Home Milwaukee 414loral floral shop helps Milwaukee residents explore the beauty of nature, create...

414loral floral shop helps Milwaukee residents explore the beauty of nature, create meaningful experiences

414loral owner Mikel McGee (Photo by Haley Eaglestar Rock)

414loral, a Black-owned flower shop located in Bronzeville, offers Milwaukee residents a unique hub to explore the beauty of nature and create meaningful experiences and memories with one another.

“I feel very grateful to have a job that can be that source of joy for someone or bring that joy to someone’s day,” owner Mikel McGee told Madison365.  

As a business, 414loral offers customers one-of-a-kind garden-inspired designs featuring seasonal flora for events such as weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions. The shop is also known for hosting workshops and events like candlelit yoga and a sound bath every fourth Sunday of the month.

“I think something that I’m very proud about about 414loral is our commitment to the community,” McGee said. “…Most recently, we did a workshop with Heal Black Man and Healthy MKE. It was an all-Black male workshop here at the shop.”

Surprisingly, she never planned on becoming an entrepreneur or a small business owner. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to work as a speech pathologist, and would later earn a master’s degree in criminal justice in 2017.

“I have a lot of people in my family who have businesses and I’ve seen their journey and I just was like, ‘Oh, it’s not for me,” McGee said.

Before launching her business in 2019, she considered making floral arrangements more of a hobby she picked up during her senior of college. McGee found the activity allowed her to focus on something soothing and creative. 

“I was in my final year of that program and I needed just a few more electives to graduate and they were offering an intro to floral design class for one credit and it was at night,” she said.

414loral Flower Shop in Bronzeville is located at 2714 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

McGee was a resident adviser (RA) in the dorms then, so this course allowed her an excuse to miss a little bit of the staff meeting at night. She would later find herself drawn to the professor who owned a flower shop where McGee would go to help out from time to time. 

“I just liked the whole process of designing flowers. I like molding them into a new shape,” she said.

The business aspect of this activity started to emerge organically. McGee said she created a separate Instagram account to post her flowers because she felt people were tired of seeing her “struggle arrangements.” Then, her sister helped her come up with a name, 414loral.

“I eventually got up the guts to do a pop-up and that was the first time I sold my arrangements to anyone who wasn’t like friends or family,” McGee said. “It went really well! It gave me the courage to keep going with it but that was in December of 2019, and then shortly after that is when the pandemic happened.”

Around that time, she worked as an advocate for the Sojourner Family Peace Center in addition to having another part-time job which she was laid off from. This gave her a little extra time to design more flower arrangements.

“I decided in 2021, ‘let’s do this.’ Then, by 2022, I had resigned from my position and was working full-time, running the business,” McGee said.

Since then, she was named one of Milwaukee Business Journal’s “40 Under 40.” 414loral also continues to thrive, providing residents access to flowers sourced from local growers such as zinnias and dahlias.

“I love that we prioritize locally grown flowers as much as we can. Right now it’s a little bit tough, but hopefully, in a few weeks we’ll have local tulips,” McGee said.