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Life and Work with Jesse Zmuda

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jesse Zmuda.

Jesse, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I first fell in love with flowers as a teenager working at a flower shop and my deep love for flowers has only grown stronger over the years. I moved to San Diego in 2003 with my best friend and started working at a flower shop in Hillcrest.

I bounced around in my 20’s from San Diego, Las Vegas, and LA. In 2008, my then-husband and I moved to my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, and opened a bar/restaurant. After some major life shifts and loss, I decided to return to San Diego and get back in the flower game. And though I had stepped away from floral design for years, the moment I got my hands green again, it was as if I’d never stopped. In 2015, I launched a partnership with a friend I met in floral design school and we shared a sweet little flower shack in Mission Hills for almost two years.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’d say it has been fairly smooth but with some challenges. I think the challenges and the obstacles help us to learn and navigate our way through life. Without them, how do we grow?

If I could give any advice to young women starting their journey, it would be to stay true to who you are and be honest with yourself and where you want to go in life. Don’t let anyone get in the way of your dream and what you aspire to be! It’s easy to get wrapped up in what others are doing but don’t.

Also, take your time and don’t’ pressure yourself! I’m 38 and still figuring out who I am and what I need to feel fulfilled.

If you’ve never heard the song “Wear Sunscreen”, give it a listen.
It really is the best advice.

Please tell us about Backbone Co. Floral & Vintage.
Backbone Co. is a floral design and vintage studio that specializes in florals for weddings, events, daily orders, and more. My studio is full of vintage goods that I sell online and plan to sell in brick and mortar soon. I also make art with pressed and dried florals – for sale soon!

The brand Backbone symbolizes strength in character and what holds us together and keeps us aligned.

I try to give back to the community when possible by donating a portion of proceeds to different charities I am passionate about. and when I have some leftover flowers from events, I love delivering them to neighbors and local retirement homes.

Flowers obviously can be very therapeutic; we all know that. And I love the feeling of knowing my art is bringing light into someone’s life.

Often it feels as if the media, by and large, is only focused on the obstacles faced by women, but we feel it’s important to also look for the opportunities. In your view, are there opportunities that you see that women are particularly well-positioned for?
When you listen to the challenges that most women my mothers’ age faced growing up, you can see that we’ve definitely come a long way. There are plenty of opportunities that weren’t available to them that there are today.

I’d say women are well positioned for more leadership roles but also feel the opportunities are limitless. I was raised by two strong women who taught me just that and I raise my daughter with the same ideals!

There has also been a surge of women supporting women, which is amazing! So many new women’s networking groups and boss babe type of events that are available. We need each other’s support!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jessie Shultz Photography

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