Meet The Family
Erin is Floret’s founder, and is honored to be considered one of the nation’s leading “farmer-florists”—a term used to describe those who specialize in both growing and designing with seasonal flowers. Erin’s work has been featured widely in numerous books, magazines, and websites. Her first book, Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: How to Grow, Harvest & Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms, was published by Chronicle Books in 2017 and won the American Horticulture Society’s 2018 Book Award.
A researcher at heart, Erin conducts extensive field trials on a wide selection of flowers and foliage, including many varieties that are highly fragrant, delicate, and not commonly available in the flower industry. She regularly shares her trial results plus growing tips and photos of her lush fields via Floret’s popular blog and social media channels. Erin also teaches a 6-week course on small scale flower production to other farmers, designers, and enthusiasts from around the globe through the Floret Online Workshop.
Known for her lush, airy, romantic designs, Erin is drawn to old fashioned blooms and is consistently pushing the limits of what can be used in arrangements which led to her winning the Martha Stewart American Made Award for Floral and Event Design. A believer in fairies, Erin’s other dream job is to become a midwife, and of all blooms, she loves sweet peas the most.
Chris Benzakein is the heart of our operation. He oversees all of the field production, greenhouse construction, soil work, irrigation and delivery. He is almost always the one behind the lens, capturing our beautiful flower-filled story. Chris is full of encouragement and is the rock that underpins our family. He has an amazing work ethic, is great at finding the silver lining of any situation and can literally fix anything.
Elora tends a modest flock of bantam chickens, a clutter of sweet rescue cats and many, many tanks of local pond creatures. She dreams of becoming a veterinarian and traveling the world. She happily assists with bouquet making, flower bunching, and packaging.
Jasper is passionate about fish, water insects, coding, and farming. He has grown a vegetable garden since the age of four and loves to feed his family. An amazing helper, he regularly works with Chris on construction projects, compost making, and irrigation.
Our Extended Family
Jill takes things from good to great. She writes content, oversees all product creation and helps bring ideas to life. Everything Jill touches, she polishes to a shine and she cares so deeply for the work we do. The phrase most often said at workshops is “I need a Jill!” She has a background in writing, event planning, and floral design and was the first florist to buy flowers as Floret was just getting started. Jill lives in Bellingham with her husband and 2 young kids and has never met a garden rose she didn’t like.
Susan Studer King
Susan is our in-house journalist, digital content creator and multi-tasker extraordinaire. She is our technology troubleshooter and is responsible for the Floret newsletter, blog and press pitches. Susan also assists with Floret’s digital marketing strategy and manages product launches, all the while keeping everything flowing smoothly behind the scenes. A lover of peonies, Susan lives with her family in Ohio where she and her mother operate Buckeye Blooms, a small flower farm and wedding design studio.
The Floret Shop is Jan’s happy place, and she keeps it running like a well oiled machine. From inventory management to overseeing order fulfillment and tracking the thousands of small details in between, Jan somehow does it all without breaking a sweat. She’s amazing! When things are crazy busy, Jan is most in her element, welcoming the fast pace while always looking for new ways to improve the process and flow. We couldn’t run our bustling online business without her steadfast support and unflappable nature. Jan is the proud mother to 5 children and 5 grandchildren. She home schooled all her kids and is a lifelong gardener, calling sweet peas her favorite flower.
From the first day Sarah arrived at Floret, she brought a warmth and positivity to every aspect of her work. It wasn’t long before we nicknamed her Sunshine. Sarah’s caring heart shines through in everything that she does, from sowing seeds to tending the plants and lovingly looking after the chickens. Growing up in Virginia, Sarah was always outdoors, walking in the woods and playing on land that has been in her family since the late 1800’s. Daisies and black eyed Susans are some of her favorite flowers, and Sarah is an avid hiker in her free time. Last year she hiked the entire Appalachian trail!
Susi keeps activities on the farm humming along in a timely matter, and in addition to tending to the plants, she also invests in cultivating relationships with everyone on the team. Whether she is overseeing farm tasks, weeding, planting or watering, she is constantly absorbing and learning as much as possible in any given moment. Susi brings our weekly team calls to life with detailed descriptions of farm activities, always sharing the beauty and the magic of the everyday. Some of her favorite flowers include anemones, echinacea and lavender. When she’s not busy at Floret, Susi loves being close to the water, swimming, crafting, gardening and reading.
If you’ve ever sent an email to Floret, you’ve likely heard back from Angela with a helpful and cheerful response. A lifelong Washington resident, Angela loves being active in her community, connecting with others and encouraging positivity wherever she goes. Angela works remotely from her family’s 2-acre homestead on Camano Island, answering growing related questions, both through email and on Facebook. She loves the many varieties of flowers she gets to enjoy at Floret, but has a soft spot for the first spring daffodils and fields full of lupine. Angela is a mother to 3 young children and a menagerie of cats, dogs, chickens and ducks. In her spare time, she loves to hike, garden and write for her blog Northwest Healthy Mama.
Ellen brings an incredible skill set to the Floret Team, including a BS in Horticulture from Texas A&M University and the added experience of owning her own horticulture company. Ellen works remotely from Dallas, Texas helping with administrative tasks, writing and copy editing projects and helping the entire team stay organized with her Excel wizardry. Ellen also manages the Farmer-Florist Collective and oversees all communication with our Online Workshop attendees. She is an adoring mother of two kids and has a soft spot for sweet peas.
With a background in office administration, Meg keeps everything tidy and organized on the home front. She’s extremely hardworking, a master at beautifying spaces and will fearlessly tackle even the most daunting project. Her favorite flower is phlox and when’s she’s not working her tail off, you can often find her country dancing, antiquing, or spending time with her family.
Working alongside her mother Jan, Emily packs many of the orders leaving the Floret Shop, making sure that all of the little details are just right for our customers. Emily is a whiz on the computer, has a keen attention to detail, the rare gift of seeing things from many points of view and is always eager to lend a helping hand whenever needed. She also gives the very best hugs! With so many varieties to choose from Emily has a hard time narrowing down a favorite, but if she had to pick just one it’d be Phlox ‘Sugar Stars’. She loves computers and just completed her certification in Video Game Development and Programming.
The Lopez Family
Aureliano has been lending his steady support on the farm for nearly a decade. Floret’s first official employee, he magically appeared one day out in the field as Erin struggled to get all of the dahlias planted on time. He took the task that otherwise would have taken days and finished it that afternoon. From then on, he worked every summer on the farm and this year was joined by his sweet wife Gloria and his son Sergio. We lovingly refer to the Lopez family as our farm angels because they take such good care of everything, from planting and weeding to seed harvesting and packaging. Sergio loves driving the tractor. Aureliano and Gloria are the proud parents of 7 children and 2 grandchildren and love working out in nature and spending time with family.