Looking for the 10 things I did to grow my flower business? You're in the right place.
One of the most common questions I get asked is, "Kathleen how did you go from a newbie, fresh outta flower school designer to a 6-figure designer so fast?"
Well friends, if that's your question, you're in exactly the right place.
And I mean, let's be honest, even if you're already a six-figure florist, I really hope I'm able to drop a few knowledge goodies for you too.
I spent so long trying to piece together all the things and it took me years to figure out how to attract the right customers, feel confident with my pricing and finally run a business I actually liked.
My goal with this blog post is to pass along the exact things I did to grow my flower business and make it easier for you than it was for me. Cause ummm yeah, this industry is so secretive when it comes to getting customers and makin' money. But I'm here to bust through the silence and pass along as much wisdom and expertise as possible.
So, let's get into it, shall we?
Actually, Just Before We Begin...
Here's the thing: hindsight is 20/20.
I don't want you to think that I knew what I was doing – it's not like I had a list from another florist called "10 Things I Did to Grow My Flower Business". What I want to map out for you here is a very clear, step by step guide on what you need to do, having learned from the 1000s of mistakes I've made and blunders along the way.
Know that, yes, 100% I messed up. I made so many mistakes when I was trying to figure out how to grow my flower business. So know that I did not come out of the womb knowing these things and being able to pull together such a succinct list is because of the benefit of hindsight.
I just want you to skip over the 'I don't know WTF to do first' bit and jump to the 'making money + enjoying flowering' part waaaaayyyyy faster than I did.
For those of you who have been following my journey for a while now, you already know many of my failures – attempting to sell super cheap wedding packages, offering up table arrangements for $45, overstuffing designs every which way to Sunday and hesitating to even charge clients $15 for delivery.
On the other hand, if you're new here and you're thinking that Kathleen's business growth has been so easy, I'm happy to burst that bubble. Imagine the exact opposite of that...and that was what the first five years of my flowering journey looked like. #hotmess
Now, let's get into the list, shall we? If I could rewind the clock, start all over again, here's exactly what I would focus on to grow my flower business...
10 Things I Did to Grow My Flower Business
#1 – Branding
Let's start at the beginning (even if you've been in business a few years) when it comes to the 10 things I did to grow my flower business, branding is definitely at the top of that list.
Take the time to craft a premium brand. And no, I don't mean get a fancy designer to work on your logo and get business cards printed. I mean sit down and go through a very intentional, strategic planning process to land on a clear vibe (like the one I teach inside Flower Boss Bootcamp).
In the end, no one thing is going to make or break your brand but what I know now is that the collective power of all the pieces of the puzzle contributes to attracting better, more premium clients. So be intentional with every customer touch point, the packaging you use and the overall vibe of your website and Instagram feed.
And, yes, this is something to start sorting through on Day 1. Right after you land on your business name, lock in that URL and save your IG handle, I'd start mapping out your vibe and brand.
No, it doesn't need to be complicated or hard (or expensive). In fact, in my experience, you can get your brand sorted in an afternoon and then get to work on pulling together all the details as you build your business.
If you want to learn my exact approach, come join us inside Flower Boss Bootcamp. I break it down for you step by step and it's one of the best things you can do today to get your dream business sorted.
#2 – Define Your Offer
I used to believe that in order to grow a profitable flower business you had to cater to a broad array of customers. Kinda like you had to be all things to all people and have your clients dictate your designs.
I did that for three years. It was awful.
It was hard in so many ways and it's actually a super inefficient way to run a business. It's kinda like if you were to walk into a restaurant and the chef had to be ready to make any meal at any time. Imagine if the first customer who came in wanted a vegan lasagna, the second customer wanted chicken vindaloo and the third client wanted a triple-chocolate gluten-free donut tower.
Oi. That just feels hard.
But that's how so many of us are taught to run our flower businesses.
It's time to turn the whole thing on its head and put yourself in the driver's seat. Decide now who you want to cater to and who your ideal client is. Then spend time thinking about your design aesthetic and what you want to create.
#3 – Create Your Set Menu
By far, this is one of the best ideas I've ever landed on as a floral designer. The basic concept is that you get to sit down ahead of time and decide the formats you'll use, the ingredients you'll feature and the colour palettes you want to offer. Do the math to set up your prices and then get to work learning how to sell that work (again, not actually that hard).
The concept is exactly like that of a restaurant menu. And, in fact, it's one of the most helpful things you can do for your customers – too much choice, too many decisions always leads to overwhelm. Overwhelm and confusion leads to no sale.
Again, this is how so many florists run their businesses. We wait for the customer to tell us what to make. Take a really long time quoting it up and then get surprised when we're ghosted. Again.
It leads to disappointed customers. And disappointed florists.
So, do your future self a favour. Sitting down now and map out your core menu. Be super selfish and decide how abundant you want your designs to be, what kinds of ingredients you want to use and the formats you'll offer. Do the math.
And then, instead of scrambling to quote new designs or new work, pour your focus into learning about sales psychology and marketing tactics. (Fun fact: the problem is never the price. Your customers want more than just a cheap bunch of flowers...but you don't get to learn that until you move past the self-doubt and uncertainty around pricing.)
