Meet the Woman Behind 414loral

This floral designer wants to help her community grow.

An elective course in floral design turned out to be a soothing escape for Mikel McGee, who signed up for the class while finishing her bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders at UW-Milwaukee. She enjoyed it so much that she took a seasonal job at the South Side boutique Flowers by Jan, while pursuing a master’s degree in criminal justice, also from UWM.

Then she started designing bouquets – using flowers bought at Trader Joe’s – for friends and family members, making them so often that her kitchen became “a beautiful-smelling mess.”

 

 

On a whim, McGee created an Instagram page, adopting the name 414loral. Orders started flowing in. And in August, she moved into a storefront in the Bronzeville/Harambee neighborhood.

“It’s something that’s very fulfilling – to be able to share with someone and see how flowers brighten their day,” says McGee, who also worked with survivors of domestic violence, assault and human trafficking at Sojourner Family Peace Center until she began pursuing floral design full time.

Another goal is to serve underrepresented communities. “There are other Black-owned florists in Milwaukee, but they are very few and far between,” she says. “Representation really matters.”


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s February issue.

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A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine), FoodRepublic.com, CNN.com and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.