Our new blog series, “The Entrepreneurs of Saggezza”, will feature the unique journeys Saggezzians have taken in their careers. Each tells a compelling story of how taking your own path can get you to wonderful places. There is no set path on this journey to find your passion.
Esther Galantowicz has been Saggezza’s Senior Communications Manager since September, 2018. Many who know Esther know her as a hard-working employee who is always available to help, all the while carpooling to and from soccer games. She encourages the marketing team to touch points with everyone in the business all around the globe to get the full breadth of the company. In short, she is an important piece of the Saggezza puzzle. But many don’t know that Esther has a longstanding history in the floral industry.
Esther went to school at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. She studied Communications, focusing on marketing and business communications. She later went back to school for her Digital Marketing Certificate at the University of Chicago. Her love for flowers started when she was young; when she was in high school, she worked at a local flower shop after school, picking up any skills she could. Throughout her time in college, she continued to work with flowers, including at a floral events company and a flower shop. Throughout this time, she happily offered her flower arranging services to friends, enjoying the extra pocket change.
When she graduated from college, her marketing career took off and she did work ranging from event management to radio stations to corporate marketing for a .com company. At this time, she was flying around the world for marketing one of the first offered MBA programs online. She eventually made it to a technology consulting firm where she was asked to travel frequently, and eventually to India. Right around this time she became pregnant with her first child, and decided it was best to take a step back from traveling so she left her position.
By happenstance, a friend also recently left her position at the technology consulting firm. The two went out for coffee one day and decided to start their own business. With Esther’s floral and marketing expertise, and her partner’s management background, they decided a flower shop would be a good business. Scarlet Petal started in Esther’s garage. For two years, it remained there until they needed to expand. They strategically rented a studio space behind Kennicott Floral Market, which gave them access to the biggest flower supplier in the city of Chicago. Fresh flowers were at their fingertips. This partnership helped get the team off the ground.
Through various wedding events in Chicago, they were able to market themselves to the venues, caterers, anyone that would listen. They got their “big break” at one such event. Esther met the exclusive catering manager for Café Brauer, the event space at Lincoln Park Zoo. They pitched Scarlet Petal to Café Brauer and joined their exclusive vendor list. They made it! The business took off. They went from one wedding every other week to six weddings each weekend almost year-round. By this time, almost 30 people were on staff.
Several years in, Esther and her business partner each had two children. The work never stopped. All week was spent running the business and preparing the arrangements, while all weekend was spent setting them up at venues. In addition, there was no way to continue scaling the business; the duo just didn’t have the bandwidth. They could not take on anymore weddings because they had no room in the studio. So, they started looking for a buyer. They found one, and stayed on as consultants for about a year. But because their power and influence had diminished, it wasn’t the same. The two left the company in 2014, ten years after its inception.
Following Scarlet Petal, Esther did marketing consulting for several businesses. It was great for her to continue to be part-time as her kids grew up. When her youngest eventually started going to school full time, she decided it was time she did too. Through a business connection, she learned about Saggezza. All worked out and her time here has been busy. This position brings together her experience with technology, consulting, events, entrepreneurship, management, and so on. To her, it feels like a natural fit. She continues to grow the marketing team and execute new marketing initiatives.
Esther has no regrets about the decision to sell. It was the best thing for them at the time. She says being an entrepreneur has made her the person she is today. Her words of advice: If anyone is looking to start their own business, have the confidence, the drive and the willingness to take no and keep going. You have to put trust in people and be willing to let go. Be willing to sacrifice or you won’t make it.
Have questions for Esther? Want to know more about this series? Contact us here.
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