Mariam Chekmeyan was working full time for a construction company and made a great salary.
But the desk job stifled the North Phoenix woman’s creativity.
“I’m a very creative person,” the Sandra Day O’Connor High School graduate said. “I couldn’t be myself doing things with construction and office work. I told my boyfriend, ‘I am quitting my job.’
“He said, ‘Not until you figure out what you’re doing.’”
Chekmeyan quit her job and, for three weeks, she cleaned houses in Anthem to make money. It was then that she had an epiphany.
“I have a small baking business on the side,” recalled the 23-year-old. “A lot of my work includes flowers.”
Chekmeyan then founded Deer Valley’s Gem Floral and Rentals.
“I’ve always decorated my pastries and chocolate-covered strawberries with flowers,” Chekmeyan said. “I’ve always loved flowers and being creative. My goal since I was 15 years old was to be in the wedding (business). I have a love for creating.
“When I suggested starting our own flower shop, my boyfriend supported me 100%. He said to go for it. We’ve been really busy.”
Her wedding business is picking up and she called those events “fun.”
“I recently did my first wedding,” she said. “I hope to, one day, be a full-time wedding florist and to have a team to continue what I’m doing now.”
This summer, Chekmeyan will add a creative activity to her events.
“I will be introducing a flower bar,” she said. “I rent out a bar and, instead of passing out drinks, I make fresh flower arrangements. Whoever is at your flower bar or party gets a fresh bouquet to take home.”
While Chekmeyan is building her website, she is taking orders through social media and text via @gemflorals on Instagram, facebook.com/ mchekmeyan on Facebook or 480-310-8323.
“I work with wire companies as well,” she said. “We take a lot of orders from there. We’ve been posting through social media, spreading the world through word of mouth. We have a plaza with a lot of men. They’re always buying flowers for their wives.
“I love that they have that choice of creating (arrangements).”
Chekmeyan is a first-generation American, as her parents are Armenian. Her brothers were born in Armenia and Russia, and 15 years later, their parents had her.
“My grandmother was a huge flower fanatic,” said Chekmeyan, who will decorate her wedding with peonies. “You could buy her flowers and she would be the happiest person on Earth. She passed away eight years ago.
“I think flowers can change your mood. It changes my mood all the time. Every morning, when I get my shipment of flowers, I’m the happiest person ever.”