Florist of the Month

Diane Reis owner of Two Dandelions

Florist of the Month

Diane Reis owner of Two Dandelions

Diane was raised around flowers. Growing up, her family owned Gunter’s Greenhouse based out of Richardson, TX. They began teaching her design when she was only eleven years old! As a teenager, she was a very active member of the Future Florist of Texas and subsequently won the Frankie Shelton Design Award at sixteen.

She moved to Tyler, TX in 1993 and started a custom silk and dried floral design business called Jessica’s Place while designing the florals for a few weddings on the side. Since then, she’s worked as a freelance designer, attended numerous floral workshops and in 2011, she started her newest venture - a lovely floral shop called Two Dandelions.

In addition to her impressive resume and experience, Diane is a delightful person to be around. She's always willing to offer advice and encouragement whenever we work with her. That’s one of the many reasons we wanted to highlight her as the May florist of the month. Her kindness has always radiated through every conversation we’ve had and we are so excited to have the opportunity to get to know her better!
 


Me:
You grew up in the floral industry - Can you describe the family business model and what types of flowers or greenery you specialized in?  

Diane:
My parents opened their flowershop, Gunter’s Greenhouse in 1975. I was 11 at the time and loved getting to be at the shop on Saturdays, when I was out of school. They were the sole proprietors and were learning the business as they went along, taking floral design classes, joining the wire services and building the business through excellent customer service and using only quality flowers. My father’s orchid growing hobby slowly made its way into the business as he became one of the largest orchid growers in North Texas. The shop specialized in orchids, bromeliads and other exotics. The cooler was always filled with beautiful plant materials and unusual flowers.

 

Me:
How do you think your background and experiences influence your design style?

Diane:
Watching my parents build the business through hard work and a desire to always learn new things, definitely influenced my business and design style. I learned the flower names and care early. I followed my dad around the greenhouse as he explained orchid care to his customers. I went on wedding set ups with my mom and learned about time management and design installation. My mom taught me how to make corsages and boutonnieres and later bridal bouquets. She was my coach and as she saw how much I enjoyed it, she encouraged me by taking me to floral conventions like AIFD symposium and Texas State Florist Convention. I soaked it all in!

 

Me:
What’s your favorite book on floral design?  

Diane:
That’s a tough one… I have several favorite designers and books from all of them…Gregor Lersch, Rene Van Rems, Wally Klett, Paula Pryke, Jane Packer
They all inspire me in different ways: color, texture, details, and floral movement in a design.


Me:
Have you ever attended any formal floral trainings or workshops?

Diane:
I attended my first official floral training school in 1984, when I was 16. I was a member of the Future Florists of Texas and won a design competition and scholarship to the Frankie Shelton School of Floral Design in Houston, Texas.  

 

Me:
What has been your favorite workshop or training thus far?

Diane:
It wasn’t until last year that I attended a design workshop again where I was actually a participant. Francoise Weeks caught my attention with her amazing botanical jewelry and woodland design. When the opportunity came to join her at her home in Portland for a workshop, I jumped at the chance. This past September,I attended a workshop in Houston with Gregor Lersch and was able to assist him as well. He is a long time friend of our family, and my brother, who owns Organic Creations in Springdale Arkansas, studied under him for 2 years. Both workshops were extremely inspiring and gave me new ideas for my floral designs.


Me:
Where do you draw your inspiration for your designs?  

Diane:
My inspiration for design comes from my love of nature. I gravitate towards natural organic textures and colors. I love sticks, stones, mosses, seashells. I collected all of those things as a child when I would take nature walks with my dad. Do you sketch things out first, or use mood boards? I tend to sketch things out. I am by no means a graphic artist but it helps me get my ideas on paper. I like to work with a theme. How do you come up with the plan for your clients? When I meet with clients, I first want to hear their story. I like to learn what colors and textures speak to them. For clients that have more difficulty in this areas, I help by providing visual examples and work with them on Pinterest boards. If I am doing something for a client’s home, I visit them at their home to get a feel for their style. For couples, I always want to hear how they met and what attracted them to each other. Design is emotional for me and if I can speak to their emotions as well, then I have accomplished what I set out to do.


