Floral Business Pricing Foundations.
Okay, do this with me. Shut your eyes….. Tighter.
The tighter they are shut, the better your wish will come true.
Okay, now say this with me, “I wish, I wish, I wish, I could just make pretty things and create memories and the money part will just… work out.”
(pause…. did it work? ya, me neither.)
Aw crap, well, so much for money magic. I guess we’ll just have to do some real work to make sure we are making a profit and covering our butts.
Raise your hand if you’ve searched for pricing formulas and financial advice with dismal to so-so results? (woosh) Whoa, I need to reposition my eyebrow hairs from that breeze you created. Ya, me too.
And I get it. PRICING IS PERSONAL. It’s based on so many tangible and intangible things. It’s in some ways math, in some ways marketing and positioning.
The only real thing your pricing and financial plan has to do is cover YOUR needs and your businesses needs.
For the first 7 years of my business, I searched and searched for the golden nugget of a pricing plan for a business as weird as wedding floral and event design.
And then it occurred to me… I have 7 years of details expenses and price data and can directly relay those into what they yielded in money to my pockets. I can figure this out.
Hindsight is 20/20, right? so I literally can go back, see if there were any “purty deeds done dirt cheap”, revise to my preferred scenario, and apply that data to what is going on now.
So I did. And, well, I like it.
Everything I’ve found is oversimplified, incomplete, or just irrelevant.
“Just multiply your materials by 4.5X” they say…. Ya well, what do I charge for that botanical armature thing that is made from what’s in my recycling bin that will take forever to not look like trash?
What about the linens and vintage furniture I am renting for my client? That’s a lot of money that looks like my revenue but just flows through my business?
What about the hours I am spending figuring out what this is even going to look like.
What about the people that I am going to hire last minute but didn’t charge for because I am so freaked out that I don’t have enough setup time and would rather pay more people than allow more eyeball twitching stress than is absolutely necessary?!
Ya, I get this pricing formula is set up to reap massive profit but that doesn’t help me determine sales goals and whether or not I can experiment with that new high end wedding show.
Where’s THAT pricing plan?
Well, there isn’t one. But now I see that there is YOUR pricing plan.
Because what’s success looks like for you is different from the other gal who has three kids under school age.
Success for the farmer-florist isn’t going to look like the success of an event designer and producer.
And success for you now isn’t going to look like what success will be for you later.
But there are some shared foundation principles that we can all agree upon. AND surely for all of us. Success is NOT being in survival mode.
And HOLY FLAMING FIELDS OF FRUITFUL FREEDOM FLORAL FRIEND, when you know YOUR pricing, so much of the mental gunk that causes uncertainty and doubt just goes away. And your hustle has direction.
Your beginning of the year looks like this…
Make a Floral Centerpiece with a Vine Foliage Cage
Spring is just around the corner and seriously, who doesn’t love having some flowers to brighten up the house? Learn this quick and eco-friendly way to create a beautiful floral arrangement with a vine foliage cage. You know we don’t use flower foam so it’s our go-to, tried and true way of keeping stems in place. Reference our video version of this tutorial if you’re wanting some more tips on creating this!
If this is your first time making a centerpiece, fear not! We have another video that covers our common-sense method on flower placement. It’s right here: centerpiece demonstration It goes a bit more in depth.
- floral tape
- chicken wire
- bind wire, cut into 1″ pieces
- floral clippers
- wire cutters
- flowers, of course! We go to our local wholesale floral market, but you can find some goodies at your local store or garden.
First, use your wire cutters to snip a piece of chicken wire from the roll. For this size of pot, I cut a piece about 6 inches wide. Bend the chicken wire into a ball shape and tie the ends around one another to secure it. Then, place it in your vase.
Tear off strips of floral tape and place them like a grid over your ball. This will ensure the chicken wire won’t fall out. Once it feels sturdy, add the water.
Once you have a few stems in the base, choose two vines and attach them with a piece of bind wire in a place they might naturally grow together. Continue to add in vines and sprigs of Jasmine until your foliage cage feels full and strong.
Just let it get wild…
Now it’s just about full enough to support some flowers. Add in them flowers!
