How Much Do I Order From the Wholesalers? Learning How to Create a Floral Design Recipe

For the first three years of my flower business, I didn't know a floral design recipe was a thing.

I didn't know that my favourite florists all have formulas and create recipes for their work.

This wasn't something I heard another florist talk about and I definitely did not learn this concept in my formal qualifications.

I had even gone to a handful of fancy flower workshops and even there, no one talked about it.

Oi. I look back now and realise just how much frustration I could have saved myself if I had known a 'recipe' was a thing. It's my go-to system for figuring out how much to buy from the wholesalers.

In my opinion, a floral design recipe changes the game.

It's like going to the grocery store with a specific list of what to buy, rather than going in and thinking you'll just buy whatever looks good (hmmm...maybe that's how those Peanut MnMs keep ending up in my bag.)

What is a Floral Design Recipe Exactly?

In its simplest form, a floral design recipe is a list of ingredients and a set of instructions for making something.

Just like how you'd get a recipe to make nanna's chocolate chip cookies or dad's apple pie, we can do the same thing with flower arrangements.

In fact, you can create a recipe for anything and everything. Literally. Buttonholes, wrist corsages and flower crowns. $100 bouquets, $250 arrangements, and $500 gift baskets. Floral archways, ceremony features and bar decor.

HOT TIP: one of the best pieces of advice I received from my accountant was to actually start to outline a basic set of recipes for my team. This makes it so easy for someone else to come in and make a bouquet (to your design aesthetic and expectations). In the end, a basic set of floral design recipes ensures your staff and freelancers aren't just chucking together a buncha product, overstuffing the design and eating into your precious profitability.

How to Create A Floral Design Recipe

You can create a recipe off of something you've created in the past. But if you're anything like me and want to learn how to level up your design skills and love looking at other designers' work, here's what I do to create my recipes.

I actually learned this approach by thinking about what art students do, learning from the masters.

You know how when you go to a gallery or museum you might see a few art students there, sketching from the masters or practising a specific technique? Well, we can do exactly the same thing.

The best bit is, you don't even need to leave the comfort of your own home.

I first learned how to create a floral design recipe by looking at some of my most favourite designers. If you see a photo of something you want to create, all you need to do is work through a super simple three-step process:

  1. Identify the ingredients
  2. Count the stems
  3. Do the math

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the mechanics and tools needed to create the work, so don't forget to include that in your list of ingredients required.

This 3-step system is the exact approach I used to help level up my pricing and my design aesthetic. (Need a reminder about pricing? Use this florist pricing worksheet.)

Going through this approach made me see that when I quote $180 for a bridal bouquet, but dream of making $350 bouquets...I gotta change the prices I'm throwing around for my clients.

I encourage you to work through this three-step approach with lots of different design inspiration – whatever kind of work you want to be making, use this three-step approach to create a simple set of floral design recipes. (Also, here's a YouTube video I've put together that shows you how to create a floral design recipe from one of my designs.)

This process of deconstructing someone else's design makes it easy to map out your prices and effortlessly quote on a new installation or bar feature.

Using floral design recipes also gives you the reassurance you have the budget to buy the ingredients you want to work with. It makes answering that question, "How much should I buy from the wholesaler?" way easier to answer.

Yes, creating recipes can feel tedious, but it's always worth the effort.

How Much Do I Order From the Wholesalers?

Yes, I do suggest, for every design you're creating, create a quick recipe. (If you're using a reference photo, you'll want to adjust the ingredients to suit the season and colour palette.)

Once you've mapped out your ingredients and stem counts, you can then work through the full list of what to order for your wholesalers.

HOT TIP: double-check your bunch counts and stem counts to maximise your product usage. Ordering that extra bundle of roses for just one more stem eats into your profitability so fast.

The first few times you create your recipes it's going to take you a long time. And you're not going to get it perfect. That's OK.

One of the best habits I created for myself was to make notes after every event. I made notes around what I would do differently next time and give myself specific guidance on what to change if I was to do it all over again.

So, with your last wholesale order, if you over-bought on Queen Anne's Lace or Gerlton Wax, make a note of how many bunches you'd order next time.

If you wished you had one more bundle of Quicksand Roses for that ceremony feature, plan for it. Update your recipe and subsequently increase your next quotes to allow for it.

