I started Bunny’s Bouquets during lockdown in Los Angeles. I had been laid off from my pastry chef position and was thinking of ways to give appreciation to my friends and family during that difficult time.

I’m a Filipina American, born and raised in San Francisco, moved to Los Angeles in 2016, and moved to Houston in February 2021 (right before that rare freeze).

Through the art of flowers and floral arranging I was able to create a gift from my heart. I became obsessed with the array of colors and shapes Mother Nature has provided us through the medium of flowers. I have taken a lot of inspiration and philosophy from Ikebana. It is a style of arranging that acknowledges flowers as an art in the same sense that painting and sculpture are arts. As a floral business, I want to evoke emotions of inspiration and meaning behind each stem and arrangement.

I’ve grown up in major cities all my life. I was surrounded by a lot of diversity in San Francisco and Los Angeles. When I’m not surrounded by diversity, I start to get nervous. So moving to Houston and being in East Downtown is very comfortable to me. I have never moved out of California before so honestly the first couple of months felt like a shock. I had never seen “guns not allowed” signs before. The roads are wide, large trucks are everywhere, everyone is very comfortable with small talk. I’m getting used to the small talk. California will always be my home, but it’s not a place I can afford to do my own thing. Starting your own business used to be what you aspired to do, but with the growing financial divide it’s hard. Texas is sick because there’s still a lot of space for people who want to start their own businesses. I would never have been able to start a business in California. Texas has space for every spectrum of creativity. There feels like more of an opportunity to be in the creative scene.

Growing up Filipino I always felt limited to what I could do with my life. I only knew of Filipinos as registered nurses or working in the customer service industry. Filipinos were rarely seen in movies in America. There was Lea Salonga, a famous Filipina singer, who was the singing voice for multiple Disney characters, but I had no idea she was Filipino until years later. The first time I saw a gang of Filipinos represented in the media was in a movie called The Debut in 2001. In 2001! That wasn’t that long ago. All my Filipino friends were hyped about it. Unless you had TFC (The Filipino Channel) there wasn’t a way for someone to connect with Filipinos.

I once had someone ask me a question: “What are you going to do after high school?” and I cried. I for real had no idea. I felt confined to the stereotypes of both being an Asian and Filipino. Since it was so rare for Filipinos to be seen in the media and I hated regular degular school I felt there wasn’t really a lane for me to be in.

I think growing up in cities all my life has me seeing beauty in everything. Whether it’s vines growing along abandoned buildings, dead flowers in dirty water puddles. I like to mix beauty with what could be considered not beautiful. What could be considered an unattractive flower or unconventional color combinations. I want to use that in arrangements.

Living in East Downtown, I think this neighborhood has been an easier adjustment from living in San Francisco and Los Angeles. If I lived in a suburb, I would lose my mind. I went to the Texas Art Asylum recently. It’s really a hidden gem for anyone who wants to create. I think going there really solidified my place in this neighborhood. Texas also has a slower pace, which honestly, I’ve needed for a while.

The floral industry has a lot of POC in the background. POC are on the farms picking or growing our flowers. POC are in the floral marts cleaning flowers. POC are wholesalers selling flowers. I would love to represent those underrepresented by connecting and building relationships with other BIPOCs in Houston through the beauty of flowers. A close friend once said to me, “If I can portray half the undeserved confidence of a mediocre white man, I’ll do fine. I can’t imagine how big a difference that could’ve made during my life. Imagine growing up being told you deserve to take up as much space as you want. You’d move way different.”

I’ve struggled a lot with knowing it’ll be hard to get noticed in the floral industry because white women dominate it. But I’ve been working on taking up space, taking chances, and voicing my opinions since starting my lil business.