The Women behind Le Bouquet
On a day that celebrates and commemorates achievements of women throughout history, we decided to take a minute to celebrate the achievements of three particular women who are close to home. Joseph, co-owner of Le Bouquet St-Laurent, wanted to shine a spotlight on the women in his family because he recognizes the sacrifices they have made and the challenges that they have faced. Below is a brief conversation with Joseph.
Who are the important women in your life and what about them merits being spotlighted?
When asked what deserves to be highlighted about my mother and sisters, I’d have to say that they’ve patiently put up with the men in our family. My father was brought up in old school traditional Portuguese ways and I admit that I myself can be hard headed at times. However, growing up we were raised with strong family values which has acted as the glue keeping us together over years of personal hardships.
My mom was and still is an excellent seamstress and would have loved to become one full time. When I was just a baby she was offered a job as a manager at Fabric Ville yet she opted to be a full time mother instead. Even after all these years, I know there is a certain degree of regret in making that decision.
Natalie has always had a strong passion for baking…actually we all did, thanks to my mom! I remember she started off making us chocolate cakes from her Easy-Bake-Oven which gradually became more and more complicated cakes as she grew up. One of her most recent ones was a 'Cars' and construction zone landscape for her son’s birthday. After high school Natalie went to culinary school and dreamed of pursuing that career but her strong family ties and loyalty to her father ultimately directed her back to the flower shop.
I believe that Marianne always wanted to be a teacher: she always loved working with kids. Today she is an elementary school teacher, working with kids who adore her.
What hurdles have they had to overcome?
My mom put her personal needs and desires aside for her family which I believe became a difficult reality once we all moved out. My dad always worked long hours and eventually my sister and I did too, but mom remained a stay-at-home mom. And when it came to family dinners, we were truly blessed with her cooking! Making Christmas and Thanksgiving meals for 40 people or more all by herself is something I cannot imagine having to do myself, yet she put her heart into those dishes because family meant everything to her. Those family dinners were our time to make up for those long hours away from home.
Natalie has undergone different struggles, and as hard as it is to admit I think I may have contributed to some of them. In 2008, Natalie and I bought the family business from our dad. Going into business together was a big step for both of us but it also felt right. On the other hand, Natalie had always wanted a family of her own but I did not anticipate it to be so soon after we went into business together. In the years following came my nieces and nephew who I love dearly. As a co-owner of our business and father myself, it was difficult to be on my own while my partner was on maternity leave three times. But I grew up learning that business is business and fair is fair. As much as she has the right to be on maternity leave, I missed my partner and may not have shown it in the kindest of ways. This caused tension in our relationship, but time works things out and I am very happy that we have a strong bond today.
Marianne also had overcome a lot, including two kidney transplants. Being a single mom and going through that... I cannot imagine how difficult that must have been. But she is a strong women, more so than I think she knows.
If you wanted to buy them flowers, what would you ask the florist for?
*Insert Joseph laughing here* That is a good question. Well my mom does love daffodils, but they are not available in time for women’s day. She loves yellow so I would have to get something in that color… probably a bouquet of yellow tulips or even better yellow mimosa seeing as she is Italian and it is THE flower to give on this day in Italy.
As for Natalie, well she likes vibrate and bright colors with big contrast punches. Something with dark pink and dark purple with orange and some greens would be perfect.
Marianne likes sweet smelling things, so I would get the nicest smelling flowers: probably tulips, genet, and mimosa.
And how can I forget my two beautiful daughters...they put up with me too!
I am very lucky and blessed to be surrounded with so many wonderful women in my life!
After some reflection of your own, might I suggest you consider Joseph’s words and bring something to an incredible woman in your life?
This year we propose sending her fragrant yellow mimosa flowers as traditionally done so in Italy since 1946, when it became their national women’s day flower. They even made a special cake for this day: the ‘Torta Mimosa’ which is made to resemble the fluffy little yellow flowers! Additionally to mimosa we suggest purple tulips. Tulips represent springtime, the revival of nature and a new start. One day of 365 may seem inconsequential however that one day revives our cause and reminds us of the work we have yet to accomplish.