On May twenty sixth of 2016, I wrote this post and released it on social media.

For the first time in my life my mind and my heart are sort of in a dark place. I have been going through something strange and oddly painful. I finally realized that I could relate this odd feeling to transitional labor, yes like in child birth. I have realized that I have some serious and hard work to do and if I do this work something beautiful and meaningful will be born. I’m working on a document called the “Standards of the Industry”. The industry of floral and event design is completely unregulated. There are very few standards, no documented best business practices, no guidelines. It’s essentially been one man for himself. Thankfully, 8 years ago I started gathering with other like-minded designers and the collective the @chapeldesigners was born. Among us, we began to create a standard or “best” business practices. This has been helpful to those who study with us; however, in order to see a true change in the flower world, we all need to adopt similar or standard business practices. On June 16th I will release a document to my subscriber list of sound business practices, if you’re not a subscriber sign up at www.hopeflowerfarm.com. I hope the content in this document can become a standard in the industry. If we as designers price consistently, fairly and wisely we will protect ourselves and our businesses. If we as designers have boundaries and rules in place to protect us we will flourish. I feel a change coming and I’m going to make that change. Are you with me? I’m coming back into the light! Photo by @emgudephoto #standardsoftheindustry

While I had intended to release the document on the said date, things quickly got out of hand. I received far more feedback and interest than I ever imagined. Also releasing the document via my emailing list seemed a bit daunting, as my emailing list is a combination of brides, those interested in the farm and its activities, as well as designers. After much consideration I have decided to work on the document here with all of you. We will work on this piece in four sections on four different dates. The comments you leave here will help me finalize the work I started. I would rather this be a ‘we’ document then a ‘Holly’ document. So here is the rough agenda realizing that the document and its content may grow as we go. Let’s get started on Monday the 30th of October and finish up before we ring in 2018.  Here are the dates and the topics:

10/30/17 Standards Of The Industry, mission and purpose, design pricing

11/13/17 Event Set Up and Breakdown Pricing

11/28/17 Event Design, Rental Pricing, Samples

12/11/18 Respecting Our Fellow Designers/ / kickbacks, commissions, and paid marketing collateral

Lets step into the light and shake things up!!

  • Martha White Says: (10.25.2017 | 08:05)

    Would love to be involved. Thanks.

  • Holly Turville Says: (10.25.2017 | 10:21)

    I’m in and I’d love to be involved in this! How do I begin participating in the 30th???

    • chappleadmin Says: (10.28.2017 | 07:13)

      Hi Holly,

      Please just follow along and make comments and suggestions to me via the blog. If there is anything you want to send along privately please email.

  • Margaret Says: (10.26.2017 | 02:09)

    Something crazy started happening a few years back in the floral wedding industry and the consequences have affected all of us. The desire to get published was more important then the desire to get paid. Planners would tell you beforehand we want to get this wedding published so give it more than they can afford. Caterers didn’t need to add more food, dj’s didn’t have to stay longer, just Florists had to buy more product then what was contracted. Another thing that happened was every floral designer wanted their Brand to be upscale luxurious so doing cheap weddings would affect your Brand and the future of your business. So everyone was competing for the top 10% and throwing in expensive blooms so the photos would say $$$$. Bloggers were eating up the rare and expensive floral designs and so Instagram feeds were soaring if your feed showcased exquisite designs, so if you didn’t play the New game your business would loose out to the competition. The sadder part is that so many Florists who did play this game didn’t make money, so then it is no longer a business but a hobby, which relegates it to volunteer work, which means we should all be happy that we all get to play with flowers and make all the blogs beautiful and the brides happy, and isn’t that reward enough that you get to have a job that you love so that your spouse or your parents or your other Real job can support you. If we give away our labor for free, we are not respecting ourselves, or our fellow designers, so it is no wonder that we are not respected in this industry. Photographers get credit, planners get paid, everyone else gets tipped consistently and we get to go home and Play with the leftovers. We are all guilty of giving it away for “free” . There once were standards for pricing in floral design in retail, we have just traded those in for Brand fame with the hope of a future fortune made by our sought after exquisite designs by the Instagram masses.

  • Nyree Says: (10.30.2017 | 02:04)

    This is fabulous Holly. Cant wait to keep updated on new additions to this blog. I will be following along for sure. (I live in Australia though – does that matter)?
    Love love love your work ,
    Kind regards
    Nyree Long

    • chappleadmin Says: (10.30.2017 | 07:59)

      We are happy to have followers and feedback from all over the world. We even have members from Australia in our collective the Chapel Designers.

