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Building Corporate Business One Amazing Structure At A Time

Building Corporate Business One Amazing Structure At A Time
 

“Building corporate business one amazing structure at a time.” 

Bruno Duarte is the owner and creative director of Fresh Floral Creations in Toronto, Ont. Here is the story of his road to success.

IT GETS BETTER WITH TIME

“I had a job sweeping the floor in a flower shop. After graduating in retail floristry from Humber College, I worked for others for five years soaking up the owners’ knowledge of flowers, operations and business. Then, with a nonfloral business partner, I opened Fresh. It’s taken 13 years to build the store and the business to the level it’s at now. I’ve been able to buy out my business partner, discover my floral brand and build a solid client base as a result of people embracing my work. People know that if it comes from Fresh, it’s going to be cool.”

 
THE NEIGHBORHOOD MATTERS
“We’re slap-bang in the middle of a busy, active neighborhood. The subway station is close by. There’s great foot traffic, and even though walk-in business generates less than 20 percent of total revenues, these customers are so excited to be in the store. Being in a supportive community is important.”
 
MY STORE WINDOW IS MY STAGE
“I change the window display every week (to see Bruno’s Dr. Seuss-like pink tree growing around the window in May, check out the video at floristsreview.com). Everything in the store except the cash register is movable. My success is linked to constant change and striving to evolve, and the store reflects that. Having this stage makes me design pieces for it, so it’s pushing me.”
 
CORPORATE SCULPTURAL PIECES ARE OUR BREAD AND BUTTER
“We started out doing bouquets for corporate clients’ reception desks and lobbies. The Fresh style is sculptural, and I began pitching bigger things. It takes one corporate client eager to do something different, and then word-of-mouth and Instagram does the rest. Our corporate clients trust our artistry, give us a budget and we go for it. Corporate floral art is 60 percent of our business and delivers consistent revenue. Christmas time is crazy in our corporate world!”.
SHOP VERSUS STUDIO
“I love the constant customer contact, so a store is right for me. It’s really my gallery, and I have all kinds of interesting floral art displayed everywhere. It’s like an enchanted garden, with things hanging from the ceiling, coming out of the walls and illuminated like a gallery (go to the video to at floristsreview.com to “enter” the garden). I’ve been able to showcase my design work, then people say, ‘I like and want that style,’ rather than being in a studio, dependent on customers to bring ideas to you.”
 
NO HEAD IN THE SAND REGARDING BUSINESS
“It’s easy to put all of our time into the creative. I hear floral designers say, ‘I’ll get to that business stuff later.’ There is no later. I’ve found mentors to help me grow as a business owner. Many floral designers, like me, do it all. We have to spend equal effort on creative and business.”
 
TRAINING STAFF IS MY PRIORITY THIS YEAR

“Fresh has a head designer, two junior designers and a manager. The junior designers have been with us for three years, and they understand our aesthetic and look. They are so ready to take on bigger art pieces. I’m doing this training this year. They’ll love it, and we’ll be able to do more.”

TEACHING IS STRETCHING
“I’ve been teaching and demonstrating at garden clubs in the United States. I did a wedding demonstration in Vancouver, B.C. I can’t show up and teach the same old stuff, so this makes me work hard at coming up with something groundbreaking. It’s all about evolving, changing and staying fresh.”

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