Devotees of Marie Kondo's best-selling de-cluttering manifesto "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" know that its central premise is simple: Discard anything that doesn't spark joy.
Mother and daughter duo Bernice Stafford Turner and Precious Turner have a different take on joy. They want to provide the services that give it and the Joy Concierge is the result.
For 40 years, Stafford Turner has been Richmond's Flower Lady, selling flowers at outdoor locations around holidays. Originally a special education teacher with the Richmond Public Schools, she'd always wanted to go to law school and in 1990, passed the state bar exam. She went on to balance her legal practice with 17 days a year as the Flower Lady and free legal clinics every Saturday.
Precious grew up wearing flowered outfits while helping her mother in the family business. After moving to Los Angeles to be an actress — "my claim to fame is my picture's on the crock pot box," she jokes — she launched Mobile Spa America to service celebrity clients such as Ricky Martin, Alicia Keys and Chris Brown with facials and nail services.
When she returned to Virginia, it was to get a degree in computer programming, but she kept up her mobile spa business here.
Busy working full-time, helping her family's flower business and raising a son, Precious relied on others to run errands, pick up her child and do her laundry. Last year, she made the decision to leave the information-technology field because, as she puts it, "I wasn't using any of my best skills."
Formed late last year to merge both women's businesses, the Joy Concierge's mission is to offer full-service wellness assistance for home and business. Clients can request subscriptions or one-time services for everyday tasks as varied as decluttering, small business debt collection, mobile massages, manicures and pedicures.
Both women acknowledge it wasn't easy letting go of their individual brands, which had been cultivated separately over many years.
"We were looking for one word to describe what we wanted to offer," explains Stafford Turner. "We set our sights on making life easier for people in order to bring them more joy."
- Scott Elmquist
- Stafford Turner’s daughter Precious Turner sells flowers at Chamberlayne Avenue and Brookland Park Boulevard.
To offer the range of services they do requires two assistants and a network of 25 sub-contractors, all of whom have worked for or with the Turners personally. "We called it that because it encompasses our mission," says Turner. "We're trying to alleviate the pressure baby boomers and busy parents experience."
One of the many services the Joy Concierge offers is wedding planning and management. "When a bride is planning her wedding, no one is as interested in the details as she is," Turner says with a laugh. "I'll be your wedding bestie, helping with things like dress colors or RSVP services so you won't be so stressed. It's all about helping people."
Flowers are still a big part of the business and the duo has myriad ways to get them into customers' hands. In addition to the outdoor holiday stands — one at CVS at Boulevard and Broad, another at Chamberlayne and Brookland Park Boulevard — they supply flowers to businesses wanting to use them to reward customers and employees. The elaborate flower-covered hats they fashion are available for sale and can be found at Easter on Parade along Monument Avenue.
Seeking to address the needs of an aging baby boomer population, they've added more services. "For those with no one to care for them, we bridge the gap," Stafford Turner says. "Anything they need, even simple things like going to the grocery store or doing errands. We even offer a joy ride in a Jaguar because it brings joy." Joy rides for Valentine's Day sold out weeks in advance.
As solid as their relationship is, both women admit that there can be times when it's difficult working with such a close family member, but their mutual admiration for each other's talents and skills more than compensates for that.
While the business name may be new, Stafford Turner is still known as the Flower Lady. She once walked into a courtroom, only to have the judge greet her by saying, "Hi, Flower Lady." As far away as Paris, a man approached her because he recognized her as the Flower Lady.
"Your purpose for being on earth is to experience joy," Turner insists. "Too many people are not experiencing joy because they have too much going on. We're here to help them with that because we want them to have more joy in their life."