  • Andrea Stieff Says: (10.30.2017 | 05:14)

    Wow. I’m reading this at 4 AM, while loosing sleep worrying about my latest design project. I may have ‘retired’ from the event design business 10 years ago , but I’m still involved one way or another. And I’m still toiling in the background with no recognition… Margaret is so right on many points, except that it started much longer ago. I recall 18 years ago ,when the internet was in it’s childhood , that this platform was going to change everything. I was one of the first floral designers to have a professionally designed website. On it I included a copy of my pricing structure, my practices and my contract,besides fantastic photos and as much information as I could offer. Brides loved it because I was the only source for the information and education they were searching for. I felt I needed to educate my clients so that they’d know what goes into producing a high end event. And what and why all their costs were. I did this for my own sanity! Being transparent meant that they knew going into it what was involved. Sure weeded out the faint of heart haha. The result was that my business soared because clients came to me when they wanted magazine quality florals and my credo was to exceed expectations every time , I produced the most exquisite events ,but sadly I ‘retired’ at the very top of my game with a broken body,mind and spirit. And this was before Instagram or Pinterest!!!!! I can’t even imagine the pressure to exceed expectations nowadays. It became so disheartening that other event professionals ( photographers, caterers, planners,facilities etc) were showing photos of my work to gain business, it got to the point where brides thought I was showing someone else’s work in my portfolio! I’d dig up my measly 4 point credit in the back of a magazine to prove it was my work.
    Holly, I applaud you for for banding floral designers together to support and educate and to lift everyone to a higher standard. I hope this includes some type of industry regulation that gives designers credit for their work . Too bad we can’t regulate royalties for being copied! Raise your hand if a bride has shown you a photo of someone else’s work and asked for you to copy. Due to the very nature of flowers, it’s even difficult to copy our own work so don’t get me started on samples! Sorry to have rambled on, but this is a subject very dear to my heart. I miss flowers every day of my life,but I don’t miss the drama and trauma. God bless you all.
    This could be the start of something big ❤️🌸❤️🌸❤️

    • chappleadmin Says: (10.30.2017 | 08:02)

      Thank you for this post. It pains me to read this and reminds me of why this document needs to be born. Samples, marketing and respecting the intellectual property of other designers will certainly be addressed.

  • linda Says: (10.30.2017 | 08:17)

    Thank you and I will be following along! I love my profession as a Maryland wedding florist and my business has grown so much in the last two years that I am a little overwhelmed with it all. So, I am working to put new business strategies into place to streamline things a little better and put pricing and procedure into a more manageable format. In the past, I tended to seek out more design inspired education, but I need this part more than ever! I will soak up all that is shared on this blog as you/we discuss industry standards. Thanks again!

  • LeeLina Says: (10.30.2017 | 10:03)

    ‘‘This is so great! So helpful. Thank you so much for sharing. I look forward to more of your insight.

  • Donna Lovatto Says: (10.30.2017 | 11:24)

    Thank you so much for being the brave soul to put this togethther and my highest praise for making it a community project. I too have been scratching my way through this industry for almost 30 years. So many hard won lessons learned by trial and error! It is daunting to see how many new designers turned pro are being born from the exposure of instgram and other social media sites. So many so called experts giving workshops and classes. To have an industry wide fairness in pricing would be a good start. To have an clear path to what needs to be learned to be a professional designer should be required. Thank you, and looking forward to joining the discussion!

    • chappleadmin Says: (10.30.2017 | 08:23)

      So thankful to have your support and comments. We can do this together!!!

  • Liz Krieg Says: (10.30.2017 | 11:54)

    I decided not to do floral design as my chief form of employment because I saw the tremendous competitiveness that is going on to ‘make one’s mark’. The pressure seems unbearable. The Internet has given us way too much information. One can feel like a failure before even getting started. I liken it to the impact of fashion, and the impossibly small waistlines of models coveted by young women, dying to be the same. I love to design but am reluctant to join the fray. While I will do special events and indeed very few of them, my chief focus is in growing exquisite stems. Flowers don’t seek to impress, or glorify themselves. They just are. I will be very interested in your approach to this need within the industry, Holly. Maybe it will help unleash me. I am grateful.

    • chappleadmin Says: (10.30.2017 | 08:27)

      Thank you for your honesty. Your comments make a lot of sense. I do hope by coming together to create some common policies, everyone will have a equal chance of sharing their abilities and individual talents as designers.

  • Holly Turville Says: (10.30.2017 | 01:37)

    Will do! Thank you- our industry desperately needs to be engaged in this conversation!

  • Elizabeth Jackson Says: (10.31.2017 | 04:48)

    In a sense, it is a bit like unionizing. In order to successfully implement industry standards everyone will have to play along, and certainly having clear industry standards is the first task to undertake. Thank you a million times for taking this on!

  • Pat Becker Says: (11.02.2017 | 05:02)

    Amen to all remarks! Difficult to believe the industry I love is and has moved from the foundation of the principles and elements of design to a gathering of any and all flowers with little knowledge of product, pricing, or professionalism! Looking forward to the possible “standards” which would govern our industry.

  • Mary Schlotter Says: (11.04.2017 | 05:07)

    I agree with so many of the comments above. I started my business 10 years ago while working another job. My youngest son is a special needs adult. I needed to be home more. After designing for years as a volunteer for historic holiday tours and homes I began to grow my business and make it my passion. I also wanted my daughter who was having my first grandchild:) to be able to work with me. She left her job in hedge funds for a large Corp . We are constantly marketing ourselves trying to hold ourselves to a different standard. Your creativity can get lost because you are working so hard at getting business . We are home based studio, growing some of our product … In the end we are not making the income we had envisioned. The competition is fierce in the NY are we live in. I welcome this concept for standards for the industry. I love and respect you on so many levels. Thank you. You give me ” Hope”

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