After working as a floral design assistant, I started my own business and I don’t know how to make the right connections with event planners or wedding coordinators to start having my own clients. My dream is to do events and weddings but how can I start? I deeply love to design but I feel the business side of the industry is so hard.
As with any business the best thing to do is speak to as many people as you can, network and allow them to see what you have to offer. Maybe offer to do some free of charge pieces and samples to get your work known and build your portfolio.
Gemma Bain (Planet Flowers)
I would suggest reaching out to the planners you are interested in working with
and invite them out to coffee or lunch, and pick up the tab. Bring along your
portfolio so they can get an idea of your work. Tell them why you want to work
with them and why you like their work/reputation! Good luck!
Spend some time building your portfolio by doing some styled photoshoots. This will enable you to meet other creatives in the industry. Once you have some work to show to planners, schedule meetings with them. Bring them an arrangement and a package with some images, business cards, etc.
I think it’s best to meet in person if you want to build a relationship that leads to business. So I would simply suggest calling some event planners, introduce youself and explain that you would like to show them your portfolio over a cup of coffee. Invite them to your studio or meet up at a coffee shop and bring your tablet or laptop and show them your portfolio.
First I would say that making the right connections takes some time. The best way I found to meet other professionals is to participate in wedding fairs, it usually allows you to get in touch with many different people. Do not underestimate the connection with other wedding professionals, not only wedding planners. The wedding industry is a small world 🙂
Laetitia Mayor (Floresie)
Unfortunately there is no quick fix and it can take years to build up these relationships. It can also be a question of being lucky and being in the right place at the right time. However there are things you can do to build your reputation and exposure: Styled shoots allow you to show off the best of your designs. Contacting planners directly – inviting them for lunch and creating a centerpiece for the restaurant table. Sponsoring an industry event. Inviting planners for a one to one workshop at your studio so that they can better understand the flower process and help their brides choose suitable designs. Be aware all these ideas can cost money with no pay off. You must also be the best florist you can be and develop your own personal style. If people want you they will eventually (it can take years) find their way to you. Remember the tough part is that planners will already have relationships with other florists and these unfortunately can be difficult to break, however other florists’ availability and businesses will change. Make sure you are waiting in the wings when they need a new florist to work with.
Nick Priestly (Mood Flowers)
You can and should build your business without relying on wedding planners. They are just one avenue you can pursue. Work first and foremost on building your brand, your portfolio and SEO. Planners are of course a wonderful resource for bookings but it is better not to depend on them for work. I think it is better to define your look and style and your brand so strongly that the planners are coming to you rather than you going to them. Build your business/ brand by providing an excellent product and service. Show an amazing website and portfolio and blog. Blogging will bring up your name when clients are searching for designers in your area. Your blog posts must be properly tagged to get you direct leads. Indicate the types of flowers and the market you are serving in each post. This will really get the word out. Your efforts on social media also help the planners find you. Make sure you are only posting amazing work, the kind of work you want to be doing. Each client you please will lead to more work. Word of mouth is the strongest way to get new business. Also going to venues is a huge way to get work. Request to have a meeting to introduce your business. Bring your portfolio and even a sample design. Let them know that you are very interested in working with them. Ensure that you will be courteous and respectful of the venue. If you build your business first, the planners will come.
Holly Chapple (Holly Chapple Flowers)
Flowers: Planet Flowers