Putting Your Client First in Your Floral Work
Today, we are so excited to be talking about a part of our client process that we think is one of the most important: how to design florals with the client in mind and put your client first in your floral work—essentially, balancing your style with the client's vision.
When a florist first starts designing for weddings, I think it's common for them to take anything and everything that comes their way. It’s a part of the learning process! It's necessary to build a good rapport with local vendors and spread the word about the business. Gaining experience is also vital at this point.
But eventually, through experience and putting out consistent design, florists establish a brand and a specific style that they’re known for. It's the reason why their brides come to them! It's such an exciting stage and is a milestone in any business, but especially for a creative.
One of the things we found in our own business journey is that it was easy at that point to start to forget about the client's vision—not because we didn't care about the client, but because we were so excited about our style! And while we would usually pass on weddings that are very different from our style, we would still take weddings that might not be exactly what we would like to do. That, combined with our newly found confidence, left us a little disconnected from what the client's vision was and more concerned with it being in our brand.
I think every creative goes through this process at some point or another, and it's all part of the process of finding that balance—the balance between what your style is, your creative expertise, and your incredible client's vision.
On the one hand, you have the experience and knowledge to make any event breathtaking! On the other hand, you don't want to get so far away from what the client wants that they don't feel like you represented them. So how do you balance those two things well? Here are some things that we do!
1. Have pre-decided design ideas (however loosely) of what different styles look like "your way"
A few years ago, we sat down as a team to talk through what different styles would feel like merged with ours. So we have a more traditional style that we do our way, a romantic style our way, a whimsical style our way, a vintage style our way, and so forth. This required us to know our style really well and be in tune with what we love to do (which can change since your style is not set in stone!). If you haven't honed-in on that, don't worry! You will. For now, create with flowers as often as you can to uncover what your style means for you. That way, your foundation is strong.
2. Make sure you get a feel for who they are and why they came to you
We love meeting with our couples, or at least our brides, in person. It gives us a feel for who they are, what their story is, and why they are coming to us. If there’s even one thing they love about our style, no matter how different their vision is from our "usual," we will work with them. If they come to us and it's clear that not only do they not want something in our style, but they also don't really care who does their flowers, we will pass them along to an expert in the type of style they’re wanting. We've never had anyone complain about this, by the way. Prospective clients are always extremely appreciative that we were honest!
3. Collect a few words or pictures
Have the client describe what they want in whatever ways they can. Use things like the mood of the wedding as a whole, images, overall color scheme, and dress and/or suit styles as your guide. These things will give you a solid foundation to build on. If they don't know them, it's not necessary to get specific shapes, design terms, or types of flowers—you just need the overall vibe. You’re an expert in your style as well as how your style merges with others, so you’ll be able to put together a design board they will love.
4. Be honest about your thoughts but always respectful of their preferences
It's important to use language that respects your client's preferences while still confidently giving your opinion. They came to you for a reason (to take away their worries about the perfect floral design), and they want your thoughts. But don't steamroll them. Consider specific phrases they’ve told you and repeat those back to them when discussing final designs. We usually try and keep at least five aspects of their original ideas intact and add in ours from there.
5. Use LOTS of pictures and descriptive words in your proposal
Make sure to use a lot of specific examples of what you want to do for them in your proposal. Images are so helpful when it comes to this—and if you aren't sending out a beautifully designed proposal at some point in your process (whether that's before or after they sign with you), you’re going to run into some problems eventually with what your client assumes you’ll be delivering and what you actually do.
We could talk about the client process for hours! We love getting to serve our clients well—and we always strive to find that balance between our experience and style and their vision. We hope this was helpful in finding your balance!