Me:
Have you ever done a really large floral installation? If so, what was it and what flowers and techniques did you use to accomplish the task?

Diane:
My design installations have included church décor, arches, arbors and pavilions. Those things that just require a ladder. I’m really not equipped to handle installations that require lifts and heavy equipment. I rely on Oasis cages and other oasis products to complete the types of décor I do and I couldn’t live without zip- ties. Whoever came up with those is a genius!

 

Me:
If you could give advice to someone just starting out as a florist, what would it be?

Diane:
Be ready to work hard! Study our customers, get to know people and build good relationships with a variety of vendors. Find a great photographer and invest in a quality website. Find floral sources that will send you quality merchandise and learn to care for your floral products properly. Remember that this is a relationship business and take advice from the Rising Tide Society motto of valuing community over competition.


Me:
When you work with clients, how do you set expectations to make sure the customer stays “happy” throughout the process?  

Diane:
Lots of communication throughout the process is the way to make that happen. My goal is always to exceed their expectations so I strive to find ways to make that happen.


Me:
Have you ever had to turn away a client because it wasn’t the right fit?

Diane:
I have had to turn away one client recently.  

It’s not my normal course but I could tell by our first few conversations that this was going to be someone very difficult to make happy. This particular client had very unrealistic expectations of what she was wanting me to do and what she was willing to pay for. I’ve also given bids on events that I did not get but I chose to see that as a blessing or as protection. I consider each client I serve as a special gift. Not every person that comes to me is supposed to be my gift, they belong then to someone else.


Me:
What was the most memorable event you designed for?

Diane:
One that really stands out occurred when I was working with a bride that was living in Hawaii at the time and her fiancé was in Tyler,Texas. He contacted me and asked if I would tour a venue with him. I agreed and we had the bride touring with us via skype. She and I had to arrange our consultations to meet our time difference challenges as we discussed her floral wishes. Over those many calls, we began to build a friendship. I invested time to learn about their relationship, likes, and personalities. I was able to design a wedding that brought together their love of music and surfing with a “Message in a bottle” theme. I also contacted a Hawaiian floral grower that I knew and imported special orchids and leis for the occasion. The bride loved to surf so I arranged to have a surfboard as one of the props for the photographer to use on the wedding day. This couple settled in Tyler and the bride has become one of my very dearest friends. A friendship that was forged over flowers.

 

Me:
What is your favorite type of arrangement to design (Floral chandelier, arbor, centerpiece, corsage, etc.)?  

Diane:
My favorite to design is the bridal bouquet and I love to see the bride’s expression when she sees her bouquet for the first time.

 

Me:
What would you say your greatest success is so far?

Diane:
My greatest success would definitely be my marriage of 28 years and the three beautiful children that my husband and I have raised. It is due to their love and support that I get to enjoy this beautiful business.  

 

Me:
Who would you say is your favorite floral inspiration in the industry right now?

Diane:
Right now, I would probably say, Francoise Weeks. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know her and learn from her. She is sweet, kind and generous. Those personality traits shine through her work and it draws you in. I love the details and emotions represented in her work.













Check out this Florist of the Month & Follow Them on Social:

  • Casey Wagner

Marinne Williams owner of Blossom n' Bloom Floral

Florist of the Month

Marinne Williams owner of Blossom n' Bloom

Marinne was introduced to the floral world in 2016 and hasn't looked back since! She is self-taught beginning her journey recreating Pinterest arrangements at her mother’s kitchen table. Once she had the basic principles down, she knew she wanted to be a florist and run her own floral design business. She jumped right in and began selling $20.00 arrangements and building a following on social media. From there, she enrolled in classes at a local college to get more technical training. She’s spent the last year trying to learn as much as possible. As you’ll see in her interview she is a delightful and inspiring person! We had fun interviewing her and are exciting to watch her floral design business flourish.



