business tips

Business Insights for Floral Designers | The Finish Line

The Finish Line  Part One || I learned so much from this past year’s Oh So Inspired and one truth that was repeated by various speakers(thank you Liene Stevens, Harmony Walton and Sean Low) has to do with "What do you truly stand for?".  Because it isn’t enough to say “I do beautiful work”, because it should be a given that everyone DOES beautiful work! So what truly separates businesses and why is that of value? 

You look at Instagram and there isn’t an end to the countless and myriad beautiful and stunning inspiration. But what is inspiration and what is true work? 

Photography  . Christina McNeill.   The added touch of flowers on the tables was the planner's idea. And it's a good one.  I love the way the china, the flatware and that knotted napkin worked together with those Peonies and dahlias.   Executing this event with one team member down was harder than I could have imagined because of the extreme heat but getting there early is a key for getting things done on time.  You need extra time when the weather is hot because everyone slows down a little, when the space is vast(trying walking in all black clothing with two garlands down 200 yards to the golf course when it's over 105), when the elements are against you. 

Photography .Christina McNeill.  The added touch of flowers on the tables was the planner's idea. And it's a good one.  I love the way the china, the flatware and that knotted napkin worked together with those Peonies and dahlias.   Executing this event with one team member down was harder than I could have imagined because of the extreme heat but getting there early is a key for getting things done on time.  You need extra time when the weather is hot because everyone slows down a little, when the space is vast(trying walking in all black clothing with two garlands down 200 yards to the golf course when it's over 105), when the elements are against you. 

You see ideas and exciting executed designs in the styled shoots as well as in the presentation of one’s portfolio. What we don’t often ask of ourselves is how is our execution? Can this design work in an actual event? And are we keeping the promises that we make to our clients, vendor partners and ourselves. 

In all seriousness, anyone given any amount of time can recreate any design.  But how many people can execute a master level design flawlessly and on time for an actual project. And let’s be frank folks....on time is not 5 minutes before the bride walks down the aisle. 5 minutes is before what the planner has on her timeline(Before guests arrive). 

Photography by Christina McNeill.   When I see this photo it's hard to fathom that it was over 105 degrees at Meadowood that day.  To combat the heat, we had to continuously mist the flowers.  Only at the last minute were we able to set the table.  I know it wasn't what Hailey the planner wanted or planned.  But sometimes we have to forego our own plans so that the guest experience and the flowers look their best for the couple and their many guests.   I knew that it was too hot to set the arrangements in direct heat when it was so incredibly blistering hot that even a garland of lemon leaf was starting to get crisp and browning.  Sometimes with experience,  it's a judgment that you make because you want the flowers to look their best when guests walk into the reception space instead of doing it for the editorial shot.     

Photography by Christina McNeill.  When I see this photo it's hard to fathom that it was over 105 degrees at Meadowood that day.  To combat the heat, we had to continuously mist the flowers.  Only at the last minute were we able to set the table.  I know it wasn't what Hailey the planner wanted or planned.  But sometimes we have to forego our own plans so that the guest experience and the flowers look their best for the couple and their many guests.   I knew that it was too hot to set the arrangements in direct heat when it was so incredibly blistering hot that even a garland of lemon leaf was starting to get crisp and browning.  Sometimes with experience,  it's a judgment that you make because you want the flowers to look their best when guests walk into the reception space instead of doing it for the editorial shot. 

 

Through my many years of being a business owner I have failed so many times. Not because the wedding was not beautiful or that the client wasn’t happy but I failed at my promises to the planner or I failed because I didn’t foresee or plan ahead for things. And though a few planners gave me second chances and helped me through my lapses, others didn’t because I didn’t do what I promised or what a floral designer should do at an event or at the end of the event. And they did the right thing. 

All in all, I learned from these mistakes and I improved upon them. And I will still continue to improve on this(no one is immune to change and corrections) . Because we as true floral and event design pros have to deliver on what we stand for. 

 

Newsworthy | Insights from Nancy: Avoid Burnout, Learn to Play

A few years ago, I was burning out.   Those who are close to me know that I battled it hard.  The mundane, day to day choices and duties were sending me spiraling into despair.  Whether it was god's intervention or merely a wake up call in the form of a horrific bicycle accident in July of 2010,  my physicians forced me to be on bed rest.  The goal was for me to recoup so that my injuries would heal but it was also a chance for my brain to shut down and in truth, it allowed me to slowly reset and to learn gratefulness.

The days of rest restored my body.  Hard to believe, it actually helped me get through my burnout as I finally realized that my mindset - negative at times --- was drowning me and that changing it was key to raising above the burnout mode.  If you are suffering from burnout, there isn't always a straightforward fix but reevaluating how you process your negative thoughts(aka mindset) is vital. 

Photography by Kevin Chin  China by West Elm

In 2014 I took a wonderful class(thank you Mary Phan), turned off the ringer to my work phone for two full days, and just played.  Played.

To play

Verb 1. engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.  synonyms:amuse oneself, entertain oneself, enjoy oneself, have fun; 

Now three years later, I've never felt more excited about the work that I do.  I love styling. I love wedding florals. I love event design.  Doing the things that bring joy, now that's all one can ask for. 

Ask yourself this.  What do you enjoy when it comes to your business?  For me, it could be working side by side with clients and planners, getting to do challenging new floral work,  playing with florals as well as styling beautiful things each week.  Did I mention playing?  Yes, the act of engaging in activity for just pure enjoyment rather than with a serious purpose is a funny thing.  When you do something joyful and really love it, that joy transcends and next thing you know --- it makes your own craft even better.