Westchester County's Most Accomplished Women Entrepreneurs

Meet 28 of the county's most successful, move innovative, most respected business women.

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The Natural
Diana Gould

Founder and CEO, Diana Gould Ltd. Floral and Event Décor  
Diana Gould has never worked in a flower shop. She’s never taken a floral-design class. Still, today she is the woman behind the flowers in some 500 weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, and corporate events every year.
“I thought I wanted to be an actress,” says the 68-year-old Scarsdale resident. “I was a drama major—a drama queen. Nobody hired me. I got married and moved to Scarsdale and I was the worst housekeeper ever.” Nevertheless, Gould discovered that she enjoyed working with local charities, especially handling flowers for their events. “They couldn’t fire me because they weren’t paying me.”
Soon however, Gould was getting paid for her work. “Abigail Kirsch was just starting out then, too, and I asked if they could start recommending me,” she says. “Eventually, we had fifteen people working in the basement of my house. So we bought a building in Scarsdale, a little retail flower shop. Bob Kirsch told me, ‘You’re not a retail florist; you’re an event designer.’ He was right. We never moved into that shop. We bought a much bigger space that wasn’t a retail store in Scarsdale.”
In 1996, Gould acquired a 20,000-square-foot warehouse on Frontage Street in Elmsford. “We keep everything under one roof,” she says. A staff of 35 employees—floral artists, graphic designers, carpenters—handles everything from centerpieces to printed menus to even custom-made furniture.
As a result, Diana Gould Ltd. Floral and Event Décor is a preferred vendor at the Castle on the Hudson, the Tarrytown House Estate & Conference Center, Doral Arrowwood, the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, and many more. The business, which handled about 75 events in its early years, now does 500 per year, many of them corporate functions. Among Gould’s corporate clients: HBO, PepsiCo, Morgan Stanley, and IBM.
That means negotiating shrinking event budgets. “Our skill is to be able to give you what you want within your price range,” Gould says. “And now, gas is more expensive, so we’re spending more on delivering the flowers. Creativity is the name of the game.” Getting clients from Manhattan doesn’t hurt. “We’re really starting to work a lot more in the City. People have found that our prices are fifteen to twenty percent cheaper than the New York decorators.”
Today, Gould’s daughter, Jennifer, is helping out, too. “She is in the twenty-first century when it comes to computers and design,” Gould says. “Where I leave off, she picks up.”
She adds: “You have to be crazy to work in an industry that’s so last-minute, that depends on the weather, and depends on human beings to not cancel their weddings the night before. You have to figure out how to make it work.” Apparently, she has.

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