Monthly Archives: September 2018

Jenn Ederer: 3 Things I Wish I’d Known When Starting Out

Today is the final guest post in Jenn Ederer’s 5-part series and we can’t say thank you enough for her generosity in sharing valuable and practical information on booking and managing luxury weddings, as well as, building a strong team while staying organized. Please feel free to leave Jenn a message in the comment section if you’ve enjoyed the series or have questions for her. Now, hope you enjoy today’s post…

by Jenn Ederer (Modern Day Creative / Modern Day Events & Floral)

I’m sure a lot of you are like me in that the way I run my business now looks completely different than it did when I first started. I’ve learned so much along this journey, but there are a few things that stand out to me that I truly wish I would have known at the beginning.

The three biggest ones are:

  1. Track your time so you know where you’re spending your time

  2. Find business pros who are on your team

  3. Prioritize your physical and mental health

As they say, time is our most valuable resource, so use it wisely with intention.

Looking back, I wish I would have kept track of my time early on in my career, especially in the first year or two of running my business. Back at the beginning, I had no idea how long things would take or how much time I was spending on specific tasks. I threw myself in head first on every project, into every client, worked incredibly long hours, and couldn’t tell you exactly how I was spending my days. I was caught up in doing the “busy work” saying yes to all the things with little direction. I was working like a dog and convinced that one day I would reach the bottom of my to-do list. The reality is, without a clear path and profound respect for time, most days will be spent running from one task to another dictated by the needs of others. When I finally woke up and realized how important it was to know where my time was going, I started keeping a time log to track my time.  I wrote down everything I did and approximately how long I spent on each task.

Logging my time was super helpful for a couple of different reasons. After I talked to clients and then went back and try to figure out what to charge, I found that I would have billed things entirely differently if I had been tracking my time. Some tasks I thought were taking me an hour were, in fact, taking me several hours or more to complete.

Time flies, especially when we’re not paying attention, and we need to charge accordingly for our work.

I also wish I would have kept track of where I was spending the bulk of my time to make sure I wasn’t wasting time. I may have spent 3 hours checking and responding to email when I easily could have done it in one hour with some focus. Knowledge is power, so once you know how you spend your time, you can adjust your schedule to make sure you are making good use of your time.

The best part of this: you can start RIGHT NOW.

Taking the time to do this for a couple weeks can give you a whole new insight into how you’re spending each day. How much time are you spending on personal development today (aka reading this blog post)? I encourage you to write it down!

As creatives this is difficult; numbers can be scary. By and large, numbers and finances are what creatives hate the most. Most of us get into wedding planning or floral and event design because of the creative piece. We have a romantic idea surrounding this profession. The flowers and events are gorgeous, these beautiful milestones in our client’s lives are so emotional, and we love the beauty and emotion that goes into what we do.

But to run a sustainable business, you need a solid foundation, and that starts with a good, solid financial backbone.

Toward the beginning of my business journey, I made the mistake of hiring an accountant who worked for my husband’s company.  The accountant did what I hired him to do – he set me up with QuickBooks, input all the numbers for the IRS and the state, but he just kind of threw it all together leaving me to figure out the rest. I realized from that experience that he wasn’t going to bat for ME. What I should have looked for instead was an accountant who would also double as a business advisor – someone who was looking at my finances and could help advise me through the financial components of Modern Day.

What I really needed was someone to look at the finances and tell me exactly where we were losing money and the places that we were very profitable to help me make better business decisions in the long run. Someone who was keeping track of every nickel being spent. Someone who would be willing to meet with me quarterly to talk about financial growth, business strategies, and personal goals to help get me there.

There ARE people out there who can do this for you, and I’d say that hiring a solid financial advisor is the most important member of your team and should be in place from the very beginning.

If you currently have some of these pros in your business now and you don’t feel like they are on board 100% doing everything they can to help see your vision to fruition, pushing for your growth and success, you need to find somebody else. Don’t be afraid to let someone go who is not the right fit for you. Trust your gut on this!

Even outside of the financial sphere, I want to encourage you to hire the professionals in your business that are looking out for you: your web designer, your wholesaler, your attorney, anyone you bring on into your business.

If you’ve got rock-solid business advisors that are total pros in those areas that you’re not proficient in, your road to success is going to happen much faster with much less heartache.

