I have been given the gift of being able to do what I love every day of my life. I own a flower shop. The combination of retail and art is extraordinary. The balance is the hard part. I spend the day wearing many hats, the quick switches it takes to be a small business owner.
I started in retail when I was a teenager, I loved the contact with the public, the newness of every day, I was hooked. Many years later, I was looking for a segue to my other passions, gardening and flowers, I pursued my Master Gardeners Certification and floral design classes. While earning my CFD, I was hired by one of my instructors and started working part-time in her shop. I knew the shop was for sale, it didn’t occur to me to actually buy it until a dear friend of mine reminded me that I had told her one day I would like to own a flower shop. Eureka!
So I bought it.
I had no idea what I was in for, but I made a leap of faith that would prove to be an opportunity for a lot of growth, both mine and the business’. I had the advantage of purchasing a well staffed, well established business that was, in my mind, a gold mine, nothing but growth ahead for me. I was fortunate, the employees stayed on, they were all very experienced and all very good at their jobs.
That was in 2006.
Since then, I have definitely grown and learned, A LOT. Blossomed you might say. I have made a lot of difficult decisions and made some good choices that have made the business a lean and mean profitable machine. Well, lean and mean…..
I learned I couldn’t rely solely on the established part and I couldn’t rely solely on the creative part. It had to be both.
The biggest lesson? In a down economy, flowers are nonessential luxury purchases and actively selling is key to turn over.
I don’t always buy the most exotic product, but I buy quality product and I buy what my customers want to buy. I try to introduce inventory that will keep things fresh and add a little into the mix.
I have made some decisions that turned out to be less than best for my business. We have all made them, spent money or signed on to something that in the end wasn’t working. It took a really hard look at all the aspects of my business, from staffing and square footage to inventory and the associated services that come with running a successful shop.
I have also learned that the flower business doesn’t have to be business as usual.
Part 1 of a 6 Part Guest Blog from Elizabeth Crisp owner of Apple Creek Flowers. Stay tuned for Part two of this REAL Life Flower Success Story!