Posts Tagged “Mayesh Floral Forum”

Mayesh Floral Forum: Destination Weddings

 

Destination weddings can be totally intimidating. As if designing and installing a full wedding in the comfort of your own studio and city weren’t stressful enough, doing everything in a new place adds another whole slew of things to think about! Where are you going to work? Where are you going to get your flowers? The list goes on, but if you get it down to a science, destination weddings can help bring your business to another level, and hello, more exciting travel experiences for you!

To help get you started, we asked our Floral Forum when they started including destination wedding services and what things to take into consideration. Read on for some helpful advice:

 

 

Floral ForumRachael Lunghi

 

I’ve been including destination wedding services from the very beginning which I think has been VERY helpful 🙂 Lotsa hard lessons there!

Things to take into consideration when offering this service include: travel, accommodations, freelancers, shipping flowers, local flowers available, buckets, vessels, etc.

You have to consider all the things you’ll need to pull off a wedding in another city or state. It’s a good idea to reach out to local florists and see if they’re available to help, borrow buckets from, borrow oasis from, etc. It requires a GOOD amount of planning ahead and logistics. Especially if you’re flying! 

I typically rent an Airbnb and look for a garage or outdoor space. And I ALWAYS ask the ‘bnb host about air conditioning 🙂 That’s pretty key! 

 

Rachael flowering on-the-go! This & top photo: @sirenfloralco

 

I love doing destination weddings though. There’s so much local goodness you can pull from and be inspired from and you get to meet and work with new florists!

 

Floral Forum

Jodi Duncan

 

I started doing destination events many years ago.  The demand was very grass roots. My local clients had daughters that moved away and got married far from home.  Since I already had relationships with them, it was convenient and comforting to them that they knew I could be trusted.

I’ve done weddings from coast to coast.  I’ve never tried to grow or promote this segment of my business, it just happens naturally.

 

Things to consider:

  •  Your relationship with local wholesalers.  Reach out to them, find out what they have. Whatever you have shipped in might need supplemented.  Sometimes they will be willing to receive freight in the form of hardgoods & props especially if you are giving them a nice order.
  • A dedicated “backstage” place to process and design.  Without a doubt, do the designing out of the sight of the client. A glimpse behind the scenes make some people nervous. And some things should remain a secret.  Most restaurants don’t let customers in the kitchen, so keep the magic backstage. Depending on the venue, there may be space to design on site, just make sure you respect the facility and understand the constraints of the space.  The more of the process you can keep hidden behind the scenes, the more professional you will look.
  • Logistics is a huge skill set; just because you are a good designer does not mean you have a grasp on what it takes to execute an event far from home. You’ll need buckets, water, a way to protect the floor, refrigeration, trash cans, a way to dispose of the huge amount of trash, and the list goes on….and that’s before you design the first bouquet!
  • Extra hands to help design. Of course you have made recipes and prototypes and know how long its going to take to put this event together. Now make sure you have plenty of skilled stable hands to make it happen. You might bring your posse with you, or fly folks in, or find out who is local and skilled. You can even check AIFD’s website. Don’t forget to feed and house your designers.  Take good care of them. Don’t feed them junk food and processed garbage. Don’t expect them to work 18-20 hour days.
  • AirBnB or VBRO might be a good option for design, as well as accommodations. Many times its better than a hotel…it just depends. When it comes accommodations, I try not to stay close to the client. They don’t need to know when you go to bed and get up!
  • You can always stay over and play a bit after all your hard work if you are fortunate enough to be designing somewhere fabulous.
  • If you feel you are in over your head, do not be afraid to hire outside freelance & management help. Destination designing requires much more than good design skills. A practical grasp of logistics is essential to success. If you don’t have that skill set, there are companies that do, such as Schaffer Designs. Bill Schaffer, AIFD & Kristine Kratt, AIFD are brilliant designers who also understand the practical side. Their success doing destination events for clients from coast to coast and internationally speaks to the fact that they are more than talented floral designers.

 

 

Floral Forum

Jerome Raska

 

About 5 years ago, when there was all the rumble about destination wedding we took a look at what was happening. I believe this is very regional , however certain things are universal. 

Much like many aspects of our business, it is mind over matter. 

After reviewing and discussing, we came to realize we do destination weddings, however, kind of in reverse! Many of our young people get degrees and relocate for employment, and when it is time to plan the big day, often they want to come home to family and friends, however, having been gone, it is like planning a destination wedding. We offer and full service coordination and decor. This has provided us a whole new avenue of clients without ever having to leave home…. Sometimes it is just about rethinking who you are and what you can really do!

