We are having a conversation between Mark Baratto and Kristy Geary
INTRO ~ Welcome to the Backyards of Key West Podcast with your host Mark Baratto.
MARK: So, this is the Backyards of Key West Podcast, my name is Mark Baratto. I have a very special guest today. If you live on the island, if you’ve been on the island and you see beautiful things on tables, in restaurants, in stores, at events, probably everywhere, it is because of this lovely lady, who has a store called Love in Bloom and her name is…
KRISTY: Kristy Geary.
MARK: Yes! This is where the clapping comes in, we’ll add that in, no, we don’t do that here. It’s an honor to be here because we have just moved to Key West and a mutual friend of ours has been introducing me to some pretty incredible people. I love to do this podcast to learn why you are here, why you want to stay here, what was your reasoning for even coming here? All these lovely things on what makes Key West beautiful. I know why we moved here, so it’s really great to get the perspective from people here. This is kind of a business’y, entrepreneur type show, but it’s more around the people than it is around the money and the business and stuff like that. I will start with my hot topic first question, which is…How long have you lived in Key West?
KRISTY: 18 years, 18 this December.
MARK: Did you come before-hand, because it’s funny some of the other people I’ve interviewed, they are like – never came before, and moved here. And I’m like wow. There wasn’t any checking it out because before we moved here, we visited a lot and my family and I visited multiple cities and would stay a month here and check it out. Then a month there, but that’s not even as courageous as a lot of people who are just like, “Nah, I just took the leap.” Tell me about your story?
KRISTY: No, I think I pretty much started sitting on a Sloppy Joe’s bar stool at the age of seven. My hometown in Ohio used to be a big, actually it’s silly because it’s kind of a sister-island to Key West up north, so back in the day, before there was non-stop season in Key West, a lot of musicians and bartenders that my family knew from up there would come down to Key West in the winter, bartend at Sloppy Joe’s, play music at Sloppy Joe’s, so we came down a lot to visit and hang out.
MARK: You come from a musical family?
KRISTY: Nope. My family is boating. We have a marina, but a lot of the…
MARK: There’s just hanging around a lot and …
KRISTY: We have a lot of big parties, they have lots of summer parties and everything.
MARK: Yeah, that’s fun hanging around with musicians is always a good time. There’s always great music and musicians and great beers and stuff like that. You were coming with your family when you were younger, so you just always knew about Key West. Is this something while you were growing up, that you were like, I’m definitely moving here? Or, how did that happen?
KRISTY: Briefly, when I think I was about 12 or 13, I decided that I wanted to be a Sloppy Joe’s bartender. So, my Dad actually bought a shirt off of a bartender to give me for my birthday. Then, I changed my mind after that. I don’t even know, as you do. So, no I hadn’t planned it at all. I was at the time around 911, I was working in Ft. Lauderdale for a yacht design company and they kinda eliminated my position. I bounced around a little bit, went back to Cincinnati which is where I went to college, talked to a couple of friends who had also been here, and we said, “Hey, you know what? Let’s move to Key West. Why not?” My brother lived here at the time, and I had some other friends here. It wasn’t like it was a completely cold… and I knew the area.
MARK: You knew the area; you had your permanent bench over there at Sloppy Joe’s.
KRISTY: Yeah, and we were like let’s go down for like a year and check it out.
MARK: Now, when you were in Ft. Lauderdale, what were you doing? Was it what you’re doing now, cause we’ll get into that, too.
KRISTY: I worked for a yacht design company and it was kind of an extended internship from college and mostly just illustration for yacht interiors.
MARK: Let’s get into what business you’re in now, tell me about the store? How did you get involved in flower design? And, just this whole business?
KRISTY: It was also pretty random, and my first job down here was a bartender. And I continued through a few different bars and ended up meeting, gosh it’s probably been a dozen years ago, a woman who used to own a flower shop here. She was from a town nearby mine in Ohio, she ended up selling her shop and moving away. Several years later she comes back, and the woman who was currently selling Love in Bloom approached her to see if she was interested. And she was like, “Hell no.” I’m done with that, I’ve moved onto a new career. But, I might know someone. And man, she hit me right at the right day, at the time I was bartending on the 200 block of Duval Street (at the bar right next to Sloppy Joe’s, the Lazy Gecko) which is no longer there. And, it was spring break and the Saturday of the St. Patrick’s Day bar stroll, which happened to fall on the Saturday, which was St. Patrick’s Day and it was just crazy.
