Kelly Perry - 00:02 - You are listening to the Team Flower podcast where we talk about flowers with the people who've dedicated their lives to sharing them with the world. We believe that your work with flowers matters and we're cheering each of you on. Hi, my name's Kelly, and today we're talking with Nick and Aleah Valley. Nick and Aleah Valley started Valley and Company Events over 15 years ago after they graduated from university. They provide wedding and event planning, design and floral services. Their celebrations become signatures for clients, each taking on their own look and feeling the reflects their tastes style and the stories fueled by a passion for entertaining and a love for making others happy. The Valleys and their team find great joy in creating memorable moments for their clients in founded Valley and Company on the principle that planning a special event should be an enjoyable experience in and of itself.
Kelly Perry - 00:50 - In this episode, Nick and Aleah are sharing the journey of Valley and Company and how they decided when and how to add services like their floral services to their event planning repertoire. We're chatting about determining a target audience and marketing to them. We're sharing about their lives together as well as work family time with one another, and we're talking through strategies to prevent burnout in this industry. They're also giving us a sneak peek inside the new book, Storied Weddings that will be released in November. This podcast is brought to you by Team Flower, an online support community dedicated to educating and connecting and empowering flower lovers worldwide. We provide online classes in person events and free weekly resources like this podcast signed to support you in your journey with flowers, whether you're a professional florists, flower farmer, or simply love flowers. There's space for you here. Welcome. Come join the party at teamflower.org.
Kelly Perry - 01:50 - Well, it Nick and Aleah. It's so great to have you on the Team Flower podcast today. Welcome.
Aleah Valley - 01:54 - Thank you so much for having us. We're so happy to be here.
Nick Valley - 01:54 - Thank you.
Kelly Perry - 01:58 - Yeah, well, you guys own and operate an event planning and design company. Give us a little rundown of the types of services that you provide just so we can get a feel for, um, you know, what it is that you guys do,
Aleah Valley - 02:11 - of course. Well, we specialize in wedding and event planning, design and floral services for our clients, which means we put together the framework of their events, compile our stellar team and vendors and work with our clients very closely on the logistics and kind of the behind the scenes. I'm nuts and bolts of their wedding or event. And then we worked really closely with them to create the vision and aesthetic, um, which is the design component. And then that comes together. Um, when our team produces and creates floral bouquets, center pieces and spectacular installations, a linen pairings, invitation design. Really all of those components come together to kind of help round out our offerings for our clients. We, we feel like it's really important to work hand in hand with them on look and feeling and then kind of the behind the scenes of their events.
Kelly Perry - 03:02 - Yeah, I love that. And so have you always offered some kind of a wide breadth of services? Have you always offered those or was it something that you've kind of built over time? Um, when does he decide to add some things?
Aleah Valley - 03:15 - Yeah, that's a great question. Um, so this is our 15th year of business. Um, and way early on. Thank you so much. It's been quite an adventure and we love it. I'm really early on, um, you know, we kind of said that we specialized in planning, um, but we also did design and we didn't really quite know back then that there was a definition between the two. Um, now I think it's definitely more commonplace for them to go hand in hand. Um, it's really becoming more popular, which is great because it allows companies and designers and planners to really service their clients in a more kind of multifaceted approach. So, um, we did always offer those services, but in terms of floral, we didn't, um, you know, 15 years ago, um, say this is in house and now, you know, probably 10, nine, 10 years ago, that's when we really implied that our clients really do get all of this, um, from our offerings
Aleah Valley - 04:14 - and it means that we get to provide just a more cohesive planning process and they also get a more cohesive event as the end product.
Nick Valley - 04:24 - I think somewhat we've had the clients over the years, I've kind of asked us for each service they've, they've kind of increased our offerings. We have some clients we've worked for over and over for basically since the beginning and they would start to ask, hey, could you guys just do this? Or Hey, have you ever done this? And so we'd say, yeah, we can do that. So some of it's maybe just knowledge and, and education of the client early on.
Kelly Perry - 04:47 - That's a really great point to bring up because I feel like any time that someone's asking for something, that's a pretty good clue. And there's probably some other people that would be interested in some of those things as well. So that's a really good clue. And if you happen to be listening and you're thinking about, oh well I really want to add x, y, or z and kind of having that little bit of assurance. Well have someone asks you for that before? Is there a need for it or people hungry for it? It's a really great point to bring up. Thank you.
Nick Valley - 05:14 - Yeah. So. Oh, I'm sorry, go ahead.
Kelly Perry - 05:17 - No, no, go ahead.
Nick Valley - 05:18 - I would say on the flip, you also find that the service that nobody's using, you might want to stop offering if it's just over and over and over, and it's something you're, you're really behind. Unless it's something that means a ton to you, you'll, you'll find out from the client if you're in this long enough, what, what you're really great at, what you could do better and what maybe isn't something you should be doing anymore.
Kelly Perry - 05:39 - That's such a great point. I, I remember there was kind of that wave that came through. Um, I guess I, philosophy fires has been around, I think we're in like five or six, somewhere, somewhere in there right now. Um, and I don't know, there came through that wave of like that phrase of like the styling component and I live in a really small town and that was not something that was, um, I guess that you could say was identified as an eater that anybody had it asked for it. But I felt like, well, you know, maybe I'll just try that and see. So anyways, I had on the website, I just did my marketing just a little bit, changed some of the copy on the website and not did not one single person ever asked me to do that. And so it just came off, you know. And I think that that's one of those things where we can see these different business models and things that are happening in all different parts of the country and in the world and um, you know,
Kelly Perry - 06:36 - we can try things, but that wasn't even something I feel like that personally really like set my soul on fire either. I think that was one of those moments where it just kind of like, oh, maybe I should do that and you know, but yeah, it was, it became very clear within that one. I'm not one to like keep repeating things that don't work and often.
