event design Archives - Curious Lola

Curious Lola

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.

Boom.

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…

(more…)

Why Live Events are Important

It’s a new year and about the time I start reflecting on my business. Here at Curious Lola we share our experiences building things AND an event business with the hopes of helping you with yours. But I’m about to have our first ever Lola Summit at which our team sits down and talks about all things Lola. What we are doing, what we want to do, and how we want to go about doing it. Part of that is thinking about my biz Lola Creative.

At Lola Creative, we create live events. Parties and gatherings. Both terms however are just utterly inaccurate in describing the fullness of the experience we are trying to bring to people. It sounds fun, frivolous even. Sounds like, well, party time.

We’re known for hand crafted events. Bold, sculptural features with well thought out coherent significance. We’re known for creating a more sustainable event, events that are imaginative, and, well sometimes takes a client with guts to allow us to make.

But what we are doing is greater than crafting a great party.

Businesses are created to solve people’s problems. Our problem we are trying to solve is not “Gee, I wish I had the funnest event, the most original, artful décor. We don’t do this so that we can fulfill our desire to make amazing things that inspire and delight (mmmmm, okay that’s part of it).

Utter connectedness. This is what we are aiming for. I’ll explain.

I live and work in Seattle, most of our events are Seattle based. I don’t know about you, but the drive here to achieve, do more, and be more is strong. The amount of overwhelm and distraction people face each day is immense. There is a myriad of decisions and stimuli to pull us away from what is most important. (psst, it’s each other in case you were wondering.)

The stuff that matter is:

  • kindness towards each other,

  • celebrations of togetherness,

  • gratitude for what we have, what we have made for ourselves and gratitude for what we are just given when we are born.

  • commemoration and thanks for the achievement we’ve made by working hard together toward a common goal.

  • generosity of time, to stop grinding, stop trying to do more, and take time to be with important people and realign with what matters.

  • our connection with each other and the physical places we are in, and

  • excitement for the places we can go and the things we can achieve when we have locked arms with the people we choose to trust, respect, and accept.

We’ve all had an experience, a physical experience when we were in a place with others, sometimes total strangers, sometimes coworkers or family that might as well be strangers.  Something about what we experienced transformed us and the people around us. I’ve felt this at music concerts, at dance performances, at my own wedding, at other people’s weddings, during speeches and during stories. I’ve felt it observing acts of kindness. In these moments when I am moved, I know that I can turn to the stranger next to me, and smile because they are feeling the same thing. Hell, I could hug them and they would accept it. And in that moment, we are utterly connected. It is as if we’ve all dropped to an invisible plane where a force of love, passion, intention, and raw creativity is flowing through the core of each of us. A place where we can glimpse the potential of our collective efforts and focus. A place of total acceptance and well, love.

I love business, and I love people and I am constantly amazed by the leaps we can make together. Corporation and business can be a dirty word these days, but I still see it as groups of good people, choosing to work together to do work that is meaningful.

That powerful combo of mutual trust, respect, and acceptance can only can grow when we are together, physically together.

Connection happens through shared experience. Meaningful lives are a collection of memorable, physical experiences with each other and our surroundings. Meaningful businesses have built a team of connected people that give meaningful experiences to others.

Impactful businesses not only find away to connect with their audiences but also nurture that connection within.

This is what our privilege and obsession is, to figure out how to achieve that transcendent level of connection among our clients community- whether that is a personal family, or a business family.

That’s our highest goal in producing an event. What is a gathering but an expression of gratitude and a celebration of abundance and togetherness.

By stripping away the day to day, we can demand attention, eliminate distraction, and create opportunities for humans to do what they do best: connect, imagine, and grow together.

Here’s to the New Year and all sorts of connecting.

Hells yeah.

PS, you can connect with me by emailing me at emily@curiouslola.com or by signing up to our email community HERE!

Make Your Own Crown with Worbla

 

Hey beehive! As a creator of flowery, arty things, I often find myself stumbling upon new materials to work with.

Worbla just so happens to be one of those things that I saw and *could not* not buy. One thing I love about using different materials is that it constantly pushes the boundaries of what I think I am capable of and inspires the Queen Bee in me to be proud of the things I am able to make.

Both the flower crown here and the collar are made with a worbla base and covered in leaves and flowers. Raise your hand if you love leaves as scales. (I feel the wind of a thousand hands:)

Worbla is fantastic for many reasons, mainly:

  • Its non-toxic
  • You don’t have to be a super skilled crafts(wo)man to work with it. If you’ve ever dried your hair or stuck a sticker on something (not necessarily in that order) then you are good:)
  • The only tool needed is a heat gun
  • Scraps/mess-ups can be heated, molded back together and then used again!

