This portion of the Standards of the Industry covers. respecting our fellow designers, kickbacks, commissions, and paid marketing collateral.

This is the hardest part of the document to write. This is the part where I truly hope we can come together.  We are responsible for the integrity of the industry.  We need to make sure we act with integrity and teach others to do so. We have the power and ability to show others how to treat us. If we create a code of respect and honesty amongst designers, we can expect that our clients, planners, and marketers will treat us with respect.

When we become hungry, desperate, and fearful for the next job we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of. I want each of us to sell our art based on our merit and our style. Do not let yourself be played to reduce your prices. When we do this we pit designers against each other.  This devalues our work and the industry of floristry. When one of us sells out for less, the result is this: a good designer who prices fairly loses the job. This also results in the winner of the contract working for less or undervalue which in the long term will surely affect the sustainability of their business.  In addition, when the client or planner gets flower designs for under value, this causes the consumer to believe they can play us against each other.  Make it clear to your clients, planners, and local designers that you can’t be bought for less. Make it clear that your integrity is always above reproach.

Because of this, I believe in a transparent industry. I believe we should not take kickbacks, pay percentages/commissions, or do paid for marketing material unless that information is disclosed to the client. If we refuse to pay kickbacks we can protect our industry. Thankfully this is not a big issue in my market and it is something I have never participated in, but I know it happens in some markets and I can feel it creeping its way into my world. If I stand strong. If we have a united front of designers who say no, we can push this type of behavior back.

Another way we can show respect to other designers and to our industry is to refuse to review another designer’s contract.  The written word and proposed concept of a competing designer is their intellectual property. I am sure in some instances these contracts are forwarded to me out of ignorance, but in other instances the contract is sent to me to create fear in the hopes that I will reduce my prices.  These situations are educational opportunities where I simply forward back the contract and tell the sender that I do not study or view the property of another designer’s work. This teaches the sender to respect the quote they have been given. I am happy to help a client get on budget but this can only happen if we reduce the order or the types of flowers used. I do not lower my prices when they try to play me against another designer.

If I am asked to pay percentages or commissions, I explain that I am only willing to do this if the percentage is disclosed to the client. In addition, I do not allow anyone to take my contracts and mark them up without disclosing this to the client. No one else needs to be making money off of our floral designs. It’s hard enough for us to get fair pay. If a planner/venue needs to raise their prices to generate more income, I highly encourage them to do so.

This is also true for paid marketing material. Some venues use publishing firms that gather ads from vendors. The venue gets a free marketing piece because we the vendors have paid for the ad. I don’t believe in this type of advertising as I believe the referral is paid to play. This is another marketing scheme I try to stay away from.  I want my studio to be referred because we do excellent work and take good care of the vendors, venues, and clients we work with.

When choosing our business names or platforms it’s imperative that we be authentic and do not copy or snatch the work of another designer. Swooping in and taking someones concept or even a hashtag is extremely bad form and should be avoided at all costs. Showcasing other designers images, words, or concepts without giving them credit is highly discouraged. Be true to you!! When teaching always credit the people that inspired you or shared their knowledge with you. Respect the intellectual property of your industry peers.

If we all focus on an integrity brand, I believe we can raise the overall value of our work and our worth.


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