Over the past six years, Fenny Kokenge has turned her creative hobby into her own business.
Fenny is originally from Holland and immigrated to the U. S. with her family during middle school. Navigating the cultural and language barriers was a challenge for her growing up, but this did not stop her from creating her own success.
Fenny previously worked as a physical education teacher as well as a substitute teacher. She adored teaching and is proud of the work she has done for her school.
She developed a fitness program for her students, and her school scored the highest in their fitness testing in all of Orange County, California.
“I was really proud of that,” Fenny says. “I wasn’t getting paid very much, but I spent so much time on developing a great program.”
There came a time when Fenny needed to make more money. Her kids were getting ready to go to college, and Fenny wanted to be able to get them through college debt-free. This is when she started her business, Fenny’s Flowers, selling succulent plant arrangements and hosting workshops to teach people how to make their own.
In the beginning, Fenny would give her plant arrangements to be auctioned off at her kids’ school events. People fell in love with her arrangements and asked her if they could order more from her.
She began hosting succulent workshops at her friend’s garden center, teaching people how to put together flower arrangements. These workshops have become a hit.
Fenny aims to create a relaxing, creative environment for her customers.
She runs the business out of her home, which she prefers over having a shop space. She enjoys having full control over her business and ensuring that everything is of high quality.
“I’d rather keep my business small and have myself doing everything,” Fenny says. “It can be [overwhelming] because in the beginning I was saying yes to everything — I couldn’t afford to lose a client.”
Navigating social media and learning where to acquire her plant supplies were challenges for Fenny, but she has been able to learn a lot along the way. She is proud of the business she has built.
“I really don’t see myself retiring because I just love what I do,” Fenny says.
Outside of work, Fenny volunteers her time reading books to cancer patients at a children’s hospital, where she is on the volunteer board. She is involved with community outreach and fundraising, utilizing her plant workshops to raise money for the hospital.
Fenny hopes to keep doing more of what she enjoys outside of work, like volunteering, exercising, surfing, traveling, gardening and mountain biking.
“She can be all, but make sure you get your sleep too,” Fenny says. “Take care of yourself.”
For more information about the hospital program Fenny is part of, click here!