 

For this styled shoot, we used this material to construct her crown and flared collar. We figured that this Queen Bee was going to be a force to be reckoned with so she had to bring something to the table that your average gardeny flower crown-wearing bohemian bee might not. I mean, the world can use a different flower crown. mmmmmm-iright?

Now that you’re feeling like you’re ready to push your flower crown boundaries, buzz on over to our Youtube Channel by clicking on the picture below and make your own with us!

Want to be a part of our busy bee circle? We are working up some sweet things for you! Add your e-mail below and gain access to my hour long floral demonstration where I explain the complete breakdown of centerpiece arrangements- all foam free. Oh, and you’ll also get updates on new DIY projects! Pretty sweet.

 

Hair and Makeup by Off White Makeup and Beauty

Dress by Laineemeg Bridal

Styling, flowers, stuff, and photography by Lola Creative

 

Make a Votive Candle Luminary Out of Skeleton Leaves – Video

When Spring isn’t quite shining her light…. make your own with this diy votive candle luminary.

This Skeleton Leaf Votive will bring a fun and effortless touch to your parties– or your fairy shrine, it depends on what you’re doing I suppose! This lovely little votive is our last feature from our spring Moth Fairy photoshoot and in case you’ve missed it, we’ve had three other DIY projects from this shoot; a floral centerpiece, a floral frame, and a branch chandelier!

After waiting far too long for Spring to show up, our fairy’s guest finally arrives and better yet– with some sunshine and blooming flowers.

This project requires:

-leaf skeletons
-mod podge
-tall vase
-small balloons
-foam brush
-spray oil
-saran wrap
-spray dye or spray paint

Now its your turn to make some votives! Jump over to our Youtube Channel  for the full tutorial! Don’t forget to show us your creations!

Make a Branch Chandelier with Moss Kokedama / Embrace the Hoarder Within – Video

branch chandelier with moss kokedama detail- main image

I must admit, not becoming a hoarder is something I struggle with. One could say that one perk of being an event designer is that you can keep all the pretty things on a shelf, and call it ‘rental inventory’ rather than a crazed obsession. Luckily, this photoshoot embraced my hoarding tendencies. We went deeeep in the bins to pull items for this unusual branch chandelier with moss kokedama.

This chandelier is featured in our Moth Fairy Waits for Spring Photoshoot; a charming photo story about a subterranean moth fairy who is bored out of her mind for spring to get here already. And she’s a hoarder collector, too. Stay tuned for the feature of the entire shoot:)

You don’t have to load your floral chandelier up with trinkets (but I dare you) as the grapewood branch frame is a versatile structure for whatever goodies you decide to use. Plus the kokedama are super fast to make and impactful… and just fun to say. The moss wraps the plant rootball so moisture is retained- so with a little attention, your branch chandelier with moss kokedama with endure.

Do you have an extra string of pearls or charming trinkets laying around? Great. Got a bird? Put a bird on it.

Maximalism is a thing.

Our friends in hoarding collecting at Vintage Ambience supplied us the quirky bells and whistles for the finishing touch!

branch chandelier with moss kokedama detail- crocus

This little cutie crocus right here is a kokedama. No worries, we show you how to make these in our video (link below). Kokedama are one of our go-to methods for adding plants to arrangements or elements. And the moss ball (pssssht), the moss ball is the ticket to foam-free flower arranging. Well… one of the tickets at least. a good ticket. Like…a window seat.

Anywho, if you’ve been following our DIY trail (i.e., our DIY Foliage Cage Centerpiece and our DIY Floral Frame), then you might have noticed that our Hoarder Fairy has exceptional taste in decor– however, we may be biased.

branch chandelier with moss kokedama feature

 

branch chandelier with moss kokedama detail

Maidenhair fern, daffodil, and jasmine. 
branch chandelier with moss kokedama detail

Raise your hand if you collect fungus!!! No? Really? Just me? Well… lemme tell you. You’re missing out.

So, what to do now?  Swing on over to our Youtube Channel to watch our five minute tutorial! Then make your branch chandelier (it’s easier than you think), some kokedama, and go nuts. Show me how it turns out!

Branch Chandelier You Tube Link Image

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom! That means you are my favorite.

Perhaps you’d like to be a part of our inner circle. Yes? Yay! Type in your email! You’ll also get access to our hour long floral centerpiece video. You can watch it while tending to your fungus collection… or  as you convert all your houseplants into kokedama.