In 1986, when I was 17, I bought a tiny, 600-square-foot flower shop with a loan from a family friend. My mother was my first employee. I would drop her off on my way to high school and come back afterward to run the shop. She’d made it only through the fifth grade in Pakistan, but during those early days, when we would sometimes struggle just to make $100, she was instrumental in teaching me the fundamentals of success.
When I began testing the idea of selling bouquets out of fruit cut into various shapes, people thought I was crazy, and it was impossible to get bank financing. But the first time my mother saw an arrangement, she got it. “That is amazing,” she told me. “This is going to be big.” So I kept going. In March 1999, I opened the first Edible Arrangements store. It was Easter, and we had 28 orders. We thought we had hit gold. My mother gave me a big hug, and someone snapped a photo