Episode 74 - How to Grow Your Paper Flower Hobby Into a Business with Wendy Anderson
We chat more with paper florist Wendy Anderson about how she’s grown her paper flower hobby into a business.
How do you take the leap from hobby to business?
It can feel terrifying, and even if you’ve taken the leap and started down the business path, you are still going to encounter bumps along the way.
Fortunately, there are many paper florists who have successfully built their hobby into a paper flower business. One of them is Wendy Anderson of Just Imagine, who shared with us in our latest episode of Paper Talk about how she took her paper flower love from hobby to business. Here’s some of the advice she shared with us.
Calculate Your Costs
When Wendy first started selling paper flowers, she only charged a dollar for each rose. She was using the only crepe paper available in New Zealand, which was not high quality, so she figured she couldn’t charge more than what the paper cost.
But then her friend pointed out that she had other supply costs, as well as time costs. They sat down and calculated out just how much she was spending on supplies. Each rose was actually costing closer to three dollars—and that was before accounting for Wendy’s time! She was losing money.
Her friend encouraged her to raise her prices to a rate that would pay her an hourly wage. At first, Wendy was hesitant, but eventually, she said, “I found an in the middle, intermediary range, where I could cover my costs.” She decided to keep her prices somewhat low in the beginning, but over time, as paper flowers became more well known in her area and she built up her reputation, she raised her rates.
Store Paper Flowers Safely
After creating big installations, you might be left with hundreds of flowers and foliage pieces that now need to be stored or disposed of. You don’t want to throw away your work, but how do you store your paper flowers without damaging them? Especially if you hope to use them again or eventually sell them?
Wendy had this problem after creating an archway for her father’s 80th birthday party. It was a large installation, spanning a set of double doors, and it involved a ton of blooms. But what to do with them? Her solution was to create vase-like structures from tubes that can hold flowers upright inside of opaque plastic containers. She even adds in anti-moisture packets to keep her blooms extra safe. Wendy describes more about where she got the supplies to make her storage solution in the episode.
Getting creative to solve problems like storage is a great way to use your crafting skills to solve a business problem. You can probably commiserate with Wendy’s description of her craft room being covered in supplies and flowers, but a little inventiveness can help keep your products safe from the creative chaos.
Share Your Mistakes
One of the ways Wendy grows as a paper florist is through our Facebook group. She encourage listeners to pop into our monthly meetings:
“Be at the Makers Meetings. No need to be nervous. We have so much fun. We laugh. We talk. We share our techniques, our tips. We share the ugly as well, because if I can tell you what went wrong when I made it, then that might help you learn, too.”
It can be very uncomfortable to share your mistakes, especially when you’re new to the paper flower world and community. But every paper florist, no matter how experienced, makes mistakes. A wonderful way to make lemonade out of lemons is to learn from that mistake, and even better, share that lemonade with others! When you help someone else avoid a mistake, they’ll help you in turn later. It’s a fantastic way to help our community grow as artists.
We chatted about even more with Wendy, and you won’t want to miss out on a minute of her enthusiasm.
Here’s what you’ll hear when you listen to our conversation:
How Wendy has raised her prices over time.
How she stores her flowers safely and inexpensively.
What helped her take paper flowers from hobby to business.
How she transports big installations to events.
What Wendy drinks and listens to while making paper flowers.
Listen now to the podcast to hear more about Wendy’s paper flower journey and how she’s built up her paper florist business. And don’t forget to join our Facebook group so that you can share, connect, and grow with us!
“It’s the highest compliment you can give any paper florist, when someone says, ‘Wow. That looks real.’ - Wendy