MARK: You have the nicest crowd; they are the sweetest people to you! The men were just so cordial.
KRISTY: At that time, the bars were always open until about 4, so you didn’t get off work until 5 or 6 in the morning. I was really getting tired of that lifestyle. And she was like, “Hey you know, well I might have something that you might be interested in” and I was like, “Yup, when can I start.” So, I had no background in flowers, a little bit of a background in design obviously,
MARK: Right. You have an eye for design, for sure.
KRISTY: And she said, well the good news is that she kinda needs someone to work with her through wedding season so she’s willing to hire and train you and if you think you like it, go for it. All right, it sounds like a plan.
MARK: Were you thinking, I’ve got money tucked away to buy this, or were you just going to learn the business and then make that decision?
KRISTY: A little bit of both.
MARK: Wow, it’s impressive. It really is how people who just go for it, like that. It’s like buying a business, putting up money, and in something that you don’t have experience in, and it takes a lot of balls to make a move like that, really. It really does. Hats off to you, to just go, all right, I’m really thinking about this, and I haven’t really done anything with flowers. It’s incredible, really, and you’re still here doing it. Wow.
KRISTY: Well, you know I grew up in a business family. My family owned their own marina, their own business and I grew up helping to run that, and then one of the first jobs I had here, I worked for Mike Wilson. He owned the water sports at the Casa Marina, Key West Water Sports. So, I learned a lot about running a business from him, too. I did the bookkeeping, I helped with pretty much every aspect. He was born and raised Key West guy, he knew a lot of people and I got some advice from him and advice from my Dad.
MARK: That’s great. Any pushback from anybody?
MARK: They were all like, yeah go for it. That’s really great. You started working for her and learning a little bit about it. Did you start falling in love with it? Or, were you just like, well this is better than making those cocktails?
KRISTY: Totally. Yeah, from day one. The creative aspect was amazing and we do a lot of event work. We are not like FTD or Teleflora where you’re making the same designs over and over, so it was really cool. And then, honestly, Tamara, our mutual friend. The previous owner hired her while I was still working there as well and just, Tamara’s creativity is amazing so learning so much from her as an artist and as a flower designer was really, amazing.
MARK: Yeah, cause she’s a flower designer too. So that’s amazing.
KRISTY: So, there’s like two different design techniques and I was like, “Yup, this is pretty cool.”
MARK: At the time, I know that now things are different, but at the time was it like, “Hey it’s Valentine’s Day and need a lot of roses and stuff like that?” Or right from the get go, it was more events?
KRISTY: When I took over she did almost strictly events. She had done daily hours and have a shop, but she kinda cut that back. We had to build that business back up. At the time there weren’t that many flower shops doing that, so it was not too hard to do that.
MARK: You were the only one.
KRISTY: There wasn’t a lot of competition.
MARK: What about the aspect of actually getting the flowers? And I’m asking these questions because when I lived in New York City, my wife has a massive hobby as a flower designer. Yeah, and she would love to come and work here for sure. When she was in New York, she took some flower classes and there’s this guy, who has a book and he’s super famous up there, and then she’s like, I’m going to see if I can go and work for free in some of these places. She worked for a place called Élan Flowers in Tribeca. And she would do some weddings and some incredible stuff, and then she’s very artistic herself and, she writes some children’s books and she was just loving it all the time. We lived in Miami Beach, it was real simple because there was, and I forgot the name of the company, but there’s a company where all the flower designers would go to in Miami and you just go get all the flowers in wholesale, they are pretty much bulk pricing, which is great because she had a card and she would go in there and get the flowers and then she was just making them for the condo we were living in. So, at the bottom (floor). Anytime people would come in, they’d see all her designs and she would leave cards and people wanted them, they’d call, and she would make them. But it was really her just making them and putting them there all the time. And especially in our house, it was like flower galore.
