Having worked and managed a floral boutique and now running my own freelance design business, today I share my unique perspective regarding this subject.
Being a perfectionist, I confess that I am constantly fixating over projects with the ultimate goal of surpassing a client’s expectations. This can certainly be a challenge in a traditional flower shop environment. So many things come up over the course of a day: processing incoming flowers and scrutinizing for accuracy and quality, producing the day’s orders for delivery and pickup, meeting with clients, handling staffing issues, developing marketing ideas, and the list goes on and on. During my time in a flower boutique, it was common on a Friday afternoon to be working on several funerals, several weddings and daily orders, all for Saturday delivery. Of course, there were a few hands on deck for support, but that’s a lot of chaos. This is the beauty and the challenge of a traditional shop.
As a client, you should never know about all that we juggle. But you cannot appreciate the job your designer does, without understanding all that goes on behind the scenes.
Having participated in that side of the business, I decided to focus on what I enjoy most: working with individual clients on their special events. The level of service I can provide doesn’t compare to what I was able to provide in my former life. I strive to reply to inquiries and provide estimates promptly. I know you don’t want to wait, so I research and brainstorm and get back with you—in this lifetime. By allowing myself dedicated time to focus solely on your project, the design is ultimately better and more creative than simply “taking your order” and providing an estimate. The overall attention to detail is by far greater. If you know exactly what you want, great; I am happy to help. I might ask some questions and make some additional suggestions; given that you are hiring a professional to do the job, I owe that to you.Secondly—I am honest with you. I’m not saying that others fib, I’m simply saying that in their efforts to please you and earn your business, sometimes designers agree to things that aren’t the most realistic. I prefer to be as open and honest as possible; yes it’s a risk and I may not earn your business, but my goal is to EARN your business, and to do that, I must be honest.
Finally, as much as I enjoyed the “flower shop” environment, one major challenge I experienced working in a shop that produced a lot of wire service (or internet orders) was being put in a box to reproduce things that people select online. For a creative designer, this can be extremely restrictive, given that so much of what is seen online is generic round arrangements. Doing this type of work day after day can condition a person to default to this style and unfortunately, you, the client, lose. We can do so much better for you if given the chance.
I want to reiterate that this is my experience; not all traditional flower shops and designers are like this and what I described is not a bad thing. I am so very grateful for the opportunities given to me in the flower shop environment. I learned so much and met so many wonderful people. I started Joie de Vivre so that I could focus specifically on events and provide my clients the level of service and creativity I know that I am capable of providing.