Nick Valley - 06:57 - Exactly, exactly. Something's not working scrap and it doesn't mean it applies in the market you're in. We work in a lot of different markets and I feel like, you know, we had an office in southern California for years too, along with Seattle and it was two different worlds in a couple hour flight, you know, every other week or whatever and what we did in southern California and what we did in the northwest, there were a total different services that some people wanted on either side of the coast and it was, it was easy to right away, see, hey, this just doesn't play here whatsoever and these people want to do this really well. You know, they, they're always wanting to do this specific format, let's say.
Kelly Perry - 07:33 - That's really wise. Yeah. Cleaning up those business services and pieces and mashing them to the market. It's a little bit of a puzzle, especially when you're first kind of understanding your market and what's going on in it, but, um, I do, I mean really that's what comes back to your business being something that's going to be sustainable or not sustainable. The clients have to have a want and a need for or whatever that thing is. So there is an intersection point between the things that we're passionate about and what we need and sometimes it's for now, sometimes it's for later when our circumstances have changed or things are different or you know, whatever. So, um, if you happen to be listening and maybe you've got a dream or something, um, I've got one in my heart rate now that I know won't. This isn't the right market where I am in life isn't the right thing. So I have it all written down and it's ready to go. And whenever things change in life, then it might be a really good time to pull that back out and look at it. So anyway.
Nick Valley - 08:31 - Yeah, absolutely. The key to longevity is lasting.
Kelly Perry - 08:34 - Yeah, absolutely. Well, you have a really extensive list of clientele from brides to brands and charities, all kinds of things, lots of really great variety and a lot of our listeners are primarily wedding florists with a few other events mixed in. But I'm wondering what kind of advice you might give to a wedding planner or a florist who's looking to their target audience or maybe who really just has a heart to serve, you know, brands and do more projects and that kind of realm. Maybe change industries or customers a little bit.
Aleah Valley - 09:07 - I think, um, you know, one of the unique facets that we've kind of built up over the years is that a different target market. You know, weddings are definitely our passion. They are the core of our business, but working with brands and nonprofits and other kind of unique clients gives us just this different kind of approach and a different calendar every year. Um, different kinds of events like holiday parties and other social events. So it all ties together. But, um, for us it kind of grew organically because, um, you know, some of our brides might have worked for a really great jewelry brand, another bride of ours years ago, worked for a really unique, I'm very popular home goods company that we've done a lot of work with over the year, so those relationships kind of stemmed from past clients, but we've also reached out to brands that we really feel connected to
Aleah Valley - 10:08 - and we've done flowers for their events. We've done a lot of blog posts and photo styling. And so we've really worked hard to connect on Instagram and social media and really sending emails has worked for us as well. Um, if you notice that a brand starts following you on social media, definitely reach out and, and comment back and say, it's so nice to meet you. We love your brand, we love your product, we love your service. And we would love the opportunity to collaborate on a series of blog posts or on product styling. Um, there are so many unique really fun outlets like we developed for, um, a very popular brand of food a few years ago to big social media campaigns for them where we created recipes, um, it was from an entertaining standpoint and we created and styled photo shoots and it was so fun and so unexpected and again, it just stemmed from us just keeping in contact and communicating and responding.
Aleah Valley - 11:05 - Um, so I think another outlet for I'm a planner or florists really looking to kind of expand their portfolio and their, their clients is also just to reach out locally as well. Um, we always recommend, you know, go local first. Having a, you know, a, a big reach is fantastic, but make sure that your local community supports, you, knows who you are. Um, reach out to bridal shops, um, deliver flowers if they have a trunk show coming up, reach out to venues or talk to, um, you know, large if you have a large company, like we're from Seattle, so we're surrounded by big tech companies and having connections. I'm at companies like that can really build those relationships into doing floral or design work for corporate holiday parties or meetings or you know, really interesting kind of different outlets that might not be so obvious in our industry.
Kelly Perry - 12:02 - Mm. I love that. And something that I'm kind of like seeing a little bit of a pattern with is using, using what you've got in a sense. So you have existing relationships with a bride or a client who is connected to a company. That local community piece I think is so important to really not underrating that. And then I mean like if your whole closet is filled with banana or your every cookbook that you have is, you know, like kind of thinking through what's in your, what's in your house and identifying these, those things. It's really easy to incorporate some of those things into your Instagram feed as well. So you know, if you're wearing a top from banana or uno, whatever clothing company that you like, you know, tag them in your posts with your flowers and all that kind of stuff and start building said that there is a little bit of awareness or something and I'm, I'm such a big fan of Hallmark.
Kelly Perry - 12:59 - I love a good handwritten card so I love their new line and so I'm always on there and I don't know that I'm really not interested in, in doing branding work right now, but if I was, I mean that's just something that I naturally do. I'm like naturally love all the things that they're posting and just this, the spirit of it and things. So anyway, I think that that's a piece of it to that that can happen and if they're located near where you are physically or in proximity, like that's bonus points even better. So kind of taken off those different things on your list I think is a really great way to um, yeah, to start building some of those new relationships.
Nick Valley - 13:40 - Don't be afraid to diversify. I think that's it. We've worked with so many things, so many different companies and people and ad columns on entertaining and magazines that are different. And some of it made absolutely no sense in the beginning, but we just know something. I think is kind of ties together with someone asked like how do you get to work with you? And we were telling us individually, most of the people just called us if they, you know, somebody just called and said, hey, I'd love to work with you. We tried something out and we did it in the same sense. Do that with the brands you want to work with that with the restaurant and you want to do or if you want to try an entertaining column, go ahead and swing for it and see. And all of it has filled the last now going on 16 years with just interesting, interesting. And it all kind of leads to each other. So one, one item, one item or relationship led to another one which led to another one and then all of a sudden we're doing a chip companies launch. That has gone on to be huge.
