If you happened to listen to the latest Botanical Brouhaha podcast episode, you’ll already know a little of our backstory. I, Maggie Bailey, started Bramble & Bee in January of 2014 as a way to try and contribute to our family income while also gaining a little more flexibility in my schedule to dedicate to travel and holidays (working full-time retail is not super conducive to normal hours or holidays off!). Four short years later, my husband Mick has now left his job in the oil & gas industry to join the Bramble & Bee team full-time! We thought we’d share a little about what we’ve learned from working together as a married couple! I think whether your debating teaming up with a spouse, a good friend, or a more strategic business partner, all of these insights still definitely apply!
Floral design, especially for studio-based wedding and event designers, can be a lonely life, so don’t hesitate to start building your community. Sometimes this means hiring staff or bringing on a partner or spouse, but sometimes it’s just making sure you have people in your life who understand what you’re doing and are there to support you! Let community be the place that you start and the rest will fall into place!
If you are ready to grow your team, hire or partner with people who compliment you. Getting along is certainly the most important aspect of building your team, but also be aware of your strengths and short comings and hire people who fill the voids or accentuate the strengths. I am a stereotypical creative- I’m great at big picture and over all vision and I love getting my hands dirty and making art with flowers, but I’m not awesome at staying on top of correspondence, keeping my work space organized, or accounting. Not that I’m not capable of doing these things, I just don’t like to. Part of the reason that we knew Mick coming on full-time would be a good strategic move, is that his background in the oil industry is as a mechanical engineer and operations manager. He’s good at all the organization and details which means those things get done more accurately and effectively and it frees me up for more of what I like to do!
It’s also completely ok (actually better than ok) to set clear boundaries and expectations. This is true for almost any relationship and especially one involving business. No matter how well you think you know and like the person, be sure to sit down and write out roles and responsibilities. Identify workplace expectations, set business goals together, and have a game plan for how you will communicate unmet expectations or issues that arise. This will not prevent miscommunications, but will help you be able to clearly address problems as they happen and help you to be equally invested in a common goal!
I am a huge fan of the Myers-Briggs personality inventory for helping a manager understand his or her staff, a spouse understand a spouse, or parents understand their children (so pretty much helping us all understand everyone else!!). Knowing other people’s decision-making style, the ways they process information, and the ways they like to order their lives is super helpful in making sure that you’re setting that person up for success! For example- I’m an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs scale (see below or google it if you’re bored!). The most common thing I come up against as an entrepreneur and retail shop owner is how extroverted I have to be during the day- talking to brides, talking to customers, networking with other professionals, and leading a small staff. I’m a pretty hardcore introvert by nature so at the end of the day, I really like to be silent for a little while. I can’t come home and dive straight into verbally processing the day and planning for tomorrow with Mick- it makes me really cranky! Thankfully, he knows this and gives me my space so I can come back to the conversation fresh and ready to game plan!
It’s such a gift to have someone else around to celebrate success and process challenges with. Always remember that you are not alone in this crazy business! Build your community and team with intention and you can only move forward!