I didn’t think it would take me quite so long to work out what to do next with my floristry business. Having said that, I am pleased that within the first couple of years of starting up I am already re-assessing, continuing to plan, and redirecting the way I want to approach my business. If you can follow me through to the end of this post I will let you in on the next step!
Starting a business from scratch is a balancing act; making decisions about brand, image, process, and even design, when you are still finding clients can feel a little like guess work. Thankfully I had a clear enough vision of what I wanted to communicate before I started which helped develop the look of my website and suchlike. However, it is easy to start to feel jaded when the practical need for cash to flow into your business rears its head. And then you realise how much more will be needed to facilitate any sort of change…it’s tricky harbouring both the voice of creativity that screams “just get on and make something beautiful that you can be proud of! Blast the rent!” with the quieter but more persistent whisper of “but how will you ever buy a house and what if the car breaks down?”.
I’m not ashamed to have learnt so much within these first few years of business, and I hope I will always learn more and develop my ideas! One of the things I have enjoyed learning – or I should say, adjusting my ignorant point of view – is about art and design in normal life (normal being me). Forgive my naïve ignorance, but I grew up believing that true artists and creative people are hippies and disorganised romantics. They spend much of their life waiting to be found, earnestly producing original masterpieces until they are discovered, going on to live a celebrated life. There are four things that have contributed to my change of mind on this matter; growing up, meeting and spending time with creative people (who have become friends – I am so lucky!), making several trips to wonderful Copenhagen in the last four or five years, and an introduction to some great figures in the art and design world such as Paul Rand.
In Copenhagen everything works (well, that’s the perspective I have coming from the U.K. where most things seem to be bodged). People take care of their surroundings and enjoy the city. I don’t think it’s necessary for me to say much about the classic Danish design that permeates the streets and the people in them. You can spot a Dane a mile away. Whenever I’ve visited I always come back with a strong feeling of wanting to DO BETTER. Not slicker, or snazzier, or more original, just BETTER. The title of this post is from Paul Rand and couldn’t sum up this feeling better!
When I was thinking and planning this blog post I came across a great interview of Steve Jobs who had hired Rand to design the logo for his company, Next. The interviewer asks Jobs how he would describe Rand’s principles, and Jobs responds:
It’s much easier to think of him as an artist but I actually think of Paul as much as a business problem solver as I do an artist, and it’s the marriage of those two things; the very, very practical and the artist that is unique. So I’m not exactly sure if I could articulate his principles, but you feel them when you’re around him.
Rand seems like a glorious combination of clear thinker, problem solver, and creative design genius. A mixture of artistry and business mindedness. Earlier on in the interview, Jobs says:
You get a sense that this is a very deep, thoughtful person who has tried to express in every part of his life what his principles are, and you don’t meet so many people who are like that today.
I want my business (and anything else in my life) to reflect as well as possible my principles…which I have begun, but which still has plenty of space to grow and develop. I am proud of the business I have grown and the designs and arrangements I have provided for so many lovely, wonderful people, but I like to think I can do better. And one of the ways I can do this is find a way to nurture and respect my product – cut flowers and foliage – from seed to design and beyond. In fact, from pre-seed! So, the next step for my business is to find land to cultivate a cutting garden that will supply the bulk of flowers and foliage for my business. Produce will be grown and nurtured by me, hopefully without the use of chemical pesticides and weed-killers, the soil will be cared for and nourished, and clients will actually be able to visit and stand on the land that will yield their bouquets and arrangements.
And so, my understanding of an artist now has developed and changed. An artist is someone who thinks and lives independently. Someone who knows their own mind before the loud opinions of others, and someone who finds and pursues their own path with honesty, integrity, and clear thoughtfulness. This requires constant assessment, awareness, sensitivity, and bravery. What do you think?