Something I didn’t entirely realize from the beginning is that this job is incredibly physically demanding. I would never have thought in a million years that I would work as hard as I do. The mental and physical fortitude that you have to have to work in the event industry is unbelievable.

Taking good physical care of your body is imperative. Make sure you’re investing in great shoes, get enough sleep, learn how to take naps when you need them (always my favorite form of self-care), drink lots of water (still working on this one), and carve out time for a massage after long hard event wedding weeks.

The most crucial piece for me was to invest in my mental health by finding and regularly seeing a therapist. There’s a reason why working as a wedding planner is in the top 10 most stressful jobs on Forbes list. Your mental well being is so critically important.

As entrepreneurs, we all need a sounding board. It’s great also to find a mentor group of people that you can talk to on a professional level, but I’m also an advocate of seeing a therapist or counselor who can create a safe place for you. A place where you can talk through things that you don’t necessarily want to talk to anyone else about. There will be times that your spouse and family won’t understand what you’re going through, and you need a place to explore some of this.

So much of what we do involves effective communication while managing expectations, and the more that you can get yourself centered and clear about where and who you are, the more effectively you can navigate through the journey of running a business and dealing with people. We work in the service industry helping create once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our clients. Planning, designing, and executing weddings is a huge responsibility, and I encourage you to find a good counselor you can find respite with even if only once a month. Trust me; it’s money well spent!

Taking care of your mental well being and finding a good therapist will give you the ammunition you need so you can be healthy for your clients, staff, and those you love.

Time to get real with you for a moment. The truth is, there were so many times that I wanted to hang it up. When David’s (my husband’s) business folded and crumbled during the real estate downturn in 2008, when he couldn’t get an interview for four years even while having 2 degrees, all while dealing with depression, it was scary. I felt like the entire world was on my shoulders.

I don’t know what I would have done without my mentors, my people, my peers who were supporting me through this, these strong women and men in my life that were good sounding boards for me.

But, it was my counselor who helped me the most through this time.

In running a business, there are going to be times when you will have to dig deep. The road to entrepreneurship is not easy, and the path to successful entrepreneurship is extremely difficult.

I look at mental health as your core, your spine, your backbone. Having your mental health in check will equip you to do anything. To go into battle. To show up for your clients and your team. To give you the skills to not just throw up your hands and give up when things get tough.

It allows you to make good decisions based both on a solid financial and emotional basis. To make decisions not from a place of insecurity and scarcity, but instead from a position of knowledge and power so you can move forward in your success.


Photography courtesy of Nathan English Photography

We invite you to read Part One (Top Tools for Wedding & Event Professionals), Part Two (Growing & Leading a Team),  Part Three (The Client Lead Process), and Part 4 (Landing Luxury Floral Budgets) of Jenn’s 5-part series if you missed them.

Thanks, Jenn! We appreciate you!

To get expert + heartfelt advice, lessons, and instructions from Jenn, click the bar below and sign up for her newsletter. I look forward to it landing in my inbox each week! 

 

Botanical Backdrops

Sweetwater Stems

Events in Bloom | Kelli Durham Photography

Wedfully Yours | Charla Storey Photography

Passiflora Studio | Ashly Collins Photography

Evergreen Flower Company | Kylie Noelle Photography

Tulipina | Joel Serrato Photography

Buds of Brooklyn

Myrtle et Olive | Lucky Studios

Heirloom Design House | Diana McGregor

Floral Style | Artem Petrov

Mayesh Design Star Workshop | Seattle

We’re excited to share a bit about the latest stop in the Mayesh Design Star Workshop Series today. Here’s a peek inside the MDS Workshop in Seattle. Only one more stop in 2018! Salt Lake City, they’re coming to you next.


Kaylee Young and the Mayesh team held their first west coast workshop of the 2018 MDS Tour this past July in Seattle, WA. The workshop was held at Metropolist, a beautiful event space in the heart of SODO, just south of downtown.

The inspiration behind this workshop was a serene summer afternoon. Kaylee brought this inspiration to life at the event by curating a variety of wildflowers for attendees to arrange with, and by styling the space with woven baskets from Accent Decor.

