Melanie Fernandez is the founder & creative director of the successful flower company and soon-to-be lifestyle brand, House of Lilac. She tells us how following her intuition and passion led her to where she is today. As an entrepreneur, mom and wife Melanie manages to stay connected, balanced and most importantly, well-rested. Follow along as we get to know our October Girl of the Month!
Please tell us what you do for a living.
I am lucky enough to run House of Lilac, a flower company based here in Miami. So I consider myself a florist and an entrepreneur, a mom, and a wife.
How did you get started with your career?
I was a practicing lawyer working in corporate America and knew one day (pretty clearly) that it wasn’t long term for me. I have a pretty deep creative side that at that point in my life was untapped and I needed to use it some way. The incredible thing about House of Lilac is that it did not start off as a flower company. I’ve been 100% led to where I am today by intuition, trust, clients, failures, you name it. We started as a gifting company and over the course of three years, have become a really successful flower company and soon to be lifestyle brand.
Describe a day in your life.
Oh wow. Every day is different. EXCEPT my morning routine. I wake up at 5am. Meditate and journal (yes, every day - I don’t function if I don’t start the day with a clear head). And then I either work out or work a little before I have to get my kids up for school. I take them to school. Head to the shop. Help open the shop and then start a day of meetings, calls. If I’m lucky I’ll get actual work done but most of the time I’m just getting through emails (one day, I will figure out how to actually get work done during the day!). I have two babies that currently have different school pickup times so I either pick my daughter up at 12 and take her back to my house (then head back to work) or pick up my son at 2:30 and then head home (my husband and the grandmas also help with pickup). If we don’t have extracurriculars (karate, Spanish class), I head home, think about dinner (my husband mostly cooks but I do the strategizing), hang out with the kids, eat dinner, bathe my kids, and tuck them into bed at 7:30. I shower and then I’m back on my laptop working until around 9:30/10. Asleep by 10:30. Back to it at 5am (except on the weekends because a girl’s gotta sleep at some point!).
Tell us about your journey through entrepreneurship.
Most amazing journey of my life! I was made to be an entrepreneur. I love the risk taking and most importantly, the ability to tangibly create visions in my head. But I’ll admit, starting your own business and venture takes a bit of naivety - it’s constant ups and downs, good and bad, failures and successes, learning experiences. It’s not for the faint of heart or for those that give up easily. But once you get to where you want to go, there’s really no better payoff. Interestingly enough, I’ve learned the most about myself (and have been able to work on myself) being an entrepreneur because at the end of the day—I’m all I’ve got on this journey (yes, I have help now but I’m still the captain steering this ship). And the success of this business is 100% dependent on my mindset and my beliefs!
What inspired you to create your company?
A desire to elevate people’s every day through simple things like flowers. The flower industry was overly complicated and misunderstood—very much focused on weddings and not the simple pleasure of buying or receiving flowers. I had a desire to change that and to make people fall in love with the everyday details in life.
Please tell us about house of lilac.
House of lilac is a flower company and shop based in miami focusing on every day flowers and gifts, almost all delivered locally and many shipped nationwide. We’re content creators and love engaging with our clients and followers on all things flowers and hosting, like HOL Tips & Tricks, and HOL at Home, both on IGTV, not to mention our library of online flower and lifestyle curriculum.
Where are you from and how long have you lived in Miami?
Born and raised Miami girl. I’ve lived here my entire life, 33.5 years (except for a few years away for college). Last thing you cooked?
Ground turkey bolognese with gluten free fusilli. Can’t leave the house without? My Contigo water thermos!! Favorite food.
Miami Winters. Best way to decompress at home.
Tucked in my linen sheets watching Netflix or reading a great book (while my kids sleep :)). What’s on your reading list.
- Where the Crawdads Sing.
- An American Marriage
- Pulling Profits out of a Hat
- Managing Oneself
How do you usually start your mornings?
