Denisha Anderson - Owner + Lead Designer at Cleveland Flower Walls
Denisha Anderson is the embodiment of entrepreneurial spirit and shows us all how an innovative idea mixed with some hard work can build a dream. During the process of planning her own wedding, Denisha knew that she wanted to feature a floral installation, but she struggled to find a business that offered her dream. Knowing she wanted to feature a floral installation at the event, she quickly realized that there was a void that needed to be filled in the Cleveland event industry and felt this was a golden opportunity. Cleveland Flower Walls was born in 2019 after people saw and raved about Denisha’s DIY flower wall and sought one for their own celebrations. Already feeling the desire to part with her job at the time, Denisha took the entrepreneurial leap of faith to make her idea and dream a reality.
Although owning your own business can be a dream come true, Denisha certainly recognizes what it takes to get to a place of success. She mentions that the process of leaving her corporate job to pursue entrepreneurship was full of challenges and required faith, persistence, and hard work. When asked about how being a small business owner has influenced her work Denisha shared, “I’ve learned that people are more interested in my story than they are in my product. I carry that same story throughout this journey and that's what it’s about. They can see themselves in this local Cleveland girl.” When the business is yours to create, you as yourself become the brand and are constantly representing the company and its values. As much as being the face of an entire company and its success may be difficult, it also presents a unique opportunity to connect with clients in a deep way which offers lasting connections and sometimes, more long-term success.
When talking about the financial aspects that come along with entrepreneurship, Denisha shared with us a word of wisdom. “I always say that I’d rather have ten, one-thousand-dollar jobs versus one, one hundred-thousand-dollar job. I’ve had both and the more money you make, the more stressful it becomes, you’re working for money and not creativity.” Her story is similar to one we hear time and time again in the creative industry. Those born with deep curiosity and creativity find a way to pursue their passions. Whether it requires hustling for a weekend side gig, using free time to create a hobby, or quitting a corporate job to start a business, creatives are constantly finding a way to keep their passions alive at the forefront of life.
Denisha also touched on the uncertainty of entrepreneurship and how each day can bring a new, unforeseen set of challenges. “Every single day is all on me. I don’t know what tomorrow will look like, I don’t know what next month is going to look like,” she says. Although that level of instability often turns people away from business ownership, Denisha often turns to her faith to guide her toward her goals. She often tells people that “God is the CEO of Cleveland Flower Walls.” Many opportunities can present themselves when a business can be flexible and although it takes a lot of faith in yourself, the reward for persistent work can be worth it all. As Denisha said perfectly, “taking it day by day and knowing that it's okay if things don't always go as planned is important. Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster. I just look forward to the days when everything is up!”
Despite the hard work, sacrifice, and faith which it takes to sustain a small business, the highlights are often what keep entrepreneurs going through tough times. We asked Denisha about her favorite projects and business highlights thus far. After only a few years of business, Cleveland Flower Walls has not only rented out their flower walls for temporary use, but also has permanent installations which cycle out designs every so often. A few of such installations can be found at Legacy Village & the Azure Hotel. “Candytopia which is up now in Legacy has been one of my most fun projects. I was super excited to work with the candies and just to be able to talk with like-minded people at Candytopia whose minds are just like spaghetti of color and the beautiful vision they had.” Denisha shares that her love for these projects comes from the creative freedom which they offer her and how often she gets to switch things up with a fresh idea. As well as brainstorming and creating on her own, she loves bringing others' visions to life. Denisha shared, “I’m a pretty simple person, I love neutral colors so when I have a bride who likes to work with ivories, creams, whites, and greenery, that also excites me.”
Looking ahead to her future and all that’s to come for Cleveland Flower Walls, Denisha shared with us her visions for more projects and accomplishments. She spoke on the idea of having goals and shared, “I’ve learned not to overcomplicate things. The more I overcomplicate my business, the harder it becomes. I want to keep my business where it’s at right now.” Often when we try to set measurable goals for our work or personal life, it can make any other accomplishments feel like they don’t measure up. Denisha explains that by continuing to rent walls, increasing her permanent clients, and training someone to be a right-hand in her business, many goals concerning maintaining success present themselves. “I’m working with what works for me and I don’t want to change it. I like where it’s at right now.” Although someday a storefront or other surprises could be in Denisha’s future, she emphasizes how she is in no rush to shake things up and is simply enjoying this time and the rewards of her current hard work and dedication.
Denisha’s down-to-earth and heartfelt messages that she shared with us are a shining example of the power of perseverance and putting one’s desires first. Never shying away from showing the challenging parts of business ownership, her transparency allows people in all stages of a creative outlet to feel seen and heard. She continues to work hard and take risks in her business, all while remaining humble, thoughtful, and reflective on how far things have come. Since 2019, Cleveland Flower Walls has only blossomed and bloomed more and more and Denisha’s mindset of slowing down to enjoy her success is well deserved. We are so honored to have spoken not only about her business but also about the idea of entrepreneurship. Woman Up Cleveland is absolutely delighted to cheer her on as she continues to pursue her dreams, wherever it may take her next.