Valentine’s week was amazing and busy! I ended up making 45 arrangements!! It was such a great learning experience for me, particularly in regards to systems and the business end of things.
Yes, you get to see
my messy garage right here too. #keepingitreal or #toolazytocleanforapicture
The week before
Valentine’s I counted vases (and bought some more), and made sure I had the
hard goods that I would need.
I also put in my
biggest ever flower order that week, by phone. That was a mental math problem
that I grappled with for a couple of days, actually! There were so many
variables to add in, namely: total number of arrangements ordered, size of
arrangements ordered, types of flowers needed, numbers of stems of each flower
type to put into each arrangement, number of stems per bunch from the
wholesaler, and of course, cost per bunch. Then after all that, I got to move
on to total cost vs. total budget and make them align. Fun times!
Added on to that was
the fact that I am a very visual person, particularly when it comes to putting
flowers together. I really prefer to go in person and wander the cooler,
choosing what looks freshest and what colors will complement each other well.
It was hard for me to get on the phone and work from a list. It was a long phone
call, even with all my number crunching beforehand, as I tried mightily to
picture colors and textures, and how they would work together. For this order,
though, that was not an option. I needed to reserve the flowers in advance or I
ran the very real risk of what I wanted selling out.
So after I got the
flowers ordered, I went and picked them up the following Tuesday. Tuesday
afternoon my oldest son helped me prep flowers for a couple solid hours in the
afternoon. This entailed removing the plastic sleeves and rubber bands,
stripping any lower foliage, re-cutting stems, and organizing them into buckets
by color. In the past I haven’t organized them in that way, but with so many
arrangements to do I felt like it would save time to have all of the same color
in the same buckets.
I went back and forth
in my mind between thinking “I spent way too much money on flowers!” to “I’m
not going to have enough—I’m going to have go back and buy more!” Yeah, two
Wednesday was go
time! The majority of my arrangements were orders from my BNI group (YEAH!) so
those needed to be ready Feb. 13, Thursday morning, because I was taking them
to the weekly meeting. So we homeschooled until 2pm, then I put my 2 year old
down for a nap and started on the flowers! My oldest 2 helped me with several
of the bud vases, which accounted for more than half of the total orders.
It was a little
overwhelming at the beginning, even figuring out where to start. So I started
on the arrangements that were going to be the most unique in terms of colors
and flowers, then moved on from there. I started filling up our kitchen counter
and table with the finished arrangements, which we then had to move aside to
eat dinner. (Oops! Hey, at least I had put dinner in the crockpot early on, so
I didn’t have to stop for that once I got going.)
From there I just
kept going and going until they were done, packed into boxes for transport, and
ready for the next day. It was very late/early when I got to bed that night.
At first I thought
buying the purple statice was a mistake, but I actually loved how it played off
the purple eye of the anemone!
Between Wednesday and
Thursday I received 3 more orders by phone—from my Google listing! Yay! All 3
were for large arrangements. At that point I was thankful that I had built in a
bit of a cushion in my flower order. I knew it would be close and I could
always just go see what was left at the wholesaler, but I was pretty sure I
could make it happen.
I was able to get
those 3 orders done Thursday afternoon, which left Friday morning for delivery
of the remaining arrangements.
A couple of things I
learned from this:
1— I need to get back
to work on building out systems for my business, including writing out
specific, stem-count recipes for my different arrangements. I am reluctant to
do it, in a way, because I don’t want to be tied down to a specific recipe—I
like to make each one unique as much as possible. However, as my business
grows, I am going to need that structure more and more. It can always be a
jumping off point, but for figuring out how many flowers I need to either cut
or order, I need hard numbers!
1A—If I ever get
employees, this will be even more important! It was great to have in mind
exactly what I wanted in the bud vases, so I could tell that to my kiddos.
2—Anything I can do
in advance, should be done in advance! The right number and size of vases, all
washed and ready to go; even labels pre-made and ready to put on boxes.
Anything would be helpful!
3—I love the
“everyday flowers!” It was so fun for me to deliver flowers to people and share
in that moment of connection—even when it was just at the door for a moment.
3A—I need to rethink my delivery charges, in terms of TIME! I don’t think I’m charging enough for how long it took me, including packing the flowers for transport and actually finding the addresses.