Me: 
What videos did you watch to start building your skills? Which ones did you find the most helpful?

Marinne:
To be honest, I didn't spend much time watching videos. My primary mode of learning came from Pinterest. I spent hours scrolling through dozens of floral boards to see the different ways that people arranged flowers. I'd then pick a tutorial and try to recreate it at home. I quickly realized that floral design is harder than it looks! My favorite tutorials were ones that had detailed instructions and good pictures so I could follow along easily.

Me:
Do you have any favorite floral design books that you find super helpful?

Marinne:
My favorite book that I've read on floral design is Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden book. This book's primary focus is on growing a cut flower garden but I love seeing how flowers are grown and Erin, the owner of the farm, is so talented as a grower and a florist. Her book contains step by step directions on how to arrange designs from your garden year round. I love her style and her willingness to share her experience and knowledge! (This is the link to the book: https://shop.floretflowers.com/collections/gifts-paper-goods-a-z/products/cut-flower-garden-signed-copy) Another book I have used is Flower Arranging: Step-by-Step Instructions by Teresa P. Lanker. This book was my starter material! It was a great resource for me as I was starting because it contains detailed step-by-step instructions on how to create traditional and standard floral arrangements. This book helped me understand the technical aspect of arranging and the instructions are very clear. (https://www.hobbylobby.com/Floral-Wedding/Books-Planners/Flower-Arranging--Step-by-Step-Instructions/p/93271)

Me:
You are incredibly talented, I really feel like you've found your calling. Can you tell me where you want your passion for floral design to take you? What's the big dream you want to achieve?

Marinne:
My big dream would be to own my own little shop. I think it would be so fun to own a small storefront on a cute street! However, I don't think that is something I would want to get into for a while. While I dream of being a successful florist, it is also important to me to have a family. Having a small business run from my apartment is perfect for me now because it gives me the ability to be around the ones I love and do what I love! I hope to build a strong foundation for my business right now and work my way up to the storefront as the years go by.

Me:
I'm sure there are a TON of future florists that don't have a clue where to start, what advice would you give them?

Marinne:
My advice to people just getting started would be to practice A LOT and to trust yourself. I have spent many many hours practicing and I still spend many hours practicing! They say "practice makes perfect" for a reason. I have noticed if I focus on a skill in particular when I'm arranging, I don't feel as overwhelmed which means a better arrangement. Another thing I would suggest is to trust yourself. Sometimes as florists we spend so much time second guessing our designs, that we lose faith in our talent and settle for safe arrangements. While there is value in those types of designs, trust your artistic intuition! Stepping outside of our comfort zones in designs is where we get to have fun as florists.

Me:
What would you say your greatest success is so far?

Marinne:

I would say my greatest success so far has been developing my personal design aesthetic. It can be hard to make your work unique in floral design! As I have grown my business I have been able to identify what I want my designs to look like and with each piece I make, I further develop that style.

Me:
While you have been learning the mechanics of designing, what's the hardest thing you've had to master (or are still struggling with)?

Marinne:
Something I am still working on perfecting are corsages. They can be quite difficult! I struggle with the mechanics behind them and keeping those mechanics low-profile so they aren't visible once the corsage is on.

Me:
Do you have a favorite style of design? What are you most drawn to aesthetically?

Marinne:
I really love designs that are unique! I think there is something really captivating about a design that has a color scheme you wouldn't normally choose or an element that isn't traditional. An arrangement will usually stick out to me if the designer made good use of texture too. I think that a variety of texture can make or break a bouquet. In addition to texture, I have also always loved bouquets that use bright colors!


