Last winter, in the middle of an NYC snowstorm, I went flower shopping with the women behind 2H Flowers, a too good to be true floral delivery service in the city. Between hand picking their incredible arrangements, Kelly + Ingrid shared with The Lady Project a little more about how they work together so well, that time they super messed up and the personality trait that's a must-have for running a small business.
Meet Kelly + Ingrid of 2H Flowers!
How do the two of you communicate - especially during stressful times?
Ingrid: We have very rational and mature conversations. We're both good listeners and we're very respectful of each other's feelings.
Kelly: I learned a lot when I started to work with Ingrid ... at the beginning, for the first year of 2H I was doing it on my own, so I was pretty solitary. Working together, I learned I had to talk about things. It was foreign to me, but I forced myself through it -- forced myself to talk about things.
Ingrid: The good and the bad - from the beginning, I wanted to know all of it.
Kelly: And at first it was weird - wait, I have to say this stuff out loud? I was so used to it being just in my head. It did help me become a better communicator. I still have a long way to go, but I'm working on it.
That's a big step -- bringing someone else on to the business you've created.
Kelly: Once I get a good feeling about something - I don't question it. When I met Ingrid, I knew! We became so close so quickly - I've never felt that way about anybody before.
Ingrid:[laughs] It's a different kind of soul mate.
Kelly: Really! It's amazing. The working came first - so our friendship didn't complicate it. It's helped us respect each other's boundaries. It's brought a different dynamic.
How do the two of you find a balance between running 2H Flowers and having a personal life?
Kelly: I don't think I've figured that out quite yet! I did take my first vacation recently while Ingrid took care of everything. It was a big first for me. It was amazing - but I don't think there can be a full shut off.
So honestly, is there a balance right now?
Kelly: No - I'm actually struggling with that. It's been a hard year. It was really easy to give up my hobbies and other things and focus entirely on work. Or -- at least, feel super guilty for not focusing entirely on work. That is actually the worst thing to do - because I'm not getting inspiration from anywhere, I feel drained and I end up not wanting to the do the work.
I am trying. It's nice to have other things to focus on - other than just living entirely in my work world.
What's the personality trait that's helped you - and your business - the most?
Kelly: I'd say for both of us, it's confidence. My first thought was something along the lines of providing great customer service, but ultimately that boils down to confidence.
Kelly: You have to believe in your brand and your product. Not often, but sometimes you have to deal with a handful of shitty people who complicate things ... and you have to know where you stand and be proud of your business. Our confidence has made it easier to solve problems without selling out or doubting ourselves.
We have had a few tough situations and we do take it hard -- we work so hard and believe in what we do so much that when someone it's upset, it's hard.
How do you maintain that confidence when facing one of those situations?
Kelly: I think it takes a little bit of reflection. People just want to be heard and understood.
[Tweet "Be genuine and don't let one bad moment define you!"]
Ingrid: We know we're good people and we know we are providing great care. The people with bad attitudes just have bad attitudes. Stepping away from that and keeping that perspective is helpful anywhere you work. And -- remembering that you learn from it! Even if it's a situation you feel shitty about, that's how you learn.
Any specific mistakes that come to mind?
Kelly: Yes. All I can think of is Valentine's Day.
Ingrid: So, Valentine's Day is very stressful for us. It's our least favorite day of the year. We had over 100 deliveries last year  and we took on way too much. We didn't say no. It's a big thing we learned -- when to say no, and when to be okay with it and not over extend yourself.
That's especially true when you're a brand new business. You know you have to reach more and more people and it's hard to learn when to say no.
Valentine's Day was a big lesson for us. Some people straight up did not get their flowers and it was crushing to know that we couldn't provide a service that someone was counting on. That day, everything just spun out of control, so the next day we did our very best to the couple people that didn't get their delivery ... we offered sincere apologies and tried to make it right.
Kelly: We took every step we could and offered the acknowledgement that we would want to receive if we were in their position. Acknowledgement goes really far. Everyone just wants to be acknowledged and heard in life. We understand that and are sensitive to that -- which is how we excel in customer service. That sounds like just a line, but it's really true. We as people want that for each other and for everyone else.
Ingrid: Sometimes it's touch to admit when you've messed up. You have to humanize the situation. "We know we messed up and we are soooo sorry!" That's what works and people get it. What can they say when you're putting your all out there?
2H is your full time gig -- how do you manage depending on your small business for financial security?
Kelly: It's hard - it's an area I struggle in. Running the business on my own for a year made me form really bad habits. I didn't put the focus on being professional - in terms of budgeting - right off the bat. That's what I would say to people starting businesses -- it's so important. It was just me and I thought if I had money in my account, I could just use it without actually looking at where it's going or what I'm spending. That warranted a year of bad habits and it was tough to get organized. It's something I'm really working on being diligent with. Especially - now there's another personal involved.
I've had to accept that I've made a couple mistakes. But - despite it being a hard year - I knew it wasn't going to get any better on it's own. It's normal to have setbacks, but you have to believe you can get past them. Even when it felt overwhelmming, as soon as I started being honest with myself - it felt so much more manageable. Knowing it's bad and ignoring it is so much worse than acknowledging it and making a plan ... even if it's teeny steps.
Ingrid: Also - I'm not judging the circumstances. I had to take out judgements. Again - that's part of the boundaries and the respect we have for each other. That's where our friendship really began. We ask that we're 100% honest with each other, even around difficult things, like money.
Kelly: We have a very unique relationship.
Ingrid: [laughs] This is turning into a love story about us.
So, lastly -- what's a moment you've been the most proud of 2H?
Kelly: The very first day I started conceiving the plan, I was still at my fashion job and I was creating a business plan in powerpoint. One of the first slides I made was listing places I would be so proud for my brand to be featured one day and one of the websites was Daily Candy. One day - last spring or summer - I got an email from Daily Candy that they were featuring 2H. It was just this moment that this big thing on my list happened. It was such a cool moment. When it happened - it was obviously exciting, but I was a bit like, "What's the next big thing?" But still - that moment brought me back to the very beginning and showed how far things had come.