By Jessica Davis, owner of SOULflowers and co-creator of The Ember Circle
Transcribed and edited by Amber Smith
“Charge what you’re worth and don’t apologize for it.”
This simple statement it easier said than done for a lot of people. It resonated deeply with me because money makes me uncomfortable. This is not an easy subject for most small business owners, especially those in creative businesses. When your art form is your livelihood there is vulnerability that other occupations do not require.
When asked to contribute to this series, it did not take me long to decide what I would write about. I want to remind people why they hire event professionals. Understanding the many aspects of planning a wedding or event is crucial for consumers. I don’t think we should ever stop educating our consumers.
I would like to begin from the client’s point of view. When looking to book a florist for a wedding or event, obvious concerns come to mind: “How could I get this in the most budget friendly way?” I want to encourage the consumer to start thinking differently.
The old saying you get what you pay for is something you should keep in mind when hiring the best person for any job. A good service provider always takes into consideration that people have budgets.
A good service provider will help you figure out where your money will be well spent in order to achieve your expectations.
This leads nicely into the next question that plays on honesty, “How do I know that I can trust whom I am hiring?” In most things it is always important to trust your gut, but the way I run my business is by being as candid and straight forward as possible. I want to educate my client as well as I can so they have an understanding of what all is involved to create their event.
So, “Could I do it myself?” In the age of Pinterest and DIY, people are falsely lead to believe these things are easily achievable. What sounds like a night of getting the girls together to craft, ends up being more expensive and time consuming than fun. There is absolutely something to be said for hiring professionals.
photo by Cortney Smith
I want to now talk about all the work we do that goes unseen. Let’s start at the beginning.
We have our first meeting. The majority of initial meetings are complementary, but the work has already begun. Initial meetings generally take thirty minutes or more. During this time we are getting to know each other and discussing event details. From there, the next step is sending a proposal. So begins the office portion of the job. Alone this task takes ‘x’ amount of hours. Gathering prices, figuring out labor, assembling inspirational materials to send along an overall package to the potential client is all part of this work. Assuming we are hired, this probably means the event is at least six months away.
From the signing of the contract to the day of the event, here are some of the other unseen efforts:
- Countless emails, phone calls, and text messages go between the florist and client, but also the various suppliers, wholesalers, wedding planners, venues, photographers, and cake artists.
- Additional in-person meetings will take place leading up to the big day.
- Then, there is the design aspect, which is taking the client’s wants and needs and personalizing it to create something we can all be proud of.
- Next are the other team members involved. Team members are used for the prep work, such as cleaning flowers, prepping containers, building props, making garlands, floral arrangements, bouquets, boutonnières, etc.
- Delivery and day of set up, depending on the size of the event, can occupy hours or days of labor.
- Break down not only consists of on-site deconstruction, but also post clean up, i.e. washing vases, ridding candle holders of their wax, restocking shelves, cleaning shop, and the returning of rentals, just to name a few tasks.
Photo by Nathan Westerfield
Moving on to the seen, overhead things that as the consumer are probably the most obvious parts of what make up the budget. Flowers, candles, various textiles, and vessels, all of which make up centerpieces, bouquets, and all other floral décor.
Things to consider:
- market prices
- time of year
- type of flowers
- proportion of greenery to flowers
One of the most important things to consider when constructing arrangements is that flower choice and quantity play a bigger role than overall size. For example, bouquet small in size, though comprised of only flowers, is often assumed to cost less than a bouquet that is larger in size but consists of some flowers and mostly greenery. In this case, the smaller bouquet with a higher stem count will be more costly. It is a misconception that bigger must mean more expensive.
photo by Ashley Posthuma
One last intangible but vitally important part of why it is worth it to hire someone like me (that I probably should have mentioned first) is the ground work laid to build the business and reputation it has taken to be successful. To build a reputation, patience and time are needed. Relationships must be forged with vendors and past clients and other industry folk. The tenacity and perseverance expended in the process of building up a business has many crossroads. Pursuing your passion can lead you to intersections where remembering to choose your love of the job can co-exist with realizing your worth.
photo by Alex Blackwelder
When I first got into the business, I remember knowing that my goal was to make this passion a career, a livelihood, a way to contribute to my household’s earnings. I channeled my energies and devoted time towards seeing my passion become what it is today. A career that is a mix of artistic expression and business determination only achieved through training and schooling and years of experience. As consumers we should never assume to know everything it takes for a field we are not a part of to operate. We have to trust who we hire because they are professionals in their field. Doing so allows us to communicate respectfully to feel good about the end goal.
photo by Alissa Saylor
I am Jessica Davis, the owner of SOULflowers and co-founder of The Ember Circle. I got my start in the floral business at age 16 in a beautiful shop in the North Shore suburbs of Chicago. I studied interior design then headed west to San Diego where landscape design became my focus. I now live in a small town just outside Nashville, where I started SOULflowers in 2009.
To see ALL posts in the With this Ring series...click HERE