Growing up poor, future florist Max Polyakov had always known how to make the most of and appreciate the beautiful things in life. His mother, a florist, had taught him so. Being a single mother with four children (Max was the oldest) she had learned how to be strong by drawing strength from some of the things around her. Her love for flowers and the beautiful colours they had raised her spirits.
After Mariam, Max Polyakov’s mother had lost her husband a few years ago, she had been desperate to find a way to pay off the debts her husband left behind as well as feed the four hungry mouths which constantly cried out to her with their loud voices. Sometimes things got too hard for her, but she kept it going because she loved her children and wanted to honour her husband.
She started collecting flowers and arranging them for her mother-in-law who grew them in a garden nearby. She sold the flowers and brought her mother-in-law some of the profits. Mariam loved working with the beautiful flowers because they gave her a reason to live. They also brought money home because people in Italy loved flowers. It was a great thing to have a few more dollars at home each day, meaning they had a better supper to look forward to.
Mariam taught her eldest son the ropes of her job so that he would be able to help her out when it got tough and busy, especially at Christmas, Easter, and on Valentine’s Day. She also arranged wreaths for funerals. Max slowly learned how to weave the flowers into baskets and gather them into meaningful bouquets. He learned how to put them together in numbers that meant a lot to the buyers.
Their florist shop was not much, but at least it brought some form of solace. Mariam also dispatched the flowers with instructions on how to let the fresh flowers last a little longer than they were expected to. She loved her job and Max Polyakov was beginning to love helping also. There would be a few orders that Mariam would leave in Max’s hands by the time he turned eleven. Max Polyakov loved making his mother proud, and he enjoyed giving her customers a reason to smile. He would share the flowers with nothing less than a smile which always brightened up their day.
Soon, people trooped to the shop just to see Max Polyakov at work, weaving flowers and selling them to customers. Mariam was happy that she had raised such a responsible and amiable son, who had her at heart. Customers trooped to the shop every day and they ended up making more sales than she ever made on her own. Mariam began to call Max her ‘little angel’ because him coming of age meant so much to her.
One fateful month, Mariam fell surprisingly ill and was unable to tend to the shop and attend to visitors. Max Polyakov stood up and managed both the accounts and the flowers. He did such a splendid job that his grandmother, who hardly ever praised anyone, could not keep quiet about how much he resembled her son in spirit. During that period he held the shop down much to the surprise of Mariam. She wasn’t able to go to the shop after that illness, but Max did what he could to provide money for the family.
When the time came for Max Polyakov to go to high school, he offered to stay home and sell flowers but his mother would not hear it. She wanted him to be much bigger than both she and his father were. She did everything possible for him to go to school just in the next town. Max Polyakov refused to go far because he was concerned about his mother’s health and his younger siblings. Every day after school, he would come to his mother’s shop, which was managed by her sister, and work until late in the evening. His diligence got them enough money to expand and start dealing with artificial flowers as well. Max Polyakov bought the flowers from a nearby wholesale shop and sold them for events such as weddings that needed flowers for decoration. They began to do much better as a family after that.
The florist shop grew and flourished and soon Mariam was able to live the life she wished to live, both for herself and her children. They moved into a bigger house and advertised their business, making it a good target for men and women who wanted great floral arrangements. The success was slow but sure, and they began to reap the benefits. Mariam was always grateful for her son who had totally transformed her floral shop.
The time came for Max Polyakov to go off to college, he felt ready to leave his mother and the shop because they had hired so many hands that she did not need to sell the flowers or arrange them herself anymore. All she had to do was oversee the work that was being done. Mariam still preferred to arrange some of the natural flowers and weave them because according to her, it kept her busy and reminded her of the love she had from her husband through her son.
Although Max Polyakov went to another region to attend university, he came home almost every weekend to check on his mother and the shop. Things were always going well. Soon he was referred to as ‘the florist’s son’ because everyone in town knew about the young man who managed his mother’s shop since school. Every decision had to pass through him.
University gave Max Polyakov some freedom away from many of the responsibilities at home, although he checked up on the business ever so often. In his school, he began to apply for opportunities to decorate events with flowers and ask that he supply flowers from his grandmother’s garden for anyone who needed natural flowers. He did such a great job of advertising his mother’s business that many people from his school were sending in orders.
