Beno’s Flowers is a Hispanic business located in Iowa City. Benito Ocampo, the proprietor, originally went to college to work in the Hotel Industry. It wasn’t until his friend who is a florist had asked Benito to help with his sister’s wedding. Benito not only found his passion, but found another way to express a message through flowers. Each flower has its message and purpose. One of Benitos most asked questions is his favorite flower. He said “Everyday for me I have a new flower. It’s hard to choose.” During the interview his favorite flower was the Ranunculus. Which is also trending since the wedding season is coming up. From Benito assisting his friend this inspired Benito to go back to school and open up a business to share his message “Happiness is an unexpected bunch of flowers!”
Benito was born and raised in the state of Morelos, Mexico. He had a business in Mexico and had to move to the U.S so the government didn’t take his visa. He sold everything and started his life over in Chicago. Benito was presented with many challenges such as the language barrier and the weather. He lived in Chicago for 5 years then moved to Iowa in which is where he is to this day. He has lived in Iowa for 5 years and found Iowa to be his home as he has found an amazing support group in Iowa City.
What makes Beno’s Flowers unique from other flower shops is the experience. Beno has a unique feature known as the flower bar. Many of the options are natural and fresh from local farms where many of his clients may build their own bouquet. Clients get the option to choose some of their favorite flowers all in one bouquet. Where in other businesses it would already be premade. From having a conversation and getting to know each of his clients’ stories. Benito connects the stories to flowers. One of the experiences he shared was the moment in which he helped a bride in wanting to incorporate her grandmother certificate in a bouquet. After Benito heard her story, he made a flower made up of paper. Benito is creative and detailed to anything he touches. This experience left a positive impact on the bride and Benito. From this experience it stays consistent in the message Benito incorporates with each of his clients.
With the whole pandemic this really has affected Beno’s Flowers with a huge set of challenges. Benito was presented with challenges that no business had prepared for. Through the 1st month of the lockdown Benito was stressed about making the necessary payments to keep the business going. Many of his clients were University students, and his clients moved virtually or were just not aware he was open. The more days that go by the more Benito has to worry about the possibility of closing down. Many of his clients who scheduled weddings were either postponed or cancelled due to Covid-19. Benito went on Facebook and reached out to a facebook group about his feelings towards the uncertainty with his business. This facebook group helped Benito through one of the toughest times. He has then learned to be more active on social media to communicate with his clients that Beno’s Flowers is active and running! This habit of being more active on social media only brings him more clients as well as active engagement with his community as he prepares for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday.
Through these unprecedented times Benito is optimistic even when there is uncertainty. Beno’s Flowers is one of the many businesses adjusting to the digital world. Communicating to clients is important when having to deal with clients online and in-person. We asked Benito to share some wise words to any young Latino thinking about creating a business. He states “Never be afraid. Fight for your dreams after some time you are going to see yourself getting closer to your goal. Make sure it is your passion and that is what you want!” There is nothing more important than finding ourselves to be truly happy. Even when happiness is an unexpected bunch of flowers!
Beno’s Flowers is located at 107 E. Iowa Ave, in Iowa City, Iowa.