So there you have it. Becoming a wedding vendor from scratch is a scary thing. Start by interviewing someone already doing it and see if it's something for you!
It went from that, to this:
It seems to be a trend in my life; taking on large commitments at a young age. Not only was I engaged at 19 and married at 20, but just one year later I was starting my floral design business; and it wasn't necessarily a fluid beginning. Maybe fluid like a river if I was tossed into it, unexpectedly, from the shore. Now, I wasn't totally ill prepared. I did take a floral design course and have the florist from my own wedding help me on my first wedding; but the rest was learning as I went along, which can be totally awful sometimes. I had to learn the entire floral industry pretty much alone. I remember being treated very sweet by the floral wholesalers when I first started coming in to the market. There I was, a 21 year old newbie trying to fumble my way through a Costco-sized warehouse, through rows and corridors, wondering where the cut flowers even were, not knowing where to pay or whom to ask questions. Thankfully a few wholesalers took me under their wing, even when I messed up on large orders in the beginning. Their patience and eagerness to help is the only reason I stuck with the business.
A few of the thing I wish I would have had from the beginning that I encourage anyone interested in vendor work to do are:
-Someone who is an expert in the field to shadow or apprentice.
-Ideally, this person would be your style idol, if not, find one to be inspired by.
-Record keeping, my small business taxes would have been way less stressful if I had started with good record keeping.
-Setting time barriers with work, especially if you work out of your house like me. It's hard to get away from "work" when it's always right there. I put restrictions on when I would check my email and work on planning/budgets. This has given me some sanity.
-Failing eloquently. You're going to fail, mess up and totally tank it sometimes. Keep communication open with clients, but don't overwhelm them. Don't wait until the last second to tell them something isn't going to work out for their wedding or event. Apologize and offer refunds if something unexpected happens. I also preface a lot my meetings with the possibilities of their flowers not being available due to season or weather and ask what their back up choices would be if they are specific in what they desire.
-Being brave and exploring avenues. It's only been in the last 2 years that I started breaking out of the flower market and into foraging and asking other farms to cut stuff. My designs have changed drastically because of this.
-I'm sure there is a ton more, but for now this is where I will stop.
Some photo's representing my journey. This is where I began:
And while not bad, it's no longer my personal style, I've found my style over time.
Bailey Patrice & Jonathan David