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Although both Cydney Davis-English’s grandmother and father were florists, working in the flower shop business was never how she planned her life to bloom out. But, as it turns out, flowers are kind of her thing—perhaps it was a bud omen.
Davis-English’s grandmother opened a flower shop in the late ’40s. Her father would follow in his foster mom’s footsteps by opening up his own shop, a place NC native Davis-English spent a great deal of time after school during her formative years—doing her homework and helping with flower arrangements—never imagining she’d become a florist herself. To wit, she majored in business, later ending up studying music and theater at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. But the skills she had acquired working for her father enabled her to work part time during college at a local florist.
Post-graduation, Davis-English found herself working in the theater and arts community, and happily married to husband Warren (now 27 years), who himself ironically is a third-generation florist. Not giving too much thought to her family’s floral legacy, Davis-English took a few years off from work to stay at home and raise their daughter, Vivienne, while also flipping houses with Warren.
And then the seed was finally sowed—and the couple decided to open up their own florist shop, English Garden Raleigh, allowing the legacy of both of their families to live on.
Now almost 15 years later, English Garden Raleigh is a burgeoning business—specializing in weddings and both large and small arrangements for almost every floral need—that has grown to offer delivery services and in-house classes teaching the art of floral arrangement.
And when the busy florist and mom isn’t running her businesses, helping Viv with homework or whipping up a gourmet meal, she enjoys hiking and running. To date, she’s hiked on five continents—and her goal is to do a half marathon in every state before she turns 50. So far, she has completed 10 states, with more than a half-dozen more planned for this year. Needless to say, Davis-English keeps herself busy.
But even with busy lives and a blooming floral shop, the couple wanted to pursue opening their own franchise. So they met with a franchise broker to see what industry would be the best fit—and a cleaning business kept showing up as a match.
Owning a cleaning service hadn’t been in their plans either, but they finally took a leap and bought into Two Maids and a Mop. The learning curve for the new cleaning business was more than Davis-English had initially imagined, but through Two Maids and a Mop, she was able to learn the importance of delegation and finding the right people to help run her businesses.
As a business owner—and boss—Davis-English has learned that if she’s “in the business,” she’s not working on the business. Creating gorgeous floral arrangements comes naturally to Davis-English—what isn’t so natural for her is learning to delegate.
“It was easier to clean up something and do it the way I wanted it done than it was to take the time to coach a team on how to do it,” she says. “For me, I’ve had to learn I have to put the time in to coach and set expectations up front so that we can all focus on the bigger picture and build our team and brand.”
Back when the pandemic hit, with two businesses under her management, Davis-English found that, more than ever, it’s OK to not beat yourself up when things don’t go as planned; it’s about how you handle things and move forward from it.
Her single biggest piece of advice to other entrepreneurs is to “really make your needs and intentions clear, and don’t apologize for it.”
“Running a small business, you find that you and your staff quickly become like a family unit,” Davis-English says. “I’ve had to learn that if someone leaves my family, it doesn’t matter if they were there six months or six years, our environment is better for having them there.”
And these lessons ring to something Davis-English’s grandmother always said: “It’s not what you get right that matters, it’s how you handle what you get wrong”—something that Davis-English tries to apply in her life all the time.
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