MARK: And it was great! So, my question is, and that was a long-winded explanation, but my question is that it’s got to be a lot harder here, and Berkeley was the name of the place, because there’s no Berkeley here.
KRISTY: Yeah, there’s Berkeley is actually where I get most of my flowers. As a matter of fact.
MARK: Do they come weekly, or how is it?
KRISTY: Yeah, they come weekly and we use Berkeley Florist Supply and then we have three or four others, well two others that drive down each week and then FedEx, of course. Everyone has different flowers that they specialize in and we get tropicals from one place, roses from another place, etc. But everything has to come through Miami because it has to go through customs.
MARK: I was going to say, all those South American flowers must be beautiful, but it’s an international airport here, so you can’t?
KRISTY: No, it doesn’t have customs. You still have to clear customs, it has to go through customs, not just smuggling purposes, you know what are they bringing in, just flowers? But, bugs or any outside invasive species, and it does happen. Something might be held up in customs, or our guys are like, we are really sorry but that whole box got fumigated. So, we have to reship and you’re not going to get it for a couple of days.
MARK: I remember going to Berkeley with my wife and she wants to do roses and they just had a bad batch during that time, so how do you navigate that? You really must be like, well we are really out of roses now!
KRISTY: It really can be a puzzle piece to put together. For weddings and events, we do require all change and full payment at 30 days. And people are like, what do you mean 30 days? And we are like, sometimes it takes 30 days to get these flowers. And, we are small island and the weddings do down here, and you being from Miami you know, three to four times the size, so we are competing using those same suppliers – weddings that are ordering five times the amount of product that we are…
MARK: Of course, and they don’t have to drive all the way down here.
KRISTY: Yes, so we have to get our orders in right away to make sure that we can reserve that pity 300 roses that we need, versus the 3,000 that they order.
MARK: Exactly, and have you ever had a case where someone was like, “No, I need 300 white roses?” Or some big order of one type of flower, and that they didn’t have it.
KRISTY: All the time.
MARK: You really have to be a creative salesperson.
KRISTY: That’s why we have five or six suppliers. Well, I don’t know if we have ever not been able to get something, unless it was out of season. Or on the edge of a season and we knew it might be iffy. But that’s when immediately when your guy shows up and he says, “Oh man, I don’t have this, or I have the wrong thing.” And, you’re on the phone to someone else to see who can FedEx it and trying to get help from everyone. And, you’re calling the other local florists and say, “Hey, can you guys spare 10 white roses?” Hey can you spare this or that?
MARK: I can imagine it’s like a restaurant with food, they show up but they are like – no, in five days and then in two days they are going to be garbage. Right? Or are they really good about …
KRISTY: Well, they are really good. Most of the stuff we get is really fresh. So we don’t have to worry about that because they have ordered everything exactly for us. Usually fly into Miami on Mondays and then our deliveries come on Tuesday and Wednesday. Just about everything has come in fresh for us straight from …
MARK: And they all drive them in, they don’t fly them in from Miami.
KRISTY: They all drive down here, or like I said, some FedEx, little bit of FedEx.
MARK: That makes a lot of sense. I get it, its your salesmanship that has to keep this business on its toes and on the edge.
KRISTY: The brides that want to do their own and we have encountered many people who are like, “Well, we are going to bring our own down.” Or, we ordered it from someplace online, or you know, Publix or Costco, and they are in here in a panic because they didn’t show up, or they didn’t get the right thing, or they showed up and they look dead. And they just said, “Oh, we don’t have those.” Whereas we have the resource of five or six other suppliers and we can call around and try to find that, we can get it FedEx’d here, we can get it shipped in, we can source it somewhere.
MARK: It’s all about that refrigerator. You have to have a good refrigerator to put them in.
MARK: How has business changed since when you first started to now, besides a couple of other people popping up. How else has business changed?
KRISTY: There’s definitely more competition and I’m not gonna lie, Hurricane Irma definitely had an impact especially on the weddings in Key West. That certainly effected us and it still is a little bit, I think. I feel like it’s starting to come back, but a lot of the venues were just ruined.