Check out a few of Marinne's designs:


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  • Casey Wagner

Jayme Thomson of Crown and Thistle Floral

Florist of the Month

Jayme Thomson of Crown and Thistle Floral

I reached out to Jayme from Crown and Thistle Florals after I’d been following her on instagram for a while. She posts the most stunning arrangements - they will take your breath away. If you’re not following her Instagram, you should do so right away. Jayme has a beautiful obsession with blue and tries to bring a little of it into all her arrangements. She spent most of her career as a registered nurse, but her artistic nature and creative drive took over. Now she is beginning her second act of life following her passion and not letting practicality and circumstances drive the choices she makes. While you read through her interview, you’ll pick up on her seemingly inborn love of fine art and of the classics. She is inspired by ancient and historical pieces, something you will observe in any of her arrangements. There is something antique and refined about her floral art that reminds me of delicate china and Victorian ladies sitting in an English garden.

ME:

What attracted you to the flower business?

JAYME:

I’m not sure I was drawn to the flower industry as much as I was to the flowers themselves. I worked in healthcare for over 30 years and floral design has been my creative outlet. I’m hoping that entering the industry will be my second act.


ME:

Where do you look for inspiration?

JAYME:

My inspiration comes from a variety of places. When I look at Dutch Masters I’m inspired by the sheer abundance of flowers which really appeals to me. I love to see what other designers are doing and I also follow several museums on Instagram. The biggest is probably being outside, seeing how things grow, finding an unusual shape or color combination that I want to work with. Sometimes it’s just seeing what’s available at the flower market, eyeing something beautiful or interesting and going from there.


ME:

You started your floral career later in life, what advice would you give to someone that might be thinking of switching careers to become a florist?

JAYME:

I never intended to become an RN, I have a BA in Literature, but circumstances prevailed and I’m glad I made that choice. It brought a lot of opportunity and satisfaction in caring for others. If I could go back, I would tell my younger self to pursue my creative dreams much earlier in life - I always wanted to write. These are all choices and to be truly happy, if you can do what you love and what fills you up - find a way to do it! No regrets!


ME:

What type of floral jobs do you take the most? Are you more of a wedding florist, or do you do sympathy arrangements, mixed bouquets, and that sort of thing?

JAYME:

My business is just getting started and what I am hoping to do is freelance for weddings and perhaps a smaller scale business of centerpiece work for clients and events.Of course that could all change! I’m learning so much.


ME:

What was your first paid floral job? What did you learn? How did your client find you (or how did you find them)?

JAYME:

My first client was an auction. They asked me to auction centerpieces to raise money for their benefit. Not very exciting but certainly rewarding and it brought money in for a good cause. First paying gig, a hydrangea wreath! My client found me on Instagram and it made her very happy. I learned that people enjoy my work, and that maybe others would too.


ME:  

Can you describe your signature design style (modern, rustic, classic, traditional, English, etc…)?

JAYME:

I would say my style is more English garden, natural and non traditional. I like a lot of flowers and less greens on the whole. But I’m finding foliage more and more interesting as I increasingly forage. I’m still working on my style as I want it to be ever-evolving and not too rigid. Also I tend to use blue as an accent flower. Many of the most striking ancient paintings that I love have an element of blue in them that really heightens the colors for me.


ME:

What is your favorite type of arrangement to design (Floral chandelier, arbor, centerpiece, corsage, etc.)?

JAYME:

Centerpieces are my favorite, including really small scale, like a tea cup (I have a weird thing about miniatures). I tend to practice a lot on hand tied bouquets, my hands are very small and I have less experience making them. But I am working on it, I would just like it to flow better while I make them.


ME:

What type of floral mechanics do you find to be the most difficult?

JAYME:

Frogs! I use them and continue to try to be more capable with them.


ME:

What’s your favorite flower?

JAYME:

That’s a hard one to answer, I’ve hardly met a flower that I didn’t love. I’m partial to lavender. My daughter got a lavender tattoo to honor me, knowing they’re a favorite of mine. Of course I had to get one as well to honor her! I’m crazy about hydrangea, blue in particular but I also love oak-leaf and limelight. This year I’ve become mad for tweedia and scabiosa and I’ve always really loved cornflowers. I guess that’s a lot of blue!


ME:

Do you always have fresh flowers at home?

