I was live with Yvonne on Mornings with Mayesh in April and a question was asked: “What do I need to start a home based floral business?”
It’s a great question and in truth, I didn’t have much when I started my business in 2002. Read more below and watch a replay of Morning with Mayesh here:
(I’m featured in Part 2 of the livestream which starts about 43:00 mins. in.)
The truth is, when I started my business, Floral Artistry, I was only about a year out of college and didn’t have a lot of money to spend or invest in a business.
All I invested in was a bag for my tools, known as my “bag of tricks”, which I still use to this day–but I really thought it was expensive at $50 at the time!
I didn’t have a workspace. I worked out of my 2nd story apartment with my little Subaru hatchback as a delivery vehicle. Finally, I asked my wholesaler if I could design on one of their workbenches once a week and that made my life a bit easier!
Once I moved out of my apartment and into our house, I worked from our kitchen for a few years until I saved up enough to convert half of our detached garage into a studio space. (Hallelujah!)
Everyone’s gotta start somewhere; start before you’re ready!
One could easily argue this list should be longer, but here are 10 essentials to start a home-studio floral business:
Clippers. Sharp and of good quality.
A table. You have to have something to design on. A workbench is even better, but a table will do.
Wire cutters. Clippers are for fresh stems. Wire cutters are for wire, zip ties, etc….don’t use your clippers to cut wire.
Scissors. Ribbon is best cut with sharp scissors so ideally you’ll have 2 pairs of scissors; one for ribbon, one for everything else.
A knife. Swiss army works for me. I do most of my cutting with a clipper, but it’s important to have a knife as well. You can use a knife to clean thorns and leaves off of rose stems even if you prefer to cut with a clipper.
A few buckets. Fresh flowers need a water source so buckets are essential to proper processing.
Water to fill buckets & vases. Whether you use a garden hose or a kitchen faucet or a big, beautiful sink in your shop, you’ll need a water source to get the job done.
A wholesale source for flowers. Once you register your business in your state, provence, county, etc. you’ll be eligible to shop with professional wholesalers. Seek a reliable source that provides good quality.
A toolbox or “bag of tricks” to bring your floral act on the road. When you have to design on-site or fix something that may have been damaged in delivery or transport, you must be prepared, so plan ahead and have a mobil toolkit.
Some sort of delivery vehicle. A van, a sedan, a wagon, a box truck….I dunno….we’ve all got to start somewhere so use what you’ve got. Ideally a wagon or SUV if you’re not at the “mandatory minivan” stage in your business.
Of course, in addition to the 10 items listed above there are 4 MORE “things” you must have:
#1. Floral design skills and flower care knowledge.
#2. A solid understanding of the formulas for markups and design fees so that you can pay yourself as much as possible while still providing value to your customers.
#3. Clear steps to help close sales without feeling salesy.
#4. A Marketing Strategy to attract great clients beyond just posing on social media.
These are what I call the Floralpreneur® Fundamentals!
Each one builds upon the other and when you get good at one, it makes doing some of the other parts of your business easier!…And when you have confidence in all 4 Floralpreneur® Fundamentals, your business can really start to create that freedom and income you need to sustain your creativity and pay yourself consistently.
Even if you’re starting your business from scratch, ideally, you should get some training in a hands-on environment.
I learned in flower shops and continue my education in workshops.
Some designers consider themselves “self-taught”, but there are clear dos and don’ts when it comes to all 4 of the above “must-knows”:
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; seek a mentor or formal training!
You don’t have to “know everything” or have a “perfect plan” to start your business and in fact, you may even keep your day job until your business is off the ground.
(There’s no shame in having a side-hustle to help get your business started!)
Every year is a learning year.
You’ll find online tutorials, of course, to show you how to accomplish different designs and hone your skills, and my online course, Flower Math, can teach you exactly how to price and turn a profit in your floral design business; because this is not a hobby!
Once you start your business, it’s officially time to turn a profit. From day one.
No need to “wait to turn a profit” because that’s not a mindset that leads to longevity in a business!
Set your pricing structure properly from day 1. Continue to learn and train to gain new design techniques.
And give yourself a pay increase as your skills evolve and your brand becomes sought out!
If you ever have any questions for me, feel free to reach out to schedule a 1:1 coaching call or just shoot me an email to get in touch!
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today!
Keep doing beautiful work!
xo. -Alison Ellis
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