Taking a moment in Texas this morning with the down to earth and spectacular Elizabeth Blanford of Lizzie Bee's Flower Shoppe and Mechanical Florals! What...Mechanical Florals? What is Mechanical Floral...just keep reading! What a delightful time with phones ringing, children talking, clients chatting, and flowers blooming. So is Lizzie and she's got lots growing on...
What is your business name and how did you come up with it?
My name is Elizabeth and my Mom and I came up with the name. It's wasn't a big hoopla decision but it was cute and we really liked it. Friends and family usually call me Liz, so if someone calls me Lizzie, it will probably be a client or business associate. We've been in business for 6 years; I was born in Kentucky and ended moving with my Mom to Dallas. I actually started designing when I was 16 and found I had a skill at 23, so I opened my own business and we've been growing ever since.
What do you love most about your city and events that you create?
Although near Dallas which is a big city, we are more the "small town florist with the big city style"! I love the industry which is in this area and we have a community minded group, we share a healthy competition and we refer business to each other and work together regularly. It makes for an enjoyable experience. Business is growing by leaps and bounds and change is happening. It's made our business very innovative and there's so much more to the floral industry than there used to be. Dallas is a great growing place and there are lots of opportunities, but the market is not saturated which again makes for lots of opportunities. We have lots of farm and neutral spaces for events. We have an area photographer that has created and built his own venue...it's called The White Sparrow - it's an all white barn and it's a photographers dream venue! Whitesparrow Barn check it out!!
What do you love most about the wedding floral industry ?
I love being creative and thinking outside the box. You are designing for someone that really knows nothing about the floral industry. I love this because it brings me the ability to not only create, but to give a plethora of knowledge to my clients. Simply by listening we can gather a vision from our client and then can give them a visual lesson in how we create and bring their vision to life. This is a tough industry, but it truly has it's high points. My goal and desire is to have the bride make happy tears when she sees that bouquet. I have an emotional investment to go above and beyond. Always!
What do you dislike most about the floral industry?
Washing buckets!!! The fact is this work is so labor intensive. The industry is not given enough credit. People think, "Oh, I want to play with the flowers!" I always say, "Wash the buckets first!" Many people are aghast at the amount of money you might spend on an event. They can't see spending so many dollars on flowers...that would actually be the bride I don't want to work with! So again the industry is not given enough credit for what goes on behind the scenes, the actual time and effort that goes into creating a design for the event and then making it happen! All the details, design, order, create, set up and then it always comes back to the "wash the buckets" breakdown! I love the brides that appreciate the whole experience.
What are your biggest daily challenges and how do your overcome them?
Organization! I am still trying to get organized! I think staffing is difficult due to the fact that this is a seasonal business and some days, weeks, months are much busier than others. Staff is so important. You have to have the basic staff with additional "free lancers" to assist you on a regular basis. If you have no work you have no hours and you will lose some of your necessary staff. We are fortunate at this time as we have a pretty steady flow and we are able to keep our free lancers. I love to keep my staff and my free lancers and when someone says they are moving on....I stop, I have to have free lancers and I don't like any of them leaving. We have a great team.
What is your favorite design story and why?
I have to say that my most favorite and precious design story is when my daughter, who is 7 years old, asked me if she could make a boutonniere. She had been asking for quite some time and this particular day it presented itself as a teachable moment and we made boutonnieres. It was a special bonding time and emotional happiness for me and for her. She is now quite happy making little bouquets. A special moment in time, and yes, by far my most favorite design story!
What is your biggest success story when it comes to weddings?
When it comes to our weddings - my biggest success was when I could design, create and help do minimal set up and the BIG moment came when I didn't have to break it down! (You know, the wash the buckets)! I really would prefer to do one large wedding than doing 10 small weddings. I have found that another success I feel is that clients are willing to pay more for my designs. They are willing to pay for my knowledge and skills. This to me is success! Personal success!
What tips do you have to share with other designers?
- Keep your passion in it - if not, it will show!
- Grow your knowledge - business and floral. I recently took a business class and it was so important, I learned so much! Knowledge - You just gotta grow for it!!
What do you value most about your floral importers?
I value their customer service! The ones that go above and beyond. I appreciate their information (detailed information) and their knowledge of what's available and the kindness to inform me that "No you don't want this, it will only last a day...let's look at this, I think it will be better!" This type of customer service is invaluable. They are our eyes! I love open communication to the customer.
What is your biggest business motivator?
My Family! My kids. I want to be successful! As we grow we become able to share the success with our families and enjoy our times together. Trips, vacations and special times! No better motivator!
How does Details Flowers Software improve your bottom line?
Using Details Flowers Event Planning Software does just that...improves my bottom line! It enhances my business, it provides a confidence when I am invoicing, and providing proposals. It's a time-saver and as we all know time is priceless. Overall, I am able to meet with a bride and the time we spend in Details offers a awesome experience. It helps to qualify our brides. I can email my invoices - everything I do looks better, presents better and is such a successful part of our business. I have found Corrine to be such an innovative personality. Something else I really appreciate is that Details is always growing. I love that. Details is always asking for feedback and then creating additional items in the program that save us more time and effort!
We do a lot of Corporate business also. I appreciate how the Details Flowers Professional Event Florist Software adjusts to this end of the business.
If the question is - How can we make this better: Details!!
Where do you see your business in 10 years?
I will be a multi-millionaire!
We will be Growing! Doubling our business and also the number of weddings that we do. I want to start a workshop. I have already begun a new business it's called Floral Mechanics! Currently we design and make flower walls and chandeliers. These are items, that as a design studio, you can utilize easily being a one person set up (for a woman or man) easy assembly with a dynamic addition to any event. We are actually had a workshop in August 2017 - check us out at FloralMechanics , You can check out Lizzie Bee's website or Instagram or Facebook.