Jennifer Carr: Alumni Success Story
Flowers have always been a part of Jennifer (Weidert) Carr’s life. Her mother, in fact, has worked at a florist in her hometown of Belleville, Ill., for as long as Carr can recall. So, in some ways it seemed almost natural when on a whim Carr designed her first floral arrangement for her boss while a student at MBU.
“It is kind of my escape creatively,” said Carr, who graduated in 2003 with a degree in business and minors in administration and communication. “I feel blessed to be able to present flowers in a way that will make my clients’ events beautiful.”
Today, Carr’s boutique style of floral design can be regularly seen at high-end St. Louis weddings, parties and corporate events. On a day in April, Carr was preparing to deliver a number of exotic arrangements to an upcoming Derby horse race party. She says her business has grown to routinely serve niche parties like that one largely because of the custom products she creates. “The thing that is different about my business is that I do everything myself, from hand picking the vase to choosing the flowers.
For me, there’s no template,” Carr explained. “It is all very personal and custom. I always ask what are the best things I can get today and how do they look together?”
Carr said her time at MBU, specifically her involvement with the MBU Business Division’s chapter of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), has helped create the entrepreneur she is today. “The practical experience I received from SIFE as a student at MBU helped prepare me for the business I own today and ultimately led me down the path to where I am now, which I know is God’s plan for my life,” said Carr who was a charter member of SIFE and its 2003 president.
Carr also says SIFE, an international nonprofit organization that mobilizes university students to create economic opportunity for others, is responsible for helping her to serve those in need. Carr, along with her MBU roommate, are the founders of Alpha Family Development Center, a non-profit in St. Louis that provides resources for impoverished families. It was during a SIFE activity at an inner city school that she became confronted with the realities of poverty.
Today, more than eight years after graduating from MBU, she is using her successes as a small business owner to give back to communities in need. “During my time at SIFE, I came to realize that everyone isn’t given the same opportunity,” said Carr who serves on the SIFE Advisory Board. “If I can help provide some opportunity because of what I have been blessed with, than I know I need to do that.”
A story of shining on.