We’ve all been there. When you’re in the thick of things, and it seems like nothing is working, it’s hard to step back. Though, that’s essential during busy and slow times to grow as a designer. Let us help – here are 23 floral extracurriculars you might not have known existed that can bring new energy, creativity, friends, and money into your personal and professional life.
Become CFD and AIFD. These credentials will only boost your reputation. Those few letters behind your name let your audience know that you have blood, sweat, and tears invested in becoming the master designer you are. Even if you’re retired or not practicing at this point, this can actually be fun. Pick up a textbook and put yourself in your kids’ shoes once again. You can even take a prep course with your friend. Studying, taking, and passing this certification exam will only do good for you anyways.
This can always be a fun activity. You can explore new design techniques if you’re truly a designer or you can see new rose varieties if you’re a floral buyer. Why not go with your own design team to turn these into a field trip. If you’ve been following, we were up close with the 2014 AIFD Chicago Conference where everyone involved had a blast. At Floral Expos there are gardens and flower marketplaces. Horticulture experts and professionals from academia spoke at our very own Chicago Flower & Garden Show. You’ll learn a lot and meet awesome people. Bring your kids and family along and make it a weekend trip. Or, make it a true networking experience if you’re wanting to work your way up in the industry. We also met some of the top farms in the world last year at the Colombian Floral Expo Match Making Conference. Farm leaders, breeders and scientists, united to meet flower wholesalers and other flower supply professionals. This is how we keep an edge in the market ourselves…by staying involved with floral conferences.
3. Family Weddings
All I’m saying is that you should be that person. Maybe it’s hard for you to accept money or you just don’t like your sister, period. Regardless, your family is family, and nobody is as artistic as you in your family. You could even incorporate that niece who has a slight understanding of art. Ask them to help you and turn it into an opportunity to bond with the people you love. Trust me it will be worth it. The way your family perceives you will have an affect on your mood. If you’re happy, you will have long productive days. If you’re grumpy because of family issues, it will just turn into a negative downward spiral, in turn, affecting your designs.
4. Be or Become Religious
All of the previous activities, including this one are touchy, I know. But remember, channeling your energy is the focus. Ethics are taught in Church/Temple/Synagog/Mosque. Wherever you go, even if you have your values straight, this would be a good place to leverage your abilities. That’s the key as you wonder, what’s in it for me? Well, you can have a second or third streamline of income with religious events if you’re genuine and get involved. I would definitely feel it out before making this a Sunday morning family activity. Our friend, Srini Perera, has managed to not only be a successful wedding design specialist, but also actively participates in events at her church. That’s how I know the feasibility of this Floral Extracurricular. She even somehow managed to include her daughter in high school. What else do floral design moms want other than to get their daughters to maybe one-day become talented designers as themselves?
5. Explore Floral Technologies
There are a lot of new-age wire services in the market. You should know them like the back of your hand if you’re going to try them out. Why not give them a shot during the winter months or when business is a bit slower? Check out Bloomnation and Floralapp. Most of these are tech enabled wire services, with lower fees than traditional wire services. They also provide seamless integrations with your social media accounts, so you can manage your designs and images all in one place, right from your iPhone.
6. Traveling Trade Shows
These are year round occurrences in different states throughout the country. Why not fly out for a weekend? This will be your chance for that vacation you’ve been wanting. Not to mention, it’s tax deductible! You can even bring the family along. The flower shop network usually posts a page with a calendar of all the upcoming shows for the year, so you can buy your plane tickets in advance. If you’re feeling adventurous, trade shows can be fun, educational, and experimental. You can even bring some of your designs along if you’re driving. If you decide to fly, bring your iPad and business cards to network with other designers, wholesalers, and enthusiasts.
7. Dinner Parties
Remember how it’s healthy to have friends? It will be good for you and your well being. Why not invite them over for lunch or dinner? This will give you a chance to show off your God-given gift. Be creative and experiment with new artificial and botanicals. You can even set a nice color scheme with your table arrangements and table cloths, napkins, and appetizers as you can see here. Utilize that patio nobody has used since you built it. Make the best of what you have around you and share it with the people you love. It will be fun!