Nick Valley - 14:37 - And did Ali and I have any real knowledge of what makes a potato chip company great? No,
Aleah Valley - 14:44 - but we made them look like a lot of fun.
Nick Valley - 14:48 - Like I remember we came home from an event. There was literally hundreds of bags of chips on that front porch that and we couldn't even get in our house and it was like one in the morning and were unloading boxes of chips just to get to the door and you know, a couple of years later we'd done their first three campaigns. We didn't come back and do more. They moved on, we moved on, but it was a fun one and it taught us how to do that and our skills gave them something that other people couldn't. But that led to, you know, a Soda Company that everyone knows asking and then, uh, you know, well known, uh, alcohol distributor and you know, just something that maybe didn't make full sense in the beginning. Might have just started with a phone call. Especially if you're early on in your years, just see, just try a phone call to may not land you the top spot, but you might get in there just enough that they call you again in a year or two and go, hey, I was thinking about this.
Aleah Valley - 15:41 - Yeah. It never hurts to ask.
Nick Valley - 15:41 - No, no.
Kelly Perry - 15:45 - Yeah. And picking up the phone is really powerful. I feel like some of my best relationships have come from district. I really impromptu cold call Kelly.
Aleah Valley - 15:56 - So true.
Kelly Perry - 15:59 - So anyway. Yeah, I think the phone is a powerful tool for sure.
Kelly Perry - 16:05 - You can support the production of this podcast by joining Team Flower's online learning community, whether you're a flower farmer, professional, florist, or just starting out with flowers. We've got a class that's right for you. Deepen your design skills, discover valuable foundations for business, or learn how to grow a beautiful healthy garden from seed Germination to arbor installations. We've got you covered. Each class comes with lifetime access to course material as well as direct access to the instructor through the Team Flower community. Receive instant on demand access for all your devices when you join and enjoy learning anytime, anywhere. We're here to help each class comes with quick friendly member support in a 14 day money back guarantee. Ready to learn more. Head over to a team, teamflower.org/online and grow with us.
Kelly Perry - 16:59 - So your husband and wife team, you're working together, living together. You've got a family. All those kinds of beautiful things. Um, what roles are each of you playing kind of in your, in your business, and maybe is there like a favorite part that you have about working with your spouse?
Aleah Valley - 17:17 - Yeah, so it's so interesting because when we started our company, we were right out of college and we didn't again really know what roles were defined in wedding planning and as we've grown, you know, we understand now I deal a lot with um, the front end of our client relations, um, correspondence the design, the floral Nick puts a great focus on the logistics and the framework again, those nuts and bolts of, of our events. And I think that that really plays well into what we do because it's, it's two different approaches and we've worked really hard over 15 years from when we started out really not knowing what our roles were to having a very clear definition. And you know, we're both in attendance at our meetings and um, everyone knows both of our faces and that's very important that we're both visible throughout the process. Both with our couples are our clients' families, vendors or our team of artists as we like to call them.
Aleah Valley - 18:18 - Um, so that's been a huge push for us is just making sure that everyone who we interact with understands what we both do. Um, it's definitely not easy. I'm now having two little ones have four year old and then it just turned one. Um, it's, it's definitely a balancing act, but we wouldn't have it any other way. And I think one of the greatest joys of what we do now is getting to share the fun and the magic of events with, um, with our kiddos. Ava loves coming into the studio with me and making flower arrangements. She calls them flower jobs or wedding jobs and I post some behind the scenes. Yeah. Excuse me. I know what I'm doing.
Kelly Perry - 19:04 - I've got a better job over here
Aleah Valley - 19:06 - and she'll go into back in the stock room and she'll pull out, you know, like vases and she'll fill it up in the sink and tear off petals and you know, and it's just, it's great seeing that creativity. And so I think from, from me seeing that come to life is fantastic and ultimately, you know, Nick and I have been together very long time and obviously been in business for 15 years together. We're celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary this summer. And, and first and foremost it's us, um, and then it's our business. And so making sure that that work life balance is always, um, you know, as polished as we can be is really important. But again, it's, it's not easy because we live together, we work together, we, you know, everything is done together, but that's also kind of the fun of it because we get to travel for our events and we get to go and um, you know, speak around the country and we get to take Ava to Nashville and you know, and go to Aspen
Aleah Valley - 20:06 - and just really fun, unique places and we get to meet such amazing people and we get to do it all together. And so for me, I think that's probably the best reward.
Nick Valley - 20:15 - You know, when you've got, I think anybody in business knows. One of the most difficult aspect is finding a business partner, you're 100 percent trust and that you're on the exact same page as far as where you're going with your business and that you're going to kind of always be in business together. I think that's probably a big one. So when these crazy ideas for events come up and says, Hey, I think I want to hang all of this from the ceiling and I think we should do this and that and let's change the, the entrance to a location or let's, let's boat everybody in on this little island out in the San Juan's or whatever, and I go, you're crazy. And then we figured out how to do it and it's, it's kind of in it that happens every year. It's some idea that goes, that can happen and then we, you know, kind of rewind and figuring out how it happens and it always does, but they, I think that's a big benefit that people don't see it because people ask that all the time about how can you work with your spouse? Think about that. The flip side is I've, we know we've got each other's back a hundred percent,
Kelly Perry - 21:19 - Jesse and I feel two. Yeah, 100 percent. Yep. That's a, it's a key. Yeah. Yeah. You're in it for the long haul. And um, I think that it is really rewarding, although sometimes, you know, sometimes they, especially if things can you go through one of those super stressful, um, patches, it can get a little, it can get a little bit tense, but some of those just sort of like bringing it back, you know, like there's never like perfect balance in life no matter what you do, whether you work with your spouse or you don't like, but there's, there's this sort of like getting back closer to the middle piece that kind of helps you to be able to absorb a acute stressful situations a little bit better than you were if you were just swinging from one emergency to the next. And things like that. And I love that you say it's you guys first and the business second and I think that's an important part of it.
