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June 22, 2017

An Interview with Leslie Habets from Aberdeen Wedding Florist Jack Hadden

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I decided to start a new blog series to introduce y’all to some of my favorite wedding vendors in the Sandhills area.  I hope that you enjoy getting to read about them and their businesses as much as I do!  The first wedding vendor that I am interviewing is a good friend of mine, Leslie Habets.  When Leslie is not at work she is probably spending time with her kids and husband at the beach.  Leslie owns the Aberdeen wedding florist shop Jack Hadden (formerly Aldena Frye).

I recorded the interview to give it a more conversational feel.  I tried to maintain that vibe when I transcribed it so forgive any liberties that I took with grammar.

On another note, trying to teach yourself to touch type again as a thirty five year old is hella hard.  If you like this format, or have suggestions for people that you would like to see interviewed shoot me an email and let me know!

MT: First of all, thank you for agreeing to be the first in my interview series, Leslie.  To start out, can you tell me a bit about you and Jack Hadden and how you came into this, because I was gone when this all happened, so how did this all come about?

LH: Actually, how it all got started was five or six years ago I had to get flowers for a Junior League event and I walked into the shop {Aldena Frye} and I thought “This is super cool”.

I asked for Aldena, she was not in the shop, I had never laid eyes on her, and I had [my daughter] Haddie with me – who is the Hadden part of Jack Hadden – and she was in a cute little yellow polka dotted trench coat.  I left the store thinking “There is no way this florist is ever going to call me back”, but I left my name and I’d no more walked in my house then Aldena called and asked, “Were you the girl with the cute little baby with the yellow polka dotted trench coat?”  I told her what I wanted, she donated the flowers, and we strummed up a relationship that way.

I knew her for about five or six years before I bought the business.  I started doing all of her social media, helping her with different marketing type things, and then I started helping with events.  I got word that she was wanting to retire so that she could spend more time with her family who lives overseas so I told her that I would like to buy the business.  “I wondered if you were going to ask” was Aldena’s response so we strummed up a deal that and it worked for both parties.

The way that the name came about was the one thing that Aldena told me was that you never want your name on the front of a building because you can’t get away from it.  So I thought, “Well, I can’t put my name on it and I don’t want to put something cheesy about flowers, because we do so much more than flowers, so I thought Jack Hadden.”  Jack is my nine year old and Hadden, who goes by Haddie, is my five year old.  It actually makes for a great story when people come into the shop.  All of the men at the shop get greeted with “Hi, you must be Jack.”  We get a lot of calls looking for Jack Hadden and we have to explain that Jack is in the third grade and he is normally not available until after 3 ‘o’clock.  People seem to like the name and we wanted to be more inclusive and use a name that meant something to my family.

MT: Now that we know how you got into the business, what was it about weddings that you really liked and wanted to be involved in?

LH: Weddings are probably one of the most fun things that we do because every wedding is different.  Whether you have a girl who comes in with no idea what she wants and you get to create something and it’s kinda like you get to re-plan your wedding over and over again and use different color schemes, ideas, and venues or you have a girl who comes in and knows exactly what she wants and the challenge then is how do we take the girls vision out of her head and make it everything that she wanted?  A wedding is a once in a lifetime event and it’s something different with every girl who walks in.  We could be doing five weddings in a weekend and every one of them is a different color scheme, different glassware, and we are doing different elements of the wedding so it makes for a very fun, you never know what’s going to go on type of thing.  It might not be as important as working in the ER saving lives, but they say people who work in the ER like that their job is constantly something different.  There is not a day that’s normal here or that we are meeting with a bride and it is just like it was with the bride before.  You are always getting a new challenge and a new vision.  It is really fun for me to pick those visions apart and re-create them so that you can get it out of that brides head and make it a reality.  The best part is at the end of the day when they walk in and see the finished product and then tell you, “This is better than I ever imagined.  This is everything that I wanted.” It’s fabulous.  We had a brides mom last weekend who told us she couldn’t have pictured this to be any better.  “This is what I wanted for my kids,” she said, “and you made it come true.”  You get to be a part of their big day and that’s special.

MT: You said earlier that you do things other than just flowers, what do you think makes you different from other florists?

LH: We aren’t just a florist.  We sell, I guess you could say, sentiments and emotions.  There is thought put behind every flower that comes out of here.  It is custom made for that person.  We talk to each client and each person who comes through the door.  We ask what are their favorite colors.  We ask what this arrangement is for.  Is it just to say hi?  Was there a death in the family?  Let’s make this special for this person.  Where is it going to go in their house?  I think that’s one thing that sets us apart, we do not ever have a cooler full of flowers that are identical.  We try to customize everything that we do for every single client because some people like traditional, some people like contemporary and we want to make sure every client is happy with their arrangement.