MARK: That’s something that you do one to two years in advance planning that wedding.
KRISTY: Yeah, and people are coming down four to six months after Irma looking for a year out and the piers are gone, or having been destroyed, and haven’t been rebuilt yet.
MARK: Right, and they just don’t want something to happen again. So, why take the chance?
KRISTY: Yeah, why risk it? We were really lucky because we went for so long without a major hurricane here and I think people got a little complacent. And that’s why we encourage everyone to get wedding insurance.
MARK: Yes. You are spending all that money for that event.
KRISTY: You just never know. We just had a bride who had contacted us and she was supposed to get married in the Dominican Republic and you know, whatever is going on down there, she decided to cancel it. Nobody is giving her money back to her down there. It was her choice to cancel. If she had wedding insurance, it would have only cost her a couple of hundred dollars, instead of thousands. You know?
MARK: Especially if you are doing a $20-30,000 wedding.
KRISTY: Right, in the middle of hurricane season.
MARK: Which I have heard, the weddings down here they are not cheap. That’s the thing.
MARK: And this is a massive destination.
KRISTY: The weddings down here are not cheap. Just like the hotel rooms are not cheap.
MARK: Right, it all depends on when you’re coming. Yeah! I’m coming in October, right during Fantasy Fest, I want to go to Casa Marina.
KRISTY: October is our slowest time for weddings.
MARK: For sure! No one is getting married during there. Maybe getting divorced, but they are not getting married during that time.
KRISTY: There are a few interesting ones, we had one at the old bar, The Porch, we had a couple that was body painted completely, just body paint.
KRISTY: Kind of interesting. We had one where they dressed as zombies at the cemetery.
MARK: At the zombie bike ride?
KRISTY: No, at the cemetery.
MARK: Oh! Interesting. And what kind of flowers did they want?
KRISTY: Black, of course.
MARK: Black roses?
MARK: And you’re like, well this is not easy.
KRISTY: It was interesting.
MARK: What advice right now would you give to that girl sitting on the barstool in Sloppy Joe’s that was getting ready to write the check to buy this place? What would you tell her?
KRISTY: I’d tell her just do it. You know? What have you got to lose?
MARK: What about somebody else starting out? Wanting to get into this type of business? Not necessarily on the island. But generalized advice for that person?
KRISTY: I think one of the best things I did was to work in the business for a little bit before I did it and really learn about it. Not just, I didn’t know much besides a rose and a lily and learning the flower types, learning how to process flowers, where they come from, learning the different temperatures to store different flowers. Seasons of flowers, what’s available when? Where do they come from? What time of year?
MARK: It’s definitely, besides being an art, it is something that can die and decompose and the fresher the better. It all depends on that, so its like food.
KRISTY: Sometimes, it’s the fresher the better, sometimes they are super closed when they come in and you are just praying for these flowers to open so they look nice and pretty
and open for the wedding. So, learning all of that, learning all the tips and the tricks.
MARK: Yeah, the night before they are closed and the day of the wedding they open. Those are the dreams you wake up all sweaty. So, Key West is a small town and it is large in a lot of ways, but it’s still a small town. What do you do to keep yourself growing and learning about this business? Do you travel to different shows? Some people go to hotels and look around, and see like, wow and I’m always snapping pictures for my wife. Look at this floral arrangement here because it’s incredible. What do you do?
KRISTY: Absolutely. Totally, every time you see something anywhere you travel and you’re always looking at the floral. You can’t watch a TV show now without being like, “Oh, look at that floral arrangement…” We actually just did our first convention this year in June. It’s up in Howie in the Hills out in the middle of nowhere, but it was really cool and very interesting.
MARK: Did they have a lot of vendors? Or educational classes, too?
KRISTY: Both, with new trends for the year. We found a few new vendors, education also. A little bit of everything. Competition, they do competitions, so that was pretty cool for us. It was like a new thing for us. But it’s amazing, a lot of it is trial and error, figure it out. YouTube, it’s amazing what you can find on YouTube.