Soon his mother became overwhelmed and had to hire more hands. They partnered with several other gardeners to be able to meet the demands. And soon enough she had to dispatch some floral designers from her shop to weave and range flowers at sites for a higher fee. The shop had to relocate because of its rapid expansion and Mia’s Florists, named after Mariam, became the talk of the town.
Mariam retired by the time her son was twenty-five. She was just about forty-six at the time, but she could not keep up with the work any longer. Max Polyakov preferred her at home weaving flowers or paying attention to his younger siblings, the youngest of whom was sixteen at the time. Max Polyakov moved back to his mother’s town to regain ownership of the shop and the business. Mariam had already bequeathed it to him and left it totally in his hands to run. Max Polyakov rented a small apartment and went to the shop every day where he worked after his university. This was when Max Polyakov discovered the wonders of the internet and began to develop a blogging site so that he could both advertise Mia’s Florists and share some ideas on flowers. His experience over time had made him a good enough authority on the subject so that he was able to give great ideas on both how to weave flowers and how to be successful in your business.
Due to his already established popularity and him being loved by everyone in his town, it did not take long at all for him to gain a strong following. The younger generation who was interested in working with flowers always read and gained ideas from Max Polyakov. He became a celebrity in his own right, with several people quoting him on some ideas on floral arrangement.
Max Polyakov realized that he could make more money off his blog and chose to commercialize it. He got in a graphic designer to beautify the blog and make it much more appealing to people all over Italy, not just in Parma. He wrote about his day to day experiences at his floral shop, the big contracts he got and how he handled all the stress. He even wrote about how they had almost missed a client’s big day due to the unbelievable traffic on the roads.
That day, Max Polyakov recounted, was the worst day of his life. He always enjoyed working with clients and felt that he had to always deliver on time. However, for this destination wedding, they had to weave two thousand five hundred natural flowers and create five hundred bouquets and have them delivered in Rome in five days time. Max Polyakov knew he should not have taken the order, but he wanted to try it out. His workers worked tirelessly night and day and managed to finish in time. His excellent workers managed to finish, but it was the transport to Rome that took time, putting the florists way behind schedule. They were able to cut it close and reach the place just thirty minutes late. The program went on successfully, but the stress involved made Max Polyakov promise never to put himself in that position anymore.
Apart from that, Max Polyakov had always delivered on time. Timeliness was the most important to him. Orderliness and discipline were something he constantly told his workers about. He also wrote it on his blog several times. The most important thing you can give to a client is your word, and the best thing you can do as a businessman is kept it.
He married a woman who loved flowers just like his mother. Mariam loved her like her own daughter. Max Polyakov’s wife, Maria, also had green fingers. She joined Max’s grandmother in the garden and grew very beautiful flowers with her. These flowers were arranged and sold to some of the most elite people in the society. Many people gave positive feedback about the flowers and asked for more so Maria was ever ready to produce them.
The couple had two beautiful children who also loved flowers. The young children helped out sometimes in the shop. One day an enthusiastic young lady walked into the shop while the children were working. The woman seemed very interested in the shop and its designs and she touched the flowers. She had beautifully manicured fingers. She asked about the owner of the shop. Max Polyakov came forward and introduced himself. The lady introduced herself as Kelly and told she had heard so much about Mia’s Florists. She wanted to learn about flowers. She had read about Max Polyakov from his blog which had reached the United States.
Max Polyakov was surprised but offered to teach her. He opened a chance for anyone from anywhere in the world to come around and learn about floral design making. Kelly became his first student and many others applied to study under Max Polyakov. Some even wanted to study online. Max Polyakov designed an interface where he would be able to teach these students online every day for a little fee. This program skyrocketed the popularity of the blog and people started to ask about it everywhere in the world. He got orders through his blog from several countries. He sent the floral arrangements via DHL and said that his next plan was to open other branches in other places in the world. With the way that florist Max had been able to expand his business in the shortest possible time, it seems as if nothing is impossible for the florist’s son.