JAYME:

Yes, my house feels strange without them. Even when I was a poor student I could afford a lone carnation. I had less success finding them in Saudi Arabia where I lived for seven years but even then I bought them when I could find them. My children’s friends would comment on the fact that we always had flowers in the house.


ME:  

How do you think your background and experiences influence your flower style?

JAYME:

I was raised in dry Los Angeles, without seasons. My biggest influence was traveling to Coos Bay Oregon every summer where my cousins own several farms. My Aunt Jo had a cutting garden, I’d never seen anything more beautiful in my life. She passed away several years ago and I was able to bring some of her plants home for my own garden. She’s the reason I ended up in Oregon. All the green and lushness of our area informs my love of full lush design.

I love things a little offbeat and imperfect, like life and nature itself. My father was a painter, my husband and daughter photographers so I look for the beautiful, unusual and interesting in my world as you would while painting and taking photos. We have many painters in our family including my great grandmother and great aunt, I like to think some talent trickled down somehow.

My job in Saudi Arabia afforded me the luxury of extensive travel and access to many cultures and the great art and architecture of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Next time you look at the Sistine Chapel checkout the blue!


ME:  

Where do you see yourself (or business) in the next few years?

JAYME:  

I would like to intern this summer for a wedding floral designer and then work freelance, possibly editorials if I’m so lucky. I want to embrace my creative side but not own a large company. The community of designers are so welcoming and supportive. I’ve spent the majority of my life helping others and now hope I can make art my central focus, another way of making people happy and giving back.


A few examples of Jayme's stunning work:


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Florist of the Month - Kate Masiak

Florist of the Month

Kate Masiak owner of The Flower Girl Company

Kate Masiak owns The Flower Girl Company based out of Chicago, Illinois. She’s an amazing wedding and event florist that prides herself in creating custom floral designs for all of her clients. She’s always found flowers to be magical and loves how they can transform a space and enhance and amplify the beauty of any space or venue. Throughout the interview with her I recognized her passion and enthusiasm she has doing something she loves. There is nothing better than to have found a career that you take pride in, and she has certainly done just that. It was such a pleasure interviewing her, and I cannot wait to see all that she does for the floral industry, locally and beyond!!



Interview:

:

Me:
What is the most important thing you learned during your floral apprenticeship?
Kate:
Definitely care of flowers and how to handle them. Processing flowers is the most important step to ensuring they bloom properly and live as long as possible. Certain flowers do better in hot water, better if they are kept in their bunches, need to have their foliage stripped, etc. It's not the pretty part of being a floral designer, but it's so important. Working with an experienced florist you can learn so many tools and tricks of the trade. Plus, when I first started out I was so delicate with every single stem; I was scared to handle them. Working in a flower shop really gives you the confidence to handle blooms properly and know that they won't break or die if you touch them.
 
Me:
What was your first paid floral job? What did you learn? How did your client find you (or how did you find them)?
Kate:
My first floral job was the wedding of two dear friends in Chicago. I was even a bridesmaid, which made for a pretty hectic day!
 
I honestly don't even remember how being their florist came up. I still can't believe they put their trust in me. Luckily, because I was working with a friend, I didn't have to worry about seeming like a seasoned professional. That took a decent amount of pressure off. The day of the wedding I was terrified that she would hate everything (I still feel that way with every wedding and client!). Afterward, I felt huge relief and a feeling of accomplishment and confidence. I knew that if I could do it once I could do it again. I learned the basics, like how to incorporate supplies into the cost and how to make a floral recipe to ensure you order enough blooms. Mostly, I learned about scheduling. The time it takes to make everything, what a delivery is like, how to deal with the venue, etc. All the things you learn with experience and time. I am also happy to say that she loved her wedding flowers and is one of my biggest champions and supporters.
 
Me:
What is your favorite flower trend right now?
Kate:
Greenery, definitely greenery! There are so many different types of greenery and I love how brides are embracing using greenery as the star of their wedding flowers. It comes in so many shades, styles, and textures that I love playing with. From garlands to hanging installations and 8ft wreaths, greenery is being utilized in so many ways.
 
