Monday, November 19, 2007

Wedding floral business ~ Money making Monday

One of my more recent ways to make money was to start my own business doing wedding flowers. It has been a very fun experience. I have long loved flowers but when I was in Bible college in Iowa I was able to get a job at a florist where I was trained to be a floral designer. After Mara was born I quit working but did flowers for quite a few friends weddings. Though I like working with flowers in general I really enjoyed doing weddings. I continued to do flowers for friend's weddings and then a couple of people heard about me and hired me to do their flowers as well. At that time I began dreaming of doing it as a business as I didn't have as many friends getting married to give me as much time with flowers as I would like.

Last December Ken and I started talking about it seriously and then got to work to get this business started. I was very thankful for Ken who went through a huge book for me to figure out all the laws about starting home businesses in MN. Ken also set up my website for me. I worked out figuring out the best and cheapest place to get fresh flowers, working on what would be in my brochure, making a reservation to be in a bridal show, making a portfolio of pictures, designing my logo, making a banner and figuring out how it would all work.

I did the Bridal show in January which was quite a bit of work but a neat experience. Throughout this past Spring and Summer I did several weddings. I have had a lot of fun visiting with brides and getting to work with flowers. I still have a lot of growing to do to get where I would like it to be but it has been a good start.
I thought I would share some of the advertising that I have done as possibly it would work also for you in any home business that you might be trying.

  • Having a booth at the Bridal show. This is the most expensive thing we have done but we did get results. It cost $150 (I believe) for a booth (the different bridal shows in our town varied- I chose one of the cheapest). I also had to buy flowers to show at my booth.

  • Sending out brochures. This has been a good method but I am not able to know all of the brides in my area, so it is far from a complete method. I send them out to the people that are in the engagement section of our newspaper and then any others that I hear of.

  • Newspaper ad in the wedding section. We found a fairly cheap ad in what they call the wedding showcase. As far as I know we haven't gotten any results from this.

  • Putting my brochure at other wedding venues. From what I understand it is very good to get to know others that are in the wedding business so that they will refer you, so I have worked to do that.

  • Word of mouth. Ken and I both are quick to tell others (even if they themselves are not getting married) about my new business.

  • Another thing I tried (and I don't know the results) which is kind of different but it is this: I was checking out a lot of books from the library about weddings(in order to be better educated) so I decided to place a brochure or business card in them when I returned them since I would figure most people that look at those books are getting married.

  • I placed brochures other places. Ken has them at his office, I put them at the Library and a friend who works at the University put some there.

  • Online. I have been able to be found fairly well by this. I have a website which people can go to and see pictures of my work and find out about how I do my business and what I can do for them. Many people appreciate being able to find out about the business online before actually contacting the person. Having a website has been very important! I have also used other online service directories to help to get my name out there farther. (They often have a higher ranking in the search engines so my ad in their site comes up before my website does.) I have used only free directories. My favorite one has been Merchant Circle. They let you have information about your business, a link to your website (if you have one), other contact information, a photo slide show, coupons that show up on other local merchant's sites and a business blog. The way I found directories was to Google words that went along with my business and when a directory came up than I would check to see if a listing on it was free.

I have really enjoyed working on my floral business. It is something I have been able to do at home. The kids are learning a lot about it and are looking forward to being old enough to help a lot. Another thing that has made it nice is that Weddings are generally on weekends so when I need to go deliver flowers then Ken is around to watch the kids. (They have come with me on some deliveries though.) Doing this business has also given me the excuse to research and read a lot about weddings. (which I love, even if mine is all done.)

I hope these ideas help if this is something you are looking into. Even if you have no intention of doing flowers maybe the advertising ideas will work for other businesses.

For more money making ideas go to Money Saving Mom and come back here next week to learn about some of the other things that I have done to make money.


Anonymous said...

I just moved to MN and have been thinking of starting design from home also, but can you give me the lowdown on what it takes just to get the liscence ? I found the rest of your info very helpful, thanks for blogging about the steps. I know it will be tough at time with family and well, coming from the bigger city the wedding industry here doesn't seem so large.

Bianca said...

I found this blog very informative, as I am thinking of starting the same type of business in California. My question is how to start from the beginning, the very first flower order. If you have an order for Friday night, do you buy the flowers the day before, and if so, do the flowers need to be refrigerated over night? Or would you buy the flowers that day and get to work building the arrangements?

Abbi said...

There is not actually any license needed you simply have to get a tax ID number so you can buy wholesale flowers and collect taxes from your customers. There were a few other things that I don't remember as Ken did them all for me. The state has a free book available on starting a business in MN that you will probably find helpful.

Because I live over 100 miles (close to 200) away from a wholesaler I have my flowers delivered to me. They only deliver here 2 days of the week so I have to get the flowers when they are coming. Most of my Weddings are on Saturday and so I do most of the flower arranging on Friday. The flowers come during the night on Wednesday/Thursday. Some flowers need to sit out for a couple days or so to open but others will get completely blown if I let them sit out so I put them in the cooler.
I hope that helps! :-)


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