The past couple of weeks have been very full.
I’ll start with some
happy news: I received my first customer from my Google listing! Woohoo! That
was exciting, and I was more than happy to make an arrangement for them. I had
to go buy more flowers to have enough, but it was great!
This ranunculus was
so very gorgeous! Man alive, I need to plant some this year!
Then, thanks to my
husband coming home early one from work one night, I was able to drive down to
Pleasant Grove, Utah, to Snuck Farm and attend the Utah Cut Flower Farmer
Association meeting. That was such a great night! It was so energizing to be
around like-minded people, to see friends I met at the first meeting last
summer and make some new ones.
Plus, the topic was
just what I’ve been looking for: NUMBERS. In other words, knowing my numbers as
a business. What is my profit? What are my margins? What is my breakeven point?
All of these things that I currently don’t know. We were given a basic overview
of a specialized spreadsheet to figure this all out—the “breakeven” sheet—and
even given a free copy of it via email to use.
Since the beginning
of my business, cash flow has been an interesting struggle. As the old saying
goes, “It takes money to make money.” Well, that’s certainly true when you have
to purchase products in order to fulfill orders that come in. So, essentially,
you have to already have a portion of the money in your bank account, in order
to pay for the stuff so that you can make the money. I keep falling short
beforehand. So I plan to get to work right away on this spreadsheet and see how
I can help myself do better in those areas.
Now let’s talk about
dance flowers. I finally called the high school and just asked when their
dances were going to be, since that information is nowhere to be found online.
I learned that there was a Sweetheart’s Dance on Feb. 1. Yes, last weekend. I
purchased some floral supplies that I’ve needed for quite some time, and I
watched several online tutorials, and then I put myself out there and
advertised on a local Facebook page. I had made boutonnieres before, and silk
corsages, but not fresh flower corsages yet.
I received 2
responses from that, plus a repeat customer from before. When I first saw that
DM pop up on my screen, my heart was pounding so hard. Why was this so scary?!
I don’t know, but it really was! I ended up with 3 couples that bought both a
corsage and a boutonniere from me. I gave them a discount if both were
purchased through me. So 3 corsages, 3 bouts. Ready, steady go!
I knew that the day
of, Saturday, was going to be quite a busy day because 2 of my kids had
basketball games in the morning. So I knew I wouldn’t be home to even get
started until 11am or so. I prepped the flowers the night before, using Sue
McCleary’s hydration chamber technique.
Saturday came, we got
home from basketball, and I started making flowers. I used Oasis Floral
Adhesive, which is obnoxious. It was my first time using it, and there was a
bit of a learning curve. It’s a lot like rubber cement—in fumes output as well
as habit. The bouts were wired and taped the traditional way.
I had staggered
pickup times, to give myself some leeway for getting each thing done. The
problem was that one customer had ordered both items and so needed them both
done at the same time. (Everything else had separate pickups.) I had done all
the corsages first and was just starting in on the boutonnieres when she came
to the door. That was when I realized my mistake.
I had to tell her
that the boutonniere wasn’t done yet. It was awkward. She was super nice about
it and said it was no big deal, and she would come back in a couple of hours. I
even offered to drive it over to her as soon as I finished it, which she
refused. Then I found out that she just lived up the street from me, so I felt
a tiny bit better. Still, though—fail! If you tell someone it will be done at a
certain time, it needs to be done by that time! Also, realization #2: I didn’t
have a phone number for her to let her know in advance that it was going to
take longer than anticipated. She and I had only interacted via IM online.
That was stressful.
The middle pickups all went off fine. Then my last one came and I actually
wasn’t quite done with that one either! Luckily, she’s a personal friend and
was also very kind about it. It still added some stress, though to have to tell
another person to come back later! I was going from one to the next nonstop,
but it was taking longer than I had planned on. I was also a bit worried that
with the glue, some of the flowers might fall off. They all seemed stable by
the time I was finished with them, but that would have been bad to have this
corsage that you just paid for start to lose flowers. Last week, I finally got
up my courage and asked a few customers directly if their corsage had lost any
flowers. The 2/3 I talked to, said they hadn’t. So that was a relief.
One reason I didn’t
post last week was because I was still kind of coming down from the stress a
little bit. It was still too recent. Actually making the corsages was
fine—except for the annoying glue—but yeah, the timing. That was the kicker.
What worked well:
- I was able to make each set unique from the others,
even using some of the same flowers.
- I think I did well with color matching for the colors
I was given.
- I finally just purchased some plastic clamshell-style
boutonniere and corsage boxes from the wholesaler. I still want to find
some that are not single-use plastic, but I needed something other than
Ziploc baggies I had been using (those don’t give off quite the
professional vibe I’m hoping for.) They were surprisingly affordable and
were definitely a step up.
- My awesome husband kept the kids out of the kitchen
so I could work, then while I was still going and going, made lunch around
me and got them all fed, and toddler down for a nap. Bless him!
- I thought the finished creations were pretty. Hope
the recipients liked them!
Here’s what I will do
differently next time:
- Get phone numbers for ALL my customers, not
forgetting those who contact me via IM.
- Use the full conditioning/hydration method so that
I can make flowers the day before!! This one needs a couple of
- Only promise pickup at a specific time if the flowers
are already made, done, and waiting.
- If I am running behind, use those phone numbers
collected in #1 and let people know in advance so they don’t show up and
not be able to pick up their stuff.
- Learn more boutonniere finishing off tips and tricks.
I get so focused on the flowers that I forget the boutonniere is supposed
to have something tied around it to finish it off. I seem to use up all my
creativity putting it together then I’m like “Well, now what?” That, or
learn how to do the natural stems look. I didn’t put ribbons in the
corsage, either. I don’t love that look, and even though it’s expected, I
shy away from it.
- Find some magnetic boutonnieres. The one gal said
when she picked hers up—so how do these ones work, then? (I had forgotten
to put a pin in with it! I quickly grabbed one.) She had only ever used
the magnetic style.
- Practice, practice, practice. I know the more I do
these, the quicker I’ll get, and the less stressful the whole process will
be. I just hope my current and potential customers will bear with me on
those bumps in the road (like their stuff not being ready—ack!).
experiences that filled me up, and a bit of struggle, which led to some good
learning experiences. Definitely a net gain overall.
Then just a few days
later, I made 9 mini corsages for the Daddy-Daughter dance at the school. Two
of those were for my own cute girls. In fact, my 10 year old made hers with
just a little assistance from me.
I think she did a
great job! For those I was on the ball with my timing for the prep work
(hydrating/ conditioning) and was able to make them the day before. Much, much
better. Still not loving the floral glue, but I was able to get online (good
old YouTube) and find some good tips that should help me have a better
experience with it next time. I hope.
This coming week I will be doing Valentine’s flowers! So excited for those!