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Floralista

Floralista

“Young and passionate shop grows fans and business.”

Alice de Crom is the owner and creative director of Floralista in Fort Langley, B.C. This is her success story

A TRUE CAREER AND A LIVING WAGE

“After graduating from the Maureen Sullivan Floral Design School in Vancouver, I went in search of work. It wasn’t easy for someone very young and with no experience. I worked at a couple of florist stores and then landed a job as lead designer at a small shop, still barely making minimum wage. I grew as a designer, worked long hours and knew that the shop had great potential. We used only two styles of containers, and the owner purchased the flowers – the same ones each time. I loved it, but I knew there was more. The owner wasn’t interested in doing more or different. I knew my skills could deliver more money, and I believed that this floral life could be a career.

I set out to do that. Today, I have four employees, and I offer them livable wages and want them to know this can be a great career. This is serious work, worth serious compensation.”

BRAVERY AND SUPPORT

“Some live/work accommodations were being built in my hometown of Fort Langley. I could see opening my own place and living above. But, I was 19, with no financial resources, so my mom sold her house, and we took possession of the studio and our new home in December 2012. I had been working part-time at Starbucks, and I always brought a floral arrangement for the counter. I kept telling my customers that I was going to open a flower shop, so when I did, I had 40 orders in the first two days!”

ALWAYS NAIL IT

“From the start, my business grew well. There’s so much beauty out there, and I sought out the most glorious and unusual flowers. I buy from the flower auction in Burnaby, B.C., which features 80 flower growers from the Fraser Valley. I also order directly from Holland. My customer base continues to grow because they love my crazy selection of flowers, and they see that my work is not stuck in a particular style. I’m constantly moving forward, taking inspiration from others around the world, and I’m working hard to always nail it. Social media is a great platform to showcase our work and for customers to post and comment. Instagram is our No. 1 advertising tool.”

COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR A YOUNG, PASSIONATE LOCAL PERSON

“Sixty percent of the business comes from daily orders in the retail store. We are a real community floral shop. The in-store sales have helped grow our wedding business to 35 percent, with corporate rounding out the rest. We are working on growing our corporate sales. I’ve found that people want to support young talent in their neighborhood, and I’m so appreciative.”

FROM 400 TO 1,500 IN SEVEN YEARS

“We were out-growing our teeny 400-square-foot place. It had no cooler, so not killing the flowers was super important.On top of that, we froze in the winter. Our customers deserved better, and we deserved better. In June, we moved into our brand-new 1,500-square-foot space located in the same neighborhood. It’s big, with super-tall ceilings. We all have our own workstations, and there’s room to hold events, so now we can do more events.”

Photo by The Godard’s Photography&
Photo by Brenna Louise Photography
Photo by Brenna Louise Photography&
Photo by The Godard’s Photography
EXPLORE TECHNOLOGY AND KNOW THE BUSINESS OF YOUR BUSINESS

“I use Ularas Software Solutions, which is a great tool for wedding and event quotes, generating every type of communication and streamlining documents. I love it. We also use the Square Up point-of-sale system. I’m putting in as much time learning the business side of Floralista as I do the creative, and I’m finding that I really like it.”

DIALING IT IN

“Next up, is getting all of our systems and processes refined so we can increase our work performance. My parents – who were greenhouse growers – grow specific flowers for me, and I have a plot at a friend’s house where I also grow flowers. With both, we can continue to offer unusual flowers in great colors. I’m toying with the idea of opening a floral studio in downtown Vancouver because that’s where the majority of the events are held. The idea of an online lifestyle store also is appealing. But first we are dialing it in with what we have, to get all the systems right.”

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