I have spent nearly a decade working in the floral industry and my career has allowed me to experience some pretty neat stuff- working in some of the coolest venues all over the province, experiencing iconic establishments like the Museum of Nature, the ROM or the AGO from a behind the scenes perspective, riding in some of the worst/ oldest elevators ever ( I have been trapped a handful of times) and working with some extensive floral budgets to make some serious flower magic. I am grateful for all of it. I love that part of my job, that my day to day varies so drastically. It is pretty hard to get bored or run out challenges. The floral industry is constantly changing and evolving and it really does keep us on our toes.
All of this being said, I was tired. I was burning out so hard after every wedding season and the gaps between the busy periods were becoming smaller and the chance to recharge my batteries was diminishing. Then you throw in things like a child, a relationship that is important to me and my social life and it really put things into perspective, while I loved it I had reached a point that I wasn't feeling energized or inspired anymore and I had to make a decision.
We left Toronto just over 2 years ago and landed on a very quiet forested 20 acre property down a very pot hole ridden dirt road and it has been the best decision I have ever made. My first year here- I took every wedding that came my way and once again at the end of the season I was burnt out. At the end of that season I sat myself down and decided to make some big scary changes. I picked a number- 15- and decided that was it, that was the number of weddings I would do for an entire season. I set a minimum to be able to accommodate this. I wouldn't take a wedding with a budget over $12,000. I didn't want to grow my infrastructure, I didn't want employees, I didn't want a bigger vehicle, a bigger cooler or a bigger studio. I wanted to take away as many stress inducers as I could and I wanted to love my job and really be able to immerse myself into that and give my clients the best of me and that required me to make these big decisions. In January when I had little to no income, I was turning away weddings because they were too big or fell on one of my designated no work weekends. It felt really scary and I constantly wondered if I was committing business suicide. Wedding season rolled around. I was fully booked. Most importantly, at the end of the season I wasn't an exhausted fraction of myself. I still worked my butt off and there were still piles of stresses as there will always be ( yay for colour specific, perishable product!) and I was still happy for the end of the season break BUT it was very different from all of the other years. I thrived, my family thrived, my business thrived. I didn't have any exciting news of expansions, and I didn't do the flowers for the Prime Minster's wedding (metaphorically speaking) and yet everything was ok, better than okay. I ended up making not much less than when I was overworked because I didn't have all of the expenses to pay for because I kept my business small.
I don't say all of this to shit on the florists who do run these amazing, big operations. I admire them for being to do it, I realized I couldn't and I'm comfortable admitting
that and I give a standing ovation to them for doing it. I say all of this to talk about an area that people don't talk about much. Both the big and small operations have an important niche and there really is something for everyone. It doesn't have to be one or the other. There is no contest. I have worked alongside these florists running the big stuff and they really do thrive in this environment and it really just comes down to what makes you happy, what gives you energy and satisfaction and doesn't take away from your well being. Not to shit on social media again, but it really does create this environment where business owners (and just people in general) constantly need to reinvent themselves and have something new and exciting ALWAYS which just isn't sustainable. Doing what you do best in its simple day to day is under appreciated. It is brave and beautiful and I think it demands more respect that it's being given.
Now that I have a little more free time and a little more energy, I have been able to spend some time growing flowers, which gives me an endless amount of happiness and healthy stress/ challenge. I have mentioned in previous posts about this little adventure and I am excited to share the progress of it along with the designing that comes with it. I have some SERIOUSLY beautiful weddings booked for this upcoming season and I feel so good heading into it.