Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: No. 105

Question:

Looking for wisdom as I enter the floral industry. I’m an enthusiastic newbie! Wondering if the BB Panel could tell me: What is the single most helpful piece of advice you’ve received during your career and where did it come from? How did it impact your business?

compote bowl of apricot and blush dahlias with fall foliage designed by Botanical Brouhaha Expert Panel Member Emily Avenson of Fleuropean in Belgium

Fleuropean

Answers:

The single most wonderful piece of advice that I have received thus far during my floral career came from my friend Betany (Chloris Floral). She strongly recommended that I get my act together and put my work on Instagram. I did, and it has totally changed my professional world. While I haven’t let it dominate my life, I can’t deny the affect that social media (Instagram in particular for me) has had on my business. Instagram has become my sole platform for promoting my workshops and services, and it really works wonderfully.

Emily Avenson (Fleuropean)

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Congratulations on starting your floral venture!! I think the best piece of advice I was ever given was by a designer I admired. She suggested creating a clear vision of what type of floral business I wanted to create and stay true to it. I am constantly evolving in my business by learning new trends, techniques and business strategies, but my overall vision and business goal always stays on point to what I originally intended, which is to be an exclusive floral studio catering to the high-end client. It’s a piece of advice that sticks even more now that social media outlets make it so easy to post everything. I have to remind myself that I am creating a brand and to stay on point to who and what that brand is. Now, I have some advice for you– at the end of every year create a year-end analysis of your business and list what you achieved, what you want to achieve (both short term and long term goals) and different ways to get there. I’ve been doing this since I started my business 11 years ago and it’s a fun and rewarding way to look back through the years and see how far you’ve grown!

Beth Zemetis (Blush Floral Design)

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I’m not sure who gave me the advice, or if I just learned it over the course of time, but learning to say “no” is one of the best things you can do. Not every job is the right fit for you. Learn to distinguish what’s a good fit and what’s not and then have the guts to say “no” to the ones that aren’t right. You will save your creative energy for the right projects that way and build a portfolio that’s a good representation of the kind of work you want to do. It’s so easy to get burnt out in this business and I think too many of us glorify “being busy”, especially in the social media age where we are constantly feeling the demand to “keep up with the Jones'”. Don’t give in to that anxiety. Learning to say “no” was one of the best things I ever did for myself and my business.

Jennie Love (Love ‘n Fresh Flowers)

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I’ve been given a lot of good advice during my career, but I think the one that sticks with me the most came from David Beahm. He spoke to us, at a Chapel Designer conference in NYC, I believe 3 years ago, and within his brilliant talk, he encouraged us to “stay in our own lane.” That bit of advice was just what I needed to hear. It wasn’t a message intended to limit our dreams, but instead a message to be ourselves- our best selves, while allowing others to be their best selves in the next lane over. Instead of focusing on others’ victories, or perceiving others as “better” or getting things that we deserve, he encouraged us to quiet the deafening noise of comparison, and focus on our own progress. Jumping into this business now, with so much to see on social media, one can easily feel overwhelmed or deflated. My advice is to hone your craft fiercely, make the designs that you are craving to see, and focus your energy on pushing yourself forward within your own lane.

Susan Mcleary (Passionflower)

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Actually, I was very alone when I started and I don’t think I had any real mentor able to give me advice… at all. So that advice will just come from me, not sure I am wise enough to give advices yet… but anyway 😉 I started my floral design studio in autumn 2012. During the two first years I didn’t do anything really spectacular. I even thought I might give up (I guess we all think about that one day, right?). This is until I signed for a workshop given by a “star florist” in July 2015 and it completely shook my universe. It opened my eyes on so many aspects, even if that workshop was just a simple single day event and I had to drive across France with the left-overs of a wedding I did the day before and did not sleep much. Seriously, the only advice is to invest in you, not only in your business. Invest in your skills, whether they be design, management, budgeting, photography (photography is truly game changing for florists!) or marketing. That will pay, at least it did for me.

Laetitia Mayor (Floresie)

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I am fairly impulsive. When I have an idea, I jump. This has served me incredibly well as good sense and fear would keep me from doing half of what I do.

I have always been one to just jump, I do things in spite of the fear. I make myself go forward. This is something I have discussed on several occasions with my friend Francoise Weeks. Many years ago she said the below statement to me. I saved her words as she so eloquently put into words my beliefs.

“When the desire to succeed becomes greater than the fear to fail, I move forward” –Francoise Weeks

Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)

2 thoughts on “Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: No. 105

  1. ellen

    I think the best advice also, stay true to your vision. Dare to be different, and read and learn as much as you can about design and the industry, as well as how to take care of your flowers. Waste is a big part of the business. I found a wonderful antique book on floristry, turn of the century designs that were formidable. Entire casket blanket of lily of the valley for instance… I couldn’t image how they even did that…. this was before floral tape, oasis- all the things we have come to know as standards.. It taught me a lot about material usage, creativity and patience in design.
    Little Pink House Gallery

    Reply
  2. Hannah

    Thank you guys, this was an insightful post! As a budding florist, I took a little something away from each suggestion, and appreciated the fact that you all reminded me (and offered strategies for how) to major on the majors.

    Reply

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