Create a business model that supports the lifestyle that you desire. For the past 5 years, revenue from providing floral design services for weddings has been our highest income generator. While I truly love designing for weddings, the amount of time spent on communication, planning and designing – not to mention working most weekends and cleaning up venues at midnight – has greatly contributed to my feeling depleted and spread thin. Over the past several years, I have put financial pressure on myself to keep growing the wedding design of our business – the demand is there and the numbers seemed to make sense.
When the wedding side of our business took a huge hit with postponements and cancellations due to Covid, I had no choice but to explore other sales outlets. I not only needed to keep the business afloat financially, I also needed an avenue to sell the thousands of flowers that were already planted in the fall of 2019. So although the initial reason for exploring new sales outlets and opportunities was born out of necessity, the end result is one that I am grateful for. Some of the other sales outlets that we focused on in 2020 include: reinstating our local bouquet subscription program and shipping bouquet subscriptions (we previously only shipped wholesale to florists); expanding our capacity to ship wholesale to more florist clients; offering bouquets and bulk buckets of flowers for pick up from the farm; hosting more photo shoots in the flower fields than ever before (more on that later).
Due to Covid postponements and cancelations, our wedding revenue was down by 68% in 2020 from 2019 – slightly terrifying. However, in late July I realized that our overall numbers (net revenue) were looking pretty good… really good actually. Our overall net income (gross income minus expenses and cost of goods sold) increased by 43% in 2020. How was that possible during such a crazy year?! I focused on making our operation as lean as possible, reduced our overall expenses and added new sales outlets. On a personal note: I was able to be at home most weekends and even if I was still working, I was at least working on the farm (which is also our home) where I can see my hubby, cook heathy meals, play with our pups, have a glass of wine at sunset and go to bed early. These are things that are important to me personally, things that make flower farming and floral design sustainable for me as an individual.
We will always offer floral design services for weddings and events because it’s a part of the business that I deeply love and the creative process is extremely fulfilling. Weddings require lots of my personal time and attention (which I am loathe to admit is limited since I want to do it all!) and significant overhead, and they almost always take place on the weekends away from home. I now feel like I have the financial insight to accept an even more limited number of weddings each year and to take on the clients that are truly a good fit for us aesthetically and financially. The takeaway from 2020 is that I no longer feel like it is absolutely necessary to say yes to every client and to keep adding more weddings to the calendar every year. Keeping our business diversified helps us remain sustainable financially and as individuals.