How to Run a Successful Flower Shop – My #1 Secret for Making it Work

I've been spending some time looking back at the early days of my flowering career. As much as it makes me want to cringe and I'm embarrassed by a lot of what I was doing, I've found it really helpful to reflect on all the mistakes I've made and see just how far I've come – particularly when it comes to learning how to run a successful flower shop.

I am on a mission to share as many of my epic failures and lessons learned as possible, with the goal to help you move forward and progress faster. It's like we all get to learn from the mistakes I made and then you'll be 10 steps ahead. Isn't that fun?

When it comes to learning how to run a successful flower shop, the list of mistakes we made is long. There are so many things I wish I had known and so many 'a ha' moments to share.

Even now, in 2022, florists are operating on a lot of misinformation about how to make a flower shop work and I want to help simplify this process. I want to fill the void of information and make it easier for you to get real results (and make more money).

At the end of the day, there is a lot to think about when it comes to how to run a successful flower shop. There are all the logistics around operations, insurance and retail leases. Then all the technology, POS and systems. Plus staffing and shop fit-outs.

And that's all BEFORE you even have a customer calling or coming into the shop to even get into the flowering and fulfilment.

I've put together this blog post to help cut through the overwhelm and help you get focused on what matters most. Because your time is precious. Your energy is limited and I don't want you to waste money on sh*t that doesn't work.

My #1 Secret for Making it Work: How to Run a Successful Flower Shop

I wish someone had told me, way back when I became my own boss, that I get to decide what success looks like to me.

I spend five years chasing someone else's definition of success and it was awful. It's like mindlessly climbing Mount Everest and then getting to the top, only to wonder "WTF is this? This isn't what I wanted?"

So let me save you from all that toil and trouble and lay it out for you as simply as possible: when you make the decision to start a business, you are signing up for being the person in charge. The head honcho. The person who holds that sign says 'The buck stops here.'

Most of the time, it's a scary place to be. It's new and unfamiliar and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get it perfect.

But being a business owner and flower boss is also one of the most empowering experiences a human can have. (I share more of this on Instagram, so be sure to follow along.)

I believe being a business owner really teaches us, as human beings, how to truly LIVE into the fullness of the human experience. To feel all the feelings and work through so many of our fear-based, scarcity-driven limiting beliefs.

So, if you're at a loss on what to do in your business and what direction to go, one of the most helpful exercises you can do for yourself and your business is to get clear on what success means to you. And be super literal and specific in your definition.

If you look up the definition of 'successful' on the interwebs, you get this: accomplishing a desired aim or result.

So, with that definition in mind, what is YOUR desired aim or result? Remember, you get to decide for yourself what you want success to mean and you don't need to pay attention to what anyone else is telling you "you should do".

Maybe you're like so many many of the florists inside my Flower Boss Bootcamp who want to have a beautiful shop front with a collection of giftware, home decor and a cute little flowering space.

Or maybe you're navigating a totally different path and only want to do 4 weddings a year, all with big fat 6-figure budgets.

Or maybe you're somewhere in between.

At the end of the day, you get to decide. You are the CEO, the woman in charge and this is your business. You get to define the outcome for yourself. (And no, you don't need to 'work your way up' or 'start small'.)

Being In Charge is Awkward

Yep. There you go. I said it.

Being a leader, being a CEO, being a Flower Boss doesn't come naturally to most of us.

We're very comfortable having someone else tell us what to do. When we're kids, our parents are in charge. Then we go to school and have teachers, principals, professors leading the way. And then we get our first job and, as an employee, we are still following someone else's lead.

Then, we make the decision to start a business and we bring all of that 'not in charge experience into our own work and inevitably 'outsource' the "being in charge" authority to others.

This is particularly true when we're wondering how to run a successful flower shop. We really like to tell ourselves there is a "right" way and a "wrong" way.

So, on our hunt for answers (and when we lack confidence), we might give our customers or clients the power to tell us what to create. Or we might have team members and staff who push us around. (I've experienced both.)

Here's the thing though: it's not your fault. You are not broken. You are a human being running a business and for most of us, no one sat us down and told us how intense this experience feels. No one has told us that when you own the business you get to decide what is done, how things are done and where the business is going.

It's OK that it feels new and awkward. It's OK to feel overwhelmed and confused. There is a lot to sort through.

You can do this. You can do hard things, right?

Go Deeper: My Flower Boss Success Formula

At the end of the day, your success is 100% up to you. No one else is going to come along and do the work for you.

You don't need to wait for permission. You don't need more qualifications and you definitely don't need more Instagram followers.

But you do need to decide you want this and you will make it happen. And then get to work.

Friend, it's time to double down on YOU. To recognise how capable and smart you are. This flower dream of yours was planted in your heart for a reason. I feel it in my bones.

It's time to step up and share your love of flowers with the world.

And no, you don't need to figure it all out on your own. In this week's podcast episode, I'm sharing My Flower Boss Success Formula.

