It seems a foregone conclusion that a child named after her mother’s favorite flower would end up in the floral business. And so she has.
Flowers by Azalea — Azalea Perez, that is — operates out of an office in Downtown Oceanside. She has a workshop off Oceanside Boulevard where her floral creations, largely for weddings and large events, take shape.
Previously, Perez, in business locally for five years come July 1, combined both retail shop and workshop in one Wisconsin Street location. That got kind of hectic, she said. She likes the separated functions better now.
Customers who walk into her upstairs Coast Highway sales office by appointment aren’t overwhelmed with floral displays.
“We are not a florist, like a traditional flower shop,” she said.
Instead, there is a tasteful bouquet or two in her sales office. And there are containers and other decor from which to choose the best setting for the flowers selected. The two-room suite with an ocean view reflects Perez’s love of antiques.
“Our speciality is the nontraditional bride looking for something exceptional,” she said. “I try to be a trendsetter, not just follow the trends.”
Perez has not had any technical floral training. But she does have a background in design. And while working in the corporate world, she often found herself in charge of arranging for the flowers at a big event.
“It’s a beautiful event when you bring flowers in,” she said. “The event comes alive.”
Perez, originally from the artistic community of Santa Fe, New Mexico, was studying at the University of Colorado when her brother, living in San Diego, convinced her to move here. She was commuting to a corporate job in Los Angeles when she decided to start her own business, in a service industry, closer to home.
Perez said, “It’s my creative outlet.
“This place has taken off. I love it here. I could not have asked for a better place to start my business. Oceanside has been so supportive and so generous. The community really does care, really does come together.”
Because she cares, too, Perez has started the nonprofit California Petal Project, which provides assisted living homes with floral arrangements left over after special events.
“A lot of people are into zero waste,” Perez said, “so this has been really exciting.”
Flowers by Azalea Wedding Showroom 215 S. Coast Highway, Suite 205, is open by appointment only. 760-547-1600.