Episode 73 - Building a Supportive Network for Your Paper Flower Business with Wendy Anderson
Our paper florist friend from New Zealand, Wendy Anderson, chats with us about building her business with a support network both in person and online.
How do you build a paper flower business all by yourself?
The answer is, you don’t. Even if you’re the only paper florist in your entire country, you need a support network to help you grow as an artist and a business owner. That’s the entire purpose behind our work with Paper Talk: to share, connect, and grow our paper flower industry no matter where you may be.
Wendy Anderson of Just Imagine knows all about forging a paper flower business without a robust local industry to support her, as she lives in New Zealand without any other known paper florists in sight. But she still doesn’t go it alone!
In our latest episode of Paper Talk we chatted about how she has built up her virtual, familial, and friend network to support her paper flower journey.
Finding an Online Community
We first met Wendy through our Facebook group, which brings together paper florists from all over the world. As mentioned, Wendy is currently unaware of any other paper florists in her area, so being able to ask questions and share techniques with other like-minded artists is incredibly important for her.
She was nervous the first time she joined our monthly Makers Meeting, but waking up incredibly early to connect with other paper florists has become a huge priority for her. “I’ve only missed three meetings in four years,” she told us. “Our paper flower community and those Makers Meetings [are] my most favorite online place to be, and it’s got to be something big for me to miss it.”
You can also join our meetings or post your questions in our group. We’ve built countless businesses and friendships there. In the episode, Wendy dove into more ways our online community has helped her. Now more than ever with so many of us stuck at home, take advantage of the amazing technology we have and find your virtual support group.
Building a Varied Support Network
Wendy is very open about how much her success depends on her incredible family and friends. Even though they aren’t paper florists themselves, they’ve helped problem solve, set up events, and even answered questions about her work.
One particularly touching story she shared on the episode was about her father, who is in his 80s, helping design the mechanics for an archway that spanned over a set of double doors. Then he did it again when she asked for help scaling it down for an art exhibition. Wendy shared even more stories about loved ones like her amazing husband stepping in to help, and we fully agree with her assessment of how crucial that kind of assistance is.
Getting outside perspectives to help us solve problems is so crucial. Sometimes you need to step back and get another opinion. Those people don’t have to be in our industry in order to help!
“When we do our craft…the second [flower] is always better. The third, the fourth—as you get on, you get better and better at it. It’s practice and practice.” - Wendy
Promoting Our Industry
Wendy loves talking about our industry and her work. “I have such a passion for paper flower making, it’s hard to shut me up.” We know the feeling!
If you’re not used to talking about your work, though, it may feel awkward. But it’s so important for us to educate the general population about paper flowers.
One way Wendy has done this is through speaking engagements. Since quality crepe paper is difficult to find in New Zealand, she brings along the imported paper to let the audience touch and stretch. She spoke about how she runs these events and other ways she promotes paper flowers in our episode.
Here’s what you’ll hear when you listen to our conversation:
Where Wendy finds recommendations for imported supplies.
How she sets up her exhibition table and speaking engagements.
Why surrounding yourself with supportive people is so crucial for success.
How to build paper flower awareness in your community.
Why being part of our online community can help you build your business, just like it’s helped Wendy.
Start building your support network right now by joining our Facebook group, and listen now to the podcast to hear all about Wendy’s paper flower journey and how she’s built up her paper florist business.