Friday, November 20, 2009

behind the scenes ... cost vs. art

As the market corrects causing the un-savy shopper to become savy, the wedding industry is also under financial scrutiny, including the cost of wedding flowers. More then ever in my eleven year floral career, brides are asking me what flowers cost. sometimes they are finding this out for themselves … and then they are asking me why a single stem boutonniere that carries a cost of only $1 is being charged at a $7-$10 rate. So following in suit (with permission of course) of some other amazing designers across the nation (ie nancy liu chin, amy of hidden garden, david dahlson w/mayesh, sean low and a few others) I want to break it down for you as to what it is that you GET when you “get what you pay for.”

Ill try to keep it simple and straight forward. For simplicity take this bouquet for example (that i chose for seasonal reasons):

here is what you will need to make this bouquet, this is cost only you may not use the entirety of product but you will have to purchase it to create this one piece.

1 bunch of black magic roses $22
1 bunch of red france roses $22
1 bunch of red berry $9
1 bunch of salal or lemon leaf or foliage $5.25
1 bunch of red tulips $10
1 box of pins $2.50
1 spool of ribbon $6
1 spool of floral tape $1.50

the basic costs of goods to make this bouquet rings in @ $78.25

now consider what a few other elements going into this bouquet might be worth. What about the design of flowers that so eloquently marry each other, how they are grouped and or arranged? The knowledge of knowing that before hand and not being reliant on an assumption that the combination you have chosen will look good. Basically what about experience that ultimately ends in a piece of art that has a bit more integrity then an un-experienced DIY bouquet done by someone with little to no experience? The energy to order them, pick them up, store them, hydrate them, arrange them, finish them, and deliver them? Yeah you can avoid all this expense by doing it yourself if you have lots of time, great resources, some serious know how and a few other skills, or your aunt kate can do it as well, but what is the outcome? Great floral designs really can make or break your wedding, and I mean this literally! They are often the focus and indication of how nice your wedding was and what style it entailed in all your forever pictures you just paid a great photographer for (i hope you have done this at least). So lets say you recognize this and you want works of art for your floral designs. Above and beyond the costs you see above, what are you willing to pay for those other underlying less physically tangible things to consider? What is someones time & talent worth to you? What should their markup be? What about covering their company expenses before they even make a profit? Like the advertising that got you to them in the first place, their insurance that covers the unimaginable, the gas for all the driving around they did for that one bouquet? a professional florists needs to 'account for their costs and pay themseleves a LIVING wage” as david w/mayesh would say.

So is this bouquet worth $160 to you? Its cost plus match? Is it worth $200? is it worth more? Does it depend on who its coming from? What I want you to know is this, more often then not you get what you pay for. If you want your catering done out of your kitchen from costco by aunt jane then thats what your catering will taste & look like and so on and so on. But most importantly I want you to know that if you ask your professional florist to break it down for you, he or she just might be willing to show you how meager their income really is. sometimes a little light shed is a valuable piece of knowledge.

In fact I think this concept pertains to nearly every vendor in the wedding industry. Many soon to wed couples think about doing invitations, catering, photographer and other resources themselves. But what is the value of a pro doing it right?

I do realize the doom and gloom of the current financial crisis and how it is truly curtailing the dreams of many betrothed. I dont doubt that a DIY path may be the only option and I dont mean to offend or downplay great possibilities that come out this, I sincerely wish you all the best. I merely mean to educate you as consumers as to what you get when you get flowers vs art or food vs catering or images vs photography and the values associated with both sides. There are ways to work around the economy with your vendors, they are full of options. Seek them out and utilize their expertize.

Monday, November 16, 2009

wedding floral acadamy

Last week i journeyed out to san francisco (a city of my heart) with my assistant jules to attend, participate, and help with Wedding Floral Academy.

i cannot say enough about nancy liu chin and her eloquent teaching & design abilities. she is a selfless designer contributing back more then most do. I came home overwhelmed in the most positive sense of the word. workshops are about education & ultimately growth. an opportunity to take advantage of. i came home with some major growth in nearly all areas of life and my business. few endeavors supply such a balanced experience of growth. If you are a designer seeking further education, wedding floral academy is a must!

the first few days were business focused, i am filled with excitement to implement ideas that i know will better my company thanks to this healthy rejuvination. then we spent a few days at flower market on brannan to experience floral design. a few things that came out of it for me ...

a big shout and thanks to nancy of course as well as stacy with the flirty bride for one amazing quick blogging course! and for her industry involvement. Also the other participants, mainly marion, jen, jean, kelly, anne, and last but very much not least for julia, making the trip an adventure of a lifetime. thanks for going on this journey with me girl! never forgotten!

Friday, November 13, 2009

rachel & ker on my blog & UBB

this wedding is a revisit on this blog but these are pro pics provided by emily brown photography. so i thought it was worth some nostalgia. its also on UBB today!

so ihave just returned from WFA with Nancy Liu Chin i have so much to share. its almost overwhelming but its so fantastic and i feel so rejuvinated in business and design.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

WFA bound!

its time, the day has finally arrived. studio stems is headed to san fran for WEDDING FLORAL ACADEMY with NANCY LIU CHIN! i can hardly wait. Nancy is and has been an amazing mentor to me and i am so excited to go out there and help her with this educational artistic experience. therefor i will be out of the office from ... friday the 6th - thursday the 12th. all emails and messages will be returned then.

enjoy some of nancy's work while you smolder in your jealousy!

good posts to come when i arrive back, several weddings and some great informational stuff.