Kelly Perry - 22:14 - You know, there can be this drive especially, you know, different personalities to really be competitive or to really push over the edge. And I think that it does take an element of agreement of protection that like, you know, we, we could push harder or we could just rest now and I think maybe we should rest now. You know, so yeah, I, I love that. I think it's really powerful. I don't think it's something that people need to be, um, you know, necessarily afraid of. It's not for everyone, but I definitely know that it was for Jesse and I and it sounds like it's absolutely fine for you guys as well. And it is, it's really rewarding and there's, there's different ways to sort of, you know, little techniques and um, to kind of just practically balance. And I don't know if you guys have any tips, but Jesse and I have, um, I had a little bit of a, a moment on Easter where I was just like this whole day, like every Sunday from like the morning until like 6:00.
Kelly Perry - 23:15 - Like I just need, I need to not like, I just need to like go on walks and I need you to go on walks with me, like can we go on, you know. And so we did that for, we did that for me just to sort of try it out and see how it felt and I think that, you know, anytime you're doing something new, if you sort of put a limit on it and you're like evaluating like, okay, well after month, like how did that feel or did it work because you know, you can try all kinds of different techniques and things and sometimes they flow and they make sense and sometimes they just really feel like almost more stressful than just what exists already. So, and I think probably those techniques change throughout life. We don't have children yet. Um, but yeah. I don't know. Do you guys have any guys have any tips or anything that you guys have tried that you feel like is helpful in sort of protecting that sacred family time or. Yeah, maybe you do. Maybe you don't. I don't know. I don't mean to put you on the spot
Aleah Valley - 24:18 - we, we do, but we're also constantly evolving that and um, you know, I'm sure it's not actually, our schedules are always crazy and our schedules are always different in terms of, you know, meeting clients after hours or on a weekend or having our weddings take up our weekends. And so something that we strive to do is to really have that definition of, okay, well in the afternoon, you know, we do, we do the same walk thing and we like to take a family walk and just get some fresh air, walk up to the market. Those are things that, you know, any kind of normalcy that's just relaxing I think is really, really important. And between Nick and I, you know, once after dinner after bedtime, it's the two of us. And did we decide to watch a movie or do we decided to talk about clients because we haven't had a chance, um, you know, to catch up from the days' festivities. Um, so if we do, it's, it's still going back to, okay, well let's pop on a movie.
Aleah Valley - 25:18 - Let's relax. Let's make sure that we have that line downtime even if it's late, so making sure that you, you find a definition of some kind of schedule and understanding that in our industry it's all over the place and we can definitely, you know, say we have our office hours and this one will be in our studio, but on any given day we might be heading up to the mountains or hopping on a sea plane to go check out a site visit. So going back to when we are home, making sure that we have as much of a schedule, but it's a fun schedule as, as we can, um, makes us feel, um, I think just good and as relaxed as we can given that it's not always normal.
Nick Valley - 26:03 - We love doing this. It's still after all these years when maybe that last, you know, everyone has an event, I guess less than last season, but kind of that push where maybe you're kind of going nonstop for months and months. I think still I can think of every year at the end we both are like, ah man. Like it's kind of, you just love doing it, you love watching the people you, you know, the whole thing is just fun. And so I think maybe in our world the difference if we were both, let's say accountants, it might not be as exciting, but I think doing what we do, we get to put all these great parties together and these great moments and then the human element which is to control, to say the least that they surprise you every time. And sometimes it's a surprise. You got to figure out and sometimes it's a surprise that catches you off guard and you, you hear a great story being told or an amazing speech or a funny moment or you know, or a great band and 300 people are all dancing or you know,
Nick Valley - 27:01 - I think it's what we do that makes it not feel like it's, you know, like kind of taking over our lives. It is a part of our life. It's just as much a part of our life as any other major part of our life. So we don't have, for me at least, I can't think of compartmentalizing it and saying, well, this is now put away because they're all also times were up in the middle of the night with somebody who's on a different time zone or in a different country and that just doesn't feel weird to me.
Aleah Valley - 27:28 - Or we're brainstorming as Kelly. I'm sure you're all at you're creative and you're so talented at always thinking about great new ideas and sharing those ideas. And we're always doing the same. And I might wake up in the middle of the night and write a note on my phone about, oh, I want to write a blog post about this or want to put this on Instagram. And, and I think, yeah, we're so passionate about what we do that we try really hard to make it not feel like we're going. Of course there are those managerial aspects of what we do and the housekeeping of it and, you know, the, the behind the scenes and the framework of our business that maybe aren't the most fun. Um, but we have to do them. And so those, I think scheduling, um, when we do those and um, you know, things like taxes and accounting and you know, all of those kinds of things, making sure that those occurred during our quote unquote standard business hours and then everything else just falls into place.
Aleah Valley - 28:26 - And we both also know when it's time to, you know, to go to dinner, let's just have a dinner and let's, maybe we can talk about fun creative things or a memory from an event, but let's just try to just relax a little bit.
Kelly Perry - 28:41 - Yeah, I love that. And I think the, the key thing with it is just that it's not a normal nine to five and a lot of circumstances what we, what we do just isn't. And so just there's almost like an, an element of like being at peace with the idea and the lifestyle that what you do looks probably a little bit different than what it is that your friends might do or, or different things like that. And um, there can be a lot of kind of guilt. I feel like sometimes associated with that or feeling like you are, you know, it's too much or too, you know, all those kinds of things and I just want to encourage anybody who's listening to um, you know, like pinpoint, really think about what if there's something that's kind of great non on you a little bit like pinpoint exactly what it, what it is or what it was. And for me the mixing of things everyday of the week was the piece that was really grating on me.