We will travel, and have if needed for a client. The entire event is the same just in a different setting. Many local wholesale providers will work with you as well as most venues are accommodating, it is really about good communication and not assuming!

 


 

And while we’re on the subject, if you weren’t already aware, many of our Mayesh branches offer Destination Event services as well that you can utilize to rent out design space! Connect with your sales rep to learn more, and if you don’t already have a Mayesh rep, get started here.

Mayesh Floral Forum: Flower Substitutions

 

You’ve all come across at least one of these frustrating scenarios: your bride comes to you with their vision in mind, a vision which MUST include dahlias. The only problem? Dahlias aren’t in season during her wedding. Scenario two: six months before the wedding, you tell them you can get X, Y or Z flower, and the week before, there’s an unexpected shortage due to something completely out of your hands, like the weather.

So we asked our panel, how do you deal with substitutions, and breaking the news to your clients that the flower they wanted so badly won’t be available for their wedding? How do you ensure that your bride is still happy?

 

 

Floral Forum

Beth O’Reilly

 

I strongly believe that the most successful floral artists and salespeople sell an emotion; a look and a feeling, NOT a flower!  The way wedding flowers are sold is VERY important, both on a retail level and a wholesale level.  On the retail end of things, a bride needs to be guided in a way that provides the best possible outcome for her expectations.  Sometimes honing in on clues to understand what she is expecting is one of the most important skills for wedding florists to learn.  Also, pin pointing your concerns with any unreasonable flower expectations that she has right off the bat is imperative.   All of this has to be done with tact and finesse in order to  make her feel confident in your abilities to carry out her vision regardless of any availability issues or requests that she has her heart set on.  Mother Nature plays a huge part in her plans and she needs to know that if you can’t get a peony, for instance, you are going to choose a substitute of like value, color and feeling. If her peonies aren’t available, she should understand that its not that you or your wholesaler dropped the ball…it is simply that Mother Nature and the farms that grow them have not been able to provide it at the time of her wedding.  It is kind of like going to the grocery store…one week the grapes are big and fat and juicy and the next week they are small and a bit sour.  We work with them though.  We add a little sugar and maybe some other fruit that is sweeter to make a great combination.  Flowers are kind of like that.  It’s a great analogy that I have used often in the wedding consultation- especially if I think that a substitution may need to me made when her wedding rolls around. 

 

On a wholesale level, I think it is important for wedding florists to understand the challenges that their wholesale partners face as well.  Just like consumers need to be educated by their florists, retailers need to be educated by their suppliers.  It is unreasonable for any florist to expect that their wholesaler can “guarantee” any highly seasonal product that is in great demand.  A peony or a dahlia is a great example.  Really any flower that is trending becomes highly sought after and creates a demand that makes that flower more likely to have availability issue, especially during peak wedding season.  It is so important that you find a wholesaler that you can partner with.  Finding a company that will educate you and that you can trust to do everything possible to find the flowers you need but to also have great substitutions in mind and on hand should your requests become an issue the week of your event. 

 

I feel that flower trends and products change very quickly.  Just because a florist has been in the business for 20+ years does not make them an expert when it comes to market availability and varieties.  It is an ever-changing landscape.  If I can offer one solid piece of advice as you order and purchase your flowers, it would be to keep an open mind and utilize your talents in a way that makes what Mother Nature has to offer work for your clients needs and also to trust your sales rep to make good decisions on your behalf.

 

 

Floral Forum

Cynthia Sanchez

 

I get this quite often. I find most my clients have at least one favorite flower but they just don’t know when they are in season. It’s really just a matter of educating my client on what is in season at the time that they are getting married and providing great substitutions for flowers that they may love but can’t necessarily get.  I like to ask about colors they’re working with or what vision/theme they may have instead. Then we can design everything as a whole. I’ve found this helps people see the “big picture” a little clearer than to just focus on specific flowers at first.

 

Substitutions are great. I let my clients know that if we have to substitute something we’ll choose something with the same look or style to what we were planning. I’ve also noticed that when brides show me images of flowers they like, a lot of my brides think garden roses are peonies.  This is why garden roses are great substitutions for peonies. That’s usually my first option when somebody wants peonies. If they’re looking for dahlias or ranunculus, etc. I like to substitute flowers with a similar look or feel to what they like. For example: if a bride wanted ranunculus, I might substitute it for a spray roses or some scabiosa if I’m looking to use it as a more delicate accent to flower arrangements.

