3 years?!?! THREE YEARS?!?! I'm torn between, "Has it been 3 years already?" and "Has it only been 3 years?" It has been an absolute whirlwind of falling in love with the 26 couples I have worked with so far.
Many of you don't know how I got started in this business and I figured my anniversary would be a great time to share!
Many, moons ago, my mom worked in a local flower shop in high school. Several years later, when I was in pre-school, she owned a flower shop that I spent time in after school. This is why I always say that my love of flowers is in my genes. When I turned 16, I started working in the same local flower shop my mom worked at in high school. I worked there for about 4 1/2 years through high school and part of college. I left when I got promoted at Claire's.
Fast forward a few years, and friends started getting engaged. They all knew of my previous employment and asked me to brainstorm ideas with them before their appointments (this is when Pinterest was just starting out). After appointments, some of them showed me their floral estimates and asked what I thought of them, how they could save money, etc. In March of 2013 (the 14th to be exact) after I was giving corsage ideas to a friend, while at work, I decided I should be charging for my advice! I even made it FB official that I wanted to get back into florals in the near future.
I spent the next few weeks brainstorming ideas for business names with my best friend (now turned day-of assistant) Kelsey. I knew I didn't want to use my name, maybe because my name is already alliteration but honestly I have no real reason I didn't want to use Michelle as a part of my business name. I love the phrase "Live. Laugh. Love" (because what 20-something hasn't at some point) and I just kept coming back to Live. Love. Flowers. I knew one of the reasons I kept coming back to it was because I knew I wanted to feel like a friend to my couples. I often share photos of my own life on my FB page and I wanted them to feel connected to me as more than just a wedding vendor. I had an idea for a logo using a gerbera daisy and the colors black and hot pink.
I made a mockup of the logo that I wanted using a Google stock image and an app on my phone (high tech right?!?!). On April 6th, I had a "lady date" with Kelsey and she brought me hot pink gerbera daisies. One of those became part of my original official logo . Kelsey's boyfriend (now husband) Daniel created my original logo and business cards for me! You can check out my cell phone logo and Daniel's original design here!
On April 14th, I decided I had nothing to lose and decided to just go for it! I bought a bunch of flowers from grocery stores and made various mockups of arrangements all night. I also started my FB page that night. I thought I might do a friend's wedding here or there but had no idea it would take off like it did!
A few weeks later, I officially became a business when I filed for my TaxID number. Within 3 weeks of making my Fb page, I had my first inquiry! AND it was from a total stranger. We emailed back and forth for a week or so and I learned her wedding was in June, just a few weeks away and she was unhappy with her previously selected florist. I met with Tonii and her mom at Panera and we talked through some details and got to know each other. I am forever grateful she chose to take a chance on me!
That year, I took 2 more weddings, ironically the same weekend at the end of September. Both of them were friends with Kelsey and Daniel. The 1st wedding of the weekend never had an in person consultation. Since then, I have had 4 weddings book with me without an in-person consultation, so if you are long distance, I am totally comfortable doing things without physically meeting. The 2nd wedding of that weekend was the girl to whom I gave corsage advice to prior to opening. During the summer and the fall, bookings for 2014 started taking off. I was so shocked when a lot of them were strangers! I goaled myself to do 10 weddings in 2014. I fell a little short of that goal and did 9 weddings, but was still very proud of myself. 2014 was also the summer when I did the flowers for Kelsey and Daniel's wedding AND stood up as the Maid of Honor. I was seeing serious growth and many of my couples were taking advantage of my referral program. With this in mind, I set my goal for 15 weddings in 2015. I did larger weddings in 2015 than in previous years and ended the year with 13 weddings.
At the end of 2015, with 11 weddings on the books for 2016 already, I set my goal of 16 weddings and decided to go through a little rebrand. I wanted to spice up my logo and finally invest in a website. It seemed like my business was here to stay and investing was a good idea. I found Leesa Dykstra through a small business professionals group on FB (The Rising Tide Society). Buying her branding services as a Christmas gift to myself has been on of my all-time favorite purchases (I always tell my dog, Armani, that he is my favorite purchase). We still have a few items we are working on and I'm so excited to wrap up this project soon.
I am SO proud to say that I have MET and SURPASSED my goal for 2016 and I am still booking! I've already done 1 wedding this year and this week officially starts wedding season. I have lots of weddings to look forward to this year, but I think I'm most looking forward to my brother's wedding in October! July of 2016, I have been asked to teach a class on flower arranging at the library. I am SO honored to even have been asked to do that! More details will come soon if you want to sign up!
I have 2 already booked for 2017, including being a Maid of Honor in one of them!
NOW, it wouldn't be an anniversary post if we didn't talk about celebration! I'm having a celebratory cake (obviously!) BUT I am also reserving my booth for the Bridal Expo in January! I've always wanted to do it and I am committing to it!
I am also celebrating by disabling the messenger on my business FB page. It will now have a Contact Me tab (see below) that links to my contact tab on my website. I much prefer to communicate via email and this will keep everything in one place. It makes it so much easier when I want to reference something later on. Email is much more reliable that the FB Pages app (on my end) because it doesn't always give me notifications. This is going to help keep my life more organized and keep me more sane. You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
I would like to invite you to celebrate with me by giving away $30 off every new booking priced between $500-$1000. For new bookings over $1000, you will get 3% off your wedding! Weddings must be booked (contract signed and deposit paid) by Mother's Day! This is an exclusive offer for people who care enough to read my blog. I will not be posting any fliers on FB, just a link to this blog post.
3 years. 26 couples. Strangers. Friends. I feel like all these couples have made my lives just as beautiful as I made their weddings. This has been the adventure of a lifetime and I can't believe how fast my business has grown. Thank you all for your support over the last 3 years. Here's to MANY more! Here's a look back at some of my weddings over the last 3 years!
In summary, not every business starts out with the perfect business plan, the perfect branding package and website. Sometimes you just have to give an idea a shot and grow and learn at the same time. I knew that I wanted to do flowers as a hobby, I had no idea it would grow into such a successful business. If you have something you want to do, go for it! What's the worst that can happen, you give it a shot and it doesn't work out? Best case scenario, you grow into a great business and do what you love! Thank you all so much for all of your support for the last 3 years! Now, time to eat some cake and prepare my flowers for Saturday's wedding! :)