Welcome to my first installment of the Unscripted Photos, Valley Center, Shop Local Spotlight. A monthly feature on my blog to help support our local businesses and entrepreneurs right here in Valley Center, CA. For this first edition, I will be featuring a local with a heart for giving back to the community, and an exquisite eye for elegant and thoughtful floral artistry. I also can't think of a better day to kick it off than on the eve of Small Business Saturday! All photography by Andrea Matthies of Unscripted Photos.
There is one particular person/business, who caught my eye just the other day, and that business is Bellani Floral. I noticed that the owner, Jenelle Brinneman, had made available for purchase some bouquets of locally grown eucalyptus and lavender in a post on Facebook. What made these bouquets noticeable and special to me, was the fact that she was giving $5 back to the farmer who grew them, to help support him as he had become ill. With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, I wanted to bring a nice bouquet to my mom, as a special Thanksgiving treat, so I naturally thought of Jenelle, and Bellani Floral. I reached out to her, and arranged to pick up my Thanksgiving themed bouquet, and also a bouquet of the eucalyptus and lavender for my sister in law. I also asked if I could take some photos of her doing her thing, so that I could further spread the word about her and her business/causes. I asked to her a bit about how she started her business, and what makes her happy about it.
Jenelle (r) and her Daughter Bella (l)
"I lost 2 brothers within 3 years, and was in banking at the time. I became lost in it & didn’t have the drive to be a banker any longer. I needed something to fill the serious void in my heart. When I lost my 2nd brother I also just broke my leg. I had so many people come help me & it made me feel so good. I was on a mission to give back."
The opportunity to give back ended up coming in bittersweet form when a member of the gym she attended became terminally ill. It was her friend's wish to be married before she earned her angels wings. Jenelle helped organize a bridal shower at another friends' flower studio.
"When I saw the look on her face when she walked in & saw all the flowers..I knew that’s what my calling was. The room filled with flowers was so calming & healing. Flowers heal! I started making arrangements for anyone I could, took any online class I could, studied..and started posting my work. My community embraced me, and I’m forever grateful. In 2019 I was able to leave banking."
Jenelle then started making arrangements for anyone she could, taking all the online classes she could, and really studying the craft of floral artistry and arranging. It is a small town, so soon, word got around about her beautiful arrangements as well as the causes she supports. In 2019, she was able to leave banking. She fully embraced supporting local farmers from the start..so when 2020 came around, she became their advocate for sales and marketing, and held numerous local farmer promotions to help drive sales (as the flower markets sat closed). Jenelle and her daughter Bella were two of the nicest, passionate, gracious, and generous people with hearts of gold. I am so glad to share their story, and glad to have met them. They are my inspiration behind starting this spotlight on local Valley Center small businesses.
"I’m extremely passionate about helping our local farmers. I love making people smile, it feels the void in my heart. I’m so blessed to have met so many amazing people already, that I’m writing a book “memoir of the flower lady” (that’s what people call me..I love it!)"
When I was there picking up the flowers, Jenelle's daughter Bella was also there. She helps her mom out a lot with workshops, flower delivery, and pretty much everything with the business. They both told me about how they had recently been on channel 10 news 2 times for obtaining through the help of the community and a GoFundMe campaign, thousands of flowers to be put on graves at Fort Rosecrans and Miramar National Cemetery, as well as here in town at the Valley Center Cemetery. Click here to read one of those stories
Bellani Floral's next workshop will be focused on creating Grinch tree centerpieces which are the brainchild of Jenelle's daughter, Bella. These workshops will take place outdoors in small groups at their workspace. There will be plenty of room for people to work on their Grinch masterpieces while remaining socially distanced. These workshops begin the first week of December, 2020.