Spring is here, which means opportunities for fresh air, bike rides, and sunshine will soon abound. The trees will bud and the masses will open their windows. It also means the return of wedding season and flowers popping up in people’s gardens.
And nobody knows flowers better than this week’s Small Business Spotlight, Red Poppy Floral Design. Based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Red Poppy Floral Design specializes in wedding and special event floral arrangements. Owner and designer, Tracy, actually studied with Jane Packer Studio in London– they were the ones responsible for all the long lasting flowers at the Olympics! She continues to spread the love by teaching flower classes, including one coming up here. All of Tracy’s arrangements are hand-crafted and created in her home studio.
Tracy talks a little bit more below about her blooming business:
How would you explain what you do to somebody’s grandmother?
I design wedding and special event flowers in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I love designing bouquets with a twist of elegant, modern and outdoorsy feels. I focus mainly on weddings so I can take plenty of time working with each client to understand the feel they want and carefully designing each piece in the days beforehand. My friends often lend me their power tools and basic gardening essentials but over time I completed my collection by ordering from BestofMachinery and buying on sale from the local hardware shop.
What are some industry specific challenges you faced?
Wedding work is always under pressure, but I think that’s part of the rush for me. Flowers are perishable and for Michigan summer weddings you have to try to keep them cool, and for winter weddings you have to keep them from freezing – there are a lot of logistics to consider beyond the designing!
What was your biggest learning curve/experience?
The best learning experience has been working with other floral designers in Ann Arbor. When I moved here I wondered how the existing floral designers would feel about a new kid in town. But when I approached the three leading designers, they welcomed me with open arms and we’ve since created Bloom Florist Collective, where we teach floral design classes and we get together frequently for fun and to support each other in our businesses. I’ve learned a lot from these ladies – they are generous business owners and have created such a positive environment for creativity!
What made you use crowdSPRING?
I wanted a logo that was unique and expressed Red Poppy’s style and design, and also something that conveyed that our work emphasizes artistry and it’s not a standard flower shop.
But I didn’t have a lot of words to express what I wanted, so the idea of being able to see lots of ideas and refine from there was perfect for me. I also really loved that I could work with so many different designers at once. I dreaded the idea of working with a designer and never really getting to what I wanted and then having to break up after they had worked hard for me. It was much easier to pick a design from a line-up than to pick a designer.
I love my logo and I get so many compliments. My designer was incredible to work with – she provided me with many different color options at the end and was always so quick to answer questions or make adjustments to the design.
What’s the craziest story you have from starting your own business?
This isn’t that crazy, but kinda fun… I started in floral design quite by accident – I took a floral design class while living abroad in London, and I got hooked. After every class I would ride home on the bus with my creation and so many people would stop and smile or say hi, and it really brought home to me the joy that flowers bring to people – it created a social event! Fumbling around on the bus with armfuls of flowers was key part of my start in floral design.
If you could go back, would you do anything differently? If so, what and why?
No, I don’t think so. I’m always learning and changing and grateful for the experience
How do you see your company growing in the future?
I’m looking forward to growing some in the coming years, but not too much — it’s a very custom experience and design detail that makes Red Poppy special.
Six words of advice to those looking to start their own company.
Work hard, enjoy it, be generous.
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