Now that you have finished your initial consultation and booked a client, it's time to start bringing the event to life in your studio. If you have access to the capital AND the business know-how, it might be a great idea to get a physical location. If you're starting from scratch, have little money, or it's your first business venture, I recommend creating a strategy where you're working out of your home.
When we first started, we worked out of our basement and we didn't even have a cooler for our first few events! So how do you make the most of limited space and resources to help make a client's dreams for their big day come true?
The BasicsAbove all else, be sure to know and follow all local laws when setting up your business, whether a storefront or in your home. We’ll be discussing the admin side of the business later in the series.
That aside, you're going to want to make sure you have space to work. If all you plan to do is bouquets and bouts, you can have a couple tables and be done. If you are looking to do large or multiple events on a weekend, you'll want more elbow room. We worked out of about 600 sq feet of our basement each week. We have a few tables that we set up. As we grew in size, we had more team members coming to execute. You'll also want to have space for enough buckets to process your flowers.
One of the negatives of our space was that we had a flight of stairs to carry arrangements up to for transport. You'll want to make sure that you have a water source easily available and that your space can handle it. You'll also want to make sure that you can wash buckets. A commercial sink would help things, but we didn't use once until we renovated our new place. If you're at home, be sure you take a write-off of the space that you use as a business office.
If you're getting a physical location, be sure to add that into your math of what you need to profit each month. Also be sure that you can easily paint if needed as well as load your vehicle. At our current location, we have to drive the vehicle on the sidewalk to load up the van. It's not optimal but it works.
Be sure to have a ribbon rack. You can get one as simple as a rod from IKEA to put your ribbon on. You'll also want to have some organization drawers for your odds and ends like your hot glue gun, tape, pearl pins, etc.
Our cooler was our first big purchase. We bought a display case cooler on Craiglist from a bankruptcy situation. Unfortunately, a florist went and bought a great storefront and a nice cooler and didn't end up with enough business to sustain themselves. That's a warning in itself! We did benefit from it though and used the cooler for several years.
In our new shop, we have an 8'x8' cooler installed. We purchased it new and it was one of our biggest upgrades that we had in getting a new shop. Currently it's served us well, even though we don't have any shelves in it yet. The shelves will dramatically increase our storage room.
We’ve heard raving reviews about the Coolbot as well. We have some Curate users who have some very large cooler spaces that use it. In all honesty, it would have saved us a couple thousand had we decided to just build out a room in our shop space and use the Coolbot. While we're good with our decision to get a traditional floral cooler, definitely do the math on what is going to work for you.
Now that you have your space set up, keep an eye out for next week's article on executing an event, including how to find a wholesaler or local provider and how to transport your flowers to the event.
When we were first getting started with our St. Louis floral shop, back in the days before Curate was even an idea, we set up an advanced Excel Recipe Spreadsheet that was a good stopgap measure until we needed a professional tool. We know that not every florist is in a place where they need the super powers of Curate so we're sharing an updated version of that Excel Recipe Spreadsheet with you to help you until you're ready for a tool made for professional florists.