Monday, August 26, 2013

Angela's Artistic Designs: 3 lessons I learned about building a business

Angela's Artistic Designs: 3 lessons I learned about building a business: I'm learning, in my mid-50's, that everything is a process. I knew that intellectually all of my life, but NOW I am really getting...

3 lessons I learned about building a business

I'm learning, in my mid-50's, that everything is a process.

I knew that intellectually all of my life, but NOW I am really getting it!  Since beginning my business, Angela's Artistic Bouquets, I have had to face the reality of process.  It hasn't been easy for me.  I am an impatient person.  Like many people, I want to see results now!

We frequently hear, "Practice makes perfect!"  So we KNOW that is true.  However, in the space between that statement and someone performing in concert, lies the process.

Losing weight is a process. We can only do this one pound at a time.  Learning a new skill is a step by step process. We cannot be a concert pianist without first seeing the music, breaking it down measure by measure and practicing it.

You start out with your goal or dream, stuttering, staggering, pushing, hoping, trying.  Your guitar playing doesn't sound too good.  Your art doesn't look too good.  Perhaps your flowers droop and you wonder how to make them stand up. 

My art professor said, "What does this work of art need?"  Art, in all of its forms, is a process. 

The process is different for each of us.  If you're spatial, like me, you'll start at the top seeing the big picture and need to work your way backwards to know where and how to begin, to fill in the details. 

If you're detail-oriented, you may see only what's in front of you and not get the bigger picture, the goals, the final product.   

In business, you need both - you need to imagine the bigger picture.  For me, that means staying focused on building my business.  But how do I do that?  Day by day, building my fan base, my network, link to brides, event planners, sharing photos of my bouquets.

And each time I create a bouquet, particularly a new, custom made design that I haven't created before, it is a process.  I must patiently build the bouquet one idea at a time, sometimes letting it rest while I germinate and returning to it for the next step. 

Even creating a bouquet I've done dozens of times is a process.  It cannot be accomplished if I skip a step!  

Not every process in life reveals itself immediately.  Sometimes we don't see the results for a long time.  Building a business is like that.

So my lessons are: Don't expect immediate results, be patient with myself and learn to LOVE the process!

Angela DiCicco
Angela's Artistic Bouquets

Friday, August 2, 2013

Creating custom orders - does it stress you out?

When you take an order, do you worry that it doesn't look exactly the same as the photo on your website?  Even given the variable that each piece is handmade, I fretted about making my bouquets match the photos as closely as I could.

I would be so stressed about recreating an exact replica and worried that brides would look at it and say, "This special button is missing." or "This button is in a different place than the one in the photo."  I used to stress about this all the time.  Can I get it to look exactly like the photo?

Then I discovered something!

Bride's don't usually look as closely at my designs as I do!  They are looking at the bouquet in its entirety, not breaking it down one by one as I do when I create it.

Brides ask me to tweek my bouquets all the time.  It's taken me a while to figure out how to give them what they want while keeping the integrity of the piece.  

Part of my business is also working with all budgets.  Not every bride can afford the most expensive bouquets I create.  So I've learned to be innovative when a bride asks for one of the expensive bouquets on a smaller budget.  

What I've learned to do is look at the piece I am using as my inspiration and decide what the essence of that piece is.

For example, with this bouquet:
What is the quality of this button bouquet? It's vintage-style. It is very soft and romantic. What are the special elements in this bouquet? Lace, roses, creamy color.  I take that information and put those qualities into the custom bouquet that my bride has requested. 

Here's another example. A bride wanted this glamorous bouquet but didn't have the budget for it. I asked her what she liked about it and she said it was the bling. Many of the buttons in this one are expensive swarovski crystals.  Using this bouquet as my inspiration, I took the spirit of it - it's a white button bouquet with a lot of bling - and recreated it in her budget using elements that looked expensive, that glittered and shimmered and shone.  I sent her a photo of it and she is happy with it!

I don't stress about getting it exactly like the photo as long as my design closely resembles the feeling of the bouquet and the major items in it.   In short, I've learned how to give the customer what they want!

This has helped lower my stress level tremendously!  I hope it can help you too when asked to do a custom order for your customers.


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