Season One, Episode Ten: Paper Florist Talks About the Nitty Gritty of Pretty Florals (and How to Show Your Worth When People Think You’re Just a “Crafter”) with Margie Keates of The Lovely Avenue
Paper florist Margie Keates of The Lovely Avenue never thought she'd be a creative business owner. In fact, up until a few years ago, she'd never owned a hot glue gun or even thought of herself as artistic at all. That all changed when she created her first paper flowers for her own wedding in 2013. Within two years, Margie had quit her full time job to run The Lovely Avenue, and has developed it into a powerhouse handmade creative business with her own studio and staff.
Margie was super honest and real about business challenges, the struggles of being a handmade business owner and not being seen as "just a crafter," how scary (and rewarding) it was to quit her 9-5 job, how she protects her proprietary information, and how she built The Lovely Bloom subscription service to make sure her business was able to stay profitable throughout the entire year.
00:03:06: Margie shares her super interesting elevator pitch that always gets follow up questions. She also tells us about her last 9-5 job and her career trajectory from college to now.
00:09:41: We talk about leaving a 9-5 job and how truly scary it is. What did Margie's transition look like? How did she get started in paper flowers? She also tells us about how finding out about crepe paper on Instagram changed her life, and when she realized there was a niche in the market for her.
00:27:00: We talk flowers! Margie tells us what goes into creating each paper flower (hint: each petal is individually hand cut!) and how long each flower takes (anywhere from 5 minutes to two hours).
00:34:00: What percentage of her business is creative, and what percentage is administrative? How does she hire and manage a staff while protecting her proprietary information? Are her team members W2 employees or 1099 employees?
00:45:00: How does she manage inventory and make sure she has enough paper and supplies in stock?
00:48:00: What's the biggest challenge of owning a handmade creative business (it's not what you think it would be!)?
00:55:00: Why Margie decided to pivot from weddings and how that decision led to the Lovely Bloom subscription service.
01:02:00: There are many subscription box services out there, and not all of them are successful. How did Margie build a successful, profitable subscription service?
01:08:00: We talk about The Lovely Avenue's fine art Still Life collection and why Margie got started doing these large scale, high end pieces to add to her collection.
01:15:00: We talk about pricing. The Lovely Avenue has such a wide and accessible range of price points - how did Margie build this pricing structure?
01:20:00: Has Margie ever taught classes? Will she in the future?
01:24:00: How does she set boundaries on social media?
01:27:00: What's the coolest project she's ever worked on?
01:30:00: What advice would she give to someone who wants to run a full time creative business?
01:34:00 Back to the Future segment: what did Margie want to be when she was growing up? What advice would she give to her younger self?
01:44:00: A Day in the Life segment: What does an average day look like for a paper florist?
01:53:00: Listener questions: how does she make sure her staff doesn't take all her flower templates and designs and start their own paper flower business? How does she get her business out there - social media, styled shoots?
02:03:00: Quick Answer: what's her biggest business achievement? (Hint: Martha Stewart was involved.... twice). What's her favorite real life flower, movie, and tv show?