The world of floral design is as varied as the flowers used, with styles honed over time by one’s training and talent. For Rene Di Benedetti, a long-time student of the Ikebana-Sogetsu school of floral arranging, fusing elements of the East and West in his designs are what have set him apart.
In 2010, after 30 years of working for other florists, Rene was ready to venture out on his own with his distinct brand of floral arrangements. His goal was to create arrangements that incorporated not just unique mixtures of flowers but also unconventional materials, like wood and bamboo, similar to the Sogetsu School mission of adapting traditional techniques to modern times. As Rene put it, “I always want my customers to get something unexpected in every arrangement.”
Colorado Enterprise Fund involvement
Rene first worked with a business consultant at the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to get his vision for his business on paper. He was then referred to Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) about a loan, his first in 2010, which he used to market his new business, Rene's Maison des Fleurs, and advertise its opening. He returned in 2013 to refinance his CEF loan and get more funds to continue marketing his niche home decor business to a larger audience.
“I started this business to run things like I wanted to,” recalls Rene. “I wanted to experiment with new things and CEF helped me do that.”
Since working with CEF, Rene has moved to a new store on South Broadway to broaden his services and inventory which now includes antiques, scented French candles, chandeliers, French cards and linens, and original art by local artists. His new location is in the heart of Denver’s historic antique row which is experiencing a renaissance with millennials and young families moving into nearby apartments and bungalows. Rene expects increased foot traffic to his well-situated storefront will allow him to hire more staff to help with deliveries. “Running your own business is a ton of work,” remarked Rene. “Your passion and commitment are what keep you going."
Plus support from CEF’s Business Acceleration Services (BAS) team of consultants who, along with the SBDC, helped Rene grow his floral business to what it is today. “CEF is so willing to help and has lots of different resources and knowledgeable staff,” Rene stated. “It’s great to have an organization that wants to help small business flourish in Colorado.”