When the COVID-19 pandemic first struck, many businesses, especially Black-owned businesses, felt the sting. For Erica Dias, the owner of Helen Florals — a Black-owned flower shop based in Atlanta and Houston — she saw the impending doom as an opportunity to be reborn.

“While being at home during COVID-19, I had a lot of time to think about my purpose and my future,” she said. “I thought about how peaceful and happy floral arrangements — and making them — made me, and I decided that I wanted to finally explore the world of making floral arrangements for intimate event experiences that left people feeling that WOW factor. ‘But how would I transition? How would I make money, and what would be my game plan?’ are all thoughts that came to mind when thinking about the shift.”

Thus, Dias created Helen Florals. Inspired by her grandfather, whom Dias remembers always tending his garden, the public relations maven went full throttle with the concept almost immediately. She garnered interest from the likes of Cynthia Bailey of the Real Housewives franchise and other celebrities and influencers, seemingly from the beginning.

A three-week florist course was enough to send Dias on her journey to greatness, and the success was quick to come. Even the most casual observer can see that the floral arrangements are crafted with care, and they take a unique approach to each arrangement that most “big box” florists don’t take.

“It’s an unexplainable feeling when I create floral arrangements for my customers,” said Dias. “A level of peace that I feel, gratitude, joy, love, and freedom. Even though no day is like the same, and I still work my other business, I am thankful that during this time I was able to find something else that makes me happy.”

Even though the company is based in Atlanta and Houston, Helen Florals is available for nationwide shipping. Custom orders are also available, and those interested in getting pretty flowers regularly (which is a nice treat) can also enjoy their unique membership subscription services.

But for Dias, running Helen Florals is about more than just pursuing her passion. Instead, it’s about making people happy, seeing the joy on her clients’ faces when they receive their custom floral arrangements. More than just a passion, Helen Florals is a labor of love, and Dias says she’d love to see everyone, regardless of their background, follow their passion the way she has.

“I want to challenge EVERYONE who is reading this article to do something this week that makes you happy, and feel free to hit whoever with a plot twist whenever! Life is to be lived, and I promise for the rest of my life I will continue to do that!” she said.