Production Team: Hair by: Evana Reyna & Amber Garcia, Riptide Salon • Makeup by: Ashle Riff Aligno, Tease Salon • Wardrobe Styled by: Alexa Gignac, Julian Gold • Location: Elizabeth’s at the Art Museum
Iuliia Prokhorova comes to Corpus Christi by way of Moscow, Russia. Albeit a long journey from her roots, Corpus has become a place she now loves with her whole heart, and thus calls home. Prokhorova is the brilliant mind behind Wild Veggie Bouquet—anyone who has been to any noteworthy event in the region in the past five years has undoubtedly been introduced to Prokhorova’s extravagant floral designs, which are undeniably masterful works of art.
Prokhorova ‘s background is in ichthyology and molecular biology—can you tell she has a love for nature? She is soft-spoken, but not in a stereotypically shy way; she is sophisticated and confident, and therefore feels no obligation to lead with her own accolades. I concluded that perhaps her tendency to be reserved could be attributed to a cultural difference, but I was wrong. Prokhorova’s poise is derived from a profound appreciation for her life and how her decision to move to the United States with her eldest son led to finding the loves of her life: her husband and her business.
Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to the leap of faith that would later become Wild Veggie Bouquet, the immensely popular business she built from the ground up. And it’s in this world where she thrives in the various roles she steps into each and every day: entrepreneur, wife, mother, friend, community advocate, woman. Each day Prokhorova wakes up embodying HER.
How she makes time for all of the hats she wears is the burning question every woman who meets her is dying to understand. But as Prokhorova says, “happiness breeds success.” This is a steadfast mantra she not only lives by in her own life, but she can recognize in others instantly. As the positive energy among the honoree group began to build off one another, Prokhorova (who is sitting next to me, with our pocketbooks occupying the space between us allowing for six feet of distance) leans in to say, “Do you see how happy each of these women are? I firmly believe that the key to success is happiness.”
In Her Own Words
As a small business owner and someone girls and women look up to, what do you hope they take away from your journey?
The American Dream is still a thing! You work as hard as you can—and you get anything for which you want and plan. They say connections, background, and 100 other things determine your success, and they might! But if you don’t have any of those, you still can achieve success. Just decide that you are “in the army now” and work hard until you get there. I am an immigrant who started to build this new career at 35 years old, knowing no one in Corpus Christi. How amazing is that?
Which woman in your life has inspired you the most?
This is a very tough question, as through a whole lifetime we are meeting people we learn from constantly. My mother always was my role model as she is the kindest and most hard-working woman I have ever met. My eyes are wide open, and I see a lot of unbelievably talented women in our community whom I respect, and adore the energy they bring. I love the saying “You have not met all the people you will love in your life yet.” Don’t get me wrong–I am happily married! However, what I am saying is that my heart is always open to meeting more inspiring women.
What is it about floral design that inspires you or brings you joy? How does this differ from your previous career as a biologist?
I love the power of transformation that flowers carry. You can make any place look better with a floral installation or simple arrangement. I see the result of my work right away; I see the positive impact, smiles, and happiness every day. It’s a very rewarding job. Plus, the number of opportunities to grow is limitless: teaching floral classes, working on fashion editorials, participating in design competitions, weddings, events, and beyond! It’s really not even close to my work in the laboratory, which I loved, but I didn’t realize I wasn’t actually in a happy place there. Yes, we need jobs like that, but when I was in that field, I very often felt useless when I wasn’t able to change anything for the patient. You just deliver the news–good or bad–to the doctor and then are supposed to forget about it and switch to the next case. I am happier now having more life choices, happy with a healthy level of problem-solving challenges that a florist’s job provides too.
What keeps you up at night?
Although some dates on my calendar are very important and at times stressful, I try to sleep at night. To recharge and refresh the vision and creative energy, it’s absolutely necessary. I’m not a night person—but my days start relatively early, somewhere between 5:30 and 6:30 AM, partially because of my family’s schedule. Another big part of it is local floral wholesalers open at 7:30 AM. On their delivery days, I want to be there to get the best blooms to work with!