When you meet mom of two and Dallas floral designer Jody Stein, you immediately notice her quick wit and warm smile. Those qualities shine through even though she has faced tragedy and upsetting circumstances in her life, including a miscarriage, in the midst of the pandemic.
Through it all, flowers have been a bright spot in Stein’s world. “I’ve always been a flower lover,” she shares. “Growing up, we would travel a lot for my mom’s job and go to very cool places like Holland and all over Europe. I just fell in love with flowers at a very young age.”
Today, flowers aren’t just a passion—they’re Stein’s profession. She turned her talent for floral arrangements into a business that’s headquartered right in her garage. Stein’s daughters run in and out of the studio, bringing joy (and the occasional meltdown) to her workday. (Read on below for some of Stein’s favorite things, from books to beauty must-haves.)
Hails from South Africa “We immigrated here when I was 12. My mom was in politics and things got a little spicy down there. We were held at gunpoint and we got out of there.”
Lives in Dallas
Previous career Fashion wholesale
New career Floral designer for Trove Florals (arrangements made with real preserved flowers that last a full year!)
Alma mater Texas A&M University, with a degree in communications
Significant other Kyle Stein, president of Brown Sugar Bourbon
Children Daughters Sloane, 3, and Olivia, 1
Dream job as a kid Doctor. “I really believe I would have been a doctor if I wasn’t severely dyslexic. Inverting numbers isn’t good when you’re trying to not kill patients.”
Where you can find her troveflorals.com; @troveflorals on Instagram
One-on-One with Jody Stein
DFWChild: How did you transition from the world of fashion to the world of flowers?
Jody Stein: When Kyle and I got married, Todd Fiscus did our wedding, and there were flowers everywhere. When I say everywhere, I mean there were flowers coming from the ceiling and out of the floor and from the side. That really reignited my love of flowers. I began making arrangements for my mother-in-law and her friends for the holidays, and people would ask me to do flowers for their luncheons.
C: How did you turn it into a business?
JS: [Dallas philanthropist] Carol Aaron and I chaired an event together. They wanted centerpieces for all the tables, but we didn’t want to spend a ton of money on flowers. I had this idea that I had been toying with for a while for preserving flowers. I got so sick of running around and having these flowers die a few days later. All that work, all that money, and then they just die.
I would go into Central Market and ask the flower guy there, Andy, “What can I dry out that will keep this color?”
C: Necessity is the mother of invention.
JS: Right? I started Googling and researching flowers that would preserve and keep their color. I would go into Central Market and ask the flower guy there, Andy, “What can I dry out that will keep this color?” So after about six months of doing research, this luncheon came along and I said, “Well, do you mind if I do dried arrangements and we can sell them?” And they were like, “Sure, go for it.”
I worked literally 18 hours a day to get all these centerpieces done. They were massive. My mother-in-law called me the night before the luncheon and she said, “Listen, I just want you to know how proud I am of you and your hard work—but at luncheons, these things don’t sell, so don’t have your feelings hurt.” At that luncheon, every single piece sold. Then people started calling me to ask if they could order some.
C: Wow, what an awesome start.
JS: Yeah, and I needed this. I grew up with a single mother, and since we immigrated here, she’s never not worked, and she instilled that in me. If I’m not working, I don’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t work for a short period of time when Kyle and I got married, and this gave me a sense of purpose that I really needed.
C: How did you meet your husband?
JS: We’re Jewish, and on Christmas Eve, Jews have nowhere to go, right? All the young, single Jewish kids go to this thing called the MatzoBall. It’s as wild as it sounds. He was with a company that donated all the liquor, and I was chairing the event. My co-chair introduced us. I was like, “Hi, lovely to meet you.” And I walked off. I was just the worst person ever.
Then I saw him a few months later at a happy hour and he wouldn’t talk to me, and I thought he was just a terrible person. Then we were set up on like a blind date. And that was it.
C: It sounds like you have a lot of humor in your marriage.
JS: I always say it’s a bad episode of I Love Lucy every day. He’s like Ricky Ricardo. He comes home from work or comes down from the third floor, and there’s just always something that I’ve gotten us into. And he just shakes his head. He shakes his head a lot.
I love being a mommy and I love being their mommy, and I’ll never get this time back with them. I just have to remember I can delegate things and that it’s going to be OK.
C: What has been your favorite part of running your own business?
JS: It’s two parts really. I run my business out of my home garage, and my children are in and out and in and out all day long. I was fortunate enough to be able to create a business where I could be with my girls all day, every day. I also love that I get to employ incredible people, like my lead florist Lindsey. She is now literally part of our family.
C: Do you ever find that it’s hard to balance being a mom with working?
JS: It’s a double-edged sword, working from home, because sometimes [a child] will come into the into the workshop and be having a meltdown, and we’ve got deadlines.
C: What has been your biggest learning experience from running a business?
JS: I can always fulfill orders, but sometimes it’s to the detriment of me or spending time with my kids. So I’ve really had to learn how to say no sometimes. This time with my kids—I will never get these fun moments back.