On Monday evening, the workshop began with a networking event. Debra Prinzing of Slow Flowers spoke on behalf of the local flower movement, and students shared their own flower stories with one another. Kaylee then led the students in a mood boarding activity. After each student created their own mood board, they then took turns helping each other put defining words to their boards and style. The mood boarding activity was a wonderful way for students to reflect on what inspires and motivates each of them.

On Tuesday, with a new sense of direction, students dove into flower arranging. Kaylee and her assistant Jamie led the students in two group installations; first, a field of flowers using Oasis bricks and wild grasses, herbs, and dahlias, and second a traditional ceremony set up using a beautiful trellis from Classic Vintage Rentals. Because the trellis was so detailed and pretty on its own, Kaylee taught the students how to minimally style the piece using clematis and trailing vines.

Following the installations, Kaylee taught the class how she creates textured, dimensional centerpieces. One by one, the students took their bud vases from Accent Décor and added a few blooms and foliages to inspire their own arrangements, and then created their own centerpieces in a compote vessel. Their arrangements were then photographed on a minimal yet beautiful table with natural colors and textures and simple details.

To join Kaylee & Mayesh at their workshop in Salt Lake City, head here for more
information!


Blog Post Sponsored by Mayesh Wholesale

Workshop Credits:

Hosted by Mayesh Wholesale
Taught by Kaylee Young of Flourish by Kay
Photography: Nicole Clarey Photography
Venue: Metropolist
Rentals: Classic Vintage Rentals
Design Assistant: Jamie Heusser

Workshop Product Sponsors:

Jenn Ederer: Landing Luxury Floral Budgets

by Jenn Ederer (Modern Day Creative / Modern Day Events & Floral)

Last week on the blog, I shared all about how I approach the client lead process and the initial consultation meeting. This week, I want to share what happens after the client books. This is the part where we get to do what we do best – designing flowers and being creative, but there is a smarter way to approach ordering product than with a pencil, paper, and calculator. I’m sure you can already guess what I’m going to say…my lifesaver is my recipe program, Ularas. I know, I know…this is the thorn in all of our sides. But hear me out, because this is hands down how I’ve been able to find freedom in my business and scale from doing small weddings to large luxury six-figure floral budgets.

Safety Net

A recipe program is perfect for every business structure: solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, large teams, small teams – as long as you want to be profitable (of course you do!) and put yourself in a position to scale your business, a recipe program is right for you. As a solopreneur, it’s a lot easier when the flowers come in for you to make modifications on the fly – we are creatives, after all. However, using recipes creates a structure which allows you to step away if necessary.

There is so much pressure on us to deliver, especially when we’re a one-person show. We’re working with couples on one of the most memorable days of their lives, and as great florists, we don’t take that lightly. But at some point in time, we have to set ourselves up to not be the be-all and end-all in everything we do. What if we have a family emergency or crisis to tend to on the same day as an event? Now you’re faced with the task of having to choose between a family emergency and work, or you’re scrambling to try and convey to people exactly what needs to happen to create the event the way you would. Putting those parameters and safety nets in place through using a recipe program will save you SO much stress and give you a huge amount of freedom if something like this ever comes up for you.

Profitability

Let’s be honest, to err is human, especially as you start scaling your business and doing five and six figure floral budgets. The old school way of calculating your numbers using pencil, paper and a calculator is scary because those errors can easily be made. For many years, I used a comprehensive workbook in Excel. Over time, I found that the formulas and calculations can become tainted, which increases the margin for error when ordering product. Needless to say, working with an online based recipe program like Ularas ensures that I’m not making those mistakes that I made so easily with the less reliable methods I was using in the past.

I get the question all the time, “How do you design events with five and six-figure floral budgets, and where do you even start?” Honestly, you start with one design element at a time and it starts with having a recipe and organizational system in place. You can’t do an event of this scale all by yourself, so that means you either hire a team of experienced freelancers or your current staff works in conjunction with the guest designers to help execute the event. This team not only needs to be excellent at what they do, but they also need to know exactly how to create the designs you dreamed up with your client’s vision in mind. Effectively communicating this with your in-house staff and freelance designers will help keep the event production running smoothly and efficiently.

Months Before the Event

I recipe all flowers and hard goods per the approved design document provided to the client. All containers are either pulled out of our inventory to ensure we have no crossover with another event or new hard goods are purchased. A list of flowers is sent off to our wholesaler for pricing and all tentative rental orders are placed.