Yes. Quite literally, I'm giving you the formula for showing up with more confidence, more clarity and giving you the inside scoop on how to embrace the discomfort of being the boss of your business.

What you'll learn from this episode:

The real reason we play small, stay small and talk ourselves out of massive action

The #1 secret to being intentional, mastering your mindset and showing up with more confidence

My 4-part framework for feeling successful (even if you're new and just getting started)

The value of hitting 'reset' on your business and coming back to basics

Listen to the full episode here

 

Full Episode Transcript

Enjoy the Show?

Florist Wedding Contract Terms and Conditions

It used to scare me to talk through our wedding terms and conditions with our clients. I thought our clients would see right through me and call me out for not having a clue about what I was talking about.

I was afraid of getting called out. Of being told we were doing it wrong.

Cause the truth is, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t have a clue why wedding terms and conditions mattered or how to structure a florist wedding contract template.

That is until I had my first client cancel their event. This was back in 2018. On an otherwise-uneventful Thursday afternoon in September. We received the heartbreaking update that the couple were not going through with the wedding. The event was being called off.

I still think back to the day, talking to the bride’s mother. She called just to let us know Stephanie and Tom had decided to call off the wedding.

She was in tears. The bride's mother could barely get words out. It was had to console her. I didn’t quite know what to tell her so I said, “I’ll send you an email so you have the formal confirmation from us.”

Of course, I was heartbroken. Yes, my heart goes out to the couple, to the family navigating this experience. I don’t want any human to have to navigate this experience.

But I also know, as a business owner, I have an obligation to do right by my business. That’s part of what we are required to do when we start a business.

Being a Human vs Being a Business Owner

It’s the ultimate tug of war: the experience of being a caring human and the experience of being a flower boss. Sometimes, the two things don’t perfectly align.

As a human, I was heartbroken. As a flower boss, I knew I had to say the uncomfortable thing.

Emotionally, I find these situations very challenging. I care a lot about my business and I care a lot about our clients. I don’t want to go through these experiences. It has to be sunshine, rainbows and lollipops for me. All. The. Time.

Here’s the most amazing thing about being a business owner: you are the authority. The biggest downside of being a business owner? You are the authority.

As a flower boss, we have to make hard calls, unpopular decisions and do the best thing for our business. Many times, that might mean saying the unpopular, uncomfortable thing.

In this case, I was heartbroken for our clients. And I advised the family in writing, the 25% payment made is non-refundable (as per the wedding contract terms and conditions they signed).

It’s not about having to decide between one thing or the other. We can feel sad AND stand our ground.

And, in my experience, this is where the real value of florist wedding contract terms and conditions come into play. 

Mapping out a formal set of booking terms and conditions for your clients requires you, as the flower boss, to think ahead, to decide now what you’re going to do if the wedding gets called off, postponed or rescheduled.

Do that in the cool calm light of day and then when shit hits the fan, you already have a plan to follow. And then, all you need to do is follow the plan.

Florist Wedding Contract Terms and Conditions - The Basics

Why create florist wedding contracts? There are three main reasons to have clear wedding terms and conditions in place:

  1. To get clear on what your plan is when things don’t go to plan
  2. It helps protect your business
  3. It also protects your clients 

Yep. You read that right: your florist terms and conditions are of value to your business and to your clients. 

Technically the word “contract” comes from the Latin contractus, meaning ‘drawn together’. As in, ‘two things tied together’.

Your florist wedding contracts aren’t created as a defence mechanism. 

Booking terms and conditions aren’t something we need to use to intimidate or bully our clients. It’s not about threatening a lawsuit and being aggressive.

In fact, in my experience, I found the exact opposite to be true: walking our clients through our booking terms and conditions is an amazing opportunity to demonstrate our professionalism and care.  To educate our clients and show them how methodical we are in our approach.

It shows your clients you’re looking out for their interests and demonstrates that your business has a plan in place should things not go to plan. 

As a result, your clients walk away feeling reassured, cared for and know they can trust you.

An added bonus, when you take the time to walk your clients through your wedding florist booking terms and conditions, the trust factor increases. Better yet, this increased trust leads to more creative freedom on the day.

This is the most surprising outcome of having a set of terms and conditions: when you take the time to talk your clients through your wedding terms and conditions, they trust you. That increased trust leads to more creative freedom. What an amazing outcome for all involved!

Florist Wedding Contract Template - Start Here

I know exactly how overwhelming and intimidating the world of booking terms and conditions can feel. 

We’re here to help. We’ve created a set of booking terms and conditions for you to follow. For FREE. 

Yep. Our wedding florist contract template is inside our Big Ass Folder of Free Shiz #ForFlorists. 

👉  CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE FLORIST WEDDING CONTRACT TEMPLATE

Use these florist wedding contract terms and conditions as your foundation. Be sure to engage a contract lawyer who knows the laws in your state. 

