The Urban Poppy! WOW! We've been admiring the lovely team at Urban Poppy in Savannah, Georgia for months now. The best in the business, they are leaders in event design and creating a flair for the dramatic. We love everything about their flawless style. Jump in with Urban Poppy!What is your business name and how did you come up with it?
Laughingly and in the midst of an already very busy Monday morning, Anissa Manzo explains that 15 to 20 years ago, being a graduate with her Graphic Arts Design degree and for some reason a love of flowers, named her graphics business, Urban Poppy! She lived abroad in Korea, taught and that's where she met her husband in Seoul! What's crazy is that she loved flowers and he was into photography and they moved back to America and decided to get married! Then, they decided to do something with flowers and photography! How perfectly her graphics business name, Urban Poppy would be, so with a little change to the logo (easy for a graphics designer), they were all set to start their business. Next, they got married on 10/10/10! Her grandmothers wedding anniversary date and her brother's anniversary date! This was also the first official Urban Poppy Wedding! They didn't stop there, Anissa submitted the wedding to The Knot and it was published! It was such a success that they decided that the next wedding they were going to do would be done out of their very own home...that was in 2011. That was the first and last wedding out of their very own house. They both decided that weddings in their home ... was not going to happen again, if they were to stay together! So these many years later, let's see how things are blooming and growing at the Urban Poppy!
What do you love about your city and events that you create?
It's crazy we did 37 weddings our first year and they were all from Craig's List! These days we do a bit more "social" media and have organic referrals and do hundreds of consultations a year and average about 70-80 weddings a year. We have our studio here in Savannah and 95% of our brides are destination brides. So we really try to keep it easy for them! Being that I was a DIY bride I have a heart for them and we have created an easy to use system for the DIY bride. Rentals are so easy for this bride, no schlepping and we set up for a "one stop shop". We also offer a day of planning (which as we in the industry know is a week of planning) and many other services that assist this bride. We have been realizing 20 weddings in a 30 day period of time. In 2014 we added the Urban Poppy Botanical Boutique which is a modern take on a "florist shop". We offer our brides a 15% discount on anything in the shop. It's working out very nicely with our flagship store and we had a boost when Richard Kessler, Hotelier, and entrepreneur in the field of hotel development and operations, unveiled his new hotel in Savannah stated that he would like to have a floral business included in the hotel. We are opening soon!
After being here for a while I did experience some burn out! So many different brides and desires got to be a little overwhelming at first. One of my favorite things about Savannah is the fact that when brides come here to have a destination wedding, they also bring their family. So an event is more than just that a one day wedding, it's about the family getting together and going and doing things in this fabulous city. It's a small city with a massive wedding industry! I so love each individual and what they want and since we do everything custom, we had to decide if we were going to stay in this position of being overwhelmed or meet the challenges head on and bloom and grow. So we embraced blooming and growing!
What do you love most about the wedding floral industry?
The fact that every single day I find a new flower, a new tree, a new branch, something I've never seen on Pinterest or Instagram! I love that there is no limit to what can be designed or created. There is no getting bored. I love the people and I love to share with them. There is something new everyday!! I love our new local farmers and our Southern Flower Collective! We support our local florists and growers and love that we can achieve more, together!
What do you dislike about the floral industry?
The biggest thing I dislike is unrealistic expectancy! The brides that have a vision and don't understand that there are many factors that work against the vision and what's really happening, one of which is nature! Then you also have to deal with the vision versus the costs involved to accomplish that vision. It's very difficult and there are also the brides that want something for nothing. We spend average of 3 hours on a bride, listening, creating, discussing, preparing and sharing. If the bride doesn't use us we have hours of unpaid work we've done. Pricing is so important and we don't give flowers or designs away for free.
What are the biggest daily challenges and how do you overcome them?
Simply, never enough time! My darling employees have to deal with my expectations. I have to be realistic with my expectations! I have to learn to delegate and I always try to hire passionate employees! I know I have done a good job with hiring when I hear a client ask my employees, "Is this your business?"! Oh yes, and then I know I have a great employee!
What is your favorite design story and why?
Oh the irony! Really, I started to delegate everything in 2016. It was so scary but it was great. So many great weddings and so many different weddings. I appreciated what my teams accomplished and find that they are my favorite!
What is your biggest success when it comes to weddings?
The fact that we care, really, genuinely care, 100%! We really want our brides and families to be in love with everything we do. Not just like and enjoy, I mean that's okay, but we really care that they really LOVE IT! It never gets old for me the look of joy and excitement when we deliver the bouquet to the bride. It never gets old!!
What tips do you have to share with other wedding floral designers?
Care about your clients. Understand and know your market, pricing etc. If you are going to do it - do it right! Find your designers voice! Find out who you are and what you want to do! I think that branding your company and name is extremely important. We do no print advertising only online and website. Since I'm a graphic designer I am always updating my website, have a show stopping, clean, clear website layout. Do things that will really set you apart! Be sure not to price in desperation! Price right! If you are booking everyone - your pricing is too low! Set your standards higher! Always seek and continue your education, always learn more! Education is never ending!!
What do you love most about your floral importers and what do you value most about them?
It's a fascinating ride! I was uneducated and local couldn't tell me anything! Then we had Pinterest, Instagram, I waited to see where these flowers are generated! Then I found Mayesh and then the importers began to find me and now we are working with our local flower farmers. It's been an experience from local to national to international and now I am back to local. We have a local flower forum, and they are having workshops and the education is incredible and utilizing local farmers is such a incredulous support to our community. The workshops are a must, currently they are having a May workshop feel free to check them out http://www.floretflowers.com/workshop-archive/!! Education is a way to support micro urban farms.
What is your biggest business motivator?
Beauty! Seeing it, creating it and then ... Bringing Beauty and Nature home!
How does Details Flowers Software improve your bottom line?
Truthfully, I love it! It has allowed me to delegate which is one of the most difficult things to do. It has absolutely streamlined every process and all I can say is that ALL of our staff loves it!! Me too!
Where do you see your business in 10 years?
Continuing to be the most amazing floral design company in the Southeast! I see myself more involved in the flower farming, teaching, gardening and designing and making my own Joy! I see books and video series! There's so much more to do!