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Rohnert Park mother-daughter team designs floral masterpieces for any occasion

Read more stories celebrating the local Latino community here.

Haz clic aquí para leer la versión en Español.

For one Rohnert Park family who’s experienced hardships, illnesses, celebrations, birthdays and more, there has been one consistent way to mark each occasion: with a bouquet of flowers.

Two of those family members, mother-daughter duo Rosa Luviano and Jennifer Flores, have gone into business together to share their artistry and knowledge of flower arranging with their community.

Monarca Valley Floral, which began about a year and a half ago, is a blossoming Sonoma County business that has branched far beyond appearances at the SoCo Market to offer custom floral arrangements for events such as weddings and quinceañeras. Through the business’ Instagram, customers and flower appreciators can see vivid visuals of the team’s creative arrangements from an elegant wedding centerpiece featuring white roses, to a rainbow bouquet of floral colors and textures in a mason jar, to a Valentine’s Day beer bouquet featuring bottles of Modelo embedded in greenery and baby’s breath. The flowers have even made their way to this year’s San Francisco State University graduation ceremony at Oracle Park in San Francisco.

It all began when the mother and daughter team decided to start the business one day during the COVID-19 pandemic when, Luviano said, she was feeling depressed and unhappy.

"Flowers are something that always give me peace and happiness, and my daughter has always been pushing me to do something that really makes me happy," she said. "That's why we decided to start Monarca Valley."

Flores, which just so happens to translate to flowers in Spanish, said her mom has always been a talented florist and would regularly create special arrangements for her while she was growing up, whether it was for a first day of school, a birthday, prom or graduation. And over time, Flores learned from her mom and began to try her own hand at the art.

"It became our thing she and I would do together," she said.

And together, they decided on a business name: Monarca Valley Floral.

Cultural ties to their business

“Monarca” means monarch in Spanish and refers to the butterflies who migrate to Luviano's original home region, Michoacán, Mexico.

In Latino culture, butterflies and Mexico have always had sacred ties to one another. In late summer, millions of young monarch butterflies leave North America to make their way to the forest and mountains of central Mexico. The two month journey ends near November, around the time the country celebrates Día de Muertos — the holiday honoring those who have passed. It is said that those migrating butterflies hold the spirits of our ancestors and loved ones who are dropping by for a visit on one of the holiest celebrations in the region.

Oftentimes, customers and Instagram followers can spot money folded into the shape of butterflies or as metal pieces resting on a flower in the arrangement, which is a subtle nod to their name and culture.

Luviano immigrated to the United States from Michoacán when she was 17, and has now lived in the states longer than she ever lived in Mexico. She and her husband first moved to Richmond, then when the company her parents were working for moved to Santa Rosa, the couple and Flores, who was 1 at the time, moved, too. Luviano embraced the move saying Santa Rosa felt like a safer place to raise to raise a family.

As an immigrant family adapting to life in the U.S., there have been some difficult times. Luviano said she and her husband learned English mainly from watching TV because she didn't want to go to classes where she feared people would laugh at her for mispronouncing words.

Learning from each other

Now, Luviano reflects on the life the family has built in Sonoma County.

"To be able to see our daughter graduating from university with the life we always wanted for ourselves, seeing her now having that life for us is everything," she said.

Another positive is the rich agriculture found in the county — flowers included. During May 2020, Luviano experienced facial paralysis and wasn’t able to be with friends and family while receiving medical care. Like many visiting families, Luviano’s brought presents to the hospital to cheer her up.

Her husband and daughters made it a point to always bring fresh flowers to her room. She said when she would wake up and see them, they made her feel better.

While Luviano brings her flower arranging strengths to the business, Flores brings her youthful technological smarts and social media savvy skills to the table. Together, they're learning how to navigate the ins and outs of running a small business.

"This is the first time we had ever done anything like this," Flores said. "It's been nice having the ability to learn how to do this with my mom."

The process begins with a customer placing an order. Then the two discuss colors, florals, inspiration, the vision, date the customer needs the order and any other details. From there they hand select the flowers themselves from local markets and local businesses like Fairway Farms, a small farm in Rohnert Park, to create the arrangement the day the client picks it up.

"We work together with ease. We are a family, we know each other through and through, this allows us to communicate and help one another on a deeper level and allows us to flourish and solve issues with ease," Luviano said.

Flores and her mom have worked together, she has learned more about the artistry that goes into flower arranging. Sometimes, the youngest member of the family, Alexxa, 9, also helps out and oftentimes attends the markets with her mom and sister.

Flowers share beautiful stories

Bryana Navarro, who was born and raised in Santa Rosa, has purchased a number of bouquets from Monarca Valley Floral. She gives them a price range and the freedom to make what they wish, and says their creations always turn out beautiful.

At one point, she asked if they could make mini-bouquets for cars and they made some the next week exactly as she had envisioned, she said.

"I love their work," she Navarro. "They do an amazing job. Their flowers are high-quality and I recommend them to everybody."

And a more work goes into custom arrangements, they chat with their clients to learn more about what kinds of flowers they like or if any varieties have special significance. They also take on work with budget-conscious clients, she added, and urged anyone interested in an arrangement to reach out to them on Instagram.

The use of color in floral arrangements can tell a story. For instance, an anniversary bouquet might use pinks, whites and reds to emphasize passion and love, Flores said.

"It's rare we create the same kind of arrangement twice," she added. "I guess that's the fun of it. It's an art. You never know how it's going to turn out."

A highlight of their work is seeing customers react to their floral creations, Luviano said.

"I love when people get the bouquet and smile," she said. "I want everybody to feel as I do when I see flowers."

She added that she wanted to thank her customers for their support. "I feel happier than I have in a long time, and I get to spend time with my daughters," she said. "It really fills my heart."

Beyond the technical knowledge Flores is picking up from her business partner and mother, their work together is helping her to absorb a deeper lesson, Luviano said.

"It's OK to have dreams," she said. "She's learning that if you work hard, you can get anything that you put your heart into."

Looking ahead, the hard work will continue as Flores, who recently graduated from San Francisco State University, plans to obtain an online master’s degree from Arizona State University in the fall while working on Monarca Valley Floral.

Read more stories celebrating the local Latino community here.

Haz clic aquí para leer la versión en Español.

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