Hire a professional contract lawyer to help you formalise your agreement and account for the laws in your area. They will help you navigate the ins and outs of the details. 

I know the idea of talking to a contract lawyer feels scary. But I promise it’s nowhere near as intimidating an experience as you think. And it’s nowhere near as expensive as you’re imagining (particularly if you start off with this free template – click here to grab it).

Focus On The Future

If you don’t have a formal set of terms and conditions in place, you’re not alone. Don’t waste a minute beating yourself up or wishing you could turn back the clock.

As Maya Angelou once said, “When you know better, you do better.” This is precisely how I think about wedding florist contracts.

All that matters is that you know you can adjust your approach today. Stop stressing about what you did (or didn’t do) yesterday and get to work on making things better.

Today is a great day to get yourself sorted. 

Jump in and grab our free wedding event booking terms and conditions (click here) and get to work on implementing them in your business.

Your future self will be so grateful that you did the uncomfortable, boring thing today.

Do you struggle to show up with confidence in your flower business? Check out my Flower Boss Bootcamp – it’s the only program available to floral designers focused entirely on the business of flowers. Click here to learn more.

Want More Help?

Want more guidance when it comes to florist terms and conditions? I recorded a podcast episode all about it – jump in and listen to it today.

How To Make Money As A Florist - The Scientific Way

Today I'll be talking about a topic that I love - makin' money as a floral designer. In an industry that is so secretive about its ways, it gives me great joy to share my knowledge and help floral designers all over the world, build successful businesses.

Do you remember sitting in chemistry class back in High School? Those sexy goggles we got to wear. The Periodic Table. Bunsen burners and all that madness?

I’m not gunna lie, I wasn’t the best at chemistry. But I did have fun with it.

I loved running the experiments and seeing the outcomes of mixing a bit of this and a bit of that. Today, I do exactly the same thing in my flower business.

We get to approach our marketing exactly the same way scientists approach their experiments. And, truth be told, it’s one of the most helpful mindset strategies I’ve learned in the past 10 years.

Now, you’re probably wondering: Kathleen how are science + mindset connected? And how the heck does all of that link to you making money in your flower business?

Florists Making Money - The Scientific Way

There is this thing called the Scientific Method. And it can be applied to anything – including a specific marketing activity you’re doing in your flower business.

Here’s a very simple interpretation of the Scientific Method:

  1. Identify your question
  2. Create a hypothesis
  3. Run your experiment
  4. Review the data Recalibrate as needed

So often, when we’re running a business, our human brain wants to tell us “It’s not working.” When in actual fact, that’s not true.

Any time my students come to me, inside my Flower Boss Bootcamp, and say “It’s not working,” I always come back with the same question:

“What’s not working?”

Our primitive brain is programmed to focus on the negative. To keep us safe and out of harm’s way. And when we’re running a flower business, we’re always battling this pre-programming.

The Scientific Method has been one of the best blessings I’ve stumbled on in the journey to build this business. It’s how I turned into a florist making money.

It requires us to dig into the data. To get our geek on and focus on tracking our progress.

When you circle back and ask yourself, what’s not working, you get to work on looking at the data. Where on the path to purchase are your customers getting lost?

  • Is it that they’re not finding you?
  • Are they confused by what is on your website?
  • Overwhelmed by choice or distracted by too many options?
  • So are they jumping off your website because you’re not showing big enough price points?
  • Did they move on to the next Instagram profile because you’re too elitist and standoffish?

I’ve asked myself all of these questions over the past few years. And I’ve tested so many different hypotheses along the way.

But that’s precisely how I figured out what worked.

I didn’t indulge in confusion or overwhelm. I refused to let my brain get stuck in a rut. When my brain was telling me, “It’s not working”,  I did not listen to it. I came back and said, "OK, well let’s figure out precisely what’s not working".

Get Your Geek On

Even if you didn’t conquer chemistry, embracing the Scientific Method in your flower business is so empowering. (Even better, in this instance, there is no one looking over your shoulder pushing you to get an A.)

Which simply is that we get to ask a question and post a hypothesis and then we get to work on testing it out. It requires us to focus on the data.

Not making as much money in your flower business as you’d like? Let’s get our geek on and get into the data.

What’s not working? Are they landing on your website? What are they not seeing? Are you using relevant hashtags to get found by your clients?

There are literally thousands of experiments we can run in our business –and even to this day, I’m still running experiments. Focused on looking at the data and always looking for ways to make our business and our offering better.

It’s so fun.

Even better, I’ve created an entire podcast episode on how to make money as a florist - the scientific way, to help you dig even deeper into this subject. And it’s so helpful!

You can listen to it on Spotify here or on the player at the end.

Need Help?

I know building a business can feel super overwhelming. I’ve been there. I’m here to help.

Check out my Flower Boss Bootcamp. Because I have created this one-of-a-kind program specifically to help floral designers, just like you, master the business of flowers. I’d love to see you there!

💖

Kathleen