Who knew that entrepreneur Ja’Nye Hampton’s first high school job of working at a flower shop would present a full circle moment for her owning her own shop in Detroit?
Even the Detroit native counted herself out of the flower business as a busy teenager just hustling to make a way. What started as an after school gig eventually led to Hampton discovering her passion for making flower arrangements and founding Detroit Flower Company. It’s that opportunity that’s helped her create more jobs for young girls in her local community and put small businesses on the map in her city.
Working Day And Night
According to Hampton, her business — which was created at the height of the pandemic — couldn’t have been made possible without her very first job that she earned as a high school sophomore. Though at that point she had zero interest in flowers, she had no idea it would give her the skills she needed to build the foundation for own her thriving flower company in Detroit.
In the midst of pursuing other things, Hampton later found herself working as many as seven jobs at a time — including being a certified yoga instructor, group fitness instructor and personal trainer. She managed to juggle all of these jobs every day of the week and still found time to make floral arrangements — an opportunity that didn’t come about until a friend of hers asked for an order of bouquet flowers for her yoga studio grand opening. Despite this being a one-time thing for the young founder, her friend was so impressed she basically did everything except literally push her back into the business.
“She kept saying, ‘you need to have a flower business and this can just be something on the side,'” she tells AfroTech. “And so it was just [that]. I literally never paid any attention to my own business in the beginning which was so crazy. I always worked so hard for everyone else’s business, but then when it came to mine I always put it on the back burner.”
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Taking A Leap Of Faith
At the time, Hampton’s side hustle wasn’t enough to support her financially so she continued to work her many jobs until the pandemic hit early last year. One by one, she says her jobs began closing and laying workers off until she was only left with her gig at a local deli. Over time, business for Detroit Flower Company began picking up so much to the point where the amount of orders Hampton was getting became too much to handle on her own.
“It started feeling extremely overwhelming to the point where I finally had to just [take a stand] and say, you know, I need to take a risk on myself,” she says. “When the pandemic hit and I started losing all my jobs, I really felt like I had no choice but to bet on the flower company and just see where I could go with it.”
And she got the chance to see how much her business could prosper after a $1,200 order forced her to quit her last job in 2020.
According to her, ever since that day “we haven’t had a [single] day where we have not had orders” and to date she says the business has generated over $600,000 in profits. Hampton’s business has succeeded so much, it was even chosen as a grant recipient of the Comcast RISE program — which distributed $5 million toward small BIPOC-owned businesses — as well as The You Matter Foundation and Detroit Prosper US.
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New Business Blues
The woes of a new business owner became a trial-and-error period for Hampton as she was finding out what she needed to do to help her business scale properly. Despite bringing in increased revenue, Hampton had to make a few sacrifices to make sure her company didn’t take a step backwards — including investing all her money into setting up a brick-and-mortar shop. Though she’s experienced her fair share of challenges, Hampton believes that all her hard work over the years has helped her appreciate being able to make things happen on her own.
“I really do feel like that is exactly why I am the way that I am now,” the Detroit native said. “As long as you want it then you’re able to get it, and as long as you have the drive to do it then anything is possible. So I really do feel thankful for all of the rough times that I’ve had, lord knows it’s been a lot, but they’ve definitely made me the business woman I am now.”
Paying It Forward For Detroit
After years of working for other people, Hampton has learned what it takes to not only be a great entrepreneur, but a great boss to others as well. Though she insists she isn’t the “employee stealer,” she says Detroit Flower Company has allowed her the opportunity to employ young women like herself around the city — including her mom who serves as the manager — and teach them the value of teamwork.
“I think my biggest thing with working [at other] places was I felt like I’ve always been a very hard worker, and I always put my best foot forward, but I feel like it wasn’t appreciated,” she shares. “I’m [grateful] to everyone and any business owner who has taught me [something], but I feel like their focus was just on people getting the work done and not necessarily having teamwork. As long as [the work] gets done, they don’t care how people feel, and I am just the complete opposite.”
“I’m trying to build a dream team full of strong women who can do what they want at a young age,” she continues. “I’ve given out raises or whatever the case is just because I see the hard work that everyone is putting in. I just want to be a standup boss and have a really strong, hardworking team.”
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Detroit Flower Company is just the beginning of Hampton uplifting her hometown and pouring back into the community that raised her. Now, alongside her team of aspiring, young Black businesswomen in the making, she hopes to grow her company into something the entire city can be proud of.
To keep up with Detroit Flower Company, follow the business on Instagram.