Every night when I put them to bed, especially since the miscarriage, I just hold them, and it’s gut-wrenching that they’re bigger today than they were yesterday. I just want them to stay this little forever. And they can’t; that’s not reality. I love being a mommy and I love being their mommy, and I’ll never get this time back with them. I just have to remember I can delegate things and that it’s going to be OK.
C: Do you mind sharing a bit about your miscarriage? You were 17 weeks pregnant. That’s devastating.
JS: Yes. I think it just was par for the course for this year. Expect the unexpected—because it was really, really unexpected. I thought I had made it. We were in the in the green zone and good to go. But 2020 said, “No, no, you just wait.”
C: Has the hustle and bustle of your business helped you cope in some ways?
JS: No question. Being creative and keeping my hands busy making arrangements—it helps me process things. I almost feel like I’m more creative in times of turmoil than not.
That’s what I wanted to make: a trove with beautiful assortments of nature’s elements.
C: What was the moment that you felt like this went from a side hustle to a full-time business?
JS: We used to be called The Dried Side; we made like random tchotchkes and stuff. And then we switched over to Trove Florals and became a real business. We got a website and started shipping things with our own ribbon that said “Trove Florals” on it. I was so proud of myself.
C: Why did you decide to rebrand?
JS: I was never in love with the name The Dried Side. And I was in the car with Sloane, picking her up from school, and “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid came on. She sings, “Look at this trove, treasures untold”—and I was like, Trove! That’s it! It described us perfectly. That’s what I wanted to make: a trove with beautiful assortments of nature’s elements.
I also wanted to make flowers with a purpose. I’ve had so many different things happen in my life and have had so many people touch my life—and I just wanted to figure out a way to raise money for causes that mean something to me.
My good friend Courtney’s mother Holly Clegg died of stomach cancer, so we have a Holly box [of flowers]; 20% of the proceeds go to the Holly Clegg Foundation. And I have a Kim box for my best friend who had breast cancer, so 20% of those sales go to Susan G. Komen. I actually found out that I’m BRCA2 positive, so the Susan G. Komen organization means a lot to me.
C: How did you find out?
JS: I got an email from 23andme.com asking if I wanted to see [additional information on] my genetic makeup, and it told me that I’m BRCA2 positive. So I called my OB, and she made me get an appointment with a genetic oncologist, and he confirmed it. I am probably going to have to have a radical double mastectomy and hysterectomy when I am done having kids.
C: Your family is obviously super important to you. Can you tell me a little about your childhood in South Africa?
JS: My dad left my mom when she got pregnant with me. He’s Italian. And I didn’t know him my whole life. Then I found him on Facebook. I found a brother and my father on Facebook, and connected with them, then flew to Italy and met my dad. I have this huge Italian family now. My husband calls me a pizza bagel.
C: Since you were raised by a single mom, is it especially important to you to give your girls a strong female role model?
JS: I really wanted my girls to see that their mommy has a work ethic—because I do. I think if you don’t instill that stuff at a young age, when they’re older, kids can think that they’re automatically going to get a car and all that stuff. It’s a different value system. Personally, I had to bust my a** for everything. My kids are very fortunate that Mommy and Daddy can provide for them, but that’s not the way the world works.
Jody Stein’s Favorite Things
From what she’s reading and her beauty must-haves, to her floral design muses and how she inspires her girls’ creativity:
Her Self-Care Routine
“I take a bath every single night. I am a total water baby and don’t feel complete unless I have a bath. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m part mermaid.”
“Our neighborhood is filled with architectural gems. There is an actual Frank Lloyd Wright house a few houses down. I take the dog for a walk, envisioning what would fit in each house I pass and coming up with design ideas.”
For Sparking Kiddo Creativity
“The Trove workshop is out of my home, so the girls are always helping while we do orders. There is a designated box of ‘mishap flowers’ that they get to use, and they think all our containers are fair game. I am always amazed with the colors and textures they put together.”
No. 1 Beauty Product
“I have forever and will always be obsessed with the Caviar Stick in Smoke by Laura Mercier. It does not budge.”
Books on her Nightstand
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.
Conversations With God by Ruchi Koval
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
Favorite Floral Designer
“Jeff Leatham. He is a flower god and genius. Also a huge fan of a floral institution in Spain called Bornay. They are what I imagine to be the Harry Potter of the floral world.”
“Growing up in South Africa and being of Italian and Jewish descent, my heart is split between many places that I constantly ache to visit. My favorite family vacation was to Italy when it was just my husband Kyle and my oldest, who was 9 months at the time. My daughter got to meet my father before he passed and my entire Italian family.”
“My favorite place to go with our entire family is to Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. My mother-in-law—who is originally from Charleston—is one of six [siblings], and her entire family always gets together for the Fourth of July. It’s one of the most relaxing places on earth, where time just seems to melt away.”
This interview was originally published in October 2020.