Kelly Perry - 29:40 - I love the flexibility that my schedule allows. I love that it is just a part but I think I just wanted like one day or just this lake little sacred time where we were, we just knew that like we could clean the kitchen and that would be cool, that be good, you know, little things. And I think that's what, that's what had kind of gotten to me where it was just like the things that felt like little things where suddenly in my, in my mind they were coming, becoming like really big things where I was just like feeling like that I couldn't kind of keep up with some of these basic things and um, just wanted to figure out a way to do that. So for me it looked like blocking time out a little bit and I'm a big fan of time blocking. I love to go really hard after something for a little while. But it's so true that creative inspiration, I mean you can't control it makes it just comes.
Kelly Perry - 30:36 - So yeah, having that little notebook by the bed and all those kinds of things are important and all of that. Well thanks for sharing that. I know that's, that's one of those topics that I think it's very human and people I know I do, it's just like always. I'm kind of wanting to get a sense of like maybe some things that other people have tried that have worked or just other perspectives or just the knowing that like you aren't alone and that it's okay.
Aleah Valley - 31:00 - We're all doing our best, right?
Kelly Perry - 31:02 - We're all done our best. Yeah. It's all good.
Kelly Perry - 31:06 - Financial support for the production of this podcast is brought to you by Team Flower's creating inspired design, a fast track online class designed to set you free in your work with flowers. Nurturing creativity in our lives is important. Designing arrangements that our clients love and that work cited about is important too. If you've ever experienced that tension between what you'd like to create, what your client needs, this class will help together. We'll go on a journey and creative expression. We'll explore a personal design philosophies. Learn how to break out of creative risks and step out from under the weight of perfectionism will cover both client and personal arrangements and learn techniques for bridging the gaps between these two types of work. If you're ready to get back to creating from a place of joy and inspiration, you can learn more at teamflower.org/online.
Kelly Perry - 31:58 - Well, what I would really love to talk about, um, before we sign off today is you guys have got a book that's being released soon called Storied Weddings and I would love to know all about it. Um, what inspired you to write it? A little layout, favorite stories, like all those kinds of things. And I mean, I can read, I can repeat that a little bit as we kind of go through, um, you know, one thing at a time, but I just think it's so fun whenever I'm, you know, a book is a huge, huge project. It's, it's a lot of compilation and really, even before that it's creating another product and you have to decide what that product is about and who it's for and the problem that it solves. And who might pick it up and just be thinking of, you know, thinking about those readers deeply and creating for them and it's just, it's a really complex and interesting process.
Kelly Perry - 32:54 - So I love talking to authors because, um, yeah, it takes a lot of, takes a lot of gumption to be able to get through that whole process. It's a long one. So tell us what inspired you to write the book.
Aleah Valley - 33:07 - Gosh, thank you so much. Well, we um, really had a concept for our book in mind. I'm probably minor 10 years at least, and it was an idea of really encouraging people, getting married, creatives, florists, photographers, wedding planners to really think about, you know, coming approaching a wedding and wedding planning as storytelling. Um, I think so much of the time I'm with what we do, it's very easy to plug in and say, okay, well here's an online checklist. This is what I should be doing. Here's an even more. So today, here is a template for our wedding vows. Here's a template for this, and a template for that. And that can be really helpful and useful. But think about what you love to eat, um, think about, you know, a favorite meal that you've had together or where did you get engaged? Um, what were the sounds that you were hearing, what music was playing?
Aleah Valley - 34:07 - Um, what about your family heritage and history and things that, you know, hobbies that you like to do together for us, we do consider ourselves storytellers on our client's behalf and that really inspired us to create a book that not only gives a visual inspiration, it's a, it's a big, beautiful coffee table book about 200 plus pages and it's filled with gorgeous imagery, um, designs, um, style designs and five of our real weddings. And so it has that great kind of peppering of, um, okay, well, here are five different real couples that they did this, they ate this for their menu and, and they drank these cocktails. And we really do have menus from each wedding so that you can really see what the guest experienced. Um, we have snippets from each couple on what was important to them during the process and how their stories were told.
Aleah Valley - 35:06 - And it's, it's something that, you know, we've, we've had this idea for such a long time and when we talked with our publisher Gibbs Smith publishing, they're incredible. Um, we, we just fell in love with them as much as they fell in love with, with the concept and with us. Um, so it's a great relationship because they really let us do, they let us follow through with our vision for the book, which was to give people this beautiful eye candy, you know, but also we gave them a lot of meat and a lot of planning tips and we wrote, I don't know how many words ended up being in the book, but we wrote over 33,000 words, um, that I'm really, we poured our heart and souls and we included planning logistics and ideas for sample timelines and um, tips for getting people to think really creatively about what kind of desserts to serve and what kind of vows to write.
Aleah Valley - 35:59 - Um, so it's really encouraging couples getting married, but also people surrounding them, their families, their wedding parties, their best friends, um, and, and us planners and designers and everyone involved with these great celebrations. Let's remember why we're all here. We're here because this couple has a story and so let's help them tell that story.
Kelly Perry - 36:22 - I love that. Do you guys have a favorite story that's featured in the book? Maybe different? I'm sure. I mean, what are they? Tell us all about it or anything.