Taa-daa! You have made a glorious, foam-free floral arrangement! Snap a picture and show off, be sure to tag us so we can enjoy your work too!
We’ll be featuring this arrangement and others in a moody photoshoot we did about a Subterranean Moth-Fairy who is waiting in her underground den for spring to come. Oh and she’s a hoarder… Ha! To hear more about our hoarder fairy and the next DIYs from that shoot. You’ll want to SUBSCRIBE!
Here’s a sneak peak:)
Ugh. I just love those moody blooms.
What Does Business Related Fear Feel Like?
Before you can do anything about business related fear whether that be fear in starting your new business or managing your changing business, you have to first be able to notice that it’s happening to you. This is difficult, because the signs are sneaky. I just wrote an ebook that delves into my own experiences in fearing and learning to manage my business related fear. How do you know when it’s here? What does fear feel like?
In my new ebook “Be
Fearless Scared but do it Anyway”, I talk about managing fear. A lot of it has to do with reorienting fearful or anxious feelings and sometimes recognizing when it needs to stop all together.
With the birth of my son, my husband and I are having to make some changes to how we live and work. I find that while my creative energy and ideas are at an all time high (joy= creativity?), my available time is at an all time low. I’ve estimated I have roughly 20% of the time I once did to dedicate any serious focused brain power. It’s forcing us to simplify and clarify our visions for our future and to strategize in new ways. With that, comes the uncertainty and unease.
I had never practiced managing fear much as it relates to my family life so I was surprised when I was barraged by a bunch of old, familiar feelings. Here’s what fear and anxiety looks like when it pops up for me:
Irritability– I’m irritated. I’m irritated at the dog, at the baby for crying when I’m not immediately in front of him. I’m irritated that I can’t get anything done, that dinner takes a long time, that the water is tepid because I used up the hot water doing massive quantities of laundry. I’m irritated at slow people in the grocery store, slowness with my computer. I’m irritated that I can’t find my keys, that I can never find my keys, and irritate that I haven’t found a system for managing my key losing situation.
Restlessness– always thinking- the inability to not turn off. Being lostin thought about your business. Pushing to go faster, be efficient- but perhaps for no clear reason than just to get to the next task. The feeling that you have to hurry through this tedious, uncertain part so you can get to the part that is meaningful/ profitable/ the actual work.
While I’m able to be present with my son, the few blocks of uninterrupted time are often wrought with these feelings. And obviously these feelings are counterproductive to working well.
I’m finding I’m having to reapply the tactics I wrote about in my ebook, readjust expectations, prune my efforts to maximize effectiveness. Some pursuits will be delegated, while others will be recycled.
I love this journey… even though the course is ever-adjusting.
Things I Wish I Knew When I Began my Event Business: Part 2- The Expert.
I have a strong skepticism of The Expert. People who tell me how to do things are likely to get a polite listen, slow blink, nod, and about face.
This goes for all professions and beliefs people want to share. It’s not that I disrespect their experience or education, I just don’t trust that what they have to say will necessarily work in my life in the same way it’s worked for them.
This wasn’t always the case. When I began my business, I was rabid for information on how to do things right, be profitable fast, figure out how everyone else was doing things. I was sure there was a ‘best practice’ for everything. I felt vulnerable operating my fledgling business, knowing that I still hadn’t learned that nugget of wisdom that would allow me to market and operate as a professional. Until that point, I felt like I might be called out at any moment.
This led to second guessing myself and worse, belittling my own immense efforts and little business in small ways. As if to say, “Here’s my business, it’s a little scrappy, but it’s good. But if it’s not as good as you think it should be then just know that it’s brand new and I’m still figuring it all out.” The veil between confident excitement about my startup and discouragement was so thin I felt that any positive claim needed a cautionary disclaimer. Any compliment received was followed by something like, “If you think we’re good now, wait until I really figure out what I’m doing.” Not a way to instill trust in your clients and just not true.
So here’s the third thing I wish I knew when I began my event business:
There are no experts… Except you, of course.
The only rules to make and follow are those agreed upon between you and your clients. You do what works for you, and your client likes that or they don’t. If they don’t like it, maybe you are willing to tweak your operation or product. Or maybe this isn’t the correct client. And back and forth and back and forth until you have the right balance of what you both want.