Me:
What floral aesthetic do you think you are the most drawn to?
Kate:
I have always been drawn to a more European English Garden style of floral design. This includes full and rounded arrangements and bouquets typically utilizing roses, peonies and "softer" flowers. I know it's cliché, but a rose is my favorite flower.
 
Me:  
How do you think your background in theater influences your flower style?  
Kate:
My experience in theatre influences my flower style in that it helps me make sure it's really the client's style coming through me. I spent most of my childhood and early adult life working in the theatre. The thing about theatre is that there is always a new show, a new scene and a new cast-mate. There are always changes. You have to be willing and able to change, be excited about new possibilities and adventures, and be committed to bringing someone else's vision to life. I think this helps me tremendously when it comes to designing weddings and events. I am able to listen to what the client wants for their flowers and not push my own aesthetic or agenda.
 
Me:
Where do you see yourself (or business) in the next two years?

Kate:
I love what I do and I've really just started doing it. I look forward to growing my business and serving more couples and events in the Chicagoland area. My greatest feelings of accomplishment come from positive reviews and referrals from clients to their friends. I love making my clients happy. I love helping those working on a tight budget get the flowers of their dreams. I love seeing a bride's face when I deliver her bridal bouquet. If I can continue support my life doing what I love I will be a very happy camper.

 
Me:
While you have been learning the mechanics of designing, what's the hardest thing you've had to master (or are still struggling with)?

Kate:
Corsages! Oh, corsages. I have had many conversations with florists who are fed up with corsages. We want them to be more practical and stylish and less like that elastic band prom corsage. Plus, so many women hate wearing them because they get in the way and fall apart. Trying to make them super durable is always a challenge. Right now I prefer to make them with ribbon ties or on metals cuffs so they are less bothersome on the wrist.

 

Me:
If you could advise someone who is interested in becoming a florist, where would you tell them to start?
Kate:
I would definitely recommend getting a job at a flower shop. I went to a 2 month floral design school, which was inspiring and empowering, but the practical know-how I received from working in a local flower shop definitely helped me more than anything else. I learned what I liked and didn't like about being a florist. I love meeting with clients, personalizing designs and installing weddings. I am less interested in owning a storefront and doing same day orders and walk in arrangements. You'll have to sweep floors and process incoming flowers, but keep your ear to the ground and your eyes open and you'll learn so much.

 

Me:
What ​are a couple of your favorite floral design books?​ What do you like about them?
Kate:
I love Florists' Review magazine. It's been around forever and is always publishing the newest trends, how-tos, and gorgeous photos of floral designs. When I was first starting out I loved Flower Arranging: The Complete Guide for Beginners by Judith Blacklock. It was so informative, not only about design, but types of flowers and how to make them last.

 

Me:
Who would you say is your favorite floral inspiration in the industry right now?
Kate:
My favorite right now is definitely Susan from PassionFlower. Not only does she produce great tutorial videos but she is a master of floral wearables and jewelry which I am currently obsessed with. She melds florals and skin so seamlessly it's breathtaking. That's definitely a more artistic approach to floral design that I am very drawn to.

 


Here are a few gorgeous designs Kate shared with us:

Photo: Logan Rose Photography

Photo: Logan Rose Photography

Photo: Logan Rose Photography

Photo: Logan Rose Photography - Ps- Kate's the pretty lady with the pearls! <3

Photo: Michelle Yasmin Photography

Photo: Sullivan and Sullivan Photograph

Photo: Sullivan and Sullivan Photograph

Photo: Carey Primeau Photograph


Check out this Florist of the Month & Follow Them on Social:

  • Casey Wagner

Florist of the Month - Nancy Zimmerman

Florist of the Month

Nancy Zimmerman
Owner of Fancy Florals by Nancy


Nancy owns Fancy Florals By Nancy. She started her floral career about seven years ago and is celebrated as a go-to wedding florist in her state of Illinois.

She holds 5-stars on Google, Wedding Wire, Yelp, and the Knot (where she has also been awarded with the Knot Best of weddings for the past three years and was recently chosen to be in their hall of fame!).

