Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2016-12-07
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Gay in the Life: Tu Bloom Florist
by Ross Forman
2011-02-02

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


As the old saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make … bamboo plants.

Well, that's the version Tu Bloom has lived, loved, perfected and prospered with.

Bloom came to Chicago from his native Viet Nam when he was 6. He graduated from Taft High School in 1997, Loyola University in 2001, and then started working in Corporate America. He ultimately became a director, managing about 50 people and earning a six-figure salary.

Then, in early 2006, his world came crashing down.

In March of that year, his dad died about three weeks after being diagnosed with stage-four cancer. Two months later, his Vietnamese grandmother died.

"I was thrown a curveball. It was a very difficult time. My life just fell apart," Bloom said. "I was devastated."

Bloom quit his lucrative job to care for his mom and younger sister.

Fate, though, led to a fortune—or good fortune.

Bloom started selling home-made, hand-designed lucky bamboo plants on eBay—and he quickly made more than $1,500 in a month, with only about 15 hours of work per week.

"People just really liked my cute designs," Bloom said.

So, as the weather started getting cooler in 2006, Bloom wanted to build a greenhouse to further his floral fantasies. And through free ads on Craigslist, he acquired everything needed to build a greenhouse, including the glass, windows, doors and more.

Bloom's personal North Side greenhouse is now the size of a standard, one-car garage. It measures 14-feet long by 12.5-feet wide by 11.5-feet tall. It's now filled with miniature grapefruit plants, bamboo plants, various tropical houseplants and much, much more—even a 500-gallon koi pond, filled with 28 fishes.

Bloom has grown and flourished in the floral and landscape garden design community.

"I get to improve people's lives, personally and professionally, through my love for living designs," said Bloom, who works with cut floral and live rooted plants.

"A lot of people are confused [ about ] what I do. They think [ the plants are just ] cut floral, but it's actually rooted, live plants in a container that are sustainable for a prolonged period of time."

Bloom has clients across America, not just locally. His designs can be small and simple, or glitzy and glamorous.

And some are extremely high-profile, too.

Take, for instance, the 53rd annual Grammy Awards show on Sunday night, Feb 13. Bloom will be there, working his magic as Tu Bloom Designs will be showcased as his company was selected to design all of the floral and luxury container gardens for the entire red carpet arrivals area—and last year was the first time such attention to detail was given to the prestigious red carpet.

"I'm still in shock mode," about getting this job offer, Bloom said. "It's such a great honor and I'm still in awe that so many people are starting to get captivated by my designs."

Last year's Grammy work led Bloom to get a call from Katherine Jackson, Michael's mother, who wanted Bloom to redevelop the entire landscape and garden area for the fabled former Jackson home in Gary, Ind., to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the superstar singer's death.

Bloom also has designed the interior floral arrangements for the private dressing quarters of Lady Gaga, Elton John, Mary J. Blige and Beyonce.

Bloom's blooming brilliance also has been chosen for another high-profile client, though he can't name names.

"I work with some of the most popular people in the world … and I water their plants," he said, laughing.

The young entrepreneur said his biggest challenge is business organization, figuring out how to successfully grow and maintain that personalized care and interaction for all his clients.

And Bloom does get dirty himself, digging in the dirt.

"Oh my God, I have the greatest job in the world," Bloom said. " [ Building ] that greenhouse [ in 2006 ] saved my life."

It seems to have certainly changed it, too.

The Stats

Name: Tu Bloom

Age: 31

Title: President/CEO ( Tu Bloom Designs® )

Relationship status:: Dating Thomas Basile, 31, project manager ( Tu Bloom Designs® )

Nickname : "Plant Doc"

Neighborhood : Andersonville

Pets: Three dogs ( Lexi, Lani, Roxy ) and two canaries

Fun fact: Close to finishing his graduate degree at DePaul University


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Tig Notaro: Profile of a survivor 2016-12-07
No bones about love: A surprise engagement 2016-12-07
In the Life: Ale Maes 2016-12-07
Trans pioneer Judy Bowen looks back at community changes 2016-11-30
An Uber-driven love story 2016-11-30
WORLD AIDS DAY PROFILE Jim Petrakis: Consultant becomes face of HIV/AIDS 2016-11-30
In the Life: Betsy Ade 2016-11-30
BUSINESS The story of a suit: A woman's custom tuxedo at Dapper Club 2016-11-30
Airbnb to provide more LGBT-friendly spaces in Chicago 2016-11-23
POLITICS Mike Quigley talks VA, Trump and the 2017 Congress 2016-11-23
Chicagoans heading to Standing Rock to fight pipeline on Native land 2016-11-18
In the Life: Manny Joson 2016-11-16
PODCASTS Black queer curiosity: Collective Postloudness takes on humanity 2016-11-09
Drawing on instinct: New Yorker cartoonist Tom Bachtell 2016-11-02
Activist nun Donna Quinn has the floor in Chicago 2016-11-02
FAMILIES OF CHOICE SERIES Van Binfa 2016-10-27
In the Life: Conor McGarry 2016-10-19
Dawn Valenti: A Chicago survivor's story 2016-10-12
BREAST CANCER MONTH Cathy Seabaugh: Offering hope in the fight against breast cancer 2016-10-12
A new kind of business in an old space: Z-axis opens in Pilsen 2016-10-12
LGBT HISTORY MONTH Who you gonna call? New web series blends thrills, LGBT history 2016-10-11
In the Life: Hadley Rue 2016-10-05
Jose Antonio Vargas on the forefront of an emerging U.S. 2016-10-05
Evanston synagogue welcomes its first female and lesbian rabbi 2016-10-04
L & A Healing Studio: A business and personal partnership 2016-09-28
In the Life: Cassey Brick 2016-09-21
In the Life: Rebecca O'Neal 2016-09-14
Sidney Thomas on board post, career, HIV/AIDS activism 2016-09-07
In the Life: Olin Eargle 2016-09-07
Lifetime partners share their bliss with a sunflower 2016-08-17
LGBT-owned eye-care business expands service to community 2016-08-17
In the Life: Nadia Oussenko 2016-08-17
AROUND CHICAGO U.S. Cellular Field: More than just a stadium 2016-08-16
Earles Architects and Associates marks 25 years in the business 2016-08-10
Gay fast-food worker joins fight for higher wages 2016-08-10
In the Life: Kristen Kaza 2016-08-10
Monthly gatherings for LGBTQ APIs 2016-07-27
James Keck reflects on lifetime of activism 2016-07-27
In the Life: Matt Nielson 2016-07-27
Activist Rachel Williams talks #SayHerName, BYP100, intersectionality 2016-07-20
 



Copyright © 2016 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.

www.windycitymediagroup.com
[email protected]  •  [email protected]  •  [email protected]

Website Powered by LoveYourWebsite.com