Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Garden Notes: Becoming a Farmer/Florist

This wild and wonderful arrangement ( featuring some hand picked flowers from Dandelion House)  was created by my florist friend, Shawna from Beach Plum Floral Design.
"By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer."

-   Helen Hunt Jackson, September, 1830-1885 

September is my absolutely favorite month of the year. The weather is nearly perfect, and the dahlias are putting out loads of blooms just in time for a few more appearances at the Farmers Market and  two more local weddings. I've been so focused on the task of learning to grow beautiful and healthy cut flowers ( annuals ) for the last 4 years it came as a pleasant surprise when I was asked to do wedding flowers this year as well. I am a designer at heart so I jumped the chance to get my hands dirty as a floral designer. And honestly, nothing makes me happier than working with people in a way that elevates their happiness. As a hairstylist/salon owner ( in my other life ) I enjoyed providing the service of creating the perfect style to compliment a persons hair texture, facial features and lifestyle. Designing wedding flowers is very similar I find! 
A happy outcome depends on a thorough consultation with the bride ( or couple ) if both are involved in the planning.

A mid-sized hand-tied bouquet featuring dahlias, zinnias, celosia, queen Anne's lace, sedum and hydrangea greens.

 Here are some quick tips for conducting a successful consultation: 

If you are a Farmer/Florist chances your married couple to be will want to visit your farm to see your flowers, first hand. I like to have a sample arrangement ( or two or three) available to serve as a starting point for design ideas. 

Mason Jar Centerpieces for my first clients, Mr.and Mrs Platz.
 Things to ask your clients about their wedding day on the first visit to your farm or appointment.
  •  Break the ice by asking how they met, how long they've been engaged, etc. It's always fun to get some background about the happy couple.
  • Ask about the venue and size of the wedding party
  • Find out if there is a theme for the wedding and what the bridal party colors are.
  • Find out how many table centerpieces for guests, food, dessert, or gifts will be needed.
  •  What types of flowers and colors does your bride envision? * chances are if she's sourcing local flowers she'll be happy with a mix of brightly colored flowers in a natural looking arrangement which is a perfect match for designing with seasonal flowers.
  • How many bouquets, boutineers, flower crowns, etc will she need?
  • Discuss delivery of the flowers ( time, place, etc )
  • Discuss your invoicing process and deposit requirements.( PayPal works great) So does Square if you have a phone or tablet to take payment with.
  • Tell your bride and groom you'll come up with a price based on your meeting and be sure to have them look it over prior to sending the final invoice just in case there are changes.
  • DIY Brides: Provide a list of helpful tips for brides who will be making their own arrangements and bouquets. 
Here's: What I've learned so far about adding "Florist" to my "Farmer" title this year:

BRANDING is IMPORTANT:  Take your time and create a logo that melts your heart. If you can't make one that you absolutely love then find someone with graphic arts skills to help you. Use it across the board in all of your marketing materials. Banners, business cards, tags, stickers, car magnets, stationary, etc. 

Round label for creating stickers and tags

Business Cards with website address and phone number
Vintage Sink Display for Farmers Market or Bridal Fairs
What will I do when the season ends? Well, I'll write about flower farming, of-course!

Is there something you've been yearning to try? Go out there and work hard through the fears and doubts and ignore the naysayers. It's YOUR BIG BEAUTIFUL LIFE. Make it AMAZING then share it with EVERYONE!

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