Every time you go through this process, you'll learn something and can build up a whole library of knowledge and expertise. In the end, it only takes a handful of 'lessons learned' and personal reflections to make a world of difference.

For me, I found using floral design recipes is one of the best shortcuts to help you stay on budget with your wholesaler orders while also being able to create work you love.

You'll see a dramatic improvement in your wholesale orders, efficiency in production and the quality of your designs.

Let's Go Deeper: Building Relationships with Your Wholesalers + Growers

Navigating the ins and outs of relationships with wholesalers and growers is obviously an important part of the business. The quality of the product we receive, the ins and outs of ordering and building quality relationships can literally make or break your floral designs.
And yes, it's a super intimidating part of the process. On a previous podcast episode, I did a deep into all things Relationships, Wholesalers + Growers, passing along some of my favourite tips + tricks to help you build better relationships, faster.

What you'll learn from this episode

✓ How to think about your relationships with growers + wholesalers
✓ Why these relationships are so important to your business
✓ Common mistakes most florists make when it comes to wholesaler relationships
✓ Five tips to help build better relationships

Listen to the full episode here

Enjoy the show?


Full episode transcript

Setting Sales Targets in Your Flower Business

As 2021 comes to a close, I know so many of us are turning to 2022. Setting goals. Making resolutions. Dreaming of creating bigger, better flower businesses.

Setting sales targets in your flower business is part of this – and I know many of you are gonna roll your eyes and tell me numbers aren't your thing.

And here's the thing, most financial planners, biz wiz people are gonna overcomplicate this and make business planning an epically overwhelming and hard exercise...which is awesome for them because it validates their existence...but not so awesome for you, right?

You're after business tips that are easy? Super simple? Straightforward? No fluff?

You're in the right place, my friend!

When it comes to setting sales targets in your flower business, I like to follow a super simple approach.

(Heads up: I am not a financial advisor, accountant or lawyer. Go out there and seek personalised custom advice...but also know this formula is HELPFUL to get you started!)


Keeping Things Simple

Most floral designers go about building their business backwards – we say yes to whatever comes our way in the hopes that (a) "one day" we'll be able to create the work we want to create and (b) everything will just magically fall into line and we'll start making more money.

That's how I used to approach my business.

Until I realised that approach is a little bit like wanting to go on a holiday but then booking a hotel for Melbourne in May, hiring a car in Sweden in September and paying for discounted airfare to New York in November.

For most of us, when we plan a trip, the first question we ask is: where are we going? That's precisely the same question you need to ask in your business.

Setting a sales target in your flower business is like identifying a North Star. It brings everything into focus and requires you to set your sights higher, level up and take massive action.

This one exercise is when you finally start to see that a handful of $60 bouquets isn't going to cut it. Or those $500 wedding enquiries aren't enough.

If you don't know where you're going, any path will get you there.
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Setting a sales target in your flower business shows you how small you've been thinking and shows you where you're allowing fear to hold you back.

And my super simple approach to setting a sales target shows you just how big you get to dream, brings up all the fear and doubt and requires you to embrace the discomfort of growth (which is the real secret to creating your dream flower business).



How To: Setting Sales Targets in Your Flower Business

Are you ready? It's time to grab that calculator my friend.

Take your personal income goal (i.e. how much you, as a human, want to bring home to live your life) and multiply that number by 5.

personal income x 5 = annual revenue target

Now, it's not a perfect solution but it does give you guidance on how big you need to be thinking.

For most of us (myself included), we tend to think way too small. But to create a profitable flower business and make more money, one of the biggest lessons to learn is to set your sights higher.

Quite literally.

And, this one little bit of math does just that – when I do this with my students, it usually brings up those waves of nausea, fear, hesitation, uncertainty (um, know all the negative emotions that we want to avoid?).

But that is part of the magic of this formula. It shows you just how small you've been thinking.


Your Actions Need to Match Your Ambitions

Building a profitable business, setting sales targets in your flower business, requires you to step up. To embrace the discomfort and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

But, because you're human, that is going to bring up all sorts of emotions. For most of us, we use that negative emotion as a reason to stop.

  • You feel afraid, so you stop taking action
  • You don't feel confident, so you talk yourself out of putting yourself out there
  • You feel a tiny, itty bitty sense of resistance and you immediately assume something has gone wrong. You should stop.

What I wished someone had told me years ago is that this experience, that negative emotion, is normal. Particularly when you own a business.

