Amazing Day!

I have some great news to share! Today I was asked to come design a couple peices at Bitterroot Flower Shop and voila, was offered a brand-new part time job! The whole interview process was a great experience and I'd love to share a little about that.

I arrived early with my own humble tools: green floral tape, a floral knife and snippers for woody stems. Lynda, the flower buyer, brought me to the large back design room, full of desks, sinks, flowers, and walk-in refrigerators. She told me that I could use anything I want and just be free to design.

This was both thrilling and intimidating for me! The only fresh flowers I've had available to me for the past several months have been roses, and normally I would just cut those shorter and set them in a vase, nothing complicated. But now, with three enormous refrigerators full of every flower and folliage you could imagine at my finger tips, I simply didn't know where to start. All I knew is that I'd need a baket.

My first arrangement was difficult for me. I changed my mind several times during the process, I inserted and removed folliage, and finally came up with what I'd like to call free-gathered Autumn arrangement. While creating this peice in my nervousness and excitemnet, I imagined myself a child holding her mother's hand. As they walk through the woods on an Autumn afternoon, they gather anything that fascinates. Berries, daisies, yellow button poms, plenty of leatherleaf make up the arrangement that resulted from my trips to- not the forest but- the refrigerator. Instead of becoming a densely constructed and strictly traditional arrangement, it's whimsical and free-form. I'm glad my imagination freed me from the nervousness that would have otherwise took hold.

My second arrangment was a breeze. I found a low and lovely vase and filled it to the brim with moss. This arrangment, I decided from the start, would be in the Terra-Firma style and very high fashion. Terracing with lemon leaves, I built an "altar" to the flower that started it all. The Stargazer lily is said to have begun the floral industry as we know it today. This bold flower is still fashionable today, and especially when displayed alone, has a very contemporary vibe. The three willow branches were a nod to the practice of Ikebana, the first true artform based on flowers.

So with these arrangements and a little small talk with the lady designers in back, I was given the first job of my dreams! The only job I've ever truly dreamed of having. To work immersed in such incredible beauty, and to bring my creativity to the spotlight once again.

Things I've Learned Recently~

This blogpost starts a tradition. One year ago today I wrote about some things I had learned over the course of the year. That blogpost can be found here . So now it's time to take a hint from the 22 year old stuck in 2009 and bring forward something fresh, something oh-so-now!! :)

The problem is I don't know where to start.

The BIGGEST lesson I've learned this year is how quickly an intention, a thought, can transform your reality as long as it's in God's will for you. Here are some thoughts that became my world today (aka dreams come true)

  • The dream: To start and grow my own business in Floral Design
    • Built an business
    • 2 sales as of today, without any $$ spent on advertising or marketing
  • The dream: To eat healthy foods and have less impact on the environment
    • I now work at an organic, non-profit grocery store where I get all my food at a discount and help others achieve this lifestyle as well.
  • The dream: To be with my man and build a life with him, no matter where it takes me
    • We're still together and growing our relationship!
    • We moved to Montana so that he could pursue his graduate studies and stay together. (this is proving to be the RIGHT choice.)
  • The dream: To keep singing jazz and meet other musicians
    • I make regular appearances at the Badlander where Tommy and the Front Street Jazz Ensemble play amazing stuff!
  • The dream: To be continually inspired by the world around me to create and thrive.
    • I wanted to start a business in natural hair care with 100% aloe vera as the base
    • I wanted to start a business selling the high quality bluestone found on my parent's property as a craft material. My younger siblings as my employees... my miners. :)
    • I wanted to start a business making kits for indoor gardens to hang on kitchen windows. (This idea has already taken off for someone else, more power to them)
    • A BILLION other things. But the ideas themselves are so entertaining to me, I get all the satisfaction I need in just daydreaming about them.
It's just been a great year. I need to keep working hard and pursuing whatever's within reach. I'm loving the journey.

Business Stuff

I am so happy that I've made two sales already, and it wasn't even my Mom or my friend as the customer!! This has given me a lot more confidence that selling my art online will be a good thing for me to keep doing.
Sold 9/28: Set of 6 Silk Mum heads, $7.00
I was having some serious doubts lately! Because of my extremely tight budget, I'm unable to buy high quality brand new silk flowers. This makes it incredibly hard to put together something worthy of sale in an online community swarming with amazingly talented artists. How can I be expected to achieve the elegant, sophisticated designs I dream of with only 20 year old, dusty flowers from the thrift store?  I can make one or two nice things but certainly not enough to fill a whole shop.

Sold 10/08 : Pressed flowers and display frames, $3.50

These little pansies were growing in a pot on the front porch. One day, on a whim, I began to pick and place them between the pages of a large book for pressing. A couple months later, and they are perfectly preserved with all their beautiful colors. When I found the tiny frames at the thrift shop, I thought this would an excellent way to display the blooms and keep them from the elements!
So as you can see the things I have sold have been more along the lines of supply and small gift, not large arrangements. This could be because my shipping costs are so high on the large florals (they incorporate dried flowers and will need to be very well packaged) So I've made a flyer to post at work about my designs and hopefully drive business by offering free shipping for Missoula residents. I simply can't move forward with more designs without making a sale to break even on sales and supply costs. I can't make anything remotely Christmas-y because I lack the materials!

So there will be a new influx of smaller, more giftable items in my shop. Things like "blooming pens" and flower hair clips, and really whatever else I can think of that I can put together with these supplies I have! Maybe around the holiday season people will purchase these smaller items as gifts. I will also be joining a couple ETSY Teams which help members to market themselves for free accross the site. I was also thinking of building a Etsy floral designers team, but I just can't bring myself to do it unless I have more sales and attractive items.

I can't help but always thinking of new creative ways to make ends meet. School and food are just too expensive. I'm so glad I don't have a car, I'd be unabe to fill the tank anyway. I look forward to the days when I don't have to nervously clutch my checking register and triple check if a purchase is actually ok to make. I will also be trying out hand addressing envelopes this holiday season to make a little money and to save people some time (a suggestion from Mom) thanks Mom. :)

Necessity is the mother of invention! And here we go!

Content by Laura Gabriele