Romni Pullen, Rose Cottage Florals

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Romni Pullen, owner, Rose Cottage Florals.

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

The most rewarding part of what I do is the opportunity to share in various life events with our clients. We don’t just sell florals; we also participate in weddings, funerals, homecomings, and proms. Our job is to help convey human emotions as if the sender were delivering it himself or herself.

The most challenging aspect is always time, especially during particularly busy periods. We look for employees who are proficient in custom floral design as well as customer focused, computer savvy, and upbeat.

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

My son, Richard Skaife, who owns Hi Point Steakhouse. Richard took a restaurant, which was popular in the 1970s and ’80s, and turned it into one of the most incredible steakhouses in the area! I really enjoy watching him work with diners and staff who have become family to us. Isn’t that what business is all about? Sharing our passion with others in the hope that they, too, become passionate about it? Just two years after taking over in February 2015, Hi Point had a guest wait list. Since that time, Hi Point Steakhouse has become one of the marquee steakhouses in the area, and diners enjoy the amazing food and atmosphere.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

As long as I can remember, flowers have been a part of my life. Since I was 6 or 7 years old, I’ve enjoyed making bouquets. When I was 10 years old, my dad, who owned several floral shops in Madison and Richland Center, would drop me off at the farmers market and I would sell my bouquets to make some pocket change. They always sold out fast and I had always hoped to follow in my dad’s footsteps.

Rose Cottage Florals has been in business since 1993. I opened my first location on Atwood Avenue in Madison in January 2015, and soon thereafter I opened our second location in DeForest.

Thinking back on your career, what advise would you give to your 21-year old self?

I wish I had taken more business classes! I’ve learned the floral side of this business primarily by watching my father work. Running a successful business is so much more than that though. You’re involved in bookkeeping, marketing, and staffing, among other things, and you’ve really got to stay on top of all of them.

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What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

We hear it said often that Dane County provides an amazing sense of community. The area is not only physically beautiful but the people are heartfelt and have an incredible work ethic. One of the reasons I wanted to open a second shop in DeForest is because of the people in the community. Shortly after my husband passed away, the community wrapped its arms around my children and me. It’s my constant goal to give back to this community by paying it forward.

Outside of work, I love to golf and enjoy playing the many incredible golf courses in the area. The fact that Dane County hosts PGA events is a testament to these wonderful facilities and the people who run them.

Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

You mean, in addition to singing like Beyoncé? One of my secret “talents” is trying to help young people stay out of jail/prison. I keep a spare bedroom in my home just so I can help anyone who needs it. Maybe they have had a fight with their parent, or their parent is out of town, or their power has temporarily been shut off — whatever the case is, I do not judge. I have always tried to help young people by being a shoulder they can lean on or a voice to go to bat for them. I recently completed my training to be a peacemaker for the Restorative Court in Dane County. I am so happy to be a part of this great organization that works with young people and victims to try to grow a sense of community and help one another without getting the traditional law enforcement agencies involved. It allows the victim to have more of a say in what happens. This great program teaches all of us to get along with one another and that there are consequences to our actions that can have a ripple effect. There are a lot of great people in Dane County who give their time and talents to this worthwhile program.

What are your guilty pleasures?

My greatest guilty pleasure is that I love to watch “chick flicks” and the Hallmark Channel. If I am not watching golf or football on a Sunday, I will binge-watch the Hallmark Channel. I will start with the first movie that’s on demand and go right on down the line until I have watched them all. If I finish all of the Hallmark movies before the new season starts, I will watch Pretty Woman, Father Goose, A Star is Born (with Kristofferson and Streisand), and Top Gun. The only person who knows I do this is my youngest son, and he just shakes his head and laughs at me.

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