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A Tale of Transitions and Blooms

Finding the beautiful side of every blossoming opportunity

Article by Jessica Cheek

Photography by Nicole Bell

Originally published in Gallatin Lifestyle

What prompts a seasoned, full-time Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) to leave a career in the medical field and create a small business in the opposite direction of floral design? As Rachel Brown, owner of Black Tie Floral Design and Events in Gallatin can attest, many times, even the best-laid plans can go awry, and doors that are shut can immediately lead you toward other open doors and rewarding opportunities.

For two decades, Rachel served as a CRNA, working her way up into an esteemed teaching and administrative role. It was here that she was told that her position and services were no longer needed, leading to her ultimate termination and separation.

“Yep, I was fired,” Rachel says with a smile.

Recounting that experience, Rachel attributes her resilience to her unwavering faith in Jesus. Confident that He would steer her toward the next chapter of her life, Rachel embraced the uncertain journey with ironic certainty, grace and gratitude.

Soon, Rachel found another less time-consuming clinical/non-teaching position in anesthesia. With her newfound time in this role, her creativity blossomed, leading Rachel to craft specific floral arrangements for friends in her free time. This ultimately bloomed into dreams of a full-service flower shop. Rachel approached her husband, Mike, with the idea and half-expected him to say, “You’re crazy, Rachel!” However, Mike did not respond that way, and together, they prayed for guidance in their new direction. Neither of them had a background in business, nor had they been small business owners, but they completely trusted the Lord in the direction he was leading them.

Rachel and Mike, both Gallatin natives, quickly realized starting a business from scratch was not easy. Searching for affordable space and aided by Rachel's family, they searched for a suitable location and even procured used coolers for their initial floral endeavors. When a brick-and-mortar business location opened up off Nashville Pike near Volunteer State Community College, Rachel and Mike jumped at the opportunity and began purchasing supplies and goods to stock the business entirely. The shop officially opened its doors in October of 2017.

Rachel’s vision for the business involves giving back to missions and causes near and dear to her heart. She supports ambitions such as rescuing women from lives of addiction and human trafficking by selling items from Nashville-based Thistle Farms (ThistleFarms.org) in the store’s gift shop. Through this calling, Black Tie has created a community of loyal customers who support both the flower shop and Thistle Farms with their intentions and their dollars.

The local shop is thriving as a full-service flower shop and event planning center for some of the most important local events in Middle Tennessee. Black Tie has grown exponentially over the past six years, and from its fledgling roots as a new business, to surviving the Covid downturn, to expanding its services to offer flowers for literally every occasion imaginable, Rachel and Mike are delighted with the patronage that the small, family-owned business has received from Gallatin and our surrounding communities.

Black Tie masterfully creates beautiful arrangements for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, sympathies, get-wells and any other event that somebody may recognize with flowers. The shop has a gorgeous showroom displaying many unique vases and containers just waiting to be chosen for that extra special arrangement, as well as an exquisite array of the latest, trendy, upscale, yet affordable gift items hand-selected by Rachel just for the shop. Rachel and her customers also love the line of candles made by Tennessee-based company Clark and June Candles (ClarkAndJune.com), and Black Tie also regularly sells these specialty items from the shop.

The shop has flourished since its inception, going from 12 weddings that first year to over 40 weddings in 2023 (setting a new record for Black Tie). These goals could not be accomplished without Black Tie’s team of designers working together seamlessly to create and execute customized event visions while navigating logistics and supplies. Rachel is quick to admit that one person simply cannot do it all and frequently lets all of her employees know that their voice is valued and heard. Rachel and her team go above and beyond to ensure that every item that goes out the door meets the "Black Tie Standard." Customer service is a top priority—each customer is treated with a high level of care and respect, concern for their needs and consideration of their budget, and Rachel is unwavering in this approach.

Rachel still works as a CRNA two or three days a month, but her full-time focus is on Black Tie and its continued growth and success. While she feels blessed to be able to serve the community she loves, Rachel also enjoys meeting people and making new connections. Rachel continues to discover that being a Gallatin Area Chamber member is integral to meeting others in the local business community and she joyfully looks forward to serving as a 2024 Chamber of Commerce Board Member as yet another way to serve our area.

967-G Grassland Place, Gallatin
BlackTieFloralDesigns.com

@blacktiefloraldesign

"I hope to leave a legacy about the importance of caring for others."