A Library for Floral Industry Entrepreneurs

The floral industry is easy to navigate for entrepreneurs and aspiring florists if they have the resources needed to help them get started. In my experience, it helps to have at least one resource on flower varieties and care for those specific varieties, some books with visual inspiration, and a resource on familiarizing yourself with the business side of the industry.

This list of books is the perfect library to give any startup florist the background they need to grow.

1. The Flower Recipe Book

The Flower Recipe Book serves as a guide for design inspiration as well as practical techniques and the care and seasonality of flower varieties. You will have step-by-step guides to help you as you work with flowers and gain confidence and an eye for the flower aesthetics that are adored today.

2. Bringing Nature Home: Floral Arrangements Inspired by Nature

This book is a beautiful source of visual inspiration for natural, seasonal arrangements. The designs are elegant and remind me of those that you would see in an old oil painting or a dutch castle. I love Bringing Nature Home because it brings the art back into floral design; using asymmetry, unexpected texture, and organic shapes to create arrangements that are natural and flowing. It also emphasizes the beauty in seasonality and ‘imperfect’ flowers.

3. The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers

The 50 Mile Bouquet is an important read for anyone in the floral industry. It is a quick education on the current system of mass flower importation, which is very unsustainable to the earth. It highlights how the industry is shifting to conscious sourcing and selecting seasonal flowers that are grown locally, and ideally, organically. In this book, you will be introduced to farmers that own small, environmentally sustainable flower farms and conscious floral designers that source from these local flower farms as well as farmers markets and their own cutting gardens. The 50 Mile Bouquet also has a seasonality guide and helpful resources on the ‘Slow Flower Movement’.

4. From Seed to Bloom: A comprehensive guide to starting and growing a home based floral design business

When I set out to start my own floral design business, I had the flower care guides and inspirational design books, but I couldn’t find a good source on starting and running the business side of it. I developed a strategy that worked quickly and didn’t require an upfront investment, and wanted to share that with other flower entrepreneurs. I wrote From Seed to Bloom: A comprehensive guide to starting and growing a home based floral design business , because as I was growing my business, I realized that a lot of budding florists had trouble with financially backing their business, sourcing flowers in a sustainable way, booking clients and dealing with the logistics of putting on an event. I wanted to teach the strategy that I used from scratch; involving minimal upfront investment, creating a portfolio, booking clients and expanding a business organically. With this book, many questions will be answered for new florists to save them time and money and flourish as a floral designer.

Building Your Business: How to Organize a Photo Shoot

Below is an excerpt from the book From Seed to Bloom on one way to build exposure for your business:

HOW TO ORGANIZE A PHOTO SHOOT

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The best way to build your portfolio from scratch is by organizing photo shoots with industry professionals. This is the fun part! You can dream up the most creative, expressive vision and bring it to life with other industry professionals.

The most important elements to your photo shoot are your arrangements and having a talented photographer to capture them. It is even better if you have curated details: models in costume, a killer venue, a tasteful tablescape and unique paper products. The point of the shoot is not only to get your portfolio built, but it is also a fantastic way to get published and start building your reputation.

Getting published not only gets your name out there to clients and other vendors, but it also shows potential clients that you are professional and trustworthy, not to mention that your work is beautiful.

Some Keys to Making the Most of your Photo Shoots
- Include lots of details. From the paper products to the napkins, vases, boutonnieres, and chair garlands. And each detail needs to be consistent in style, unpredictable and lovely.
– Work with professionals. Especially those who have been published before!
– Go all out on the florals. Make your most beautiful work stand out!
– Use a Pinterest board to organize your vision and have everyone involved collaborate on the board too.
– Have a schedule and give yourself extra time.
- Take lots of photos for social media (Instagram, Facebook, and your blog). Even though the photographer is shooting, it’s a great way to market yourself with your behind the scenes shots.
– Source vases from thrift stores, antique shops, craft stores and the like.

When the shoot is complete and the images are ready, it’s time to send them away to publishers. The easiest way to get published is online via an industry blog. For the wedding industry, Style Me Pretty, Wedding Chicks, and Grey Likes Weddings are the top wedding blogs. Also consider local blogs and even local magazines. When you send out your shoot, include as much content as possible and all of the relevant vendor information.

If and when you eventually get published, make sure to share it on your blog and social media accounts.

Read more about growing your floral design business in the book here!

Chic and Colorful Wedding Flowers

I love everything about this wedding that I arranged the flowers for last month- the colors, the flower varieties, all the personal touches, and, as you can see in these gorgeous photos by Jennifer Blair, how in love the bride and groom are with each other. That’s why I love styling flowers for weddings!

The bridal bouquet was made up of white ranunculus, anemones and stock, orange dahlias, yellow billy balls, hot pink and light pink garden roses and succulents. The coordinating boutonnieres were made of succulents, blue thistle and eucalyptus, and the bridesmaid’s bouquets were stock, anemones, ranunculus, spray roses, and a hint of astilbe for the Maid of Honor. The reception was full of simple colorful centerpieces; blue hydrangea, orange and pink ranunculus, spray roses, dahlias and lots of foliage and vines in a mix of pretty vases and bottles.

Photography: Jennifer Blair // Videography: Shutterlife Productions // Ceremony Venue: Reformed Theological Seminary // Reception Venue: Holy Trinity Reception Center

Floridian Flower: Clematis

I love featuring local Florida grown flowers in my arrangements. Whether grown on a nearby farm or hand foraged, the local blooms have the longest vase life and give off that gorgeous Floridian vibe. One of my favorites that grows locally is the Clematis. With it’s large elegant petals and symmetric shape, this flower is gorgeous all by herself. The clematis is surprisingly a member of the Ranunculaceae family, along with the adorable ranunculus and delphinium. Clematis is also used as a flower essence- for daydreamers, those who need grounding, focus and vitality. If you are a creative spirit but can’t make your visions a reality, clematis flower essence may help!

I used some lavender Clematis in the photo above (taken by the talented Jessica Lorren) with dark and light purple sweet pea, peris, maidenhair fern and some waxflower. I also recently used it at the Florida Slow Farms Conference in cool tones of blues, purple and burgandy. They have a tremendous vase life- up to three weeks- but their petals are quite delicate. I like using them all on their own with a few greens, or floating them in a small bowl.

Check out some other clematis varieties and uses on pinterest.