You never know what to expect on a first date! In true introvert fashion, Gracie and I met via the online dating app, match.com. I was immediately drawn to Gracie’s online profile, not just because of her incredible outward beauty, but because she was very detailed and expressive in her writing. She outlined her goals in life, shared her hobbies, and described her lifestyle and personality. She was (and still is) kind, sweet, caring, and passionate. I was instantly intrigued and had a feeling she was someone special.
Wanting to impress her, I poured so much time into writing to her about our similarities. I was hopeful for an equally long and thoughtful response. However, all I got was “I’m open for talking!" Fortunately, her short response didn’t set me back and we scheduled a phone call for later that week. During that call we quickly realized we had a unique connection. While we were currently living in New York City, both of us were originally from California. I had recently moved to NYC and Gracie had been there for 12 years. When I called she immediately recognized the 805 area code, as that used to be hers as well when she lived in CA. We were not only both originally from CA but from the same county. What a small world! Needless to say, we had much to talk about that first night.
We both come from a creative past. Gracie worked for many years as a freelancer doing marketing and graphic design work for various companies. I worked in the music industry doing a range of jobs that included playing trombone, teaching, coordinating, copying, and orchestrating. Gracie played flute through high school and developed a keen ear for the many intricacies in classical music. We quickly bonded over our favorite composers and symphonies. We also shared a passion for film music, and in particular, the scores of John Williams; his woodwind flourishes, sweeping string themes, and epic brass-focused melodies.
A year after we started dating we realized that moving back to Southern CA would be best for us. The music job that I moved to NY for was not panning out as expected and Gracie was tired of the cold winters. Ultimately, it was the right decision as we were closer to our families, especially since my dad’s Alzheimer’s was progressing. Without the move back to California, we would have never started our rose journey.
One of the things I admire most about Gracie is her compassion for animals. Before I met her she was very active in helping to rescue and rehabilitate cats. I won’t divulge the amount of cats she had when we first met but I’ll tell you she wasn’t completely honest about the true number! It took me a little while to realize that a few of the cats just looked the same and were, in fact, different. By then, I loved the little felines, but more importantly, Gracie.
The first year of Grace Rose Farm took us by surprise. We planted our backyard with roses, without any expectations. However, once floral designers started contacting us, we knew we were onto something special. What started as a hobby garden quickly turned into long days in the garden, endless nights developing a business plan- strategizing our growth and developing relationships with our floral clients. I quickly realized Gracie is a born entrepreneur and leader. I watch her work and am amazed at her creativity and perseverance, despite the long hours and stressors. As mentioned earlier, she’s a true introvert and large crowds tend to be intimidating. However, when it comes to leading our 20+ employees or interacting with our hundreds of thousands of social media fans, she is completely at ease. It’s truly amazing to watch her work.
As Grace Rose Farm took shape, we realized that we brought different strengths to the business and were able to separate what tasks we each do without stepping on each other’s toes. Gracie is the farmer. Without her knowledge and natural ability to understand plants, we wouldn’t be where we are. While she may no longer be the one cutting thousands of roses everyday, she is 100% the farmer at Grace Rose Farm. Not only is she responsible for our plants’ health, she leads our now quite large marketing, public relations and web development team as well as works in the barn on the ground level with our production team to ensure every order is handled with care. You’re probably thinking there’s nothing left for me to do since Gracie does it all! I manage the areas Gracie proclaims she cannot stand such as accounting, Human Resources, supply management, transportation logistics and overseeing the day to day. We’re very fortunate to be able to be a true husband and wife team where our individual strengths allow us to shine. Being married and running a business together isn’t always easy but we’ve found a way to make it work and are very proud of what we’ve created.
Gracie and I often talk about how blessed we’ve been throughout our years together. Last year we received the gift of an amazing, sweet, beautiful, curious, smart, funny daughter from a wonderful woman who chose us to raise her baby. We live in an area where the weather allows us to grow beautiful roses all year long. We have hard working, dedicated employees that care for our roses 365 days a year. We have such incredible supporters of our farm who follow us on our journey. Gracie’s family lives about 20 minutes away and my mom lives on our farm where she gets to see her one-and-only grandchild everyday. To say we’re lucky is an understatement.
This June we are celebrating our ten year anniversary! I remember walking down 44th Street to the Algonquin where Gracie had requested we meet for the first time to have dinner. She wanted to show me Matilda, the famous hotel’s resident ragdoll cat that wanders the hotel lobby and restaurant. Gracie shared her dreams and aspirations with me that evening and I was immediately taken by what a visionary she was. Nothing has changed! She has enormous goals and has shaped the future of our farm in her mind. This year we scaled our business for the fourth time by purchasing a new farm and we’re already scouting for more adjacent land to expand this coming winter. Gracie has wonderful projects in the works to educate people about growing garden roses and make Grace Rose Farm a celebrated brand that honors traditional, sustainable farming.
Thank you for being here and supporting our family rose farm. Gracie and I look at every shipping label that leaves our farm. We see the names of those who order roses every week and our first time customers with whom we hope to make a lasting relationship. We appreciate you all so much and love sharing our story with you!