This week on Flirty Fleurs we bring to you the stories from 5 different floral designers who changed the way they are doing business to better fit their lifestyles.
Today I will tell my story, how I’ve changed Bella Fiori in the past year.
Tuesday you will hear from Chuck & his decision to close his business & begin working for another company.
Wednesday Robyn will tell us how she decided to leave the comforts of a full-time position with a paycheck and make the leap into starting her own business.
Thursday Dore will tell us about making the decision to right-size her business, it’s not downsizing!
Friday Andrea will tell us about her decision to leave the floral business completely.
I applaud everyone for sharing their stories. It isn’t easy to make big changes & not any easier to share the story.
(warning, my story is a long one!)
Changes to Bella Fiori…, first we have to back up to October 2010 to understand why it was time to change what I was doing and where I was going. October 2010 I was exhausted, absolutely to the core exhausted physically and emotionally. Oct. 15, 2010 Chad and I boarded a flight to California to spend a few days decompressing w/ family and friends and then we caught a flight to Peru. I needed to be somewhere far away, somewhere completely disconnected from my everyday life and business. I needed to reconnect with the earth and remember what is important. Last year at this time I was riding a horse across The Sacred Valley. No phones, no computer, no technology! Just quiet, just pure quietness and the chance to breath. We were in Peru for two weeks & it’s what I needed to remember what’s important & necessary. I knew I had to make changes or it was time to walk away from the business.
In 2010 I designed flowers for 93 weddings, plus, weekly accounts, everyday orders, corporate events and launched a rental business, ie, we rent chairs, tables, tents, etc. We were working around the clock. (I somehow squeezed in a big portion of time to work on my book: Bella Bouquets, too!). I’m sure there are some people out there thinking, 93 weddings – big deal, we do 150. Then there will be people thinking 93 weddings, that’s nuts and when do you have time for a life. Well, I didn’t have time for a life outside of work; no time for wine with girlfriends, no attending festivities in the park, no trips home to California in middle of the summer. Just work. Just work.
I knew I had to make a change, I didn’t want to do 93 weddings in 2011. I wanted time to meet friends for dinner, visit my family in July, catch a movie. The question is, how do I make this change??
First, I had to believe, I had to believe I’d be ok with doing less weddings. In 2010 two big things did happen that gave me the strength to make these changes. First, I attended a conference in San Francisco called Weddings 360. Being surrounded and inspired by leaders in the event industry did help me start my path to doing a 360 in my business. Second, Holly Chapple happened. I met Holly on twitter and we connected in person at Weddings 360 and again in NYC last March. Holly spent many hours on the phone with me, building my confidence and helping me believe I can change what I’m doing.
I made a vision board, inspired by my friend Nil who has coached me through vision boards, was true to myself about what types of weddings I want to work on for 2011. It wasn’t easy making changes, I have bills to pay! I got nervous at times, will I have enough income to pay the mortgage? I stuck to it though, focused on what I really wanted.
What did I want?
I wanted less weddings (maybe 50?), time to work on Flirty Fleurs, time to promote my book, dinner & wine with friends, walks with Chad and the dogs, a trip home to California in July.
Here we are, October 2011. Guess what.. I did it. Currently around 53 weddings for 2011, who knows another one or two might pop up before the season ends.
I focused on the weddings I wanted to work on. Honestly, I don’t like mason jars or country styled weddings. There, I said it, I don’t like mason jars. I like classic, lush, beautiful and full arrangements, I like candelabras.
I wanted to work on weddings where I could do more of the overall design. I wanted to work at certain venues and with certain planners with a certain budget. Everything I wanted I noted on my vision board. I started every day with reading the notes on my vision board.
I LOVE the weddings I’ve worked on this year. LOVED THEM. Loved my brides and their moms. Oh my gosh, I’ve worked with the best moms this year. Seriously. I’m slowly blogging about the weddings on my site Bella Fiori. I’ve had the best reactions from brides, moms of brides & the most lovely thank you notes. I continue to get thank you notes even 2-3 months after a wedding, 2-3 thank you notes per wedding.
I flew home to California in July. Spent time with my family, swam in our pool, picked peaches of the trees in the backyard and baked pies. Taught my beloved niece how to design flowers:
Sometimes it’s the simple things that make us feel the happiest. 🙂
I’ve had time to work on this blog, meeting designers from around the world. I love this blog, I love discovering new designers, flowers, products, etc. Looking forward to meeting up with the Chapel Designers group in NYC next March, love being surrounded by my designer friends!
I had parties in Colorado & California for Bella Bouquets:
Because I focused on the clients, styles and budgets that I truly desired I actually grossed the same amount of money off 53 weddings that I did off the 93 weddings I did last year. Amazing. Sometimes we truly just have to believe in ourselves.
Was it 100% perfect? Of course not, no such thing as perfect. There were missing flowers due to supply and demand, there were 22 1/2 hour long days, (nothing quite like pulling down lanterns at 1am in a windy tent and watching out for a bear), employees calling in sick, flat tires, a very hot August, etc. It’s life, it happens.
I flew home to California on October 15 of this year, a completely different person than one year ago. I felt excited for my book parties, excited to visit flower farms, spend time with family and friends. Perfectly fine to fly back to Denver 5 days later. I’m sitting here content, working on this blog, working on holiday parties, goals for 2012, blogging on Bella Fiori about the great weddings I had the pleasure of working on this past summer, about to bake zucchini bread.
It’s all good.