8. Home Decor
Decorate your living space to represent the creativity within you. Use long lasting materials for artificial designs or fresh cut roses from GlobalPetals for a live and vibrant look. Color schemes, shapes, and textures will be your friend as the interior designer inside of you will begin to come out. Your family and guests will appreciate your high-end lavish lifestyle.
9. Studio Decor
This is perfect in those fall and winter months. Use this time to set up your bridal consultation space or create an open concept floral studio. Create a pathway of curiosity from when your customer enters your shop until they reach you. Think about your customers’ expectations mentioned here. You can even use this time as an opportunity to clean out that storage area you’ve been meaning to get to.
10. Get Endorsements
Designing for non and for-profit foundations will help you gain sponsorships and will increase your visibility. This could be the start to your press kit or a portfolio that features articles, blogs, and maybe even TV shows mentioning your name or showing off your work. Everything you participate in is documented these days online. This will build your credibility within the community and on the internet when your customers are searching for designers near them. They’ll quickly be connected back to your website or your social media pages.
11. High Schools
Give back to your local high school by getting involved with their horticulture classes. You can be the point person in charge of supplies and materials. And guess who will point fingers at you when it’s prom time? Walk into your local high school near the end of August, just before school is about to start to volunteer your services. Who knows, you might even get paid to do this…
12. Your Online Networks / Social Medias
We all know that your Facebook page is very important to your business. Organize it, have your pictures up by season or by wedding party. Pinterest is big for brides, so why not make one? They could be brining in pictures of your previous work before they even come into your shop. It’s not all about social media, but also, professional media as LinkedIn has become bigger and more relevant within the past year. If you need help creating these, your kids will be the best go-to people. Remember, think mobile, as up to 50%, and growing, of your customers will be viewing your social media on their mobile devices. If you want to take it even further, set up a Google Analytics account to see where your online visitors are coming from, at what times, and why they’re even coming to begin with. There are a lot of floral marketing companies like Florist2.0 that can set all this up for you for a small fee.
13. Classes, Workshops, Certificates
Two and four day advanced classes are designed for experienced floral designers who want to add skills to their repertoire. The programs are typically hands-on, complex and fast paced. You must be proficient in basic floral design skills and terms to make the most of these classes since they usually start at $200. The curriculum in these classes is redesigned annually and updated frequently to reflect current trends and styles. The month long classes are designed for less experienced designers. All of these classes can usually be found at your local community college. Here’s an example from the community college by my house: Horticulture Degrees and Certificates.
14. Create an Etsy
I love Etsy for florists. If you don’t know already, Etsy is an online store where you can sell handmade goods (floral designs) online right from your home. It feels as if this untapped way of making money could be huge within the next few years. It has a lot of potential for business savvy designers, like yourself. You’ll get to learn about shipping and marketing online as well. See LaceandLuxe’s Etsy store here. Set up your page with your name, items for sale, and prices with a few lines to tell a bit about your design style: “Welcome! We are here to help you make your wedding dreams come true. Feel free to message us for custom orders or special requests. Don’t forget to peek at our gifts section for the bridal party!” To be honest, if you got really good at this, you might be able to cut your shop’s overhead costs. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is definitely possible.
15. Research New Varieties
I have to come back to GlobalPetals for this one. We have the newest, most exquisite roses ever seen by designers, nationwide. Your wholesaler relationships are built over time, so during your non-wedding months, get to know new varieties offered by them and/or us in person or virtually. You’ll have to be outgoing when it comes to trying new services, but trust me, it will be worth it.
16. Implement Financial Technology
If you don’t already accept credit cards because it’s too expensive or complicated, a relatively new service is available now called Square. It’s literally the easiest payment system to accept credit cards from anyone. Simply plug the free devise they send you into your cell phone, swipe the card, and the money is in your bank account next day. This is great to use for floral deliveries as well because you can receive payment in person instead of fumbling with information over the phone.
