh my gosh, I feel so passionate and so driven to, you know, to do something about whatever's going on that they read, that they hear about, you know, it could be as simple as that. And um, what's nice is that here in Colorado we have what we call the Colorado gives day. So there's one day and it's coming up in a couple of weeks in December. And so every December that, um, is kind of just the day. If you're looking to donate to any organization, you can go to this website and to find the organization or find a couple, um, you know, under a category and donate and, you know, it's really awesome because that in in that day they'll say, hey, today Colorado and ways to, you know, $50,000 or however much so it's kind of a really cool way to help out.
Mandy Hess - 18:57 - And um, I did a little bit of googling and it looks like most states do have this kind of same type of, of give day, like a donation day. And so that's kind of a good way to, you know, luckily it's at the end of the year. So if you're looking for help, you know, taxes for next year, that's always a good write off if anything. Um, but you know, just to just to look up and see what organizations are on that website and might as well donate and be part of that large number that is announced on the news and kind of things like that. So.
Kelly Perry - 19:31 - Right. An action. So exciting.
Janine Harris - 19:35 - So yeah, I think it's definitely easy for us to kind of just separate the things that we love to do from the things that we are passionate about and I, I just love how you have combined those two together. And he said, no, actually I'm doing the thing that I love because it allows me to also do this thing that I'm passionate about.
Mandy Hess - 19:59 - Right. You know, as, as business owners, you kind of have that flexibility to add that to your business plan, which is nice. You can make that decision for yourself.
Janine Harris - 20:08 - Right? Absolutely. Well Mandy and has been so wonderful to get to know you and to hear about all these organizations that are benefiting from your donations and just to hear your heart and all of this. Um, I'm definitely encouraged and I hope that, um, all of our listeners are as well. So thank you for joining us
Mandy Hess - 20:27 - today. You guys, it was fun.
Kelly Perry - 20:30 - Great. Well, all of you, they're out there listening. Thanks so much for tuning in to the Team Flower podcast today. We will see you next time. This podcast is brought to you by Team Flower. Team Flower is an online learning community focused on educating, connecting, and empowering flower lovers worldwide, whether you're a professional farmer or forest getting started or just love flowers. Welcome to the party. If you'd like to know when new podcast episodes are released and received, fun video tutorials and articles, sign up for our pen pal club. It's free. Visit team, flower.org, and Click on free resources.