MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For many Latinos and Hispanic Americans who now call Memphis home, their entrepreneurial spirit is alive, well and growing.
Inside Mili’s Flowers and Gifts in Crosstown Concourse, it’s all about flower power. “Mili” is the childhood nickname of owner Miriam Cordero who now proudly calls the Bluff City home.
“This is home. I’m glad to go back to Mexico and go shopping and eat well and visit beautiful places, but this is home,” Cordero said.
This successful entrepreneur’s love and knowledge of flowers led her to open a vintage flower truck back in 2019.
“I started five years ago with selling our crafts from Mexico around markets around the city, here and there, and everywhere and we were building our flower truck in that time,” she said.
As her budding new business grew, she opened her own brick-and-mortar store. It features all kinds of flower bouquets and Mexican-made art and crafts such as toys, ornaments, earrings and t-shirts, but what’s her favorite?
“I’m divided. Half of me needs their flowers and the other half is my culture and I love both,” Cordero said. “I think one side for the flowers came from grandma and mom side and the other side came from my dad.”
Miriam was born and raised in Mexico where she’d help plant flowers in her mother and grandmother’s garden. She moved to the United States with her son in 1999 with a dream.
“I came 24 years ago with my son. We were looking for a better life cause we had some difficulties in our country,” she said.
Miriam began working in retail 15 years but her passion was always being a floral hobbyist, arranging flowers for friends and family events. Eventually, she became an entrepreneur.
She admits there were some growing pains, especially being a Latina in Memphis.
“It’s kind of difficult more like the florist side it was more white people, black people and that was something new for the Latino community and for people to accept someone new came to do something different,” Cordero said.
What’s also different is this flower shop not only reflects Cordero’s passion, but it showcases her Latinx and immigrant pride, especially during Hispanic Heritage Month.
“It’s good they’re highlighting us on the day, but we’re here all year round. We work all year round. We’ve been working. We’ve been putting color in the community. We’ve been doing our best to show something positive in the community,” she said.
Miriam Cordero is a proud Memphian, Latina and Mexican American who’s all about flower power and planting the seeds to empower Latinos and others in the Bluff City.
“We are all over Memphis. We’re building a new Memphis bringing color, culture. Our food is delicious and not just the Mexican. Our people are from Colombia, Venezuela, from everywhere,” she said.