DARIEN, Conn. — Adam Manjuck’s career path took a hard U-turn the moment he walked into a Stamford florist shop nearly two decades ago.
Now the owner of Flowers & Flowers in Darien, he has become one of the county’s most decorated floral artists, business is thriving and even Manjuck scratches his head at the unlikely and abrupt change in his career path.
“Sometimes I’ll even ask myself, ‘How did this come about?’’’ Manjuck said. “I don’t even know.”
- Who : Adam Manjuck, Stamford
- Owner : Flowers & Flowers, Darien
- Learn more: On the store website
Born, raised and still living in Stamford, Manjuck graduated from Wright Tech with interest in auto body repair and detailing.
“I love to use my hands and be creative,’’ Manjuck said. “I knew somehow, some way, that’s what I’d be doing. I thought if I stayed working with automobiles I would lose my hair from all the fumes. This is a lot prettier path.”
He visited a Stamford florist shop, Muguet, simply because he loved the building’s exterior. He talked owner Simin Modjilal into allowing him to work at the store for two weeks without pay.
“She asked what I experience I had,’’ Manjuck said. “I told her I didn’t have any. She asked if I worked in a flower shop before, and I said no. I said I’ll give you two weeks free labor. If you don’t like me after two weeks, I’ll get out of your hair.”
Modjilal hired Manjuck full-time after the two-week trial. Two years later, she told him to leave. “She said you found what you’re supposed to do,’’ Manjuck said. “You need to go out and do your own thing. She was my mentor, and I would always call her and she would always help. She wanted to see me grow and develop.”
Like the flowers in his arrangements, that’s exactly what Manjuck did. He worked at another flower shop in Stamford and later in Darien. He also did freelance jobs for weddings and parties. He’d leave for New York at 4 a.m. to pick up flowers that he arranged in a garage. In short, he learned everything there was to know about the business.
“For two years before I opened, I was a little sponge and absorbed as much as I could from everyone,’’ he said. “I didn’t know where it was going to take me. I thought I’m just going to go with this. If this is leading me somewhere, I’m going to walk it and see where it goes.”
Manjuck learned quickly he enjoyed being his own boss. He also thought he could find a niche in Darien, where had already had some freelance clients. He opened in 2009 in the midst of the worst economic crisis in a generation.
“I thought I just gotta do it,’’ Manjuck said. “I know we’re in a recession and everyone is in fear of their jobs. It just felt to me like it was the right time. Flowers are uplifting. The first year, I turned a profit. It was probably a little bit of luck involved, but from then it just flourished.”
Almost immediately, Manjuck won awards for his arrangements from several high profile publications.
Clients describe Manjuck’s arrangements as “creative,” “edgy” and “sophisticated.” The passion he discovered working as a volunteer at his friend’s shop in Stamford has sustained itself for two decades. “I like that I can take something that is beautiful and make it more beautiful,’’ Manjuck said. “The texture, the style, the look, the smell. There are so many complexities. That’s what blew my mind the most. There was never any effort at all. It has never felt like work for me.”
Friends say they can spot Manjuck’s work when they visit events that use his services. He provides a complete array of flowers, for holidays, funerals, weddings, events, season plantings, and weekly accounts for corporations, restaurants and homes. He also offers holiday decor for interiors and exteriors.
For a man who thought his career was going to consist of painting cars, the transformation has been stunningly rewarding, professionally and personally.
“I think it’s important to be true to yourself,’’ Manjuck said. “Don’t try to be something you’re not. I didn’t want to be cookie cutter florist. I wanted something out of the box, something a little different. I see flowers as pieces of art. They’re not just arrangements. Once I saw that it was the big spark.”
For more information on Flowers and Flowers, click here to visit its website.