I remember when I first started my business and all these big dreams I had of my work being featured. My focus was more on the potential press than it was on the work. Looking back, it's so obvious why none of my early work was featured - it's not that the work wasn't good, it's just that my focus wasn't where it needed to be. It was only when I shifted my energy and started focusing more on my clients and their dreams for their day that things began to happen. Press features are no longer a top priority for me. More often than not, I'll receive an email from a publication or a text from a friend letting me know of a feature they saw of one of my weddings.
I’ll never forget that sick-to-my-stomach feeling. It was the week of a big wedding and as I went to prep some floral foam, I realized we were totally out. I did the only thing I could do, and I scavenged any store in our small town and all the neighboring towns that might have some foam. No luck.
I ended up having to rig together a solution, wasting mental energy and time worrying and problem-solving. While I ended up delivering on the end result and gave the couple exactly what I promised, I knew I never wanted to feel like that again. Frustrated, out of control, and behind.
Ever since that wedding, long-term planning remains one of the most important components to our wedding day success and client satisfaction. It’s funny-- one on the best ways I can serve my clients is by perfecting a process they never see, and should never know about.
Let’s talk about why your team should start preparing for a wedding the day the contract is signed, and why this long-range preparation will completely transform your wedding experience, putting the fun back into the wedding week.
I try to look at a popular venue where hundreds of weddings have been designed with the exact same layout as a challenge. The very first thing I do is ask myself, "How can I lay this out how it's never been done before?"
I’ve been feeling a tug at my heart for a while now. Something inside me is saying it’s time for a change, it’s time to pivot, to try something new. I’ve had a very specific dream for the past 18 years. That dream has evolved over time, but it’s still there. On Mother’s Day, Brian gave me the best gift in the world, rest. He took the kids for the day and I caught up on some much needed rest. Those days of being all by myself all day long are so incredibly rare, but it’s those days when I get my best ideas. I’m writing this post for one reason, because I want to remember this moment. I want to remember this day as the day I finally stopped allowing this dream to be just a dream.
When I'm first hired to design an event, the very first thing I do is make a site visit. I can't do anything until I've seen the space with my own two eyes. So much depends on the space! For this wedding, when I saw the farmland and particularly this garden with it's wide walkways, I knew we had to set up long tables in the walkways and serve dinner family style. The wooden posts in the garden were begging to be strung with cafe lights.
“During a trip to Paris, you can’t help but get swept away by the rich romance of the city. For this editorial, we found our inspiration in the ever-present vibe of desire that surrounded us. The backdrop of the city created its own sense of imagination with lavish structures possessing both traditional and innovative features, so we sought to capture images that expressed an equally classical and contemporary beauty. We chose to let this shoot bring the bride into focus and explore all the places her mind would be on her wedding day….”
When I share with creative entrepreneurs in webinars, through my course, or in individual or small group mentoring calls, we inevitably talk about building your business team. This is the one thing that most entrepreneurs fail to prioritize and it’s the one thing that I think is absolutely essential to make your business grow.
Until you make your first effective hire, you are limiting the profit potential of your business. I 100% guarantee it.
A few weeks ago, I got to speak at Florabundance Design Days in California and share the podium with some of the most respected designers in the industry.
Speaking at the conference marked a huge full-circle moment for me.
Four years ago, I signed up to attend the Florabundance Design Days conference. This was right after I decided to rebrand, changing my focus from event rentals under the name A Southern Tradition and instead focus solely on flowers, under my own name, Zimmerman Events. I had never been more excited about my business, and I could not wait to learn from the speakers who were going to be there.
If you’ve read my posts this past month, you know that we’ve been talking about creating community in our local wedding industries. It’s something we all crave, but seems so dang hard to actually put into practice.
In my latest Instagram Live I shared what I struggle with most around the holidays. Watch the video below to see how practicing a bit of minimalism has truly benefited both my personal life AND my business.
A couple of weeks ago, I shared my thoughts on why building community in the wedding industry feels really hard. (If you haven’t read that post yet, head here before reading any further. And if you never want to miss a post or update again, make sure you subscribe to our newsletter!)
My #1 priority and goal is that our clients LOVE their wedding celebration. If they are thrilled, then I’ve done my job. With that said, it’s always nice when a highly respected publication in the industry takes notice of your work.
In this Team Flower Podcast, I talk about where I started my business and how I got to where I am today. How I process set-up and delivery, how much time I allot for projects, how I have learned from mistrials from past weddings, what tools I use for stressful situations, what I discuss with clients, and so many more important topics are discussed!
“The Arkansas Bride team has noticed bundles of beyond beautiful bouquets, centerpieces, cake accents, tree installations, asymmetrical ceremony decor and more. So we decided to devote an entire Best of 2018 day to them! From cascading beauties to classic round bouquets — it was hard to pick just eight of our favorites!”
