LOS ANGELES -- Pico Boulevard has been quieter than usual since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, but Amorette Brooms' Queen Boutique, a tiny storefront west of La Brea Avenue, has been busy.
The self-proclaimed "Mid-Wilshire girl" grew up in the neighborhood and has sold fashion accessories at her boutique for more than a decade.
But when the safer-at-home order was issued in March, Brooms was forced to pack up her accessories, close her store and try to figure out how to stay afloat.
Eight weeks later, when Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that flower wholesalers could reopen, the mother of two young boys decided to host a flower pop-up in honor of Mother's Day.
"I spent $500 on flowers and made 36 bouquets," she said.
She sold the flowers curbside and asked customers to wear face masks and practice social distancing. She also provided hand sanitizer and processed payments on Venmo, Cash App and Square.
Her strategy worked. "I charged $25 for each bouquet, and I made $1,000," she said with a laugh.
Loaded with her profits, Brooms returned to the wholesale Flower Market in downtown Los Angeles and purchased a carload of houseplants. At her next pop-up, they sold out in 45 minutes due to her savvy social media skills, the recent emphasis on Black-owned businesses and the popularity of houseplants with millennials. (Brooms said she gets about 75% of her buyers from Instagram, where she posts plant photos and sale updates.)
On Father's Day, she offered a selection of houseplants, cactuses and succulents, and original works by Black women artists with similar success.
A few weeks ago, she added ceramic pots to her inventory. Those sold out too. Brooms, 43, now purchases plants every other day.