Christi Lopez—The Business of Flowers
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Calling all Floral Designers! First Ladies Luncheon

Uncategorized Feb 22, 2019

Hey Everyone! 

We are looking for volunteers who want to be involved in wowing the guests at the historic First Ladies luncheon by working side-by-side with some of America's talented floral designers.

I'd love for you to apply to work with Mary Kate Kinnane (owner of The Local Bouquet) and myself (Bergerons Flowers) sponsored by Certified American Grown flowers! It's a great way to work with our American growers to show off their product. And, I can attest first-hand last year, I had the opportunity to work alongside other florists and growers. Enjoy getting to network and meet other like-minded florists, while supporting our American grown flowers and farms. 

Interested? Then check out the blog post from Certified American Growers to apply. Deadline to apply is MARCH 1st!

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Valentine's Day—So How Did You Do?

floral business Feb 15, 2019

I'm just gonna ask it...HOW DID YOU DO?

Really, how did you do yesterday? Did you kill it for Valentine's Day? Was it your best ever in sales or did you struggle with your deliveries? Order too little roses? Or, for that matter, did you order too many? 

It's time to decompress, my friend! Not only do you want to take a load off your feet, but you want to do a brain dump of all that went on while it's fresh on your mind. I know, you don't want to think about it, right? 

No matter if it's your first experience with this holiday or your 50th, it's always good to take some time and write down how it went. When I had my first Valentine's in my brick and mortar store, it was crazy! No one told me really what to expect. For the first ten years of my business, I worked out of a basement. I kept a few notes, but I didn't need to think about how each year went since I only had a few deliveries on my plate that day/week. But, my first one in my shop? Well, let's just say, it was...

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I CONQUERED THE FROZEN WEDDING!

 It happened, my ultimate fear happened...

We had two very large weddings to deliver on the same day. One was about 40 minutes from our shop and the other was at our downtown location inside the Mayflower Autograph Hotel. The team had just left with two vans full of flowers for the wedding off-site and I was getting in the third van with my other designer to meet them. Then, I got the call...

A strained, panicked voice on the other end was my manager of the hotel studio. I couldn't understand what she was saying. "What, the cooler froze? All the flowers in the cooler are frozen?" I felt it in the pit of my stomach, and I'm sure all the blood drained from my face. What was I going to do? All of the flowers were designed and ready to install at the hotel for the wedding. It was 1:30 p.m. and the wedding starts at 6...what do I do now?

Well, I put my big girl panties on, that's what! I immediately told her we were going to figure it out and went into action. I called the crew...

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To-Do Lists...or Dare I Say "Not To-Do Lists"

How many of you are like me and often feel like we have to do everything as we build our florist businesses? You gotta hustle and show up every morning! Our days become filled with a list of to do's that runs a mile long. Well, I have been listening to Jay Papasan's audiobook, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. It's been great and has me shifting my thoughts on how I approach my day and even week.

What does he mean to have your ONE thing? It's Your Number #1 priority. It's the one thing or FIRST thing you should be doing. We may have lots of priorities; i.e. at work or at home, etc, but at any given point and time though, we can only have one true priority. And we all know that we need to be present on your most important priority. 

How many of you have a To-Do List? You either keep it on a notepad or on your phone. It's really just a survival list that we have to get through in a day or maybe a week. I know mine can be...

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I dreamed...I struggled too. A brief synopsis of my 30-year floral journey

I dreamed. I struggled too. Just like you, I truly wanted an opportunity to run an efficient and profitable floral business.

I started in my mom's basement over 30 years ago just doing craft fairs with artificial flowers because that's all I knew. I dreamed of owning a big retail flower shop but wondered how I would get there. My mom and I took design classes once a week for a year. You can read a little more about that in my blog from Mother's Day.

Off I went to college in Pennsylvania and would drive home on Friday afternoons to design weddings, deliver on Saturday and return to school on Sunday. Next thing I knew, I was purchasing a small two-door cooler that I could only put personal flowers into. You know, the bridal party flowers, boutonnieres, corsages, etc. And, my biggest fears were, “Are these flowers going to open in time? And, how can I make sure they don't wilt before the wedding?" (Back then, the wondrous thing called a "CoolBot" wasn't invented yet! This is one...

