Flower Girl: Freshman creates innovative home business

Flower Girl: Freshman creates innovative home business

Freshman ZyAndrea Walker-Eaton has turned her house into a floral design studio. The difference is her flowers are clay. (Photo by Keria Jinks)

For freshman ZyAndrea Walker, what was once her dining room is now her very own flower studio. Her shelves are complete with row after row of paint. Stacks of assorted ribbons and cups full of paint brushes line what use to be a beverage bar. And of course, the thing that started her home business, packages of clay lining the corner of the bar.
“When I was in third grade my art teacher showed us how to make the clay flowers,” Walker said. “And then it just popped in my head one day and I starting making them.”
Walker saw that people were interested in her designs, and it led to the start of her business “Floral Designs by Zy”. Walker’s business specializes in the creation and design of handmade and painted clay flowers. Walker is grateful for the chance to create flowers for other’s enjoyment.
“I feel like this is a real blessing, that this opportunity was given to me,” Walker said. “It all happened so fast, but I feel very blessed.”
Walker started out playing with her little sister’s clay and it led to the creation of a full blown business. These clay designs have a price range from $15 to $27.
“I think what makes it really unique is that it’s made of clay,” Walker’s mother, Sharhonda Eaton said. “You can have whatever color you want and they don’t wilt. You can’t have that with real flowers.”
With her new business, Walker is having to juggle running a business and keeping up with school work. Eaton stresses the importance of education, but is proud of her daughter and her success.
“It’s so hard! She is getting orders non stop, which is a very good thing. But school is the priority,” Eaton said. “After she is done with school, with her education, she can expand her business and her skills.”
Walker is assisted by her younger sister, Lea Eaton. Lea helps her by taking orders and building the stems to support the flowers as well as the leaves.
“It’s fun because I get to help make beautiful flowers,” Lea said.
Walker’s first intentions were not to sell the flowers. The thought never occurred to her to start a business. Walker took the flowers to church one Sunday and people immediately wanted to buy the flowers.
“We had no idea that people would have wanted them right then,” Mrs. Eaton said. “We had to go over to a corner to try and figure how much to sell them for.”
Although Walker can do any color combination you could dream of, she is hoping to learn how to make different types of flowers, and for different occasions, such as weddings. This is the next big step in expanding her business, and Walker is very optimistic.
“I haven’t done weddings, but I’m really looking forward to doing them,” Walker said. “I really like birthdays because I feel like it’s really special to give something I made to someone else.”
Walker’s clay flowers are becoming popular. She has even sold her creations to people out of state.
“I really like it that my creations aren’t just local anymore,” Walker said. “That was really shocking to me.”
Walker’s flowers have caught attention from her teachers as well. Soon, her yellow roses will be featured in the school’s production of “Daddy’s Dyin’ Who’s Got the Will?”
“I’m going to buy them for the drama department. They’re pretty cool, and really unique,” Walker’s Theatre Arts teacher Mrs. Genevieve Croft said.
Mrs. Croft even says Walker has a quiet personality, but the passion she has for her business is evident.
“She seems pretty quiet in class, but as soon as I get her talking about her business her whole face brightens,” Mrs. Croft said.
Throughout the process Walker has decided that making clay flowers is what she wants to do for the rest of her life. With the support of her family, friends, and teachers, some say nothing can stand in her way.
“ZyAndrea’s motivation and passion for what she does will carry her far in life,” English teacher Ms. Shannon Connors said. “She is sure to be successful at whatever she does.”