Two Weeks Before Event

To help keep us organized, I print a copy of the Ularas production report which includes a pull list for my logistics coordinator so she can pull and prep all containers and hard goods along with our bagging systems for bouquets and corsage and bout boxes.

Tuesday the Week of the Event

On Tuesday morning, I have a staff meeting where we go through any pertinent information pertaining to the overall design and client expectations along with reviewing what product will be arriving. I provide them the workbook complete with the final contract, the design inspiration, production report and a full recipe book which covers everything from the bridal bouquet to centerpieces. Everything is spelled out for them making it easy for anyone to jump right in.

Wednesday Before Weekend Event

Typically our product arrives between Tuesday and Wednesday morning unless specific flowers need longer to open. The team processes the flowers and cross references the quantities against the production report. On multiple event weeks, the buckets are labeled with the event name and placed on designated metro racks. Once the product is hydrated and accounted for, the design team dives in! Each designer is assigned a specific area to focus on based on their overall design strengths, a sample design is created for my approval and we’re off to the races. Quite often there is a mock up I’ve create for the client months prior for the designers to use as a guideline.

Side note, I also order 5-10% additional product in case we need to make adjustments on the fly during production. This gives me and my design team a little more creative freedom and flexibility which is so important.

Day of the Event

On event days, I typically have a team of anywhere from 4-10 designers working on-site including an incredible support team. The beauty of our recipe workflow is that I don’t always have to physically be onsite at every event. However, it’s also important to remember that whether you’re doing large or small events, it’s important for everything leaving your studio to match your brand and meet your client’s expectations.

I love comparing this to food….because really, is there anything better than a food analogy? If you were a chef who created fabulous and delicious meals, you probably wouldn’t let your sous chef just start throwing in whichever ingredients he wanted to. You would have a recipe for them to follow to make sure your guests received a consistent and on-brand dish. This is exactly the same in our floral design world with recipes.

Many of the freelance designers I work with tell me how much they appreciate when things are organized. They love the fact that they can jump in and design right away. The best thing you can do for your designers is to keep yourself organized so they can come in and knock it out of the park for you.

Getting Down to Brass Tacks

Even though I love Ularas, there are several other programs out there you can choose from. Here are some of the most popular options:

The reason I like Ularas is because it’s a highly functional program with lots of customizable options for proposals, contracts, organization, ordering the product, and lots more. But, like anything, I would encourage you to find one that best meets your needs and run with it!

One of the biggest arguments I hear against using a recipe program is the financial investment.  I get it, it IS a big investment, but I encourage you to really take a long hard look at what your time is worth. Our monthly obligation is $99.00 per month which is nominal in comparison to the time I save, not to mention the increased profitability.

At the end of the day, using a comprehensive recipe program like Ularas is by far the biggest contributing factor to how I’ve scaled my business and become more profitable. As your business grows, so will the demands on your time and talents, so be kind to yourself. If this old girl can do it, so can you!!  I’m wishing you all the success and I hope that this information is helpful, but please do not hesitate to reach out or leave a comment below.


Photography courtesy of Nathan English Photography

We invite you to read Part One (Top Tools for Wedding & Event Professionals), Part Two (Growing & Leading a Team), and Part Three (The Client Lead Process) of Jenn’s 5-part series if you missed them!

BB Podcast Episode 25: Eatherley Schultz

“I take as much pride in the team I’ve created as I do in my business or any floral design we’ve ever done.”

-Eatherley Schultz

Tom Robison Creative

Today we’re sitting down with Eatherley Schultz, owner of Floressence in Brevard, North Carolina to discuss:

  • why she’s currently working with a business coach
  • the challenges of transporting flowers in the mountains
  • how weather affects her business
  • how her experiences in flower growing and garden design have uniquely affected her floral design business
  • how she has managed to build a team who stays
  • some lessons she’s learned about dealing with clients
  • where she finds educational opportunities for her staff
  • a few of the challenges she’s overcome along the way

Katie Stoops Photography

Links mentioned in Episode Twenty-Five:

Rachael McIntosh Photography

Michelle Landreau of Morning Light Photography

Links of Interest:

 Website |Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

Natalie Watson Photography

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Today’s episode is brought to you by:

To learn more about HHC online classes at Hope Flower Farm School of Floral Design, click here.

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BB Podcast Sound Engineer: Landon McGee