She humbly accepts the praise and recognition, but has shown that her exceptional skills have come from a combination of natural talent, tenacity, hard work, passion, and grit.

Nancy’s skills as a designer are impressive, it’s hard to believe she has been designing for such a short amount of time, and with her precision and eye for detail it’s no wonder she has received so much recognition.

I was so excited when she agreed to be one of our florist’s of the month!

I’m very thankful she took some time out of her busy schedule to talk with me.


ME:

You started your floral career later in life - that must have been a little intimidating! What advice would you give to someone that might be thinking of switching careers to become a florist?

NANCY:

It was very intimidating!! I am by nature timid and shy but I had this dream that evolved that drove me to jump in and act like I knew what I was doing. My advice to anyone that has a dream is to follow your heart and don’t let fear of failure defeat you.


ME:

Do you think you learned more during your design classes or during your apprenticeship? How were they different?

NANCY:

The design classes were a great place to start. As a college course it was very broad based and touched on all aspects of floral design from history of floral design, learning to identify and spell the names of greens & flowers, where the flowers come from, care & handling, elements & principles of design, proper use of floral supplies for mechanics, proper wiring for different types of blooms, daily design, sympathy design, wedding design, and the business part of floral design from pricing to delivery.  

As I said it “touched” on all aspects, but doing an internship was equally valuable because it gave me much more in depth hands on opportunities to try out my skills. I was really fortunate because Julie was so sweet and encouraging – she was the perfect person for me to work with as she helped build my confidence, which I sorely needed.


ME:

About how long did it take you to realize you could start choosing the right clients, as opposed to every client?

NANCY:

In the beginning I needed every client so that I could get photos of my work, referrals & reviews and some operating capitol to buy supplies, props, containers, etc. After a couple years I became very busy, I found it hard to say no and was doing two and three weddings per week – whatever I could possibly manage.  

It gave me a lot of experience and made my business profitable but was a recipe for burn-out.

I had to make a decision on whether to hire employees and continue to grow or to move my business in a different direction which was to be selective with which brides I would accept, setting a minimum order and doing one large wedding per week rather than two or three smaller ones.  

It was hard to turn brides away but I have found that the bride with the larger budget many times takes less of my time than the bride who has to pinch her pennies so I am really working smarter instead of harder.


ME:

What is your favorite type of arrangement to design (Floral chandelier, arbor, centerpiece, corsage, etc.)?  

NANCY:

I have found that I really enjoy creating the centerpieces - especially compote vases and tall cascading statement centerpieces. Of course the bride’s bouquet is the most special – sort of like the crowning glory of all the flowers!


ME:

What would you say your greatest success is so far?

NANCY:

When I read back through the reviews my couples have left me, what I am hearing from them is that I have the ability to “see” their vision and execute it. Because I am only a wedding florist and not distracted or overwhelmed with the day-to-day shop work, I can give my brides my full time and attention to really listen, allow them to change their mind, be kind and patient with them and promptly return their calls & emails.   I would say my greatest success is that I am able to delight the brides.

It still amazes me when they leave me such glowing reviews.


ME:

Do you have a favorite design style? What are you most drawn to aesthetically?

NANCY:

I adore the natural, romantic, lush garden style with a lot of greens and textures. It is what I do best I think because it is the look I love best!! The high style modern designs really don’t appeal to me personally although I can certainly appreciate them when well done by others because I find the very stylized designs difficult.  


ME:

Where do you draw your inspiration for your designs? Do you sketch things out first, or use mood boards? How do you come up with the plan for your clients?

NANCY:

Most of my brides have a very clear idea of what they want. I have them give me access to their Pinterest boards or bring me photos of flowers & bouquets that inspire them. I know a lot of florists that think Pinterest is a curse, but I find it very valuable – A picture is worth a 1,000 words.  

