Walk into Lexis Florist and it is immediately evident that Siham (Sue) Habib is in charge. She rushes around her store, warmly greeting customers and answering the continually ringing phone. The walls of her store are decorated with different colored roses and orchids, and pictures of her with noted customers: President George H. Bush and Barbara Bush, Dominique Sachs, and the Mayor of Houston. Despite the hustle, Sue says, “I love what I do. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t be here.”
Originally from Lebanon, Sue grew up in the flower business. Her family owns one of the largest flower farms in the country. However, Sue did not have the opportunity to join the family business—she married at age 17 and never finished high school.
After visiting another brother in the United States, Sue decided to stay. Although she did not speak a word of English, she started working in his flower shop. One day, Sue’s brother left her alone to tend to the shop while he left to run errands. A couple came into the store needing flower arrangements for their wedding and Sue handled the transaction perfectly, getting her brother the customer and giving her a well-needed confidence boost.
An empty shop was up for sale nearby, and Sue decided to buy it. She sold her jewelry, and pawned what little she’d manage to bring from Lebanon in order to raise enough capital for the down payment on the shop. In her first year of business, Lexis Florist generated $70,000 in revenues. Sue’s mother and children came from Lebanon to help her, and she soon hired an employee and a driver to help sustain her growing business.
Sue opened a second location near Tanglewood, TX. In 2009, Sue decided she needed another loan so she could merge her two different shops into one large location with room for workshops, a store, and a parking lot. Accion, having loaned her $75,000 in 1998 to first create her store, gave her another loan for $55,000.
Today, Lexis Florist has 20 employees and is still a family business. The shop is making $500,000 in revenues annually. Restoration Hardware invited Sue to sell arrangements in their store and even arranged a designated “Sue Habib’s Floral Boutique” corner. However, Sue’s vision is far from complete. She recently became a certified wedding planner, started giving arrangement lessons in-shop, and celebrated her business’s 25-year anniversary with a large celebration at the Omni Hotel.
Sue shows no signs of slowing down. She advises, “be persistent and consistent. Don’t give up… I love what I do. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t be here.”