There’s many subjects you can teach in various ways – in your shop, at local colleges, writing books, e-books, and more. This builds credibility for yourself, it’s a form of genuine marketing, potential income, and you can make plenty of new friends in the process. To see a more detailed list of what to teach and how to do it, check out our earlier post called 4 Out of the Box Ways to Make Money as a Florist.
18. Make Videos
Making videos is inherently a piece of teaching. More relevantly though, YouTube is the second most used search engine in the world. Therefore, when people are searching for flowers online, they’re just as likely to come buy from you by searching on Google as they do on YouTube. Ask yourself – what do I know and what can I show that would be helpful to my customers and/or other designers? Make a video and upload it. It’s easier than ever to do nowadays with cameras on your phones and being able to do videos from your computer camera’s as well. If you want an example of some simple videos that have performed well, check out Joe Guggia’s video that got thousands of views on Facebook, Reinventing Retail Floral Design. Also, see J Schwanke’s interview with our own, Michael Lyons.
19. Start or Join a Meetup
We mentioned this strategy if you want to become a celebrity floral designer before. Though, you don’t have to be a celebrity designer to benefit from Meetup groups. If you don’t know Meetup.com is a website in which you can organize meet up groups with people who have common interests. The goal is to organize online, then build relationships in real life. This can be with other designers, brides, flower and garden enthusiasts, or the design community in general. It’s always a good idea to cross-network with other industries; you never know when an opportunity will arise from a connection who needs floral for their company’s event.
20. Community Events
Be top of mind within your community. Volunteer your services for various organizations, charities, etc. You don’t have to give it away for free, but if the event will have a lot of eyes on it, it may be worth doing for a discount. The floral business is international, but the key to success is ingraining yourself locally. Be known by everyone as a friend and supporter of the community. When someone buys from you, it’s not only because you have fantastic designs, but also because they’re supporting you as a member of this same community.
21. Start Floral a Blog
This is near the bottom of our list, but it’s 21 for a reason – Black Jack! By this I mean, if you play your cards right, this could be your jackpot. By launching our own flower blog (you’re reading it right now!), we’ve been fortunate enough to receive great visibility. You can do the same thing. The only difference is that your customers are brides and flower buyers. Cater your blog to those brides and end-customers. Think to yourself, “What are things brides ALWAYS ask about or are struggling with? How could I help them?” Write about this. Solve their problems. The key is to write and share in a selfless way. Give without expecting anything in return; I realize this may be a hard pill to swallow. Though, I’m telling you, have faith. When you give to your customers selflessly, they’ll give back to you in spades.
22. Pick Up a Hobby Besides Floral Design
You’re probably thinking, “But I’m a floral designer – that’s who I am!” And I’m not disagreeing with you. That is who you are. Sometimes, life can turn into too much of a bubble when all we do is our profession. This increases stress and closes us off to new opportunities. Pick up another hobby or interest that can take your mind of the stress of work. This mental break can give you the reprieve you need and make you fresh and think outside the box when you get back to the grind.
23. Create Multiple Income Streams for Yourself
You’re a designer first and business person second – I completely understand. At the end of the day, it’s hard to design when you can’t pay the bills. There’s numerous resources at your disposal to make money in other ways that don’t cost you much. That way, you don’t have to stress out if your designs aren’t providing enough income to support you 100%. Look into AirBnB, a way you can self-hotel out a room in your house. It’s completely safe and reliable. I personally know countless people who pay off their mortgage or rent, and make spare money on top of it this way. Another cool way to make money is through Meal Sharing; check out the website here. You design a meal, post it on the website, and people looking for a good home-cooked meal pay you to come over and eat it. Again, I realize it may sound a little scary, but it’s completely safe – thousands of people do it everyday without incident.
Also, check out these other ways you can make money with your floral expertise in our earlier blog post. Click here to read it.
When you feel like you need a break from it all, it helps to have some extracurriculars. With these 23 suggestions, you’ll have more energy, inspiration, and friends who support you along your journey.
What other floral extracurriculars do you take part in?