What working from home as a florist really looks like

What working from home as a florist really looks like

Welcome to my studio!

Jessica Antonio Photography

Jessica Antonio Photography

Confession: I cleaned because you came over. I stored up the piles of paper clutter on my desk and re-organized my ribbon stash. Someone, please tell me I am not the only one whose ribbon pile looks like a 2-year-old made spaghetti out of it?! Yes, I’m keepin’ it real here, but I did clean up. What I did not do was put up new wall art, or rearrange furniture, or buy new things to make my space prettier. My hope is that by giving you an honest glimpse into MY messy, beautiful life — you will be inspired to embrace your own!

So, welcome to my creative space, where the magic happens and my soul catches on fire.

You must know that my husband Andrew has so patiently and graciously allowed me to take over this space, although he draws the line at installing a utility sink right inside the front door. I guess that is reasonable, considering that he already puts up with buckets of flowers in his man cave (it’s the coolest darkest part of the house, and it's how I manage without a pro flower cooler). He is so incredibly loving and supportive of my ventures, but he can’t help but chuckle when I call this space “my studio.”

“Oh it’s a studio now?” he says. “What happened to the dining room? Or your office?”

Yep, it’s my studio. I made it. Imperfections and all.

Jessica Antonio Photography

Jessica Antonio Photography

Jessica Antonio Photography

Jessica Antonio Photography

Sure, there are things that I wish I could change, like the pile of boxes under the table, or the mismatched vases stored everywhere — in boxes, on shelves looking pretty, and in the dishwasher with regular dishes. I wish that my kitchen stayed magically clean, but here I am to confess that it never will. Maybe creatives are just messy in some areas so we have more room in our brains to make beautiful things?! That is my theory and I am sticking with it.

There are so many things I love, though.

I adore the big window. The light pours in, and when it’s not 110 degrees, I open it so that the curtains billow in.

Jessica Antonio Photography

Jessica Antonio Photography

The tile lets me recklessly dump water and greens and clippings all over the floor. I also have four-legged helpers; Gus and Eli, who love flowers as much as I do. They just would rather eat them (And yes, I do monitor which ones are poisonous or not). Anything they don't hide away (Gus has his own pile outside) gets added to the compost pile.

These high ceilings... I just love them. They give me space to breathe and think. I may not have a sink (yet), but the water spigot is right outside the door. Yes, I go outside to fill my super-fancy flower-holding trash cans with water. It works for me, so... why not?

When I first started, I wondered how long it would be before I could get my own separate space somewhere. Now I don’t think I will ever leave this former dining room. It’s everything I need, and I love what I am able to do here!

If you work from home, it can be a beautiful thing. It might also be full of challenges. Whether you are working from home by choice or necessity, here are four lessons I have learned that make it easier.

1. Give yourself the security to freely create.

Jessica Antonio Photography

Jessica Antonio Photography

Jessica Antonio Photography

Jessica Antonio Photography

Numbers hurt my brain. I would much rather work with colors and shapes! So when the thought of business insurance popped into my mind, I immediately got overwhelmed. “Maybe if I don’t think about it, it will go away?” Yeah… no. Thankfully I work with the amazing Erin Nutting at Arizona Wedding Insurance and she takes care of all of those little details for me! Aside from business insurance, I was shocked at how much working from home affected my homeowner’s insurance. Take the time to talk with a pro and make sure you have the necessary coverage so that you are free to do what you love - CREATE! If you think working from home or being too small means that you don’t need it or can’t afford it — then you need it more than ever. You can’t afford NOT to have insurance.

 

2. Be inspired. Every day.

Jessica Antonio Photography. Artwork by Rebekah Seiler.

Jessica Antonio Photography. Artwork by Rebekah Seiler.

Being in a space that inspires you is important no matter what your business looks like, but it is incredibly important when you work from home! Why? Because the dishes, piles of laundry, and other family member’s belonging can quickly overwhelm you. Stresses of work and home overflow into each other. Ever tried to make dinner and design a centerpiece at the same time? It doesn’t end up too well for either activity!

Andrew really helped me out with this one. Early on in my business, I ordered some canvas prints, because I thought having some would make my studio look like the real deal. I was so obsessed with making sure I hung them in the right place that they sat on my desk for months, getting covered in dust. At one point, Andrew was listening to me anxiously worry – was I good enough? Can I make this transition? What if this, what if that…? While I was talking, he got up, took those dusty canvas prints, took a painting off the wall, and hung the canvas in its place.

“But I liked that other picture!”

He paused.

“Does your work make you happy? Did making this arrangement make you happy? Do you want to do it all the time?”

“Well… yes…”

“Than that is what needs to be on your wall. You need to see it every day.”

So that’s what I did.

One canvas is the first bridal bouquet for someone I didn’t know, and I thought “oh wow, I am really doing this!” The other is a photo of the very first bouquet that I made “garden style.” After months of trying it finally came together the way I wanted. It was in that moment that I knew I could create what I saw in my head with enough learning and practice! So, are these photos of my most gorgeous work? Nope. The point is that they hold deep meaning for me, and I needed to be reminded of those things every single day. Because every single day the dishes and voicemails pile up, the family and client demands seem like too much to balance, and I feel like I am not “pro” enough to do big things. Those photos remind me that I can do this… and I can do it well.

So find something that inspires you, and put it where you see it every day. Take over a room, a wall, a corner, or just one small section of wall. Keep what you create front and center, even if you feel like it doesn't match your decor or theme. You made it. It is YOURS.

Feed your soul with what you love.

 

3. Give yourself some grace.

Jessica Antonio Photography

Jessica Antonio Photography

Jessica Antonio Photography

Jessica Antonio Photography

You are amazing, no matter where you work. No matter how big or small your business is. No matter what style you create, or what your favorite flower is. Whether you create from a storefront with employees, or a converted dining room. Did you make a bride smile? Did you make a friend “stop and smell the roses?” Did you add some beauty to someone’s life? 

THAT is amazing. THAT is worth it.

Your studio may not look like it fell right out of Pinterest. You may have to do a mad cleaning dash before someone comes to pick up a delivery. That is 100% ok. That is 1000% ok. Just think… what if we all gave each other a little more grace? What if we gave ourselves a little more grace? Would we be able to create more? Create better? Make a bigger impact? Imagine!

 

4. Embrace it!

Jessica Antonio Photography

Jessica Antonio Photography

Jessica Antonio Photography

Jessica Antonio Photography

Ever wish your space looked like someone else’s? Ever wish that your bouquets looked like so and so? Ever think “when I get to where so and so is, then I’ll be set…?” Ever wish your walls were a different color so your Instagram feed looked “better?” Stop it. Stop it right now. There will always be parts of your studio and parts of your life that are not perfect. They are annoying and make you want to change them. They don’t fit into your big picture. All those annoying little things that “don’t belong” really DO belong, though. The messes are just all part of the bigger story — part of you. Don’t run from the imperfections. Be thankful for them instead of fighting them.

So I guess if I wanted you to know just one thing — it would be that you don't have to be perfect. You just have to be! You don't have to change who you are, what your studio looks like, or what you create to better fit the current hot trend. Keeping up with the Jones' Instagram is exhausting! Live your life. Live it fully. Live it in the dust and the sunshine. Live it in the not-perfect spaces filled with mismatched things. I sure am not perfect, and neither are you... so let's just get over that already and find joy in creating beautiful things!



Discuss post with flower friends

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Video: Suspended floral installation

Video: Suspended floral installation