On days I don’t work out, I wake up at 5am, journal, meditate, make tea, and work until I have to get my kids up for school. On days I work out, I wake up at 5am, meditate, workout, rush home, wake the kids up for school and finally, shower and get ready for my day!
It is SUPER important for me to wake up way before the rest of my house and have time to reflect. My spirituality is a big part of my life and is 100% the reason for who I’ve become today. Giving it the attention it (and essentially, I) deserves is priority. What is the first thing you thought of this morning?
Wow, Melanie, I’m so proud of you for waking up at 5am and not snoozing! (no school this summer threw me off BIG TIME). What is your go-to fitness routine or regimen?
I take a HIIT class twice a week in the morning before work and try to jump on the Peloton on Sundays for 30 min. I also try to get to yoga as much as I can! Where do you work out/practice and why do you go there? I go to Kamps Fitness in South Miami and Buddha Grove Yoga in Coconut Grove - not only do I actually love the workouts, but they’re, most importantly, REALLY close to my house and if there’s one thing about me, it’s that I won’t travel too far to work out (hence the peloton in my living room). What is your approach to nutrition?
Nutrition became extremely important to me when I became pregnant for the first time about 5 years ago (go figure!). I am predominantly dairy free (have been for almost 6 years). I also recently cut gluten during the week to help with inflammation/bloating and my energy levels. And in lieu of coffee, I drink tea (on year two!). I try to buy the best food I have access to for myself and my kids because I whole heartedly believe nutrition plays such a big part in a person’s emotional and physical well-being. What are your lifestyle “must-do’s” and your absolute “no ways”?
Must meditate and exercise. Both move energy through my body and I’ve seen my life change for the better because of both!
Absolute no ways: hmm, I’d have to say losing sleep. I really, truly, and honestly do everything in my power to get in a good night of sleep. I’ll go as far as leave outings and turn down events during the week so that I can be in bed by 9:30pm (this totally makes me sound OLD, but someone’s gotta look out for me!). What is your relationship to food?
I thank my mom for this, but I have a great relationship to food. She’s very secure about her weight and the foods she eats but also cooked A LOT, exposing us to different foods all the time (crab legs, vegetables, you name it). My husband and I also share a love of food together—he LOVES to cook (and is so good at it) and we cook at home constantly for our family and friends.
What’s your “passed down from Mom” beauty secret?
A face regimen and good makeup! Investing in both is a MUST. Best beauty tip you ever received.
Never go to sleep with makeup on!! What’s a beauty secret you want to share with us.
Recherche Biologique products. CHANGED MY SKIN IN MIRACULOUS WAYS. And hydra facials. What’s your philosophy about beauty.
Simple and quality is better. I don’t wear much makeup but do wear the right products and invest in what I put on my face.
Target! Because I’m a mom and swear by every delivery method it offers (especially the drive-up feature).
Favorite social-media platform.
Favorite person to follow on Instagram.
Emily Henderson!! @em_henderson
Last google search.
Eva Chen (haha). I was listening to the Second Life Podcast with her as a guest and wanted to know more about her and her fabulous life!
Person you text the most.
Cristie Enriquez!!! (my operations director).
What’s your favorite city in the world. It’s a tie between Paris and Harbour Island in the Bahamas. Where do you want to travel next.
I need to go back to Italy! Would love to go to Tuscany. Would also love to visit the south of France. Last trip you took. Harbour Island, Bahamas! This past summer with my family (we go every year). What words do you live by.
God’s timing is everything (I’ve seen this play out, over and over again). If you could offer advice to your 18 year old self, what would it be? Don’t worry so much and have faith in the process. Every step is the right step, no matter how out of control you might feel AND Trust your intuition and yourself more. You’re always right! Do you have any upcoming projects you want to share with us?
YES! We launched our Flower Club membership program on September 9, a national membership program with a monthly mailer and monthly flower and lifestyle content meant to encourage women to become the best, most compassionate versions of themselves. We’re really excited about the project and are in the process of expanding on a national scale. I always tell women, if you’re looking for encouragement and love flowers, this one’s for you!