We Are Doing It: Blluum

Saturday, July 25, 2020 - by Amy Clarke
Christine Waldrop
Christine Waldrop

As Chattanooga area businesses shift, pivot and change, trying to adapt to a new normal, many are tapping into the passion that led them to open their business in the first place. Over the course of the next number of weeks, the Chattanooga Chamber will profile some of these owners and share their inspirational stories on how they're doing it.

Christine Waldrop, the owner of Blluum, a floral, event design and gift shop on Little Debbie Parkway in Ooltewah, never imagined having to shut down her business so soon after opening a brand new brick and mortar storefront in January 2020. With a shop full of freshly delivered flowers, she got to work.

“I really started to grow my online presence. I offered to ship. I did curbside. I did contact-free deliveries. I found ways to start working that,” Ms. Waldrop says. “I didn’t lose one single flower. I sold everything. I consider myself very blessed.”

While Blluum has only been around officially for the last four years, Ms. Waldrop’s passion for flowers goes back as far as she can remember. One of her favorite memories as a young child involved spending time in her great-grandmother’s huge flower beds.

“Every Memorial Day, I would watch her gather peonies. We would have a huge picnic and then put the flowers on the headstones of veterans and members of our family,” Ms. Waldrop says. “I created a signature candle in my shop after her.”  

In fact, much of what now shapes Ms. Waldrop's business came from watching the strong creative women in her family as she grew up.

“Whether it was flowers, events, wiring an electrical lamp, it didn’t matter, they would figure it out,” she says. “I remember my grandmother making cakes and watching how she made the flowers until she perfected it.”

Years later, it was no surprise when a family friend asked Ms. Waldrop to throw a wedding. At 25 and just like the women in her family, she was determined to make it a success.

“It went off fabulous. I even made the invitations by hand. Anytime I do an event, the client is going to get more than the average person. I invest myself solely in whatever project I am doing.”

It’s that energy, passion and drive keeping Ms. Waldrop moving.

“I am about connecting with my clients. It’s a very personal thing. These clients give you an opportunity of allowing you in their space. I take it very personally and so I understand there is a huge level of trust that comes with that," she says. “It’s about building relationships whether for a wedding, a birthday or a funeral.”

With customers always front and center, Ms. Waldrop believes business is shifting and there is an even bigger focus on people.

“We all need human interaction. When you are cut off from it, you realize that is what you need to thrive, to be happy and be well.”

Ms. Waldrop doesn't plan to shut down her storefront. Her advice to other local business owners: keep doing what you love to do.

“Don’t be discouraged by everything you see going on around you. Stay focused on why you are doing what you’re doing.”


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