Denise Porcaro, Flower Girl, Woman Entrepreneur
I hear from many women that not enough women get funding and how can we change that. The data I'd like to see is how many men pitch VC's on their business vs how many women pitch VC's on their business. Out of those two groups what percentage get funded. That would be a worthy statistic. I was thinking about that the other night when I went to see the pitches at Startl. There were a few businesses that were being pitched by entrepreneurs, all men, who had worked a serious amount of time on and I can't imagine them getting funded. So how many men do not get funded is a worthy question.
Statisically I have read that there are more women entrepreneurs than men. Many of these women have life style businesses. They have forged out on their own creating something that they are passionate about that fuels their life style. Denise Porcaro is one of those women.
A born and bred New York girl who grew up in Queens. Her parents were divorced when she was young so as she puts it she had the the best of both worlds. She spent the week pounding the pavement in the city with her Mom and the weekends running through the grass in Massapequa with her Dad. Her mother is a teacher and has taught K-6 and her father is an entrepreneur who built his own construction business. Watching the ins and outs of his business over the years was educational.
At 14, Denise was working after school and getting the taste of making her own money. She continued on to college staying in the area at St. Francis in Brooklyn majoring in communications and then changing to film. She also spent one semester abroad in London. It was in London where she really sat back and thought about what she wanted to do. Having worked her way through college working at Benetton and Nat Sherman as well as some restaurants it was the first time she wasn't working and going to school at the same time. She felt free.
After graduating she found herself getting small jobs here and there on films but paying the rent by hosting at Patria and helping open 11 Madison. She left for a job at The Park where she was working at the bar and also helping them do floral arrangements. Working with a guy who was almost into his 40's still trying to break into film and bartend at the same time hit her between the eyes. She decided to bag the film route and concentrate on on what she was really enjoying which was the flowers.
She went to work for Roberta Bendavid who does all the flowers for Danny Meyers restaurants. She knew her from being at 11 Madison. She wanted to learn the business. She wasn't making enough cash to support herself at Roberta's so she went back to the Park to make some money on the side. The owners, Sean and Eric, were about to open the Maritime Hotel and asked Denise if she wanted to run the floral kiosk they were building there. It was the perfect start.
Denise did the flowers for the Maritime as well as private events. People started to come to her through word of mouth. She was able to start up her business in a safe space and once she realized what she had created she hired an assistant to help with all the parties she was landing and became a LLC naming herself Flower Girl.
She dove into the flower business and started to look for a space of her own. Ernest Sewn asked Denise to do a flower shop for them in their 90 Broome location. They wanted to create a certain look and feel so they bartered for space. She does their flowers and she gets the space. A shop within a shop.
That move helped her business explode. Now she has a staff to help with the variety of private clients including the events that they do from Kate Spade to Cole Haan. The business reflects her passion and desire to be an independent business woman who is loving what she does every day. And her flower arrangements…beautiful!