CSUF student keeps school in focus while her floral business Salt and Poppies blossoms

For CSUF student Lauren Clark, springtime means more than warmer weather, it’s the season where her floral business blooms.

Clark, a senior advertising major from Valencia, got into the business when one of her friends asked her and her best friend, Elle Fortman, to help out with the flowers at a wedding last June. It was initially just for fun but ended up being something much more significant.

“So many of our friends, or friends of friends, are getting married, and we want to be able to provide a service that is going to make their dream wedding or event come to life,” Clark said.

After Clark and Fortman enjoyed joining forces and taking creative control for the wedding, they realized they could take things further and launched Salt and Poppies, their floral design business.

But before creating her own business, Clark had to earn her way as a student to CSUF. Her journey to becoming a Titan was an obstacle within itself.

Clark started out at Biola University, a private Christian school in La Mirada. While she was fond of the university, tuition costs made it difficult to keep attending.

Since Clark was already in the area, she decided to take courses at Fullerton College while working close to full time. Attending a Cal State made more sense financially, so she applied to CSUF and is now working on earning her bachelor’s degree.

As a student and business owner, one of Clark’s biggest battles is maintaining Salt and Poppies when homework gets in the way. For Clark, writing essays or doing homework is not as exciting as creating mood boards, designing or even buying vases for flowers.

Occasional floral crowns, bouquets and arrangements paved the way to their first wedding event under Salt and Poppies. This is where the pair was able to use their skills to create arrangements and fulfill the bride’s vision.

“When (the bride) saw her bouquet, she was like ‘This is better than I expected.’ It was really cool to make that happen,” Clark said.

Clark is close to graduating and doesn’t plan to lose sight of earning that diploma. The people closest to Clark say she is someone who is practical and thinks her actions through.

“She is 100 percent at whatever she’s doing in any given moment, and she thrives in everything she does, and I love that about her,” Fortman said.

Clark’s boyfriend, Kevin Zimmerman, describes himself as the team’s biggest cheerleader after seeing how much heart and effort has gone into Salt and Poppies.

Whether it’s her current part-time job or a school project, Zimmerman said Clark is determined to bring the best quality to everything she does.

“Lauren is one of the most dedicated, encouraging, thoughtful people you will ever meet. She puts more time, care and attention and even stress over those things because she really cares,” Zimmerman said.

Clark and her partner want to be able to cater to any bride, whether their budget is $500 or $5,000.

Both Clark and Fortman have high hopes for the company and want to expand outside of the wedding market. In the future, Clark hopes to branch out to retirement parties, baby showers, birthday parties and even proms to explore their creativity.

Clark has big ideas for the business in the future and as a self-proclaimed frugal person, she has some advice for anyone who wants to be their own boss.

“To start a business you have to have the time and energy to pour into it,” Clark said. “To make money, you have to spend money, and that’s something I’ve had to really learn.”

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