Patricia Duggan chose something she was passionate about when she made a career change.
The 30-year-accountant was happy to quit the daily commute to Calgary, and took up floral design at Mount Royal University.
“I thought it’s time to do something a little more fun, and always had a passion for flowers,” said Duggan.
She learned of Funky Petals, and upon reviewing the success of fellow franchisees, she joined the group of women that individually own their shops. She knew of SMARTstart and joined in fall 2019 as her business plans were coming together.
“SMARTstart really helped with meeting people in the business community,” said Duggan, whose mentor was Dr. Heather Cowie, owner of Airdrie Family Eye Doctors.
Duggan looked into leasing or owning commercial space, and by early 2020 she was the proud owner of a historic home along First Avenue in downtown Airdrie, with renovation plans to make it into Funky Petals Airdrie. COVID lockdowns happened three days after she took possession, but renovations continued and Funky Petals opened in June 2020.
“Our first year was better than I projected,” said Duggan, the recipient of the Airdrie Business Awards – Emerging Airdrie Business Category in 2021.
Duggan appreciates the support of her “cheerleader”, Dr. Cowie, who was also a recipient of the Greatest Impact Award.
Dr. Cowie loves being involved and giving back some of the mentorship she’s received in her career.
“The most rewarding [part] by far is just watching her blossom,” said Dr. Cowie. “It’s just incredible to watch.”
Duggan also noted the help of Airdrie Economic Development in Funky Petals’ success.
“There was a lot of exposure,” said Duggan. “I had people come into my door the minute I opened.”
She said SMARTstart is well worth the investment.
“You don’t always want to do it alone,” said Duggan. “When you’ve got other people to chat with, it helps.”
Year two is exceeding the former accountant’s projections and she is thankful for her career choice.
“It’s a whole different life,” said Duggan, smiling in the back of her shop. “I work with these lovely ladies and we giggle and chitchat…It’s going really well. I couldn’t be more pleased.”
Story and photography by Britton Ledingham.