So I’m back with my second vendor interview and this week it is my favorite florist Amanda Apple the owner of Anthomanic Creative Florals. If you follow my blog you have seen some of Amanda’s work already but stop by her Facebook page to see even more! Also Amanda and I are hosting a fundraiser this Saturday at her shop to benefit the Stafford SPCA. It will be a Howl-O-ween crazy booth so bring your pets and get dressed up to take some CRAZY photos at the shop. All the details can be found here or on facebook! Now onto my interview with Amanda I think you will love her as much as I do after you read this!
The main thing that defines me and my business is that I’m not your average ‘florist’ – I like to call myself a floral artist. I create 3D sculptures with flowers! It may sound cheesy or silly, but it’s so true. I have been an artist since childhood. After finishing art school, I had an epiphany – flowers are my medium. The basic design principles I learned as an art student became my new design methodologies for floral design! I stopped listening to other floral designers and their silly design rules and started using the things I learned in school about three-dimensional design to guide my decision making: symmetry, balance, contrast, color, harmony, depth, etc..
When we get desperate, we get creative….I graduated college at a VERY bad time – Spring ’09 – with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design (a market that was definitely not hiring at the time). I had worked as a floral designer in high school and throughout college. It always came easy and was a very rewarding job, so rewarding it mostly felt like a hobby. When I was looking for some cash during my job search I did some floral design ‘on the side’ for friends or family. As time went on and still no job, I began to think about the possibility of owning my own business – it always seemed like a fun adventure! In January ’10 I was complaining to my best friend that I couldn’t find a job – he then suggested I open a flower shop in his dad’s empty commercial building. At first it was a joke… not even a year has gone by yet since that day and my business is doing great! Who ever said complaining doesn’t get you anywhere?!? My advice here is ‘follow your passion, follow what you enjoy’. Mom always told me growing up that you can’t go after a job or career because it will make you money. ‘Do what you enjoy and you will be successful in money and happiness!’ Mom is always right.
Making people happy. I think it all started when I got a job at Giant Food in the floral department. I was a teenager, just in need of a job and got hired as the assistant flower shop clerk. I started the day before 9/11. A lady came in and was in tears – her husband was just killed at the Pentagon. The way she poured her heart out to the floral manager and the interaction they had was so touching. Being in the floral industry you have this very rare emotional involvement with the people that walk into your shop or the people that you deliver flowers to. It was such an important experience to have – to be part of helping a customer at a time in there life when they need someone to just listen. Over the years, as I’ve moved from flower shop to flower shop, the care that customers seek from you as a florist is one thing that stays constant. Men come to the shop seeking that perfect bouquet to wow their wife – I get a hi-five. Brides and their moms come to me for that touch of personality for their special day – bride and mom have tears on the wedding day when I walk in with the flowers. One of my favorites is seeing little ones light up when they hear me blowing up a surprise free balloon. It’s these emotional interactions I get with my customers that make my job so special.
This will probably be the weirdest answer…I have two parts:
A. On the business side of this question: DISNEY. If you have ever been to Disney World you understand how they make their guests feel. They treat every guest like royalty. The way they take care of your needs, the way they take pride in the appearance of the parks, the way they take pride in creating magic in a child’s park visit – are all such inspirational ways of running a business. Disney has a customer centric business model – and I get my business ideas from them. I am more interested in my customer’s experience with my flower shop than I am about selling you something. My flower shop is my love, my passion. If my mom wasn’t my book-keeper I would give the flowers away for free :)