MARK: Right, social media is the best and Instagram and Pinterest is the best for…
KRISTY: Yeah, there’s a couple of groups on Facebook, of course, where people are like, “Hey, I’m trying to figure out how to do this. Has anyone done it before?” Or, hey “I’m looking to source this, does anybody know where to buy this?”
MARK: Yeah, I bet on your Instagram feed you’re seeing sponsored ads for nothing but flowers all the time. Because that’s all you’re looking at. It’s like, buy these vases! And you’re like, I’ve got enough of those.
KRISTY: Yeah, constantly just you know, and even just be inspired by art, too. Every time I go to Miami, I love the Fairchild Botanical Gardens. When I go to Naples, I love the botanical gardens there. Just spending a day or a couple of hours there, or like Tamara and I went to Art Basel last year and it’s like, “Man you’ve got to be inspired just by design and art.”
MARK: When it comes to artistic creativity, I’m the same way, too. If I’m building a website or doing something from a social perspective, I like looking at the complete opposite business that is artistic. So, if I’m building something for some restaurant, I like to go look at all these hotel websites. Like, wow, look at the design and the flow and how they work towards making the customer a client and giving them exactly what they need and helping evoke an emotion. Because all these businesses, that’s what they are in. Your job isn’t just to make pretty flowers. It’s to help make those memories that will help that person when they think about that time of getting married. That’s the extra piece that is stuck in there.
KRISTY: Exactly. And you should sell flowers.
MARK: Maybe I will.
KRISTY: Oh, I don’t have the budget for flowers, oh they just die. Well that champagne didn’t last much longer than flowers, did it? Winner winner – chicken dinner.
MARK: Exactly. And, how many times have you gone out to dinner this year?
KRISTY: Exactly, you know, flowers kinda make the event. They make it special.
MARK: The beauty of that is that you can cook that meal at home. Maybe not as good.
KRISTY: Definitely not, we have some amazing caterers down here.
MARK: But you still can do it.
MARK: But the flowers, you may not know where to get them. You may not know to arrange them; you’re not just cutting the ends and sticking them in water. There’s a lot that goes on.
KRISTY: And it is that extra special touch.
MARK: Yeah, like that wedding cake. That’s going in his face. So, you might as well…
KRISTY: It’s beautiful and you can’t decorate a cake like that ya’ know? And that’s another thing that makes it special and makes it an event.
MARK: And there’s always that aunt or grandmother and the first thing they do when that wedding is over is that they grab that arrangement.
KRISTY: Oh yeah, everybody wants to take them home. “Oh, we can take the flowers? Really? We can take the flowers?” Yeah.
MARK: I’ll go into my mother-in-law’s garage and she has roses and you look up, and she’s in Connecticut, and you look up and there’s like all these roses and I don’t know how many decades old they are, dried, and with the ties sitting there. So, she got her best bang for her buck with those roses.
KRISTY: Yeah, it’s actually kinda cool, right behind you, you can see that keepsake floral, but a lot of people are doing that now, preserving them. Which is really another great thing too that it’s available.
MARK: Someone, my wife loves doing butterflies now, so a lot of Monarchs. We have a lot milkweed on the property, or when we were in Miami there too, and the Monarch is so beautiful, they come and lay the eggs. The larvae come and eat so much of the milkweed and takes the whole thing down. These things are crazy, but they are so beautiful. Then they turn into the chrysalis which is a green chrysalis with gold flakes around it. The thing with the Monarch is that the caterpillar is poisonous to everything because the milkweed is poisonous. So, no birds will eat it, nothing. Just a wasp is the only thing you have to look for, not a lot, but a couple of designers in Wynwood are doing is they are taking the plump caterpillar, because you know the stage when its ready to go, and they will put it on an orchid or something like that, and it will do the chrysalis, or they’ll get the chrysalis and they’ll glue it on, then you’re taking home this floral arrangement knowing that and in a five or six day period, it’s going to emerge like that.
KRISTY: I was just in Wynwood last week and it’s pretty amazing what’s happening up there.
