She is one of the first to admit that nothing comes without sacrifice and that at least once a month she wonders if it is all worth it. Until she reminds herself why – because her family is hers to provide and care for.
Wendy Rovito is the owner of Xoxo Flowers, which started as one small pop-up store in Sandton City and now has five outlets. She’s also pushing hard to drive the e-commerce side of the business.
We caught up with her at her Bedfordview shop to chat about being a single mum and running a successful business.
‘I have two boys, Nicola (13) my eldest, and Andonis (10), as well as my late sister’s daughter Monique who is 20. I heard an expression the other day to describe single-working mums ‘Calm on the surface, paddling like crazy underneath’ – that’s us.
‘Finding the balance and the time to fit it all in often feels like you’re dropping as many balls as you’re picking up. As any single mother would tell you, failure is not an option so we make it happen. I feel incredibly blessed that I can do what I love and provide for my family.’
The entrepreneur within
She describes herself as always having been an entrepreneur with sales running in her blood.
When she saw a small gap in the market to provide a fresh take on an old industry she grabbed it with both hands and she never looked back.
‘The simple answer is we supply flowers, gifts and balloons, but my job revolves around people, helping them celebrate that new love, or remember an old love, praise someone’s promotion, congratulate a birth, engagement or anniversary. We help our clients commiserate a loss.
‘I love what I do. The business is incredibly fast-paced, so making sure they all have the fresh flowers they need keeps me pretty busy. We strive to provide that personal touch, something extra that makes our clients’ gifts stand out. You can buy flowers anywhere, it’s this personal touch and quality that set us apart and keeps our customers coming back.’
The ups and downs of business
While she loves the creative side of the business and finding new ways to showcase their products in such a way that will blow people away, bringing it all together is not always easy.
‘Often, clients remember a special event at the last minute and need something urgently. So as much as I try to prepare for each day it is normally organised chaos by lunchtime.’
When asked about the biggest challenges of her day job, she said, ‘Getting up early for the flower market. No, I hate admin. Finding a quiet time to do it without interruptions is next to impossible so you will often find me up at 4am tackling the week’s admin.
‘I love flowers because they can change and brighten any environment, situation or mood. I have a favourite quote that says, ‘Where flowers bloom so does hope’ and I think that sums up flowers beautifully.’
About this and that
Something people may not know about her is that she loves building puzzles and recently took up crocheting.
‘I am also an over-thinker with a million thoughts going on, and I find these hobbies help calm the mind.
‘I also have a side hustle and recently enrolled for a basic baking and icing course and I am looking at adding cakes to our line-up, so watch this space,’ she said with a huge smile.
Her driving force behind everything she does is her family.
‘I want to build a legacy they can inherit or a business they may one day look to run. I want to instil good work ethics to my children.’
- Do you prefer food, travel or art?
- Rain vs sunshine?
- Indoors or outdoors?
- You can be bribed at any day or any time with …?
- Wardrobe must-haves?
Every woman should own a little black dress.
- The word or phrase which best describes you as a person?
- Your pet peeves?
- Who inspires you?
My late mom.
- If you can do one thing before you die you would …?
Love to visit the Northern Lights.
* Text: CARINA VAN DER WALT. Photo: AFTERGLOW PHOTOGRAPHY. Make-up: FISTO ARTIST.