#4 – Focus On Your Website
One of the biggest changes to come from the pandemic is how customers are shopping for florists. no more looking for the local flower shop or physical retail space. More and more customers are confident shopping online – whether it's for flower delivery, signing up for a workshop or ordering wedding flowers.
These days no longer is having a physical shop the mark of a credible, well-established florist. Instead, the functionality, sophistication and ease of your website is the most important asset of a flower business. (Yes, it's way more important than that window display you wanna work on in your shop.)
In today's online shopping world, customers expect a great user experience, modern design and easy to navigate content. Plus, in today's "I can Google anything" world, they want to get answers to their questions quickly.
Having a website that aligns with your customer's needs makes a world of difference to your business growth and that's why it's #4 on my 10 things I did to grow my flower business list.
#5 – Sales Systems
Now, I know the word 'systems' makes you wanna barf. I get it. It's boring and unsexy. But even a set of email templates, a basic Google Doc you can copy + paste from will save you so much time.
But taking 20 minutes to map out your customer's path to purchase, the steps they go through from the minute they find out about you to the moment you deliver the flowers to the end recipient, the more you can put that on rinse and repeat and that's good for you, your customers and your bottom line.
Why? Well, two reasons (1) you'll save heaps of time, which is awesome. But (2) you'll also save heaps of energy and as you know, it takes a lot of energy to be a floral designer. So anything you can do to make your systems more 'rinse and repeat', the better off you'll be.
#6 – Share Your Knowledge with Your Customers
I know this sounds a little crazy, particularly in our industry where everyone wants to keep their knowledge to themselves, but all that expertise and know-how you have, use that in your marketing. Write blog posts sharing helpful tips + tricks for planning a wedding. Use your Instagram captions to educate your customers about what flowers are in season and how to get the best bang for their buck.
When I started to brave the waters of sharing more helpful content on our website and our Instagram feed, I saw a dramatic shift in our sales. The speed with which we were booking clients was so amazing! Even better, our clients started giving us more creative freedom – they trusted us more because we were so open with our expertise. It's so fun!
#7 – Instagram Hashtags + Helpful Content = More Wedding Enquiries
This combination is exactly how we landed on the preferred venue list of one of Australia's top wedding venues (with no local area contacts, no insider scoop and not all that much experience).
PRO TIP: Focus on hashtags specific to your ideal client and then create a content strategy that aligns with what matters most to your customers.
In reality, most florists are so focused on "out designing" their competition that they completely miss the opportunity that Instagram provides to us. This is where you can come in and scoop up the good customers.
And yes, even with the tise of Tiktok, Instagram is still one of the fastest ways to get found by your dream customers and get bookings at those big fancy venues.
#8 – Google Ads, Google Business Listing + Simple Online Catalogue
I wasted so much time, energy and money on sh*t that delivered $0 to our bottom line. But when it comes to increasing your order volumes and getting more customers, Google Ads is by far the best option (I'm sharing more on this in next week's blog post so stay tuned for that goodness).
Getting your Google Ads sorted, paired with the right online catalogue strategy and a basic Google Business listing and you'll start to see more online ordering coming in pretty quickly.
PRO TIP – you can have a Google Business Listing even if you don't have a physical retail space. When you set up your listing, there is a checkbox to tell Google "I don't serve clients at this location" so then you can work from home, maintain your privacy but still be listed in the places that matter most.
#9 – Build Your Flower Family
Being an entrepreneur is hard work. Having support is a must. And having the support of people who get the weird-ass flower world we operate in matters.
One of the best ways I've been able to connect with like-minded florists is to sign up for workshops. I've met some of my closest flower friends during these experiences and I know that coming together with a shared perspective, shared values and shared mission makes all the difference in the world.
Even if the other florists have travelled from far away and you don't see them in person very often, just having a network and community you can connect with, share your troubles with and ask lotsa questions, makes a world of difference for your long term growth.
#10 – Get Coaching
I landed in the world of coaching kinda late in my career. Honestly, I spent so long thinking "I should be able to do this on my own" that I know it held me back.
These days, I see such dramatic progress in my business because I find the experts who can help me and teach me. In truth, I've spent more than $100,000 on my own training and education and I have no inclination to ever stop.
But, investing in yourself is always a great investment – it's the only thing that keeps paying off year after year after year.
So, whether it's having a mentor, signing on with a business coach or joining us inside Flower Boss Bootcamp, you'll see bigger results so much faster with the help of a mentor or coach by your side.
Let's Go Deeper: How to Grow Your Flower Business Faster (FREE Resource)
In this week's podcast episode, I'm sharing one of my favourite shortcuts for creating bigger, better business results quickly. I know it all sounds a little too good to be true, but that's why I wanted to record this podcast episode.
In this episode, I share my favourite mindset hack for showing up when things aren't really going to plan (i.e. you're not making enough money). And I teach you how to get 'unstuck' when you feel like you're not making real, measurable progress in your business or you've reached a plateau in your growth.
Inside This Week's Podcast Episode You'll Learn:
✓ Why learning how to own your accomplishments matters and how it impacts your results
✓ Why most of us consistently feel frustrated with our progress and how to break that habit
✓ My super simple approach to learning how to own your accomplishments (even if you're convinced your goals are too big and too ambitious)
✓ The one daily practice I've created in order to support myself on this roller coaster ride. It's super helpful even if you are making progress in your business and making money
Listen to the full episode here