MARK: Yeah, I know, $50 a square foot is what’s happening. When it was like nothing. But that’s a whole other podcast. Are there any books that you’re reading? Or podcasts that you’re listening to? Or give us one tip? Whether it could be a resource to listen to or something to read? If they want to design a little bit for their own home, like flower designing or something like that.
KRISTY: Honestly, YouTube. That’s where you’re going to learn most of it. There are some books out there, I haven’t since, well since I first started I haven’t really read any and I feel like they are kind of generic. But they will give you a few tips and tricks. Honestly, YouTube is the best place.
MARK: Oasis. That’s a good tip. Invest in Oasis.
KRISTY: We actually try not to use it, we use as little Oasis as possible.
MARK: Yeah, cause when it gets wet, it’s disgusting.
KRISTY: Yeah, and it’s not good for you.
MARK: Right. What my wife always does, which she loves down here, there’s large plants that don’t have flowers on them, with big beautiful leaves. So, you can use that in the bottom to go around, and you don’t see what kind of thing you’ve got going on in there to hold everything together.
KRISTY: We love the tropical leaves, definitely.
MARK: That’s great. You already told me about people getting into the business in other cities. What is a piece of advice that you would give to someone not in this business as far as wanting to grow their business, or going from working in the business to actually being an investor? And that can be things like, you already mentioned that I would go work for that company, a type of company so that you can learn. One of the things that I learned from you, that a lot of other people have been saying is, well I’ve got a lot of experience working in a lot of other businesses where I learned the accounting and these other things that I didn’t know. So, what other hidden gem do you have being a business owner? It could be like, make sure you have reserve for the rent three years in advance, or whatever it is. But what other tip would you have?
KRISTY: Of course, for sure, but having patience. You know, everyone wants to open the doors and be super successful right away. Or, throw in the towel if they haven’t made it in three months or they are the best or the greatest, you know we just won the Bubba Award which was really truly amazing and an honor. But it took us six years to get there. You just have to persevere and be patient and know that things are going to go up and down and be willing to put the time into it and be creative.
MARK: How was it, so you worked for them, and then you bought the business. Were you profitable right away? Or was it months? Or how long before it was steadily profitable and you weren’t waking up with a cold sweat in the middle of the night because the business wasn’t making it?
KRISTY: We were pretty lucky that it was pretty profitable simply because of weddings being booked so far in advance. It did take us probably a year or two to get the daily order business. You know, get the word out. And like you said, your wife put things in the lobby, and we kinda did the same thing. We just started throwing arrangements in different places around town, different stores, different restaurants, different bars, the gyms, and we are like “Hey, (with our business card on it), check us out!”
MARK: That’s great advice because with a lot of people now when they are starting a business, they are like I’m going to make all this money, or be successful, or it is going to hit the ground running and a lot of people who are successful two-three-five years later are saying the same thing, you have to be patient. It took one to two years before we saw the fruits of the labor, meaning that we can take a breath. Take a vacation, maybe. Because things are being consistent. Most businesses, I think it’s 50% don’t make it one year. Small businesses in America. Then five years later it’s like 70% don’t make it. And then if you are at the 10-year mark, it’s like 80-90% don’t make it. It’s incredible because a lot of businesses, a lot of companies, they will continue to do what worked when they first started and if your business is growing and things are changing, you can’t do the same thing. If I have a restaurant and I have 10 people in there, and then it expands to 70 and I had a staff of two, and now I have a staff of 20, you can’t run the business the same way. You have to change and learn, and evolve that.
KRISTY: Flexibility. You’ve got to have flexibility.
MARK: Always. And like you said, don’t have one vendor, have five vendors. You could plug that into any business you’re in.
KRISTY: And then a Plan C.
MARK: Yes, exactly. Name something that your friends don’t know about this business? That they would say, “Oh she’s just a flower designer.” But what else do you do that maybe your close friends don’t really know what you’re doing in this business?
KRISTY: I do all of the accounting, all of the ordering, the web design.
