Episode 92 - How to Make the Right Business Decisions with Chantal Larocque
We chat with Chantal Larocque about how she has become such a successful paper flower artist, and how you can navigate business decisions as well as she has.
How do other paper florists grow their businesses so quickly and so well?
Everyone makes mistakes along the way that you probably don’t see, but the most successful business owners do make the right decisions most of the time. So how do you do that? While each person’s journey is unique, you can learn from other paper florists who have had to make tough choices. Your decisions may differ in details, but the principles behind those choices can guide you.
In our latest episode of Paper Talk we invited Chantal Larocque of Paper and Peony to chat with us about how she has built her thriving business. She’s been making cardstock paper flowers for over a decade now, and looking back you can see how many right decisions she made along the way.
She shared many stories behind those choices and her best advice for making the right call each time. Listen to the episode to hear everything she had to say. In the meantime, here are a few of the principles that can steer your business down a successful path.
Listen to our conversation to hear:
► How to position yourself for commercial work.
► The secret to good photos of your products.
► What a graphic designer can help you create for your branding.
► The process of photographing, writing and publishing a book.
► How to navigate a name change and rebranding successfully.
► BONUS: A sneak peek at Paper to Profit’s chapter about shipping and packaging, including advice on how to protect your products, which extras are worth paying for, how to brand your materials, and more.
Chantal first started selling her flowers under the name Dragonfly Expression. That’s a perfectly lovely name, but when her graphic designer pointed out that it didn’t explain what she did, Chantal felt a name change was in order.
This was scary! Would Chantal lose clients? Would people like the new name? Would all her work be worth it? Despite her fears, Chantal’s business actually doubled following the name change to Paper and Peony. New opportunities opened up for her, and she was able to grow in ways she hadn’t anticipated.
Change can be difficult, but if you never change, your business will never grow. Take those leaps of faith. Try something new. Change things up. The worst thing that will happen is that it won’t work and you can try something else.
You can hear more about how Chantal navigated this big change in the episode.
You should be selective about which projects you take on. You don’t want to burn out or work with a client who treats you poorly. That said, keep an open mind about new opportunities.
In the episode, Chantal shared several instances about saying yes to something she hadn’t done before. When she was approached to make crepe paper flowers for Canada Post stamps, she didn’t know quite how she’d do it since her medium of choice is cardstock. But she knew that this was an opportunity she couldn’t turn down. She said yes, figured out how to make the flowers, and ended up producing a beautiful series of gardenia stamps that were seen by millions.
When you say yes to something that pushes your boundaries, new opportunities will open up. Listen to the podcast to hear about the doors that opened for Chantal, as well as how she decides whether a new project or client is a good fit for her.
In the episode, Chantal and Jessie both shared moments when another paper florist helped them, and how that generous support ended up being crucial to their journey as artists and businesses.
Our entire reason for starting Paper Talk was to help our community grow and become stronger together. Chantal put it this way:
“That’s what is lovely in the paper flower community, because we can help each other with our designs and sometimes when we have to create new flowers.”
Accept help from others, and be generous yourself. All of us have other people who have made us what we are today. One of the best things about our industry is that it isn’t cutthroat. We help each other, and since a rising tide lifts all boats, we all benefit from our collective generosity.
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