I met Christopher several years ago at a BNI meeting in Seattle. (For those of you unfamiliar with BNI, I highly recommend checking out one of these networking groups in your area!) Christopher is one of the kindest people in this industry. He’s always willing to share about his craft. His artistry is amazing. And, personally I think he’s quite funny and witty. (He makes a bad-ass Words with Friends competitor too!)
Recently, I got to know Christopher even better when he participated with us at The Simple Plan in Seattle. I know everyone there, including myself, walked away with more knowledge due to his insights. There, he refined his mission statement which I think is a perfect reflection of him and his business: “To create joy and meaning for special events by designing unique floral arrangements inspired by the natural beauty of flowers and my artistic vision. To do this while listening to and guiding my clients with creativity, patience, and individualized service.”
Owner, Christopher Flowers
Why did you start your business?
I had worked in a flower shop in downtown Seattle for about a year, and it seemed that clients really liked my work and were starting to ask for me by name. I gradually realized that I had the skills I needed to be an independent floral designer. I also wanted to “be my own boss” and have more flexibility in my schedule. But, I think the real reason that I was compelled to start my business was a desire to develop and express my own style and aesthetic. I wanted to see how far I could go.
What book do you recommend to new business owners?
Read books about your field or art! I believe if you nurture your passion it will lead you where you are supposed to go. Pick up anything that inspires you and don’t waste time finishing a book that you aren’t enjoying. If there are magazines or journals for your field, be sure to catch up on those regularly. These can give you a lot of the practical and technical information you need. It’s also a great way to find the suppliers you have been searching for.
Do you have any cool goal-setting tips to share with us?
I’m still learning how to set good goals, but I think the classic SMART scheme is very useful; make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-limited. I like to post my goals on a printed page next to my computer screen. It’s there every morning when I start working.
What do you find to be the biggest challenge as a business owner?
Honestly, it is very hard not to worry all the time. What if business slows down? What if I make a big mistake? Maybe that’s just me, but no matter how many successes I have I am always concerned about the future. I deal with it by focusing on the specific tasks I can do today to keep my business growing and running smoothly, even if it’s as simple as organizing my desk. Baking cookies also helps.
If you were starting your business all over again, what would you have done differently?
I would have said ‘No’ to the orders and events that I knew in my heart weren’t right for me. It’s hard to turn down jobs when you’re new, but try to remember that whatever you put out there will keep coming back to you. If you under-price your services or put out a product that doesn’t really represent your style and level of quality, it can be hard to shake off that reputation.
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