A former lawyer and stockbroker, Lynn Jawitz had been working in a male-dominated environment at Merrill Lynch when she decided to have her first child. Realizing that her sales quotas were not designed for working women, Lynn decided to leave and have her second child. Without a new career plan in place, she learned floral design at the Parsons School of Design. Lynn received two certificates and worked at the Kiro Studio, where she became known as the preferred designer for Japanese socialites married in New York. In 2002, combining her love of design and architecture, Lynn officially launch Florisan, LLC, a full service wedding and event planning company, making her one of the most sought-after designers in Manhattan.
Lynn is divorced and has two sons, Jeffrey, 20, and Gary, 18.
Q: Were you always creative?
No, I was the antithesis of artistic. I hated art class and I never thought of myself as a creative thinker, but once I took my first flower class, I was hooked.
Q: Did you ever think about entrepreneurship?
When I was married, I traveled with my husband and I would devour all of the entrepreneurship magazines on the plan and wonder, 'Could I do that?' Also, when my children were young, I ordered flowers for my children's parties but by the third time of getting flowers that I just didn't like, I thought I could do better.
Q: How did your divorce play into your success?
I went through a very litigious divorce and the judge said to me "Lynn, you're going to have to work." I hadn't touched law since before the age of computers, and by that time I had been out of the stock market for almost a decade. It was my priority to maintain stability for my children and keep them in the same home so when the divorce was final, I started Florisan.
Q: What was it like in the beginning?
Pure terror! If it didn't work out, I would have sold my house but that's not what I wanted to do so I worked as if my life depended on it.
Q: What was the key to getting the concept off the ground?
Networking and joining professional organizations were a really big part of it.
Q: How do you deal with all the competition?
It's totally a taste thing: I put my work out there and there are people you totally get what I do and others you don't.
Q: How did you balance being a single mom and Florisan?
Although I meet clients in my studios, I actually work in my home. I wanted a place where my children knew where I was and that I wasn't sacrificing my family to do this. I like to work at night so I would put my children to bed and then work. I owned my own life.
Q: What do you wish you would have known before you launched Florisan?
Although I was prepared to work very hard, it was actually more difficult than I thought.
Q: What was the biggest key to your success?
One of my favorite quotes is, "I let nobody outwork me." Entrepreneurs need to have an unshakable belief in themselves that what they're offering is the best thing out there regardless of how much rejection they face. Having confidence in yourself is important because no one starts out an overnight success.
Q: What's the best part of your job?
When my clients tell me how much having the flowers and the design at their event meant to them and they understand that I take no shortcuts and they appreciate my work, I am so moved.
Q: What's your single piece of advice?
Become classically trained because you'll have the confidence to know that you're doing it exactly by the book. Also, learn as much about your product or service that you possibly can.
For more information about Lynn Jawitz, visit www.florisanllc.com.
Do you know a successful mom entrepreneur? Email Julie at [email protected].