One of the most common questions my Bloomers ask me is, “how can I create community in my local wedding industry?”
Kind of like a favorite black t-shirt, community can be something we don’t think about until we miss it. You might have heard the proverb: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” So often, in the midst of growing our businesses, or surviving the busy season, or navigating new competition, we’re so focused on going quickly that by the time we notice that we miss a sense of camaraderie amongst our local vendors, we’re already burnt out and frustrated.
In an industry where we all know to tout the phrase “community over competition,” why is it still so dang hard to create real community with the people who live and work closest to us?
I’m going to keep it real here. The problem is probably you.
When I plan and design a wedding, it’s all about the details. I believe it’s the details that truly set weddings apart. It’s so easy for brides to recreate something they’ve seen before, but my job is to create something that is unique to them as a couple. This is where the importance of details comes into play.
Today I want to walk you through my most recent wedding and show you all the work, time, and attention we put into the details that truly made this southern wedding one of a kind!
The other day someone sent me a message and while I’m going to keep who sent it private, I do want to share what this person asked me:
“Did you lose any friends/family when you became a full-time entrepreneur? If so, how did you handle it? If not, do your friends/family acknowledge what you’ve accomplished and encourage you on your journey? I'm really struggling because I know my good friends see my posts, but they never like or comment on them. Why does this bother me? Do you ever experience this?”
There was an overwhelming number of applicants. So many that 42 states and 15 countries were represented.
It really was such a tough decision with so many wonderful, inspiring, heart-warming applications. As I read through each submission, there were common themes throughout of what you were desiring to get out of the course:
Four weeks ago, we produced our largest wedding of the year. The ceremony was set to start at 6pm. The bride would walk down the outdoor path to a beautiful floral covered arch that overlooked the Arkansas River Valley. My team and I had worked on this wedding for a year and the day was finally here and all of our hard work was about to pay off in one of the most gorgeous ceremonies I’d ever seen.
Except around 3:30pm, Danae (our lead coordinator) came up to me and said, “I need you to nail down a rain plan. I’ll be back in 30 minutes.”
Here's the thing about success: it doesn't happen overnight.
Success is a long term game. We live in a world of instant gratification. Just think about it: How quickly do you become frustrated when the building you are in doesn’t have wifi? When the item you ordered on Amazon isn’t available for two-day shipping? Or when you’re downloading something and it’s taking forever?
There is nothing instant about success, BUT success is possible if you’re willing to have deferred gratification rather than instant.
I was working out with my trainer yesterday (I'm trying to take better care of myself and get some energy to keep up with my three kids and they say after a while I'll start to enjoy it, still waiting on that!) and she said to me, "My fiance isn't loving his job and he asked me how I was able to land my dream job and I told him I'm one of the lucky ones."
I hear it all the time: “No one will run my business like I do.”
In fact, I had that same exact fear a few years ago. I was wearing way too many hats in my business. I thought wearing all the hats meant I was in total control of everything. Turns out, it was the complete opposite. Because I was trying to do everything myself, I was actually destroying my business. My mindset was all wrong. When I really think back on this time, it wasn’t that I was going to lose control, it’s that I was fearful of releasing some control.
I had a conversation with one of my mentoring clients that really stuck with me. She has so many great ideas. Her mind is racing in 17 different directions. She’s wondering what her next step should be. Does this sound familiar? I used to be the exact same way!
I’m often asked questions like, “How do you get so much done in a day?” or “How did you become successful?”
Truth be told, I inherited a couple of good traits that might be working well together. My maternal grandfather was a dreamer. He was one of those guys who dreamed up crazy big dreams, but never saw them through. He was a writer, a storyteller, and had an incredible imagination. My paternal grandfather was a determined, hardworking man. He was stubborn in the best way possible. He would never let anything or anyone get in his way.
My Dad said to me once, “You’re a dreamer like your Granddaddy and determined like your Pappy, one way or another you’ll be successful.”
Four years ago, I attended my floral idol’s workshop. I remember sitting in the front row soaking in every single word she said, writing down notes like a crazy woman, asking questions like my life depended on it, and seeing images of her beautiful work as they displayed on the screen in front of me.
I remember thinking, “I wish I could be like her. I wish I could do events like she does. I wish could have big budget clients like she has.”
Last year, I had the incredible privilege of speaking to the attendees at Nourish Retreat, an all-inclusive, luxury retreat for mamapreneurs looking to rest, connect, and create.
I was asked to speak on how I balance my business life with my personal life. It was an incredible joy to sit with fellow mom business owners and share my story, my struggles, and the boundaries I’ve created for myself in order to live the life I want to live. I personally think entrepreneurship can be a lonely thing. Throw being a mom on top of trying to run your own business and you totally feel alone. Speaking honestly about this struggle was a beautiful moment during the retreat because sometimes I think all we need is to know we aren’t alone. Someone else feels this way too!