Featuring an interview with florist Mim Palmer and how she founded her floral design business Wildplay Flora
I am always intrigued by real stories of women in small business and how they use their skills to develop a business from nothing. This month I am writing about business woman and florist Mim Palmer, who founded her florist business in 2019 and has some serious talent when it comes to floral design.This will hopefully present some insight into both the highs and low's of building a florist business.
What is Wildplay Flora all about?
Wildplay Flora is all about using flowers and foliage that mirror unconstrained nature, are lush, bold with colour and texture, abundant and romantic. Wild and playful describes the art of floristry in my creative mind-this is how the name, Wildplay Flora was born.
How did the idea of starting your own events floral design business come about?
I wanted to have total creative freedom! Having spent the last few years in the exciting Sydney floristry scene, I was eager to bring my new skillset back to my hometown of beautiful Brisbane and pursue my own artistic vision through Wildplay Flora. I’m used to working in big teams where all tasks are allocated so it is a massive perk being responsible for the entire process from initial consultation to adding the final touches to a floral display.
What has been the greatest challenge for you as a business owner?
Being a perfectionist and starting a business from scratch is a challenge. Every detail associated with setup, communication and advertising is very time-consuming. I am reminding myself constantly to achieve multiple things in a day whereas for instance, I could easily spend 7 hours creating 3 social media tiles.
In relation to marketing and promoting your business, what do you find the most effective resource to attract new clients?
Instagram and word-of-mouth. I never realised before I started my business how handy social media can be, but the majority of the 2020 brides and corporate clients have found me this way. I still have no idea how algorithm works but I think it’s magic! Word-of-mouth has always been the most reliable way for any business to grow and that’s why I focus so heavily on amazing service. People will remember feeling heard and important so why wouldn’t they want their friends, family and colleagues to experience that with me too? I strongly prioritise good communication, reliability and assurance that I can be left to produce something stunning irrespective of seasonal availability or time frames.
Your favourite aspect of running your own business and working for yourself.
I particularly adore the process of collaborating with clients who have fun briefs and following through with the act of arranging flowers for their wedding or function. Bringing someone’s vision on paper to real life gives me the BIGGEST high!
What does a typical work day look like for you?
A typical work day requires me to leave home on the Gold Coast just before 4am for 5am open of the Brisbane Flower Markets in Rocklea. I’ll have my list of corporate and retail clients to purchase for and firstly do a quick walk-around to see what’s looking best from suppliers including Redlands Fresh Flowers, Lynch’s Market Flowers, Flower Lovers and Realtime Flowers. I love speaking to these suppliers as their knowledge and passion for their products often help me in my flower selection. Otherwise, I’ll often spot something stunning and build my design around that focal bloom.
Each customer has a unique brief, so every design is bespoke and carefully bought for.
Having finished my purchasing by about 6.30am, I’ll head to my studio in Newstead (i.e. my parents’ home) and start working on the arrangements. By 9am I am finished, fed and watered, van loaded up and I set off on my deliveries.
My Brisbane route is Ashgrove-Chermside-James St-Brisbane City and then straight on to Pacific Fair in Broadbeach via a few businesses in Logan. By 2pm I have finished my deliveries and am in desperate need of an energy pick-me-up. In comes my recent obsession with learning to surf and my destination is Currumbin Alley. Never was there ever a better way to refresh oneself after many hours on the road and I really hope this is a routine I can continue as Wildplay Flora gradually gets busier.
By 5pm I am re-energised and back home in Southport where I’ll spend a few hours catching up on emails, invoices, enquiries and quoting. Somewhere in there I make sure to catch up with a friend or family member because life is about balance right?!
What would you recommend to others considering their own floral design business?
My recommendation would be to really focus on what your creative aesthetic is and how it sets you apart from the next florist. People will soon be able to identify your work if it is unique! In the age of social media, it really helps to incorporate your image and story into your profile. This personally still makes me very uncomfortable, but I can clearly see how much this encourages followers to share my work which is the very point! To start your own business whatever it is, you HAVE to be ballsy and prepare to be uncomfortable sometimes. Trust me though, the rewards are endless.
I'd love to hear from you if you have found this read insightful. Mim's work can be viewed on her Instagram or website wildplayflora.com.au