A Simpler Life with a Colorful Income

Colette Holmes and her husband, Nick, weren’t planning a permanent move from Los Angeles to the Pacific beach town of Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

“We came because Nick was a baseball coach,” Colette explains. “It was just a seasonal job. But after spending a little time here, we decided that we wanted to make a life in Costa Rica. We wanted a different life—a bit slower, a bit simpler.”
And that’s what the couple got.

Today, instead of the stress of the restaurant trade Colette used to work in, she spends her days among Costa Rica’s exotic and colorful flowers.

Flowers are her business now…and behind the varnished wooden counter of her store she puts together bouquets and arrangements for pleasant, easy-going customers.

The décor of the store is in keeping with the vibe of Costa Rica—fun, bright, and pretty. Bunting decorates the window; bicycles are propped outside.

Best of all, her new workplace is right across from the ocean. At the end of the workday, she loves nothing more than to head to the beach to watch the dramatic sunsets Tamarindo is known for.

“When we go down to watch sunset and we’re surrounded by friends, I think, ‘Yeah, this is a good life.’

“Back home we were up to our eyeballs in the whole American ideal of trying to ‘make it.’ We spent more time working than together,” says Colette. “It was just too much.”

The couple weren’t at an age where they could retire, so they needed to find a way to finance their new life.

Colette knew she didn’t want to work in restaurants as she had done back home so she looked around to see what was missing from the area.

“My husband is actually a fourth-generation florist; his great-great-grandfather started a flower shop in Iowa. So I said, ‘What about flowers?'”

With a ready supply of beautiful blooms and a growing number of destination weddings coming to the area, Costa Rica had the essentials for a successful florist business. Colette and Nick decided to give it a go and opened “Colette’s” in October 2013.

“I’m kind of learning as I go with the flower business, which is kind of wonderful—it feels like I’ve rebirthed my career. It’s definitely keeping us young, that’s for sure.”

And Colette is proof that you don’t have to come equipped with a skillset to start a new business, just plenty of enthusiasm and adaptability. In fact, as Colette admits, sometimes you have to learn to play to your strengths and understand your weaknesses.

“I’m not exactly blessed with the green thumb—I drowned a cactus once. Still, I’m creative with the ones that are clipped, and I can make you a lovely arrangement.”

Colette is already planning on new ways of growing her business and supporting the great lifestyle she has created in Costa Rica.

“We also have additional space outside [at the front of the store], so we’re also looking at doing a juice bar or maybe a coffee kiosk. We might use it for more plants instead. That would add more foot traffic…”

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