MARK: You’re like the woman who is doing everything. You’re not just a person that’s like, “Hey, Joanne is having her 30th birthday, we need tulips.” Or, it’s Valentine’s Day let’s call you for that. So, people may think you do that, but it’s not. You do a lot more than that from the floral perspective, but then from the business running, you are in it pretty much understanding it. You are just dangerous enough on everything on running this business, right?
KRISTY: Just about everything. Luckily, I have a business partner that is really good with people and email, and writing, which is definitely my weak point.
MARK: That was going to be my next question. That person allows you to be artistic and shine in those strong parts and then that person handles the other things that maybe they are strong in.
KRISTY: Yeah, and I have a great staff. I have great designers. I would hate to have to drive around this town all day, every day, and deal with the people, traffic, and bikes. I have a great driver and he does that for me. I’m really lucky.
MARK: That’s really good. So that comes to the end of the business part of this episode. I love to now get into the personal, the deep dark personal part. Which I always say is deep and dark, but it’s neither, it’s the funny part. Now, this could be good and interesting, because you have been coming here so long and have visited all of these restaurants and bars, and you were a bartender so you have a little insight behind the curtain. What is your favorite even to attend?
KRISTY: Oh boy, it used to be the bed races, that was totally my favorite.
MARK: The bed races? They’re still doing those bed races?
KRISTY: They still do the bed races and they are not as big as they used to be but, hands down it used to be the best event. Just decorate a bed, dress up in costume, push it five blocks down the street.
MARK: Oh, so it’s like sitting on rollers? I figure you put holes on it and you were wearing it like a dress or something.
KRISTY: No, you have one person driving. I was always the driver when we competed and then four people pushing it and you just have to be creative.
MARK: This is down Duval?
KRISTY: Uh huh. Yeah. It’s during the Conch Republic Days, usually in April.
MARK: Awesome. Tell me a funny story during that, I mean there’s gotta be a story.
KRISTY: Our first bed races, we had the great idea that we were going to, well my boss at the time had just had a baby and we had the crib or something, and we are going to put wheels on the crib and this is going to be great. So, it was terrible. We were awful. We did not practice this, we were hammered before it even started, and we thought, “Oh man, how are we going to save this, what can we do?” So, it was an Irish bar and my boss was Irish and he’s just a really funny guy. We decided we were going to be the slowest bed. Instead of trying to win the fastest, like forget this, we’re going to take all of our time and we stopped at every bar for a shot, we had people who were running in with a tray, we just made it really fun deal of it. So, of course, doing shots during the whole thing we were even more hammered, so we decided we are just going to leave the bed here. So, we get a call, my boss gets a call from Key West P.D. the next day, “So, you have an illegally parked crib in front of the courthouse. We’re going to need you to move that as soon as possible.”
MARK: Oh my God and in front of the courthouse. It would have been great too if it was in the reserved spot.
KRISTY: Yeah, right in front of the courthouse. We were like, “Oh, that’s where we left that. Oh yeah!”
MARK: It would have been better than someone throwing up and passing out in the crib.
KRISTY: Well, at least that, there was no one in there so that was good.
MARK: That’s funny. What about your favorite restaurant?
KRISTY: Probably Kojin.
MARK: Where’s Kojin?
KRISTY: Kojin on Southard Street. Noodles, deliciousness, Kim Chi.
MARK: Oh yeah! Nice. And your go-to order?
KRISTY: Probably the yellow curry. So good.
MARK: Don’t go for the red, too spicy the red?
KRISTY: No, the red is really good too. I know, I am a non-meat eater and they have so many great vegetarian dishes there. Tofu steamed buns, delicious.
MARK: What about hidden local spot?
KRISTY: Hidden local spot? I gotta give props to Shanna Key, the Irish bar. I was just talking about it and it’s a great local spot. Yeah.
MARK: Good food?
KRISTY: Really good food. Good beer. Good whiskey.
