VCBA Salutes La Mesa Floral Artistry Weddings & Events – Blooming with passion & compassion
“Do the next right thing,” is the mantra of Kathleen McCabe, owner of La Mesa Floral Artistry, Weddings & Events. In business, and in her personal life, Kathleen demonstrates this in her passion for community, making small business connections, and leading with compassion.
McCabe, a Valley Center resident since 2016, is a native of La Mesa. She studied Technical Journalism with minors in Natural Resource Conservation and French at Oregon State University. She spent her “first” career in high-level corporate marketing and advertising roles, relocating to New Jersey in 2000 to direct the national promotional advertising for the newly-merged Verizon Wireless.
When corporate changes necessitated a career move in 2012, she shifted her focus to that which she loved, and studied the floral business with “some of the best in the New Jersey metro area” in Toms River, New Jersey. “One might think that floral design is just playing with flowers, but there’s much more to it,” she said. Her second career had begun.
Passion for flowers
McCabe has always had a passion for flowers and design. She learned Ikeba-na—the Japanese art of flower arranging—from her mother who studied while working in Tokyo in the 1950s. “Some of my earliest designs were showcased in the San Diego Rose Society shows when I was 10 years old,” she remembers.
An accomplished wedding and event designer, McCabe was inspired to return to California in September 2016 to be closer to assist ailing family members. “I returned to Valley Center as I’d spent much time on Paradise Mountain with my aunt and uncle growing up,” she explained. A month after her move, she opened La Mesa (Spanish for “the table”), in the former Valley Center Resale collective.
At first, offering all things for table decor, parties and entertaining, she soon-after added floral design and La Mesa Floral Artistry was in full swing. “I started the shop as a means for gas money to drive to take care of family on the coast but put my heart and soul into it as I saw the need for a community-minded florist in Valley Center,” she said. “It was such a joy getting to know all the local people and organizations—my focus has always been on the Valley Center community.”
She became the first full-service, all-occasion florist in town and people knew to find her at the Valley Center Resale store. It became a gathering place for the high school moms, and members of various town clubs and groups,” she shared. “It was a central hub, a safe haven where people could come sit, smell the flowers, and talk, and I met so many amazing residents, students and business owners,” she added. “It cemented my connection to the community and was truly a blessing to start there.”
Kathleen McCabe is very creative, and while floral design and putting on every manner of events is her passion, she also finds joy in writing and photography.
“As long as I have lived in Valley Center, I have promoted our local businesses and organizations, passionately supporting other women-owned enterprises,” she said.
She joined the Chamber of Commerce, and right away jumped in to create awards for their 2016 Installation Dinner. She has designed for Valley Center Rodeo Queen Pageants and was selected as the Tournament Florist for the Valley Center Vaqueros Equestrian Team’s entry in the internationally-televised Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. She supported Valley Center growers, showcasing locally-grown flowers and greens, along with nearly 2,000 roses. “It was truly a highlight of my floral career to work with these talented women and to support the Vaqueros in the honor that they had achieved representing Valley Center,” said McCabe.
Shortly after the Rose Parade, she was called to Albuquerque, New Mexico to care for her aunt who was on hospice. For nearly 18 months, as her primary caregiver, she traveled back and forth, doing weddings and events on her return trips. When Valley Center Resale closed its doors, she moved her business home. In December 2019, she again concentrated on ramping up her business and dived further into the community she loves.
Commitment to compassion
In her work and in her spare time, Kathleen McCabe focuses on others in need.
During COVID, with e Rhys and weddings curtained, she started on-line flower-arranging classes to connect with her clients, family and friends. She delivers surprise flower arrangements to seniors and those who are alone or need a bit of cheer. “It’s been a difficult time for all this year, and delivering flowers fulfills a human need,” she said. “It’s delivering love, and it is as much a blessing to me to give, as it is a joy for the receiver. It is a giving effort.”
A humanitarian through and through, McCabe has travelled worldwide to volunteer where needed on community projects. Her latest travels took her to Nepal where she lived in a village and helped refurbish an elementary school, and to Egypt where she lived and worked with a cat rescue in Cairo. When COVID restrictions are lifted, she has humanitarian outreach trips planned to Vietnam, Peru, and a return trip to Nepal to trek to Everest Base Camp.
Dedicated to community
Kathleen McCabe is also very involved in our local community. She serves on the Valley Center Community Planning Group and is a board member of the Valley Center Business Association. She writes for The Roadrunner newspaper and Valley Center Magazine. She also belongs to the Valley Center Chamber of Commerce and North County Women in Networking Group. Her goal is to connect people and bring compassionate leadership, and positive energy.
McCabe is a real Renaissance woman who is a delight to work with. She is not only a talented flower artist but a very savvy business woman who has great ideas and lends a hand with many Valley Center projects. You feel like a special person when you are with her. Mother’s Day is a perfect time to send a bouquet of flowers to that special woman in your life. If you would like to order flowers or have a wedding or event for which you need distinctive floral de-sign, call McCabe at 908-872-6550 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her Facebook is www.facebook.com/lamesaflorals/.