Aleah Valley - 36:37 - So for me, um, we had this wonderful bride named Tiffany and her groom, Chris and Tiffany, I consider her a lovely friend now. Um, we worked with them for about two years and she discovered this wedding dress that her mother wore in the 80s and that her grandmother wore in the 50s, um, and it was actually in near pristine condition. Um, but we talked two years, as soon as they became engaged and they engaged us. Um, I, I knew that was of huge importance for her to wear the same dress. She wanted to modernize it a bit. So throughout the two years, um, I attended every single design a sit down with the dress designer Lily Young, and they did an amazing job at kind of bringing the lace back to life, making some alterations, really modernizing it a bit,
Aleah Valley - 37:33 - but the fact that her grandmother wore the dress decades before her mother wore the dress and then Tiffany got to wear the dress that was so special to me and um, it's, it just drives the, the purpose of what we do home that everyone has this, um, this vision for their wedding and the story and everyone has something that's really truly important to them that should be considered. And we loved the dress, how it came out and hopefully, you know, someday she'll have the ability to pass on that dress as well. And I just, I loved her thought process on it. I loved that. That was one of the most important details for her was to make sure that, that, that came to life.
Kelly Perry - 38:17 - Yeah. I love that. I love that you are really in all of this like that you're helping people identify what matters and that you're helping them think critically. I'm not in a sense of like, oh, they did this menu, you should do this menu, but thinking critically like the why behind that menu in doing that really nice like transfer into getting them thinking about what that could look like for them specifically because it's really easy to take, take a template or it's really easy to copy something that sounds good or you know, whatever. Um, and, you know, place time for all of that. But I think that this idea of being able to just pull out those things that really make people's hearts, things like that. Just that tells you so much about your client.
Kelly Perry - 39:07 - Like about the, the, um, just the legacy I imagine is something that is so core to who she is as a person that is coming out through her wedding, but also just like in her life as she lives it day to day. Like she is a champion of legacy in the world and inspires us all to think a little bit more about it. I love that.
Aleah Valley - 39:30 - Yes. Me too. Me Too. We, we stand for that. And so I think our clients come to us also standing for that and if they maybe don't understand that quite yet, it's we feel a responsibility to make people feel super excited about those components that make them both, you know, individually and as a couple and really who they are.
Kelly Perry - 39:50 - I love, I love it so much.
Aleah Valley - 39:52 - Thank you.
Nick Valley - 39:54 - Looking at who the people are from the beginning to the end, I guess one of our big secrets, and that's probably a big part of the book is actually you can, you can fill in your own blanks, but a template is a pretty hard thing to give somebody when we're all different, you know, kind of like the the one size fits all really doesn't fit everybody and so you can find the keys to what at least for us has worked for all these years and what we've at least built that, you know, based on the fact that we have high morals. We always do exactly what we say and more all those little lessons that have left the, you know, at Christmas we always say it's amazing. Or friends always go like, you've got to be kidding me. We still get Christmas cards from so many of these clients, even from the very first year and we see their kids in there. I mean it's, it looks like we are the most popular people in the world because we have so many Christmas cards.
Nick Valley - 40:45 - But I feel like that's a testament to kind of the morality and in understanding that we get a, we get to play a major part in maybe the one big celebration you have of yourself and your life. And so we never forget that from the very first time we've done it to know we understand that it's, it's not about a picture for us, it's not about even if nothing's ever show. And we did our job 100%. That's great. And that's exactly what we're supposed to do. But going. So my story is, is just funny, but it's, there's always a good story. Never if there wasn't, I had stopped doing it, but the uh, Ashley and Max and their mom, Patty, Patty, we did an event at their house that it is in the book and they had just an amazing property kind of tucked just outside the city. But they just acquired land over time. And so it really, we had multiple scenes, I think three or four different scenes in different sections of the property.
Nick Valley - 41:47 - And the top was a dinner kind of in what looks like a Oh, I guess it was a pasture we didn't look like when I was a pastor and it had corrals all around it and as a kid, something she had just mentioned in passing, they had animals and all these chorales and you know, she's a grown woman now and the animals are no longer there, so they had all these empty corrals and she was talking about the animals and Aleah said, well maybe we can get animals. And that was another moment. Here we go.
Aleah Valley - 41:47 - Nick's gonna have to find some animals.
Nick Valley - 42:16 - Exactly. As they did. I just knew it right then I was like, might as well start googling this. I found the most, everything over these years. I mean, just shocking things and I've always been able to find them and so they gave us their list of animals that they used to have sheep and horses and mini horses and all these things. And so I got on, got on. It was like, all right, well I'll start with petting zoos and you know, just in every phone call was, hey, I wonder if I can rent some animals for. Oh yeah, for kids probably know for a wedding. And they go, oh, some people for very, very suspicious of me. And he's like, no, no, I'm serious. I want five goats and I want to these horses and okay. And I was working with one guy who was working really hard. I think he, I mean, you can, yeah, it's a different crew that works in this field. And so I'm trying to get people to bring animals out to this property.
Nick Valley - 43:11 - And uh, he, I think he was the mini horse guy and which is funny to say I have a mini horse guy, but a, I think he couldn't get these specific or as many as we need it over there. And it had been a long day. And, and he, uh, he calls me back and I couldn't answer it that exact second because we're actually rebuilding our house at that time. And so I was, I think putting up walls and I got back on the phone and I heard the message set. So I don't have the mini horses or as many as you need it. He, he's like, but I do have a guy. He goes in my. I'm thinking that a donkey would make this wedding and real special and it was still something that I never forget. I played it for them. Every single person person's ever heard this message just dies. It is so funny. This the context of how dead serious this guy is.
Aleah Valley - 43:11 - The donkey will make the wedding.
Nick Valley - 44:05 - This donkey donkey is merely going to make really classes have been out and I just couldn't help it and then on the day we didn't end up with donkey and we did end up with the horses and the sheep and all that and we're directing all these people in the suburban. The suburban pulls up and I have no idea who it is, but that's. That doesn't. Vendors can come in from different fields and so he rolls down his window and he has three goats popping his head out, a suburban, not in cages and I just remember thinking this is never gets old. And so I think that that one's one from the one from every couple in there, but that was one of the ones that always makes me laugh. And I've played that message from any people who have found it funny over the last couple of years.
