|Itika Oldwine of Oldvine Florals|
By Sharee Silerio
In 2011, after working on “The Oprah Show” for eight seasons as an intern then employee, Itika Oldwine took a big leap of faith and traded in Chicago for Los Angeles to start a career in marketing. Soon after arriving, she started a marketing position at L.A. Live, an entertainment and sports complex adjacent to the Staples Center Downtown. There, she was immersed in one of the largest event spaces in the nation, which hosts the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers, the Grammys, MTV Awards and BET Experience.
After learning as much as she could about marketing, she started securing her own clients, and one of them ended up being Eric Buterbaugh Design, a florist out of the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills. Eventually, Oldwine left LA Live to become Buterbaugh’s general manager and a new passion began to bloom.
"I've always loved beautiful things, and I appreciate a certain aesthetic, but I wasn't sure that flowers was something I was passionate about until I started working with Eric Buterbaugh," says Oldwine. "Flowers live and breathe, and they have this texture when you touch them. They change the mood of a room. They change the mood of a human being.”
Although it was refreshing to be able to work with beautiful flowers every day, Oldwine soon wanted more.
“When it came to the way we designed flowers, I grew. I wanted to be bolder, use different colors, work with different clients. I developed a point of view that I couldn't really express because it wasn’t my business,’ she explains.
So Oldwine gave herself the blessing to do something different. After two years of hands-on training, she took another leap of faith. This past June she left Eric Buterbaugh's company to start her own floral business.
“I left the job before I had a location, before I had a name for it, or anything. I just had a feeling that I could do this for myself,” she says.
When choosing a name for her business, Oldwine wanted to find something that would resonate with her and clients. After brainstorming, she chose Oldvine Florals, a mix of her last name and vines, which are reminiscent of flowers. She purchased a domain with the same name as the business, then registered a “Doing Business As” with the city of Los Angeles. After that, she chose a location for the boutique, which is a convenient two blocks from the flower market.
Though everything seemed to fall in place easily, she says that securing angel investors and coming up with the marketing and business plan, as well as figuring out how much money she needed to actually launch, was the biggest challenge.
Still, in just a short time, Oldwine has made a name for herself in the industry, working with clients such as Martini & Rossi, E! Entertainment, “The Voice” television show, the Oprah Winfrey Network, and more. So what's the secret to her success?
“Every single thing that I did in my professional career, and even things throughout my young life, led me to this point," she says. "Sometimes, when we’re working, figuring things out or looking at our past decisions, we don’t see how it will all come together. I pull from all of my experiences in order to excel where I am.”
As a woman who bravely chose and created her own path, she has a nugget of advice for all who want to pursue their passion.
“Absolutely follow it because it's not going to go away. It might be a huge, burning fire or it might go down to a flickering flame, but it's going to be there. You're doing yourself a disservice by trying to snuff out that flame. Light it up!”
To keep up with Itika, follow her on Instagram, and Oldvine Florals on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.comthen connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.