Hello, my name’s Gemma, and like many out there, my business was born as a result of discontentment in my current job, and a strong desire to chase what I actually want to be doing. And for me, that’s running my own wedding flower business.
I’d spent my whole 20’s as part of the corporate machine, predominately in Sales and Marketing. I'd wake up at 3am in a cold sweat, worried that I hadn’t sent that email (I always had). The nostalgia of instant dread at the thought of spending yet another day at my office job feels just like yesterday - feeling trapped - and there was no other way to live but like this.
I found floristry through a casual evening class back in 2007. I decided that one day, I’ll make money from this hobby. I convinced local flower shops to let me make tea and sweep the floor whilst doing my 9-5 on Mondays to Fridays.
Eventually, I got a job at a flower shop that actually wanted to pay me, and I built my experience and confidence over several years working with customers and flowers. I went back to college and gained my qualifications with 18 year olds that seriously didn’t want to be there.
When the pandemic hit, I was furloughed, and the unhappiness that I’d been feeling became apparent in my then role. The voice inside my head telling me “now’s the time” got louder. In January 2021, Bloominati Florals was born.
Perception vs Reality
There’s a well known trope in my industry in the eyes of the engaged - and that’s ‘say wedding and the price goes up’. You’ve probably heard it too, right?
It grinds my gears every time I hear it or see it being thrown around casually on wedding planning Facebook Groups (I want to leave these groups SO badly, but I can’t seem to look away - it’s such valuable market research).
The truth is, there are many perceptions of being a florist in the eyes of the general public.
Here are a few that I’ve heard recently:
“It must be so nice to play with flowers all day.”
“You must be so relaxed all the time.”
“It looks so easy, like anyone could do it.”
“Flowers are so overpriced for what they are.”
I want to scream/cry every time. They don’t know about the 18 hour days in the week of a wedding. Or see me stamping down in the bin trying to desperately get the lid to close. Or lifting and putting down 8-litre buckets up to 20 times a day. Or the effects on the industry as a result of COVID and Brexit. Or the full-body aches that last up to a week post-event. I could go on.
A new approach
Instead of covering my ears, ignoring these comments, and putting it down to ‘they’re just not my ideal customer', I’ve decided to take a different route.
One that makes me feel uncomfortable. One that makes me not want to look at my Instagram once I’ve done a particular post as I’m worried about the comments. One that challenges the norms of the industry.
And that’s educating my potential clients on what exactly goes into pricing, why my pricing is what it is, and most of all (gulp) being completely unapologetic for it in an industry that’s stereotyped for being overpriced.
Like many out there, I’m sure, I suffer from terrible imposter syndrome. I coexist in a sea of enviable Instagram images of florists posting about their perfect flower studios and immaculate flower arrangements, and wonder if I’m good enough to be in the same space as them.
Talking about money, and adopting a thought-leader mentality, has been one of the hardest obstacles I’ve had to face. I see these beautiful images on Instagram, which are absolutely stunning, but no real talk about money, wedding flower budgets, how the process works, or why flowers cost what they do.
Of course, couples are going to think wedding flowers are expensive because they’re not being educated on the work that goes into them. I don’t blame them at all.
Tackling these subjects has earned me respect from other wedding florists, who have applauded bringing these subjects to light.
Here are a few subjects I’ve talked about recently:
- What Affects The Cost Of Wedding Flowers?
- Fact Or Fiction: Say ‘Wedding’ And The Price Goes Up
- Wedding Flower Minimum Spend Explained
I completely understand those who may think of this as somehow having to justify yourself and your pricing to potential customers. Why should you have to? You’ve no doubt undergone years of training and financial hardship, the proof is in the pudding, right? Just take a look at the portfolio and see what I’m about!
I felt like this for a while too, I didn’t want to put the time in explaining myself to price-shoppers and worried no one would actually be interested.
Then I started talking about why I have a minimum spend in place, why flowers cost what they do, and debunking common misconceptions surrounding wedding flowers.
I have only received positive feedback from my couples as a result of being so open and honest. I book on average three out of four couples that enquire via my website, and I turn down business that does not meet my minimum spend, couples that send me another florist's design proposal and ask me to match it, or those that try to haggle me down. My 2022 diary is 50% full and I’m six months into my business.
As a result, my sense of worth is higher, I’m attracting the types of couples that are my ideal customers, and I’m challenging myself and my imposter syndrome. If you’re completely transparent from the very beginning, it removes any potential issues later down the line.
As for that fourth person, there will always be people that are only interested in obtaining the best price, and that’s okay. I’m sure they’ll find their perfect price somewhere.
I do not want to be a wedding florist that accepts any booking just because I’m worried when the next one will come along.
What you can do today
Talk about difficult subjects.
Embrace the uncomfortable feelings.
Be the person that is committed to being generous with their knowledge.
You’ll soon reap the rewards and you’ll see your profits rise as a direct result.
Photo credit: Lauren Knuckey Photography