Living Flowers

Stories of family, culture inspire alumna’s floral bookmark business

Stories of family, culture inspire alumna’s floral bookmark business

Rosalva Isidoro’s bookmarks hold pages and tell stories of their own.

The UCLA alumna began selling artistic bookmarks through her Instagram-based business @rosalva_floralmarks after meeting her maternal grandmother for the first time two years ago. On that trip to Mexico, Isidoro said she learned how to weave flowers – a cultural tradition of intricately twisting the stems of flowers into compact bundles of blossoms. Cherishing the moment of her grandma’s teaching, she turned this skill into a floral bookmark business that she said currently aims to support her education and community.

“I wanted to just bring (the flowers) back because I wanted … to keep the memory alive,” Isidoro said. “So I just placed it in my book.”

After returning to the States, Isidoro said she needed a way to preserve the pressed, woven flowers, so she searched the internet and decided to set the flowers between two pieces of packing tape to use as a bookmark. This sparked a new hobby, which quickly became a business through support from her friends and family. Isidoro said her “floralmarks” initially began as a way to give away her bookmarks for free, but once her customer base grew and shipping costs increased, she started to ask for donations that soon evolved into a price tag.

Despite her small business growing larger, Isidoro said she has managed to keep her bookmarks close to home and her heritage. Some of her biggest inspiration comes from her mom, who Isidoro said suggested using a thicker tassel to adorn the bookmark tops and brainstormed her brand’s bestselling baby’s breath design. Isidoro said similar to how the flowers in her original bookmark are associated with her grandmother, orchids remind her of mom, while marigolds make her think of her great-grandmother’s backyard. She said these memories with flowers are both integral to her history and just moments in time.

“It is part of my culture,” Isidoro said. “But, at the same time, I feel like it was just one experience.”