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Everything’s Coming Up Roses For Nic Faitos, And He Wants To Share

Nicodemus ‘Nic’ Faitos, the owner and founder of Starbright Floral Design, Inc. based in New York City, quintessentially represents the two dimensions of Greek-American entrepreneurship – steady, hard work with feet planted firmly on the ground, as well as vision and imagination to see challenges and opportunities beyond the horizon. 

Knowing his essence, he recognizes the same characteristics and drives in others – especially Greece’s youngest entrepreneurs. Motivated by gratitude and family values to give back, once he learned about The Hellenic Initiative, he became one of its biggest fans and supporters. 

He found his way to and now leads in an industry long-dominated by his fellow Hellenes in New York City. His journey began with a conscious passion for excellence in wider field, marketing, and a subliminal yearning to express his creativity. His company biography notes that there came a time when he realized he needed to fuse the two, and after successful endeavors in the 1980s in publishing, technology and financial sales, and “always looking for new and creative ways to present products, find needs and create solutions”… Nic found his calling in the floral industry. 

Beginning as a single employee operation, Starbright now has seventy-five non-seasonal team members and according to its website, “we are consistently voted by all major review sites as a Best Florist in NYC.” 

Of course, there were hurdles in the beginning and more recently. “Our business model has changed due to the way things are in New York now. Obviously we have survived the pandemic quite well and we have taken a turn towards corporate events – 75% above what it was.”

Starbright’s creations are conversation pieces at Manhattan’s biggest galas – including THI, where Nic’s flowers will again grace tables in 2023. “We do the flowers for non-profits and for-profits, including events like the Entrepreneur of the Year awards for Ernst & Young,” he said. 

The pandemic had a big impact on the flower industry as whole, and the “old guard of florists from 60s and 70s who built business with a lot of hard work were not untouched,”he said. “Some were barely getting by and their kids did not want to take over the business, so it didn’t make sense for them to continue, and they closed down” when COVID hit. 

Speaking in reverent tones about his Hellenic forebears, he then noted that was not the case with Starbright. “My son Stephen has become an official partner in the business,” he said with pride and delight. “He has been with the business for 20 years” – he worked his way through college then stayed after graduation – “and now he runs the day-to-day operations, so we can say it is a ‘true family business owned and founded by Greeks’ – obviously we are very proud of our heritage.”

He created a new business model in response to the pandemic, but Nic said, “It took a lot of creativity, hard work, and trial and error” – which reminded him of a Fun Fact in his life. “Chris Gardner, who was spotlighted in the movie ‘The pursuit of Happiness’, is now a motivational speaker and he interviewed me for a commercial for ATT. They presented Starbright as a business model to promote. The concept of the commercial was agility – the ability to move and to be agile, with whatever life throws at you – to be able to make the most of it, and I do feel after doing this for 30 years that adapting to change is what we do best.” 

Like enterprises, family life also develops and evolves. A wonderful stretch of years going to Greece often after Nic built his home in Athens’ suburb of Glyfada is on pause now that his children are giving him grandchildren – “so far four!” – and additional joys.

He looks forward to resuming his trips to Greece, but family is at the heart of his busy but rewarding life, with a rich mix of activities and memories.

Born in Santa Cruz, CA, he moved to Greece in first grade, “but unfortunately my dad died within a year and we came back.” Nic moved back to Greece in 6th grade, and returned again to America, graduating high school in Tampa and then attending Univ. of Florida, Gainesville. 

“My dad was an entrepreneur. He built all the stores on the strip on Beach Street in Santa Cruz, which had a very strong and successful Greek Community in 50s and 60s, He was truly a very creative man.”

Temperament, experience and DNA eventually brought Nic to THI. “Three years ago I was at an event planning Expo and Artemis Kohas” – now a member of  THI’s Board and Director of Community Development – “was on the panel. We spoke and became friends and I became involved with THI.”

He was delighted that his firm was chosen to do the flowers for the THI gala. “I presented them with a bill for the flowers and offered to charge them for about only half of what we usually bill.” Nic attended the event and was dazzled. “Halfway through I said, “my God this is an amazing organization. It really knocked my socks off. I sent a text message to Artemis during the event: ‘This is great. I can’t take any money from you guys…’”

He said, “I felt so proud about being there – I got everything that THI stood for – so the money to me all of a sudden became very insignificant. I’m very proud to be a gala sponsor and I will support it for many many more years.” 

And he plans to do more. “I do a lot of mentoring of young entrepreneurs. I’m involved in many programs, many of which I spearhead on my own.” Nic looks forward to learning all about and participating in THI’s Project Connect Dots virtual mentoring program.