Beyond Vassar

She Blossoms Daily

By Samantha Soper '91

Few people can recognize a spring flower from a fall flower. Even fewer can distinguish the scent of lilac versus gardenia. And fewer still can explain the meaning of a pink rose or a lily. But Saundra Parks ’75 can do all this and more.

As owner and creative director of The Daily Blossom, Parks and her artisans design exquisite floral creations for any occasion.  With 15 to 16 full-time employees (20 to 25 during holiday seasons) and “legs throughout the flower-buying community,” Parks will order hydrangeas from New Zealand, tulips from France, or daisies from local markets to fulfill a wish.

Parks grew up surrounded by flowers. She inherited her innate appreciation of flowers from her father who owned a gardening business. She used to accompany him as he sold fruit trees door-to-door. Inspired by her family full of entrepreneurs and dissatisfied with a career in marketing, Parks opened The Daily Blossom after attending only a couple of hands-on classes at the New York Botanical Floral Design School. Adding to her business drive were the lessons she learned at Vassar. “[Vassar] taught me stamina, how to think creatively, and the knowledge that there are always many options in life,” said Parks.

One of Parks’ first jobs was for Sony music — designing arrangements for their offices and for the promotions and marketing staff. “Soon Sony wanted to send arrangements to some of the artists on their label,” she said. “They were impressed by my work and vision, so from that success, I started marketing the entertainment business specifically.” Parks’ high-profile clients now include the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Maya Angelou, and Lauryn Hill.

Saundra Parks
Saundra Parks
Parks’ success — as striking as her favorite flower, the peony — has a lot to do with the close attention her staff pays to all customers. Getting to know her customers is important for Parks to help them achieve their goals. She believes you can show your “personality with flowers. They are a reflection of your thoughts and ideas, how you view nature.”

She explained that some clients request specific flowers but may not know how expensive they are or may not be aware of other varieties that can achieve the same feeling or message. “I try to ask each client: ‘What are you trying to do? Why do you feel this?’”

This personal touch, combined with Parks’ enthusiasm and passion for flowers, is her key to staying in business. “My success is predicated on the tried, true, and perfected. It’s like having a dress or suit made: I allow clients to try on the design, so the results are always what they expected. The responses are outstandingly great!”