Thursday, November 7, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 5 - Cool Chick with a Cool Job

Lately I’ve been kind of obsessed with figuring out “what I want to be when I grow up” and with the idea of whether or not everyone just hates their jobs and does them anyways. Do some of you wake up in the morning excited to go to work? Is that a thing? Mike and I sit and talk over and over again trying to figure out what path to place ourselves on for the future. And it’s hard. Is money more important or happiness? Is there a way to find a creative job where you won’t be completely stifled at every step? Does anyone actually like their job?!

I tell you, I’ve been obsessed with these thoughts. So I decided to talk to some ladies I know that actually do seem to like their jobs; a lot of whom branched out on their own and started their own businesses. Maybe they’ll inspire me to figure the eff out what I’m doing with my life. Or maybe they’ll hire me?  Wink wink

Our first “Cool Chick with a Cool Job” is Shannon from Flourish who did the flowers at my wedding. She’s been in the flower business for over 23 years and has been widely successful…for good reason…the lady rocks and is super nice to boot. On top of her flourishing (get it hehe) floral business, Shannon also recently started a web site called Fancy Pants Weddings that is filled with amazing wedding inspiration. I sat down with Shannon (well, not really we did it via e-mail, but they always say that in interviews so I’m going with it) and asked her some questions about how she ended up in a job she loves.

V:  What is your education/employment background?

S:  When I was in college I was hired at a florist shop to help them with accounting and to keep the books. Literally, keep the books. I had to enter charges on cards using a typewriter and write out the ledgers. Even in the late 80's that was an old-school way to do the accounting. When I was done pounding on the typewriter and I had used up all the White Out, I would work in the front of the shop helping with the flowers. Once I realized I wanted to be a florist I kind of left college behind and started down the path of learning as much as I could about floral design.

V:  Is being a florist something you’ve always wanted to do?

S:  When I was a kid my aunt was a florist. I was fascinated with her job. Then in my teen years I read a book about a girl how worked at a florist and it stuck with me. So when I got the job at the flower shop in later years it just all clicked into place and I knew floral design was what I wanted to do.

V:  How did you get into this field?

S:  I opened my first shop with a business partner in 1994. The shop was a gallery that featured local artists/flower shop specializing in artistic designs. I was soooo green (see what I did there?)! It really was a case of trail by fire. I just kind of jumped in and figured things out. I had no idea, beyond some basic design skills, what I was doing. But I learned! When I had the boys, I sold the business and stepped away from flowers for a few years. When I got back into working with flowers I knew I wanted to focus on weddings and events and I opened Flourish.

V:  What made you decide to finally go for it and start your own business?

S:  Looking back on it, I don't really think I gave it a lot of thought. When the opportunity presented itself to open the flower shop, I just went for it. When I started the business I was young enough that I had never gotten used to a fat corporate paycheck. So starting the business didn't hurt too much in the way of a pay cut. A new business can be a major time suck too. But I didn't have children at the time and my husband was, and always has been, supportive of my endeavors. I guess I was so young and inexperienced I didn't really know I was taking a huge risk. Maybe I was really brave. That's it. I was brave!

V:  What is your favorite part of your job?

S:  Meeting with a bride for the first time and knowing that I am clicking with them and totally get their vision. I love when I can be creative and my client is excited about the ideas that I present to them. It makes the whole process a more about a creative partnership.

V:  What’s the hardest part of your job?

S:  Working with unrealistic budgets. It is awful when a bride wants the moon and doesn't understand why I can't give it to them and then treats me like I am gouging her and I am the bad guy. I am always happy to work with a budget but the bride has to be willing to meet me half way. I am not a miracle worker and I am not running a non-profit business. Respect my time and talent and I will work my hardest to make your wedding as pretty as your budget will allow. 

{Side Note from V:  I had a pretty measly flower budget and Shannon was amazing about it. She worked with me and my flowers were exactly what I wanted!}

V:  What does a typical day for you look like?

S:  One of the coolest thing about my job is it is ever changing. During the wedding season (mid-April through mid-November) the flowers come in on Wednesday we process them and make sure we have everything we need to make the event happen. Thursday and Friday are the designing days and delivery on Saturday. I also meet with brides, order flowers, organize rental d├ęcor, and a million other things during the week.  During the "off" season I spend a lot of time blogging, marketing, networking, and all the things I do not have time for when we are in the middle of production. I also develop craft projects for the spray paint company, Design Master. It is really fun to be creative in a way that does not involve flowers.

V: Tell me more about Fancy Pants Weddings!

S: I started the blog Fancy Pants Weddings as a way for me to share some of the things I have learned over the years about weddings. Offering advice, DIY crafts, and featuring real weddings has been a lot of fun. We are in the middle of a complete overhaul and re-brand that is slated to reveal mid-January. I am really looking forward to all the new projects and information we are about to share with our readers.

S:  What advice do you have for someone who wants to get into your field?

V:  Learn what you can where ever you can. If you are lucky, find a special event floral designer that will hire you to process flowers and deliver weddings. Then soak up everything that happens before and during the events and LEARN! Look into the Floral Design Institute in Portland and Seattle. They have a solid program for someone just starting to learn floral design. Once you have practiced and learned the basics see if you can find a family member or friend that will let you do their wedding flowers. Close your eyes, hold your breath, and JUMP.


Thank you so much Shannon for letting me interview you and for your amazing advice.  And, well, for just being awesome!  Check out Flourish here , Fancy Pants Weddings here , and enjoy some beautiful pictures of Shannon’s work below!

Photo via True Love Photo

And of course I had to include some from my wedding!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the profile Valerie. Any time you want to head back Cali way and wash buckets and clean flowers, you just let me know!