By Lauren Sable Freiman
“Being a big fish in a small pond is not a bad thing,” Joe Mineo, Something New’s owner and lead designer, says. “There was a time in my career when I wondered if I should leave the small town, but bigger isn’t always better. To be the cream of the crop in this area, that’s something that’s really great.”
When Mineo first started to expand outside of Youngstown and seek work in Cleveland 15 years ago, he says the immediate reception was beyond just warm. Overnight, the business exploded with large Cleveland-based events. In just two years it grew 30 percent. Although it sounds cliché, Mineo says corporations and nonprofits were attracted to his company’s out-of-the-box thinking and unique style.
“If you want beautiful flowers for your event, of course we can do that and put our own personal style to it,” Mineo says. “But there are a lot of wonderful floral designers in the city of Cleveland, and at the end of the day, that isn’t why you are paying me to travel into the Cleveland area. You’re looking for someone who can look at your event through a different eye and develop concepts and ideas to make your event stand out.”
Whether handling an event’s décor only or producing the entire event, from entertainment and menus to lighting and valet parking, Mineo and his team have stood out to corporate event planners for their fresh and innovative ideas and approaches. They’ve designed events celebrating the opening of University Hospitals’ Ahuja Medical Center and Seidman Cancer Center and recently designed the Cleveland Clinic’s Children’s Gala. They are also scheduled to design the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital Gala in October.
“I, as a designer, love the experience of tackling a corporate event that has been in existence in the past that has possibly gotten a little routine, like many corporate events do, and restructuring it to bring new life to it,” Mineo says. “Everyone is doing the same events. Same kind of chicken dinner. Same kind of silent auction. That’s the challenge. That’s what I love.”
While event design and production for private and corporate events accounts for 60 percent of Something New’s business, a full-service retail shop featuring gifts, home décor items, a bridal registry and more accounts for the other 40 percent. Run by Mineo’s sister, Anna Howells, Something New’s retail operation is also standing out in the industry. It was named the 2013 National Retail Florist of the Year by the Wholesale Florist and Florist Supplier Association, an award that typically goes to a florist in a major metropolitan city.
As Mineo’s operation continues to expand, he is working to bring even more recognition to Something New. He is a frequent speaker at national industry conventions and is set to begin work on a book about where and how he draws his inspiration.
“This is one of those jobs that you either have to love or you need to get out,” Mineo says. “It’s a tough business with a tremendous amount of stress. It’s not going to work for you if you don’t love it.”
For more information: somethingnewflorist.com