MARK: I love that. You know, that is the thing about Key West, I’ll drive places and be like “I don’t want to go in there.” And then I’m like, don’t do that, don’t wait a year and then realize that this was one of the best places, just go. Cross it off the list, or put it on top of the list, but just go. That’s the thing about Key West, especially if you are used to like the glitz or glamor, like South Beach, and you’re like, “Oh look how pretty this is!” But there’s like nothing going on inside. That’s how a lot of these restaurants are and sometimes from the outside it’s like, blackout and you’re like, “I don’t’ want to know what is going on behind the door and then you open it and you’re like wow, this is good pizza, or this is good food going on in here.” So, when you think of bar food? My first thing is like, nah bar food? Nope, scratch that because I’ve been to plenty of bars down here where the food is like amazing. I will definitely be checking that out. What about for local music, the best place?
KRISTY: There are so many good musicians in this town, too. I love the Green Parrot because they bring in so many great bands and soundcheck, you can’t beat sound check. Last Sunday we had a blast and actually went back for soundcheck on Sunday because we were there Saturday night. I love the Galleon Tiki Bar, one-man shows over there are great local musicians always playing over there. Best sunset, can’t beat it, good happy hour, cold drinks.
MARK: Is that your favorite happy hour place, too?
KRISTY: Well, that’s a good spot, actually.
MARK: I’ll have to go check that out.
KRISTY: You’ve not been to the Galleon Tiki Bar yet?
MARK: Well, not for happy hour, so I mean.
KRISTY: They have a good happy hour and like I said, there’s always a good local musician playing and sunset. And, just a great view of the water.
MARK: You can’t beat it, that’s like the trifecta, right there. What about tourist attraction that when people come into town, who have never been here?
KRISTY: I gotta say the butterfly museum. Do the “flamingle.” Meet and greet and those flamingos are incredible. It is something you just don’t think of in Key West. You know to get on a boat, you know go parasailing, but the butterfly museum is seriously cool.
MARK: I have a friend coming into town tomorrow and I’ve been there before, but not when there was a flamingo thing going on.
KRISTY: Oh yeah, you have to sign up for it, it’s called the “flamingle.” I think they limit it, and I actually just heard the story of this that after Hurricane Irma, and they were bringing them back and they had a lot of different people in and it was more casual thing. Then they noticed that the flamingos really interacting with people and they were like, huh? Not that everyday people that you know, not the employees and staff, so they started it. I think it’s six or eight people. I don’t know how much it costs, but you get like an hour with just you and the flamingos.
MARK: Wow, so I’ll reserve that because they are coming into town tomorrow. So that we have that planned because she was like, “I want to go to the butterfly garden really bad.” And I am like, “It’s awesome, it is incredible.” But now with the flamingo, too? She’s going to be blown away for this. Awesome. The last question, that I always ask, what is the tip of the day? Like it could be a new gadget you’re looking at, it could be a new website, a book you’re reading, it could be that you’re loving this weighted blanket, it could be any thought or something you’re pondering.
KRISTY: Oh boy, that’s a tough one. Tip of the day.
MARK: Yeah, for me it’s like, if I do melatonin with magnesium, I really pass out at night, so I’m going to stick with that. That’s my tip. If you have trouble sleeping. It can be anything like that, too. New toothpaste.
KRISTY: I don’t’ know.
MARK: Three beers are good, but four is too many. Well, we may have to come back.
KRISTY: Okay, tip of the day, okay start checking out the local happy hours and local specials, when restaurants do that, get out more. Do things that you don’t go to all the time.
MARK: Get out there and live some life.
KRISTY: You know if you’ve been doing that, and you get in the ruts, not that they aren’t all good places but then you’re like, “Wow, why don’t we do that more often or go there.”
MARK: Let’s not wait until once a year, or special occasion to do that, just get out and enjoy yourself more. That’s a good way to end it. Where can people find more about you. Your social media, or just the store’s social media, I’m going to put all that in the show notes as well.
KRISTY: Here’s how to reach us:
(cont’d) We are all over Pinterest, of course, the brides love the Pinterest. I think that is all of our social media.
MARK: I’ll get everything from the website and put it all in there if we didn’t say it. So that you can go and follow and learn and get inspired yourself from all these things. It was great talking to you, great meeting you. I’m sure I’ll see you again, maybe over a pint, you never know. But thank you again for everything.
KRISTY: Thank you, it was nice meeting you.