Kelly Perry - 44:51 - That's really funny. Yeah. Well, you know, if you wouldn't have had your hands full putting up a new wall, you wouldn't have had that treasure to share and to bring delight and joy to everyone. You would have only been able to tell it yourself.
Nick Valley - 45:08 - The donkey's message can break tension quick.
Kelly Perry - 45:12 - Well, um, after, you know, 15 years in the business, you know, I feel like there can be kind of a high burnout rate in weddings, florals, all those kinds of things. Um, because it, it is pretty intense work. Um, and if you don't get your business model set up and straight quick, it can be easy to be like, what am I doing and why am I here? And this is not worth it. You know, you're going to have some of those thoughts. But, um, there are definitely ways to kind of avoid and bypass some of those things and it seems that, you know, that you guys have, have overcome those obstacles. I'm just wondering if there's anything before we sign off today. Um, oh, and sorry, before we move onto that, I wanted to know, um, well I'm not exactly sure when this will air and you know, it will be, people will listen to this at all different times, but the release date for your book and where people could find it.
Aleah Valley - 46:05 - Yes. So the release date is November 6th, so a handful of months away and I can let you know, um, as soon as it's available. Well, it's available now actually for presale. Um, but if you go to your local bookstore, I'm probably late August and you can ask for a copy of Storied Weddings. You can get a special order. Um, so local bookstores are a great way. You can also order online. Um, there's a, you know, an Amazon link, it's up for presale now. Um, if you google for story or look for Storied Weddings by Valley and Company Events.
Kelly Perry - 46:39 - And I will just say that presales really matter, they're important and if you, one of you've loved, you know, meeting and talking with Aleah, Nick, and you're interested in the book, just go over in preorder the book now because that's like a number that helps the publishers know that, um, how many they should print and all those kinds of good things. So it's a really, um, pre presales are really powerful. So go over there and, and go ahead and get that if it's something that you're, you're interested in having, but what a great, I think it's an excellent book for professionals to think through some of those things that start adding more value to their client experiences as well. We end up fun gift to give your clients and your brides if you're wanting them to have a chance to think through some of those things, it'd be a fun little fun little welcome gift to have for sure
Aleah Valley - 47:26 - for the holidays too. And I should mention that we have, in addition to our expertise, we have a handful of really amazing, um, great industry friends that we also have included in the book. So, um, we have in the real weddings editor, brides magazine, um, some fellow floral designers. I'm just really amazing people who, um, also lend their advice. So we appreciate the support. Very much so.
Kelly Perry - 47:54 - Awesome. I love that teamwork. Go team,
Aleah Valley - 47:57 - most definitely.
Nick Valley - 47:58 - That's the company in all these people's
Kelly Perry - 48:03 - financial support for the production of this podcast is brought to you by Team Flower's online business growth class. If you're feeling overworked and underpaid, if you find yourself sacrificing time with family and friends to support a quickly growing flower business, this class is for you. If left unchecked, business growth can lead to feelings of overwhelm and burnout. But if I told you there was another way, the topics covered in this comprehensive class will allow you to skip the season of confusion that often accompanies growth and rediscover what a healthy work life balance looks like. In this class, we'll take a deep dive into your business to pinpoint frustrations, spot opportunities for streamlining and identify those strengths that will help you transition in launch to the next phase. We'll also walk through new revenue streams, hiring online advertising, and even give you videos that you can use to train your staff on the basics. If you're ready to learn how to work less and get paid, you can join online at teamflower.org/online.
Kelly Perry - 49:06 - So going back question about burnout, we definitely, the wedding industry can be very exhausting. There is always, you know, the feeling of our businesses, our business, we have our client work, but then we also have our social media upkeep and kind of um, you know, the, the, the impression of our business and what people see. And that can be really tiring. I think we're hearing a lot of that these days and I think finding tools to help kind of streamline that and making calendars for, okay, you know, if I'm, if I'm putting a blog post out to support, um, you know, this wedding or two to share this wedding, why don't I just do a wedding Wednesday post every Wednesday so I don't have to worry about posting multiple times a week unless you're a blogger that's different. Um, you know, find tools to schedule social media posts. I'm try to really utilize resources out there to make your job easier.
Aleah Valley - 50:08 - Um, I, I definitely, I'm, I'm the one who kind of mans our social media and it is very tiring and I'm always trying to think about, okay, well what's something new and fresh that we can talk about and try to create supportive community. And I think finding community is, is really important as well to kind of curb that burnout. Finding Great. He loved to work with, um, you know, really reaching out and making sure that people that you work with, you have fun working with them because that really should be what this is all about. We should all have fun and yes, there is stress involved and you know, it's, it's not easy a lot of the time. Um, but when you do find yourself getting tired, do something different. Um, you know, go on a trip and it doesn't have to. Well you could, you could go to Ireland or you could rent a cabin in the woods, you know, an hour from your house or go to the coast. Um, so just do something different that hopefully will help you to rejuvenate and just get a kind of fresh perspective on, on what you do
Aleah Valley - 51:07 - and even if that's, you know, going out to dinner with a another floral designer friend and talking through things. Just taking a step back and kind of thinking about what you do, how you do it, what you want to be doing differently, and then figuring out how to implement that I think can really just keep that burnout at bay and not necessarily continually reinventing yourself because when you have something that works, you want it to continue to work. Um, but just figuring out, you know, does that mean I'm going to increase my offerings or going back to the beginning of the chat? Um, you know, I want to start working with these kinds of, you know, different clients or this kind of a venue and maybe give yourself some new challenges. And I think that a combination of resetting, taking a step back, relaxing a little bit, um being good to yourself. And also maybe coming up with some new fun goals can really help to keep you happy and in the industry.
