What happens when two Bronxites – an experienced florist and a successful ex-banker – partner up to play with flowers? Read on and find out.
Bronx florist Lea Davis is partnering with her best friend, ex-banker Erika Moncada, to revamp Bella’s Flower Shop – a high-end luxury floral shop in the Bronx located at 288 West Fordham Road.
“We are very excited about our upcoming partnership,” says Davis. “We will undergo a full storefront renovation, and the name of the company will change from Bella’s Flower Shop to Bella’s Flowers. We plan on expanding to other boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.”
Bella’s Flower Shop has serviced the Bronx and its surrounding areas for 12 years. They are the first Bronx flower shop to create fresh flower arrangements in Parisian hat boxes, inspired by European sophistication and elegance. They also offer an entire collection of preserved roses and roses that last a year without water or maintenance.
“I have decided to partner up with my best friend of over 25 years to serve our community even better,” says Davis. “We believe that with my expertise in marketing and product development and her competence in operations, we will make an A-team!”
Davis and Moncada first met in their local church 25 years ago. Both partners immigrated from Honduras, were raised in the Bronx, and went to Baruch College in New York City. After college, Moncada went into banking and eventually managed a Chase Bank in the Bronx, while Davis went into the real estate industry.
Before the real estate market crash of 2008, she was buying inexpensive properties, refurbishing them, and selling them for a profit. After the market crashed, her successful business came to a screeching halt.
“We had two properties that we couldn’t unload,” says Davis. “I felt lost and broke.”
Feeling like any opportunity would be better than none, Davis started browsing Craigslist for a solution.
“I clearly remember going through Craigslist and seeing an ad for a small flower shop,” says Davis. “The asking price wasn’t much, so I just went with it. My mother was with me, encouraging me and telling me I could do it. She was the only one that believed in me. I will never forget that!”
Davis purchased her flower shop in 2010 and named it after her beloved niece, Isabella. Back then, it was a small and unprofitable business – but not for long. Davis worked hard and quickly transformed the Bronx flower shop into a flourishing business. Just two years later, the business outgrew the space, and she relocated to a larger storefront, where the store thrives today.
“Erika and I love the Bronx. We grew up here and have worked here all our lives,” says Davis. “We want to bring the best and innovative products to the people of the Bronx.”
The transition to Bella’s Flowers will allow Davis and Moncada to improve their customer service experience.
“We want the interactions our customers have with us to be positive throughout the entire customer journey, from first contact to becoming a happy and loyal customer.
“Have you ever experienced the frustration of ordering flowers online and them not looking like the picture that enticed you to buy them? Bella’s Flowers is about to change that. They will send a picture of the product before it’s sent out for delivery. They will also give constant update to the sender, as far as where their order is on their pipeline. Has it been received? Is it on the designer’s table? Is it En route? Has it been delivered? “I would like to know all of this if I was giving flowers as a gift to a loved one” says Moncada.
In addition, we will continue to be that innovative force in the flower and gifting space in the Bronx and branch out to other areas in New York City,” says Davis. Bella’s Flowers has and will continue to strive to bring new products to their local Bronx customer. A new collection will roll out on Mother's Day and Valentine’s Day and will be available year-round.
“Customers want to gift something different to their loved ones, and we like to be at the forefront of innovation. We have customers coming from all boroughs of NYC looking for our exclusive and bespoke flower arrangements. They tell me all the time, ‘I come from afar. My local florist doesn’t sell this!’”
Although Moncada is just officially joining the business, she is no stranger to the floral industry. She is used to helping her best friend run the flower shop during the busiest times of the year.
“Erika has helped out during big holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, and we have always bounced around the idea of partnering up,” says Davis. “Her strengths are my weaknesses and vice-versa. She excels in organization, logistics, management, and operations. My strengths are in marketing and advertising, e-commerce, and product development.”
Davis, Moncada, and Bella’s Flowers are testaments to what is possible with hard work and perseverance – even when facing a real estate market crash and a global pandemic.
“As minority women, we are grateful to this country, and specifically to the Bronx, for being so good to us,” Davis says. “I remember seeing the struggles my immigrant parents went through raising us in the Bronx. They sacrificed a lot, and we won’t let that sacrifice be in vain. We want to do something recognizable – something of category and prestige – that comes out of our home, the Bronx.”