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So, you want to quit your day job and become a florist?

Here's the scenario...I'm out somewhere making new friends and they find out I'm a florist. Inevitably, the next words that come out of their mouth are, "I've always dreamed about being a florist! That must be so much fun playing with flowers all day!"

Mind you, I do L-O-V-E what I do. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been doing this for so long! But, there are a few misconceptions about this industry. You've got to have tenacity and grit to keep the gracefulness of the beauty you create. If you long to design with flowers on a daily basis and dream of building a flowers business, here are a few things to think about.

Start Small. Working from your home is perfectly fine to start out. Give yourself some space to work from and delve into this business by getting your feet wet! I got my start in my mom's basement as well as working for another floral shop to get an idea of how the business runs. You can't expect to put together a sizeable floral installation on your first wedding. And, if...

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Pre-Qualifying your Wedding Clients

floral business Oct 08, 2018

I know, this is a sensitive subject. Some believe that you should take any client, no matter what their budget. So hear me out...

I do believe in taking the time to get to know the potential client before you schedule an appointment. There are some ways to find out if they are the right fit ahead of time.

I personally use a form to find out more about them before scheduling a consultation. This helps figure out where the potential clients are having their special event, what other vendors they may be working with and how many guests they are expecting. All of these insights help you prepare for meeting with them.

Along with this primary form, I do provide them with our Wedding Floral Calculator. This helps me get an idea of where they are regarding the budget. This calculator is so insightful as to their needs and expectations too.

Handling inquiries can be a tricky as you peel back the layers of what they are looking for, but it can also be gratifying when you have the right...

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A Trip to Royal Flora Holland Flower Auction with Hilverda de Boer

 

So a lifetime bucket list experience came to pass yesterday! Two years ago, I set-up this trip to go to Hilverda, but due to a family emergency my trip was cut short, and I returned home. Now, TAKE 2!

Arriving early at Hilverda's large building literally across the street from the Royal Holland auction, with luggage in tow, Dalia and I got a warm welcome from the lady at reception. Come to find out, 7 a.m. isn't so early. Many of these employees are here much earlier than that to start buying on the auction.

Sander, who is our account manager for the US, was our amazing personal tour guide. He has been with Hilverda since 2000, and he knows the business of flowers, Holland flowers, that is! Our tour began with Sander driving across the street and showing us around the Royal FloraHolland. As you can see from the images, I've never seen anything like it!

 

Yes, they take live pictures of the product as it arrives from the auction, so what you see online to...

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The Wonderful World of Peonies--From Alaska

Following up from my recent Alaskan adventure, I wanted to share some information that I gleaned from my retreat on the farm of Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska.

Beth and Kurt Van Sant own acres of peony fields that they have planted themselves. From clearing the land to preparing the ground with the nutrients it needed, they found themselves immersed in the world of growing peonies! Its harvest is only for three months out of the year, although the farming of them takes many more months of planning, babying the plants and taking care of the many tasks that will await them from July-September!

There is a crew that arrives in the summer to help them through harvesting so we can get these fantastic blooms to design with! Who knew that Alaska would provide the ultimate climate for these blooms to thrive during months of the year that no florist could procure these highly sought-after beauties? From around the world, people are clamoring for their blooms to get to wholesalers,...

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An Alaskan Peony Retreat

It started with just a quick mention..."Who wants to join me in Alaska for a retreat on a peony farm?" said Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore.

I jumped at the opportunity to spend a few days on a peony farm in Alaska with now new friends. What an experience it was! From the breathtaking scenery, peonies abounding, gaining knowledge to getting to know fellow florists and farmers, hands down this was an exciting trip.

Our retreat was arranged by Kelly and Beth & Kurt van Sant from Scenic Place Peonies. They couldn't have been better hosts! We visited 5 farms, took a hike to a glacier, went foraging for driftwood on The Spit, learned how to grade peonies, pack peonies and learned what the farmers go thru just to get these precious blooms into our hands!

We had a day of designing together, two florists who live there in Homer, Alaska; along with two other florists who joined us on the retreat. Sharing stories and enjoying each other's company enriched our lives. 

A...

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