As far as other florists go, we are one of the only full service florists in the area who have been in business for 25 years.  We have a full stock of wedding rentals that a lot of people probably don’t know about.  We have a lot of connections with vendors throughout the state so we can pretty much get anything our clients want if we don’t already own it.

We are also able to coordinate everything for the bride from start to finish hands off, we can do rehearsals.. We can basically do the full package, or we offer an a la carte menu of services so they can pick what’s right for them.  Our purpose with the flowers and the weddings is we want to do what the customer wants. That’s how the business has been for 25 years and that’s how we want to see it go forward.  I think that’s really what has made it successful, we are not your run of the mill florist. We offer a lot and if you get something from us you are going to say Wow!

MT: We’re going to move on to some serious questions now.  What are your thoughts on wedding cake?

LH: I love wedding cake.  I absolutely love wedding cake.  That’s one of my favorite parts of the wedding and it’s actually extremely exciting to see them.  Cake flowers are big right now on wedding cakes so I always get to get up close with the cakes and I just like everything about them, including the smell.  You can tell if that cakes going to be good by the smell when you’re about two feet away from it.  I would say that everyone here is pretty much a connoisseur of wedding cake and we can point you in the right direction depending on what you want.  I have to say, for a small town there are a lot of really cool bakeries to choose from.  They have stuff for those with a sweet tooth or if you like the European style that’s not as sweet.  There are some cake artists around here that can knock your socks off.

MT: We’re going to get into a little bit more of Leslie as a person now.  How would your friends describe you in five words?

LH: Overwhelming.  Ha.  I have no idea!  That’s hard.

MT: I did kinda spring it on you.

LH: I think they would say I’m fun, I’m kind, and a little overwhelming at times.  I think that’s what people like about me.  I can definitely overwhelm you but it’s because I get really passionate about stuff and I want to be a part of it.  I think sometimes that can take people off guard and they might think, hold on or wait a second.

MT: Do you have a quote that you try to live by or that you think of often?

LH: No, not really.  The quote that’s been sticking out the most in my mind lately I saw posted several weeks ago and it says, “Everything that you do in your life is a self-portrait of you so everything should be stamped with excellence.”  I don’t know who said that, it could have been on a fortune cookie.  I was talking to everybody in the shop about it the other day because with our work I feel like we should give it our all because that is a self portrait.  These are artists here and their work expresses who they are.  If everything that you do in life down to holding a door for someone is a self portrait, I want to be known for something good.

MT: What is your best advice for couple planning their wedding?

LH: Enjoy it!  The small details are only in your head.  If something goes wrong on your wedding day, you are the only person who knows it and a lot of times that one little mishap is what makes the whole day great.  Whether it’s rainy – we have done wedding in hurricanes where the brides didn’t know what we were going to do.  We’re going to have the best wedding, and they had a ball!  If the ring bearer runs back down the aisle everyone else thinks it’s cute.  So, enjoy it because in the blink of an eye you’re married and the wedding is over.  You’re spending a lot of time and money so have fun with it and make it what you want it to be.

MT: Do you have any wedding day pet peeves?

LH: Time.  My pet peeve on a wedding day is time.  If you are in a wedding, the bride has asked you to be there, it’s an honor to be there, be on time.  Whether you are a vendor, guest, or you are part of the wedding party.  If there is a timeline that has been set, follow it.  Also, wait until the bar opens.  Don’t drink through the ceremony.  For the most part all of the weddings we do go off without a hitch, but I would definitely say my biggest pet peeve is time because that can scare a bride real quick – or her mother – if half the wedding party is missing in action.

MT: We are going to wrap up with two questions. What is the best advice you have ever gotten? And what is the best advice you’ve received, known it was good advice, but chosen to ignore it anyway?

LH: Let me think about that for a second.  The answer to the second question might be too long a list.  From 21 and under there was a lot of that.  I guess the best advice that I’ve ever gotten was to do what I want to do.  To make myself happy and not care about what other people think.  I know when I was teetering on the line, not only with buying this business but with several other things in my personal life, my husband’s father told em not to worry about anyone else but to do what I want to do and go get it.  At the end of the day you’re not looking at them in the mirror, you’re looking at yourself.  I’m glad I took that advice.

As far as advice that I didn’t take I don’t know.

MT: Mine is drink more water

LH: Well, I could definitely do that.  Oh, the red hair faze.  I had very fire engine red hair.  My mom said “Don’t do it.  It’s a bad idea.” And I said oh, no it will be fine.  It was a bad idea.  I actually did that four days before I got married.  Looking back I probably should have listened, I’m just not a red head.  We planned our wedding very quickly because we didn’t want a big wedding and so I wasn’t thinking about my hair color – I wasn’t even thinking about getting married on Friday.  So, I shouldn’t have gone with rooster red for the wedding pictures.  It wasn’t a good idea.

THANK YOU!

We will be in touch soon. 

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