It is part of the human experience. Nothing has gone wrong. You are not broken.

You are a human being with a human brain. And your human brain is programmed to keep you safe. It wants you to stay in the cave, which often means keep playing small, staying small and not putting ourselves in harm's way. Ever.

Except, the experience of business, the day to day reality of building a business requires you to do the opposite.

Creating bigger, better results in your business requires you to take bigger, better action. And that means embracing the discomfort of trying new things.

That's why I love this super simple approach to setting sales targets in your flower business – it brings up all the fear, doubt, and uncertainty.

Your job is to then work through, overcome, the fear, doubt and uncertainty and take action despite feeling afraid.

And yes, setting sales targets in your flower business is as easy as 1-2-3:

Step 1: identify your personal income goal
Step 2: multiply it by 5 to get your business' annual revenue goal
Step 3: level up your mindset to make it happen, so your actions match your ambitions


Making it Work

This one exercise, identifying a sales target, has helped so many of my Flower Boss Bootcamp graduates fast track their progress. It's such a simple bit of math but creates massive results.

It makes your goal concrete, measurable and gives you guidance on how big to dream. It's so awesome the immediate mindset shifts that can be created from this one little bit of math!

It's why we've created this super simple calculator – play around with the numbers and experiment with different goals. Then you can get to work baby!

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. 


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.

What skills are needed to be a floral designer?

I get asked this question a lot - what skills do I need to become a floral designer? And I decided to address it in today's blog. I am sure you will find these skills to be the most helpful if applied correctly to your flower business.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, digging into our decision to move to Australia. (We moved from Canada in 2008.)

When people ask me this question, I usually respond with “Because I could.”

But the truth actually sits a bit deeper. When I deconstruct the way we made the decision, I recognise there is some method to the mad.

The real answer? I allow myself to go to the worst-case scenario. What is the downside of making this decision?

I’m beginning to recognise this approach is quite different from many other humans.

So many business owners I work with, inside my Flower Boss Bootcamp are so afraid to make decisions. Afraid to commit to one niche. Scared of committing to one design aesthetic. Afraid to make decisions.

Let’s dig into it a bit more.

Decision Making Is A Skill

What skills do I need to be a floral designer? When you go to traditional design school, you’ll be taught some colour theory, a bit about the elements and principles of decision, and dive deep into flower care.

Of course, then you get out into the big bad world. And you make the decision to start a business and then you’re paralysed. You get stuck in a cycle of indecision.

I’ve worked with so many florists in exactly this same scenario. It’s a totally normal human behaviour. Because we’re never taught how to make decisions.

Once you learn decision-making is just a skill to be learned, you can start to practice and focus on building the muscle of decision-making.

You are forced to make decisions all the time as a business owner. What are you going to name your business? What website platform will you host your site on? How many times are you going to post to Instagram?

Are you going to focus on sourcing ingredients locally? Are you going to jump into daily deliveries? Just do weddings?

What will you offer for Mother’s Day? What do you want your biggest price point to be for Valentine’s Day?

I’m exhausted just thinking about all the decisions we make in our business. Everyday.

99% of our energy goes into making decisions. It’s a major part of our responsibilities as business owners.

Imperfect Information

When you make the decision to start a flower business, it requires you to step up. To step into a bigger, bolder CEO identity.

And as the CEO of your flower business, you will be required to make decisions every day. Quite a lot of decisions.

What is also true, is that most of those decisions need to be made without perfect information. We cannot predict the future.

But this presents us with the perfect opportunity. It gives you lots of space to build your skill as an amazing decision-maker.

Which is such a gift because becoming a great decision-maker is one of the must-have skills needed to be a floral designer.

Four Tips To Help You Become A Better Decision-Maker

  1. Get clear on what matters to you most. This way, you can evaluate the options against your personal priorities.
  2. Detach your self-worth from the outcome. Because you are a whole, complete, 100% worthy person no matter what the outcome.
  3. Allow your brain to go to the worst-case scenario. Yep. Entertain the idea of the worst-case scenario and make a plan. I find this helps so much!
  4. There is no such thing as a right or wrong decision. Literally. You learn by doing and evaluating the outcome. Then you make the next decision.

Even better, I’ve created an entire podcast episode to help you dig even deeper into this subject. It’s so helpful! You can listen to it on Spotify or on the player below.

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. I 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!



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