Expert advice is useful only to give you ideas of stuff to try. I liken it to art making and art history. Learning about art history can give you knowledge about art, a deeper appreciation for it, a vocabulary to talk about it, but it won’t make you an artist. To be an artist you have to produce, experiment, and go through all the drama that comes with combining materials, ideas, humans, and time. Unexpected outcomes and all.
Expert advice is a giant pile of poo. You and I are poo shovelers. Get digging and see what parts are worth composting in your garden. The success of your garden isn’t going to be because of the poo, it will be because of your care, guidance, and hard work.
Ultimately, you gain the sanity saving knowledge that whatever you need to figure out, you will. This alone allows me to walk into new, strange projects with the confidence to dive in. Added bonuses of this sort of healthy view on experts include:
- less money spent on expert advice,
- appreciation and happiness for others’ triumphs in their business,
- less judgement of other businesses products and operations,
- and a more objective perspective on one’s own successes and struggles,
- The ability to predict if a new pile of poo is even worth reaching for the shovel,
- Big ‘ole sighs of relief.
If you missed part one of the “Things I Wish I Knew” Series and the first two “Things” , here it is!
This is the second part of a series of 10 conversations about the struggles faced in the early parts of business development. If you’d like to make sure you get the other 8, sign up for our mailing list below! You will also be able to download all 10 topics for free so you can put them in a place to remember. Sign up below!
If you liked the message here, the kindest thing you can do is share it with others that might be experiencing their own startup struggles.
Vulnerability: Teachings from Pharell and Brene Brown
When I’m procrastinating and need a kick in the a**, I like to throw on a quick TED talk. This one on Vulnerability by Brene Brown was particularly eye-opening.
It’s message of courage, openness, and wholeheartedness is one that I personally strive for. These qualities are also necessary to achieve the kind of boldness, creative thought, and success for my business, Lola Creative to thrive. I am also amazed whenever I see a speaker who can address a crowd as if they are her best girlfriend. This lady can speak two words and I am already drawn in. In a nutshell, it teaches that our belief in our vulnerability as the source of what makes us special, is the key to joy. Also that connection requires vulnerability because it reveals our authentic selves.
This is particularly useful in business, where vulnerability can be viewed as something less than professional. It’s scary because it admits some degree of uncertainty. In my industry, uncertainty is necessary, nobody knows exactly what will happen at an event because all the pieces have never come together in the same time and place. All we can do is prepare. Even still, confidence, even if unfounded, can be a bigger sell to a hesitant client than a bold idea. Everyone has someone to impress but our clients have one shot to nail it. To fail at a lofty goal is so scary, many would rather choose the safer option to make the potential fall less scary. Several times we’ve been in the situation where we’ve proposed a bold idea or experimental approach only to find that later, it needs tweaking. It will have to be modified. This has sometimes been stressful for our clients who are reluctant to relay an alternate to their higher-ups for fear of looking incompetent. We’ve even been tempted to simplify our offerings to what is easily accomplished. We also have been tempted to express over confidence in the beginning when really, “Yes, absolutely this can be done!” actually means, “Yes, absolutely we are capable of doing this, until we can’t. And at that point we will move to another awesome idea that will work better.” Brene’s message is a wonderful reminder that new paths are uncertain, but also yield exciting results. Experimentation and creative acts are vulnerable endeavors and if vulnerability leads to joy. Than the path to the “hell yeah” business that we want rife with uncertain moments.
With all this on my mind, later in the week I went to my number 2 time waster, reality TV. The Voice is on and this past week I was surprised to see Brene’s findings echoed in the coaching of Pharrell Williams. To a rejected Bianca Espina, he said, It’s not about the chairs,”It’s about your great time.”
The idea that as a creative professional, if you are to draw people in, your ‘performance’ must be authentic, bold, and vulnerable. You must be so into your thing, that it’s play, and the audience reaction becomes more of an observation and learning process than a judgement call.
Next we’ll talk about building trusting clients who value a bold approach.
And speaking of vulnerability, stay tuned for a very uncertain situation, our first big event using tall floral arrangements without floral foam… In a glass house… midsummer. Yowza.