Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: Session 12

Today I asked another panel member, Elisabeth Zemetis, owner of Blush Floral Design, to share a bit about herself with you…

blush floral design beth_working

“I have always loved flowers. Growing up I knew I wanted to work with my hands but didn’t know what
medium I would pursue. In college I majored in Photography and Art History. Looking back at my old art
work, my senior thesis and all my favorite artists’ work, for the most part they revolved around flowers-
-I guess I should have known long ago that this would be my path! I have so many interests that it took
me time to decide which direction I would go in: baking, jewelry making, photography, but I found that
my true love was working with flowers. It brought me so much happiness and also a sense of peace.
It allows me to be creative without being too technical or perfect. Weddings and events are the ideal
outlet for me: I love working under pressure and each client/event is completely new and different. I
am always thinking of new color schemes, design ideas, interesting blooms to incorporate. And because
the wedding scene is ever evolving in terms of trends, colors, popular flowers, etc. it keeps my ideas
fresh and forces me (in a good way) to stay current and keep ahead of the curve. After college I took
a job at a retail flower shop and continued on from there to work alongside some fabulous event floral
designers until I felt ready to take on my own clients. I jumped into Blush with both feet and haven’t
looked back since! From the start I have geared my business towards a higher-end client who notices
the finer details and appreciates the art and creativity (and hard work) that goes into event floral design.
I also made the decision to take on a limited number of weddings to allow me to focus on each event
and have the time to be creative with my clients. This also allows me to have a more balanced personal
life. Sacrificing weekends is a difficult part of this business, I luckily have a supportive and understanding
husband who has accepted that I won’t be around on Saturday afternoons during the most beautiful
months of the year(!) but I also take a weekend off now and again or schedule in vacation time to create
balance for both of us which is difficult to do when the wedding season is quite short, but necessary. I
live with my husband and dog Holly in Madison, CT , three miles from my little 500 sq. ft. floral studio—
which is a quick ride in the middle of the night when I remember that the glue gun wasn’t unplugged!
When I’m not in the studio I am pulling weeds in my vegetable garden or laying on the beach in the
summer, snowboarding in the winter and taking my dog for a hike in the woods.

In short, I can happily say that I never tire of thinking of flowers or playing with them in my studio. Even
though event floral design is very hard work it is completely rewarding and I truly look forward to each
wedding and can’t wait to stand back and take in the finished event!

Thanks for asking Amy!”

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Thanks, Elisabeth, for taking the time to share about yourself with us during this busy holiday week!

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DSC_0707 studio 3 floral design blogspot quicksanf roses eimage via Studio 3 Floral Design 

The Question:

“Right now I'm doing weddings as gifts for friends, but eventually I'd like to turn this into a business. I understand pricing for nursery plants since I've been in that industry on the pricing side of things, but I've never been on the pricing side of the florist industry. I am pretty good at estimating wholesale flower and supply costs right now, but I have no idea about anything else. How do you determine rates? Is it by the hour? Our do you look at your flower price and add on a certain percentage?  I'd likely be starting out of my home and so I wouldn't have much over head.”  (submitted by a reader in Texas)

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The Answers:

“Like many custom services, the approach to pricing in the floral industry can really vary. At minimum you should price your flowers at 3 times the price of your wholesale cost. So if your flowers cost $15, your arrangement would be at least $45; this way you ensure you are covering your overhead, labour etc. But when you outline your costs, that model doesn't leave much room for profit. In some markets, the markup is by 5 ($75). Obviously your market and demand for your services should factor into your pricing. If you have a very strong wedding market in your area, and offer a superior product and service, and are in constant demand, then you can (and should) charge more. When I met Ariella Chezar last year, she said one thing to me that really stuck: "Floral designers everywhere need to charge more!" I completely agree with her and think that as a whole we need to better value ourselves, and educate our clients about that value.”

-Clare Day (Clare Day Flowers)

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“I think a lot of pricing structure depends on where you live, the cost of living there, your experience, and where you will get your flowers (because this is obviously your biggest expense).   I started out by doubling what I spend on flowers for what I would charge for floral arrangements.  Then I would put things like vase and candle rental, delivery, etc. on top of that. I think that is a good place to start, and then after a while you will become comfortable with what you spend and what your costs are, you can figure out how much more you should charge.”

-Sarah Winward (Honey of a Thousand Flowers)

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“Pricing is hard and takes time to master. There are formulas that many flower shops use which is usually an approx. 3-4x markup on flowers, ribbons, containers, etc. I found it was a bit of trial and error in the beginning as I was growing my business. There will always be that wedding where you learned (and kicked yourself!!) that you should have charged more as it took more flowers or time than you expected. Like you I started my floral business in my home and had only one very part time designer so my overhead was minimal, but the costs still added up to more than I thought they would: electricity for coolers and air conditioners, water, cleaning supplies, garbage pickup, gas for transportation, rental vans, designers wages, advertising and website costs, inventory, etc.. all add up pretty quickly! You may consider adding a labor/installation/delivery fee which will help cover these costs--either a flat fee or a percentage of the estimate. Once you realize how much work each event is from start to finish you will most likely be raising your prices as your time, labor and expertise are valuable! Good luck with your new venture!!”

-Elisabeth Zemetis (Blush Floral Design)

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“There are several methods to pricing floral designs to industry standards and I do suggest that you follow those guidelines as closely as possible. I am not sure if we are going to flat out mention those margins here or if this will be better left unsaid. Selling things below market value only confuses clients or the market and devalues the art of design. However each designer does have the right to decide what level of profit they are comfortable with. I often change my profit margins when I am working on an event that can further my career or has a chance for publication. What I don't do is under sell the cost of the flowers or the labor it takes to create the designs. Also remember this it’s very hard to go from being a budget floral designer to a fancy high end floral designer.”

-Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)

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Thanks Holly, Clare, Elisabeth and Sarah…for your willingness to be open about a pretty personal question.

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I leave you with a few designs by Just Bloomed

6a010535ded4be970c014e8aacb42d970d-800wi just bloomed

6a010535ded4be970c017ee3e55195970d-800wi just bloomed

6a010535ded4be970c0162fbf62b76970d just bloomed

6a010535ded4be970c015392c9ae3b970b just bloomed

6a010535ded4be970c017742f56ccf970d just bloomed

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

1 comment:

melissa said...

Thank you for taking the time to do these Wed. posts! I look forward to them all week and they are very educational!