 

Because flowers are alive and no two are ever the same, I have a clause in my agreement which states I will use substitutions on any items I either can’t get or isn’t up to par with our standards. I think this clause has been very important to have because every so often you might find that some bunches you’ve ordered just don’t look quite as fresh as you would normally like them to be. Since we florists make flowers ahead of time, I’d rather substitute a different flower that I know will look great and give me the same end result than to have that particular bunch of flowers look even worst on the day of the wedding and risk having me possibly trash those flowers anyway. 

 

Floral Forum

Rachael Lunghi

 

This is such a great question. I’m a pretty straight forward in person in general, but believe it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it 🙂 So i just try to break it to them gently but also keep them realistic//set expectations. 

 

What’s nice about living in CA, is sometimes we get fluke items 🙂 Like random peonies or ranunculus off season. And so i’ll explain that to them as well and tell them I’ll do my best, but can’t guarantee they’ll get that specific bloom because it IS off season. I also try to encourage them to trust me to choose some pretty substitutions-and ALL of these stipulations are listed within my contract as well-just to make sure we are covered! 

 

In terms of scenario two: OOF this has definitely happened. and I think it’s all about communication//expectations again. Since I usually start wedding prep much earlier in the week just before the wedding, I tend to be able to nip this in the bud. And if i can’t get the item, I’ll just let them know it! Sometimes these things just don’t come in, or they come in and they’re not their best quality. SO, I just communicate that and then send the client photos of my pull cart or some other pretty items we’ve pulled for them to try to keep them excited! It’s all about remaining flexible and positive and encouraging them to do the same!

 

Floral Forum

Veronica Cicero

 

When it comes to breaking the bad news, I tend to do it right up front without hesitation. However, if there is a slight chance that it will be possible I mention it and make sure that they understand I am not committing to it, but will make note of their wish list to surprise them the day of the wedding. Nowadays, I have learned from my past mistakes and I do not promise any specific flowers especially to brides. My commitment to each one of our brides is to stay true to the design as a whole and not the specific blooms. 

 

 
 

Thanks to our Floral Forum for your advice on avoiding these sticky situations! To sum it up, try to be as honest & transparent as you can with your client, focus on selling a “feeling” rather than a specific flower, and if all else fails, include a clause about substitutions in your contract! And as always, if you have anything else to add to the topic, please tell us in the comments below!

Mayesh Floral Forum: Relationships w/ other Wedding Vendors

 

As florists, we are just a small piece of the wedding industry pie. From event planners to photographers to calligraphists, there are so many other creatives that come together to create these magical days for the two lovebirds. We all know how important networking is, and as an aspiring floral designer myself, I’ve always wondered how important it is to connect with other vendors, and how to go about doing so!

So I asked the Mayesh Floral Forum: Relationships with other wedding industry vendors… how important are they? How do you establish good relationships for referrals and possible collaborations? And to get a bit more specific, we also had a customer ask about images of your work, and if most photographers are willing to give florists their images, or make them pay to use them?

 

Floral Forum
Randi Eshelman

 

I have never paid for images that photographers have given me. The photographers that I work with quite a bit don’t typically watermark their images but they do ask for credit. Which I happily give! It is important to credit the photographer on your website as well as social media. Sometimes we have to do some extra leg work and ask the photographer for images after an event. And sometimes we never get photographs. So my team and I are trying to get better at taking a few quick snaps that we can use for social media before the event.

Relationships with other wedding industry vendors are extremely important. They can be a huge source of referrals and a great support for our businesses. We typically are referred by Venues, Planners, and Photographers. If there is a vendor that you would like to work with or a venue that you have always wanted to work at, ask if they would be willing to collaborate on a styled shoot. Early on in my business, one of the first styled shoots I did, the photographer set the shoot up at one of my favorite venues. I was so excited as I had never worked there but always wanted to. The event coordinator liked my work so much she added me to their preferred vendor list. It was one of the most pivotal points in my business.

Networking with other vendors is always important. I know it can be hard and intimidating if you don’t know a lot of vendors in your area. But finding a commonality with other people is a good way to start relationships with them. One of the things that is very important to me as a florist and a small business owner is BE NICE. Be nice to other florists, other vendors, and people in your industry. Your reputation will proceed you. Do you want to be known as difficult to work with or someone who is nice to work with? That is so important when trying to collaborate with others.

 

Floral Forum

Rachael Lunghi 

 

Almost all photographers just allow me to use them – I’ve had one ask me to pay for them and I said no thanks 🙂 I think that’s a totally ridiculous expectation! Us using their photos is good for them as well – as long as we are crediting properly, I don’t think it should be an issue!