Many times the bride’s vision is not what I find personally appealing but up to now my goal has been to nail their vision.   This is an area where I am going to be able to be more selective with as I take on less weddings – I can accept the weddings in which the bride’s vision appeals to me and in which the bride allows me some creative freedom.  

My favorite brides are the ones who seek me out because they love my work and trust me to create something beautiful for them without having to manage every bloom selection! The bride’s budget helps dictate the plan and I try to work with her to give her the most bang for her buck.


ME:

As a work from home designer, how do you attract clients? Do you use social media, local events, and/or word of mouth? Which of these would you say is the most important?

NANCY:

As a small business owner without employees, I do spend a lot of time keeping my website, Facebook page, Instagram feed, and Pinterest board updated with fresh photos and content. I had a goal of trying to blog every two weeks, which I have sadly not reached!! I am lucky if I get a blog post out once per month.  

I also advertise on The Knot and formerly on Wedding Wire as well. I have been doing a wedding show once per year. I take advantage of free webinars that teach about SEO, Instagram and Facebook. This is an area where I have really had to get out of my box as part of the older generation.  

I still think that word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising. I find that the brides who have been recommended to me are the ones who have their mind already made up they are using my services before they even have their consultation!


ME:

Have you ever had to work with a difficult bride? If so, how do you steer them in the right direction and set expectations?

NANCY:

I feel that God has orchestrated my business each step of the way. The first clients that contacted me were the perfect clients for me to start with and gain experience. Since then, I have tailored my contract to be clear about boundaries, what they can expect and what is included without incurring extra charges.  

I find that transparency, honesty, and kindness go a long way for healthy relationships with brides/mothers.  

I did have a bride who I had spent considerable time with who promised me she was going to book me, but dragged out the process of finalizing the proposal over several months and had never signed a contract or made a down-payment. She kept reducing items off the proposal and wanted to schedule more meetings. She collected all her own conglomeration of containers and vases and kept adding to it and changing things up. Even though I had turned away other brides for that date, in the end it became apparent to me that I had to let her go. The last straw was when she changed the proposal for the bridesmaid bouquets from my rock-bottom $65 to $50 and told me – I know that you can still make something beautiful for $50. I learned a lot from that experience!! ☺


ME:

You mentioned in our previous conversation that you are always learning. Do you have any upcoming workshops that you’re excited about?

NANCY:

Yes!! In January I am going to do a workshop with Holly Chapel at Hope Flower Farm. I am super excited about this, as it is a 3-student class!

I attend the ISFA (Illinois State Florist Association) annual conference each year and sign up for the hands-on workshops.  

I also have taken all the boot camps that ISFA offers I got out of my box last March and attended Mayesh Design Star Workshop in Cleveland, OH. What drew me was the opportunity to work with Mayesh’s Luxe blooms and the garden style compote vase design they were doing with Christy Hulsey 2017 Design Star.  

I loved the workshop, loved Christy and this led to Christy inviting me to go to Washington D.C. to help design the floral decorations for the Annual First Lady’s Luncheon which in turn I met some more wonderful designers who I have kept contact with.


Scroll through some of Nancy's gorgeous images:

Flowers by Fancy Florals by Nancy | Photo by Rebekah Albaugh

Flowers by Fancy Florals by Nancy | Photo by Caitlin and Micah Photography

Flowers by Fancy Florals by Nancy | Photo by Christopher Cole

Flowers by Fancy Florals by Nancy | Photo by Diedre Lynn

Flowers by Fancy Florals by Nancy | Photo by Ernst Jacobson

Flowers by Fancy Florals by Nancy | Photo by Jarod Schilling Photography

Flowers by Fancy Florals by Nancy | Photo by Lauren f.otography

Flowers by Fancy Florals by Nancy | Photo by Mark Romine

Flowers by Fancy Florals by Nancy | Photo by Mark Romine

Flowers by Fancy Florals by Nancy | Photo by Rachel Schirano

Flowers by Fancy Florals by Nancy | Photo by Seth Morris Photography

Flowers by Fancy Florals by Nancy | Photo by Holly Birch Photography

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