Above All Flowers and New Bloom Solutions has partnered with a great group called “Black Girl Florist,” and our intention is to help support and give minority organizations such as this one a platform to share their stories and good works. We are excited and honored to be working with such great and talented florists from across the country and hope you enjoy their stories and insights within our great floral industry.
A career in floristry is one of the most varied, rewarding yet demanding, and comprehensive careers in human society. Always using both sides of the brain; a florist’s day is driven by season, occasion, product availability, client needs and changing trends – all the while being an educated, cost-conscious business owner. No two seasons, weeks or days are alike thus requiring focus every single day.
Specifically, within the industry categories, our days are very different…are you an event florist, a retail florist, a freelancer? Do you have a brick-and-mortar shop, a design studio, or a home-based service? Each of these business models contribute to specific positives and negatives in a flower lover’s day. The commonalities among these specialties are, passion, dedication, focus, organization, and the requirement for self-care.
My name is Jeanna Bailey owner of your floral matters, llc. since 2009. My business is a hybrid of retail daily deliveries and walk-ins, pre-planned corporate and social events and corporate/hospitality standing orders. Although tucked away in the lower lobby of a Midtown office tower, every single workday is extremely full.
Rise and Shine! I start each day by checking my phone and calendar and I create a list for the day. After a custom blend of caffeine, breakfast, meditation, prayer and stretching, therein my focus begins. Hitting the road, I’ve either gone to the local wholesaler or straight into the shop.
I open the shop, lavender oil evaporates, the music is set, and website orders/emails are addressed. This tranquil moment lasts for about 5 minutes…the phone starts ringing or a customer walks in. The pace of the day quickens. The priority is getting the deliveries out the door. Are the designs completed and packed up? Do I have a staff member to make the delivery, or does it meet our requirements to use a courier service? Do I have all the product I need? Remember the on-line wholesaler cuts off at 11am for shipments the next day and the local wholesaler closes at 3pm! So many ways to go, so many things to think through.
Part-Time Teammates arrive, I remember, what’s on my mind as the owner, does not translate to the team through osmosis. I try my very best to slow down and give clear communication on what to do for the day and what’s coming up for the near future.
Our calendar is our central landing spot. We use the Google calendar as a schedule for everything such as daily orders, standing orders, shipments due, operational tasks, schedule changes and more. All entries are color coded to each teammate to help them be clear on her/his responsibilities. As deliveries are completed, they are marked “Done” on both the Google calendar and our florist specific software (Floranext).
At this point, a product shipment has arrived and has been processed, deliveries are on their way and the full-time Operations Manager asks me about responding to several emails. She create estimates and invoices via QuickBooks and handles a day filled with client correspondence. Without my OM, we would be a mess!
Whether designing a daily order or a previously scheduled event, checking in on the financials via QuickBooks is a critical daily responsibility. Also during this day, a potential client will call or email, requesting a proposal for an event in the near future. I’ve learned to respond to these requests by asking for up to a week to create the proposal. All this activity happens simultaneously and feverishly swirls around the shop, making the time fly!
As a Type 1 Diabetic, I’ve taken my third insulin injection for the day, I’ve literally had my highs and lows and I absolutely make myself sit down to eat my home-made lunch, albeit for maybe 10 minutes max.
We close the shop at 4pm, designs for the next morning are put to bed in the cooler, I may have a Midtown delivery to take on my way home. Remember, as the CFO (Chief Flower Officer) and Owner, I too still make deliveries. After my commute, finally home, I check email and correspond until 6pm and then I am CLOCKED OUT!
My policy on clocking out started from the very beginning of my business in 2009. Self-care and productivity awareness is critical for any entrepreneur but especially a florist. At the end of the day, I at least try to de-stress and at the very least take a big exhale.
A while back, I coined “Take Care Tuesdays” as my “day-off” for Dr. appointments, going on walks, catching up on chores, etc. Yes, I do sometimes work on proposals and emails etc. but this is my attempt to have some scheduled balance in life (especially since we deliver and have events on Saturdays). I have consciously made strides to move away from large weddings and events that require a late-night strike. If you are an event/wedding florist, I can only suggest that you try to create a trustworthy/reliable strike team so that you don’t have to be there yourself (I know, easier said than done).
After a long yet fulfilling day of floristry, I’m so grateful for my circle of support including my Husband of only 2 years. Do you have a support system? Let’s give a big shout out to the single individuals out there doing it all! Or do you have kids? Let’s give big props to the parents!
No matter what your specific circumstances or business model, remind yourself daily: to be a florist is to be a messenger of the most important sentiments in life. We get to create, design and work with amazing flowers that are meant to spread love and joy….not a bad way to spend a day in your life.
“Flowers are Always a Good Idea” follow us @floralmatters and watch us continue to grow!
Jeanna C. Bailey – In floristry since 1995 – Owner, your floral matters llc. Since 2009
Writer: Jeanna Bailey