In terms of vendor relationships… HUGELY important. I think each wedding that you work with other vendors is also a networking event. You should be working as a team and making everyone’s job easy so that the event runs smoothly and hopefully they’ll want to work with you again. I’d say i get more referrals from other vendors than most other marketing avenues 🙂

Collaborate away, make friends, and just do your best. If other vendors feel that you’re fun to work with, dependable and talented-why wouldn’t they recommend you?

As for the best ones to “get in with”-coordinators for sure. As a coordinator also, I’m always sending referrals out for vendors i love 🙂 coordinators + venues <3

 

Floral Forum

Mandy Majerik

 

As far as photographers, they are very willing to give us images digitally as long as we make sure to credit them appropriately when we use them. Photographers that we work with often, also offer a large canvas of our work (and theirs) to display in our consultation room, usually a couple of times a year.

Helpful Hint: When using photographer’s images on Instagram or any other social media that has filters, DO NOT add another filter to their original photo. Some have unique brightness, flair and finishes that they want to represent their brand.

The most important vendor that we work closely with are wedding planners. Their power of suggestion is amazing when it comes to vendor referrals. Most of our larger weddings are brought to us by planners.

 

Floral Forum

Ryan O’Neil

 

The photographers we have worked with have been tremendous. Traditionally they have given photos when we ask. One photographer does a “photo drop” two times a year where they open up their photos to their vendors. We’ve never had to pay for photos of an event that we did. There were a few times when we were a smaller company that our photographers sent photos with their branding on them. As we’ve established ourselves in the industry and grew into our target market, photographers now send us photos branding free and we ensure they get credit for their beautiful work! If photographers ever send us photos with their branding, we just ask them if they could send us specific floral photos without the branding and let them know we would give them credit.

Your “friendors” are definitely important. When we were starting our St. Louis wedding florals company, one of our Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) each week was to meet three new connections from the wedding industry. These didn’t make a huge impact immediately, but they did break the ice to further opportunities. In the last two years, 23% of our clients said they heard about us, at least in part, from another vendor. The large part of our vendors who send work our way are the venues. Many of those relationships we actually built by just doing a wedding there. Once they love the work and see Rachael and our team work efficiently and clean up after themselves, they want to work with us again. Recently, we’ve not done gratis inspiration photos shoots as much because the ROI (for us at least) is too low and that money is better invested elsewhere in the business. There are plenty of other places to build relationships with other vendors.

 

Floral Forum

Jerome Raska

 

Photographers have long been the challenge to get the actual photos…. We have recently used the approach, “We would like to feature this wedding on our website and credit you for the photography. When can I expect to get some of the best floral shots form you?” Always get their card so you can follow up, but this approach has been most helpful!

We use this same approach on most of our partner vendors and it works great!! We offer to feature the product on our website for a special pricing partnership opportunity.

 

Floral Forum

Jodi Duncan

 

In 99.9% of instances photographers are happily willing to share images, even without a watermark, because they know I will give them credit and send business their way. From the White House to LA, that has been my experience, but that’s not to say all photographers are generous. In my neck of the woods there IS one that wants to charge me $50 per image. #NO #NiceTry

I will never recommend a vendor to a bride that I have not worked with on multiple occasions with consistent results. Sometimes vendors ask me to recommend them, but I will not do it until a track record is established.

Its a tricky balance; I see the bride once and the vendors again and again, but the bride is the client. I value my relationships with my vendors and many have become very close friends over the years. Those connections are important to me and ensure my brides have a great wedding experience.

 

 

Okay everyone, ya hear that? Credit photographers and become bff’s with ’em. Oh, and coordinators too. There was a lot of other helpful advice in there (I love Randi’s suggestion of doing styled shoots with other local vendors!) but almost everyone mentioned these two things.

And what about you guys? Any good or bad experiences with other vendors, and what you learned from the experience? Share below!

Mayesh Floral Forum: Send us your Questions!

floral-forum-questions

We need your help! If you’ve been following along at all with the Mayesh Floral Forum, you may have noticed it’s been a little while since we’ve posted one. We last discussed educating our clients on pricing back in July, but now that we’re just about finished with summer we’re ready to get back at it. I have one in the queue that will be going up soon, BUT we need your help in coming up with some new questions & topics!

 

Whether you’re new to the industry or a veteran, we all have questions and could all use helpful advice from other members of the flower community. So send ’em on in! Comment here or our social media pages and we’ll be sure to jot them down.

 

We look forward to seeing what you’re interested in learning, and love facilitating these important conversations within our community.

 

Happy Thursday!

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