A short time ago, Diane Herron left her business, sold all her stuff, and made her way to the Okanagan Valley.
Now, less than a year after she first landed, Herron is making an impact in Kelowna, crisscrossing the city in a tiny, fragrant, pink truck.
Herron’s new business, Sweet Dee’s Flowers, takes the food truck concept floral. From her Japanese micro truck Herron operates a kind of “flower bar” where she creates custom bouquets for passersby.
She only took the novel concept to the streets a little over a month ago, but people have already begun to take notice.
Herron got her start through Futurpreneur Canada’s start-up financing program, which helped her refine her business plan so she could secure a loan.
Normally, participants have access to a $30,000 loan through the program, but Herron had to make do with much less after the bank chose not to back her thanks to her previous career running her own boudoir photography studio.
“I just thought that was so funny,” she said. “It did kind of change a lot of things, though.”
Now, she had to make do with half the capital she initially expected, making the whole enterprise much more “scary.”
“Every day was just a different problem to solve, and there was no answer some days, and that was really frustrating,” she said.
But entrepreneurs make it work. Sweet Dee’s is named for Herron’s alter ego, a sugar-stuffed superhero with a sidekick cat living in her hair.
Herron created Sweet Dee when she was 21 and living on her own for the first time. The character helped her get through some tough times and has stuck with Herron ever since.
Taking on this new challenge, Herron revised her plans things started falling into place. It was cost restrictions that lead her to settle for the Japanese micro truck that houses Sweet Dee’s, and that truck has already gained the business some notoriety.
Herron says when she gets delivery orders her customers will often ask for a heads up just as she’s arriving so they get the visual impact of the truck—resplendant with flowers—rumbling up.
“It’s such a happy business. Everybody who comes up to the truck is always like ‘it’s so cute, everything’s so cute’ and they’re so happy to see the truck,” Herron said.
And really, she says, the truck is essentially the entire Sweet Dee’s brand. Herron said that, while people are often overjoyed when they see the truck fully stocked with flowers, take away the truck and the reception is decidedly more muted.
She says she’s left flowers for retailers to sell in the past, but “that hasn’t gone over so well.”
She says she’ll likely avoid a storefront for that reason, however, eventually she’d like to add more trucks to her fleet.
“I would love to have more trucks. I would love to have a truck in each neighbourhood. Just an army of flower trucks, I think that would be wonderful,” she says.
Right now, Herron sets up shop at various business and markets around town and appears every week at the East Kelowna Sunday Community Artisan Market. For news on her latest location, check out Sweet Dee’s online.
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