Judi Tsuchida, who grew up in Idaho, opened Fena Flowers in 1988 almost a decade before she had initially intended. The mother of a 2-year-old and 4-year-old wanted to open her own flower shop once her kids were preteens, but when the opportunity arose for her to start her own business, she decided to jump on it.
“I thought I was crazy at first, but it turned out to be the best time to start the business,” she said. “Once my kids were the ages I wanted to start Fena, I was busy running them to and from activities. By then, I had employees, so it was much easier to get away.”
Over the last 31 years, Fena Flowers has been a Kirkland favorite for exemplary arrangements and service. For Tsuchida, working in a flower shop has been a 54-year passion. She grew up working in her aunt’s flower shop, and she said she still screams with excitement when boxes of flowers are delivered.
At home in my garden
Momoya Sushi & Sake House in Kirkland
To Grab a Drink
Novelty Hill Januik
To Be Inspired
Any garden nursery; I have an addiction to plants!
I love the oldies … ’50s, ’60s,’70s.
I have to admit that I don’t read books; I’d rather be in the garden. I only read articles that pertain to flowers and gardening.
Wizard of Oz
Best Advice You’ve Received
Hire your weaknesses
Best Business Decision You’ve Made
To move Fena from downtown Kirkland to a warehouse facility in the Totem Lake area. We were able to have 6,000 square feet to operate efficiently, be centrally located for deliveries, and have in-store shopping, at a significantly reduced rent.
Who Inspires You?
My mom. She persevered in internment camp during WWII and becoming a widow at 38 with four small girls. She worked hard her whole life, but more importantly, instilled in her daughters a hard work ethic at a very young age. She gave me the work ethic that I needed to be a good business owner.
What spurred you to open your own floral shop?
I had a vision to create a flower shop that offers unique floral arrangements in all price ranges and quality service at competitive prices, while offering the employees better pay and benefits.
How has Fena evolved over the last 31 years?
We are always competitive by sourcing the best products at the best prices. We continuously look for ways to be more productive and continue to improve our processes to provide the best customer service and products at all times.
In what ways have you seen the floral industry change?
When I started in the industry, you could only purchase flowers in a flower shop. We have evolved to compete in price, but more importantly, in the quality of our products and service. We are also involved in our community, donating to several charities.
If you could give advice to your younger professional self, what would you say?
Stay true to your business strategy, yet be flexible to competitive pressures; implement continuous quality improvement of product and services; and share the rewards of hard work with your staff.