Kelly Perry - 52:07 - Yeah, I agree. And I think that finding that pinpoint of where the source of burnout might be, it's really, really important. So there might be, there might be one specific thing that it's just like really great or whatever that you know, that keeps coming back through your, through your head or something and just bringing some awareness to what that is. And um, I love that power of community piece in that talking with somebody about it who understands the industry and what it's like, um, is really, really important and powerful. And if you ever feel like you're on the edge of like, I'm going to quit tomorrow unless something happens or whatever. Like please, please just like we have a red button on our website and you can just chat the button on, on the teamflower.org website.
Kelly Perry - 52:59 - And that's what we are here. Like, my, my mission in life is to anybody who feels called to flowers, like helping them figure out the, you know, helping them figure out the way that makes sense for them because sometimes too, like we have ideas of what our business will look like or be like or the stream or whatever. And then life just happens. Like one day I got, I got real sick and I couldn't, it the weight that I had been doing it before in the way that I thought that it would always come out the way that it would be and happen and that can be really devastating. I remember like thinking the thought of like, well, I'm going to have to like give this up to now and, you know, just, but, but like the, I'm just like, imagine if I would have like, what if like, you know, what if I would like, what if I would've just quit? Like back then? Like, you know, I can't, I don't know. I think it's important that we, um, find a way to work around if it's something that we feel that we're called to.
Kelly Perry - 53:58 - And there's a season and a time to let things go. I mean, I understand that, but I also, I also know that there's just a lot of resistance out there in us becoming who we are and rising to the occasion that we were made to rise and be a part of in the world. And so I want to make sure that we help each other keep going.
Aleah Valley - 54:23 - So now you, I completely agree with that, you know, something with 15 years of, of what we've done and press and speaking engagements and we have been told no so many times over the years and everyone will be told no. Um, but we've also been told yes to some amazing things. I'm like a book and you know, and, and I think I'm not being discouraged when you are told no or when an idea doesn't work or when a design isn't quite what you envisioned. Just knowing that again, you know, this is your passion. Just think about how to do things differently and then rework those goals where you work that design and just keep moving, I think is, is a really important message.
Kelly Perry - 55:11 - Mm. Yeah, like sort of goes back to what Nick said in the very beginning where don't keep repeating the things
Nick Valley - 55:21 - Exactly. That simply stands. I'm telling you diversify, do things different with different people. Sometimes we're having maintaining friendships outside of your industry. A lot of my friends are my original friends who have nothing to do with my world. Don't feel like you have to go to every single social mixer for event because you will never get anything done if you're only have every one of those. Some people, well that's all they do. They don't work. They just go to those and I think you got to find a balance. Do it. If you're enjoying it, do it, have, have fun doing it. If you can't do it, don't feel like you have to. You
Aleah Valley - 55:53 - take away the pressures and the obligations that we, I think all can easily put on ourselves.
Nick Valley - 55:58 - Yeah. We stay in our own lane. That's been something we've said for a long time. We stay in our lane, we do what works for us. Uh, we try to keep high morals and everything we do. You know, we appreciate all the people who work with us to pull these events off and we show them that appreciation. It's not out of anything other than sincerity that we, you know, it's, I think something that a lot of people are shocked by it, but us and every one of our crew at the end of an event, we want everyone to go shake every single person's hand that helped for that day and that's all the way back to the kitchen and the dishwasher and people pull into everyone of these people worked really hard to make it happen. And I feel like every time we do that I feel better about it. It makes me remember why we do it and you know, just remember that we are very lucky to do this too. It's a lot of people have jobs we wouldn't want to do and you know, I, I have my friends. I guess that's why I say I have friends that do things that I just think, oh, I could never get up in the morning and do that every day.
Nick Valley - 56:59 - And so I, you know, I think I try to remind myself from, you know, I guess our own sanity that we are very lucky to get to participate in the fun side of life.
Kelly Perry - 57:12 - Yeah. And I just want to circle back around what you said about shaking every person's hand like that honor and that appreciation. Like it just, it gave me goosebumps when you said it, so I just wanted to say it again.
Nick Valley - 57:28 - It's important.
Kelly Perry - 57:29 - It's so important. It's really meaningful. Well, that's a really beautiful thought to wrap things up today. I love that. Thank you guys so much for being a part of the podcast and thank you for the book that you've written, that you poured your heart and soul into. That I know is something that will be a tool for change in the industry and a way to bring a depth back to it that maybe has been lost. And so I just, I thank you so much for that and just for your work and for everything, we're really looking forward to it.
Aleah Valley - 58:10 - Well thank you. That means so much. Truly. And we adore you and what you were doing for our industry and for flowers and for creatives, and we appreciate your support so much, Kelly.
Kelly Perry - 58:22 - Oh, well, I'll take that handshake, the handshake. Perfect. Thank you guys so much. Sheer Delight. Right? We'll see everybody. Um, well we don't. I'm hopefully I'll get to see everybody who's listening someday. It's my dream to have a selfie with all of you. I think I have started a little bit of a, a wall, um, of people because it is, it's the faces and the people that make this industry so special. And so just thank you so much, Lee. Uh, nick, and to all of you who are listening.
Aleah Valley - 58:56 - Thank you Kelly.
Nick Valley - 58:56 - Appreciate it.
Aleah Valley - 58:57 - Thanks everyone.
Kelly Perry - 59:00 - As we sign off today, I want to remind you that your work with flowers matters. It's about more than the blooms. You're loving the world. You make magic happen. You're creating memories. You're following the dream, delivering light and grace here at Team Flower we're cheering you on one bloom at a time. Thank you for listening to the podcast. And until next time, remember that we're so thankful for each bucket that you wash in each bag of garbage that you take out of your studio that makes all of this possible. If you're looking for more Florida education, that's free conversation or inspiration. Just visit teamflower.org/free to see the library of helpful videos and articles for florists, growers and flower business owners. You'll find helpful tips on everything from creating flower walls to hiring freelancers and much, much more.