Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Working Designer Wednesday: Mixed Bag

I guess I’ll have to present you with a “mixed bag” every couple of weeks because there are just so many things I want to share with you and they don’t always fit into a neat little post title…so here are some random floral thoughts especially for you, my fellow designers…

#1

Ever thought of brides sharing flowers when they have weddings on the same day? I found this post by Sidra Forman very interesting!

#2

I need advice from some of you designers who have hired interns to answer a question I received this week from a designer on the West Coast…she asked:

 “I've been thinking of getting an INTERN, and offering an unpaid position to someone passionate, somewhat qualified, and I want both of us to benefit from it.  Any suggestions as to what duties I should assign an intern, and what things I should just 'do myself'?  If I'm going to do this, I want to do it right!”

Since I’ve never had an intern, I need some of you to speak up and help out a fellow designer…please.

#3

Beautiful window displays to inspire…

images via Denise Fasanello 

vdaywindowx la martineimage via La Martine

#4 Charming flower shop exteriors…

shop front 6a0120a5914b9b970c014e868e854a970d floraliimage via Florali

bloomsbury_exterior sprout flowers fred. image via Sprout

bot01 botanicalsimage via Botanicals

Pimlico_Shop_004 wild at heartimage via Wild at Heart

image via Sprout

findus_imaimage via Fleurt

p1000103 fleurs Baptisteimage via Fleurs Baptiste

#5 Chic interior shop design…

boutique-21911-w beautiful blooms

boutiuqe-21911e beautiful blooms4

07 beautiful blooms

IMG_0753 beautiful blooms

all images via Beautiful Blooms

#6 A great space to consult with clients…

188778_10150122626786989_124594406988_6716915_8344858_n jessica's country flowersimage via Jessica’s Country Flowers

#7 And, finally, because we can’t have a post without flowers…

ACF1494 kuperberg photographyimage via Kuperberg Photography

Have a cheerful Wednesday!

(and don’t forget to leave your helpful advice for our West Coast florist regarding intern duties…she’ll love you for it!)

7 comments:

Suzanne said...

Oh pretty! I may just have to use the topiaries in the Botanicals image as inspiration for my home's front porch.

Never A Plain Jane said...

Dear West Coast,
I have absolutely no experience with interns, but I participate in a forum with people who regularly deal with internships. Here are some of their thoughts:

1. read this - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/03/business/03intern.html?_r=1

2. I’ve had many interns in the past, some good, some bad. The thing about interns is that you aren’t paying them, so they have a tenancy to do things half-assed. I’ve had 3 make over thousand dollar mistakes, which looking back, I should have paid someone minimum wage to do the work. In the US, its a fine line when talking about interns

3. If you do decide to get an intern, I used Craigslist, although you might also be able to go to a college to post the opportunity. I limited their work to 4-8 hours a week since they weren’t getting paid, although I usually just kept them for about 4 hours one day a week. There is a lot of instruction you need to give them. They are told in college to get internships so they can make mistakes on someone else’s dime, and I am witness to that. Some of them have been fabulous. I had one girl who started as an intern of mine, became my store manager and eventually became my assistant designer. If you are getting the intern to be a tester to possibly hire them later, that is always a little push for them to work harder

4. I see A LOT (like all) bloggers using unpaid interns to do work that should be being done by Virtual Assistants making a good wage. For it to be an internship, you have to be actively teaching someone how to do your job – not just having them do work you don’t have time for. You actually have to have the time to *teach*!
I know that it can be difficult to find the money to hire someone but at the same time, you want to find someone who can do the work you do that doesn’t pay the bills so you can spend MORE time on the work that does make you money. Ideally, it’s a win-win and something that pays for itself.


Hope some of that is helpful. You might also try contacting a business school to see if they have a plan to help guide businesses affiliated with their intern programs. Good luck!

Fabulously french said...

...wow! All are gorgeous and so inspiring.

Leeann x

Great flower lady said...

Sharing flowers? hummm i am not sure, If I was desinging both weddings I would be for it. BUT if only one bride was using me and the other was using another desinger I say NO what if her was not up to par? not matching what I have a vision for? what if "aunt Betty" was doing walmart flowers. To many what ifs...
as for the intern. ONLY if she was about 6 towns away. I find they come to learn for free and want to open shop and be my competition! I hire a part time summer girl who loves the extra money and works in a flower shop on the other days. THE only problem I had and I sat her straight she wanted to "label" her desings as her own! SORRY your working for Park Place Design I own all desings ~She works out fine for me. I say NO on "free" help it ends up messy~ IMO

Liz said...

I once got dual use out of flowers that I made for my sisters 40th birthday party. Cute little cocktail table arrangemetns in mason jars, and we took them over to her neighbors house the next day, and they were used as centerpieces for their daughters wedding being held on the property!

Erin Volante Floral said...

I think there are a LOT of legalities and things to consider when it comes to having an intern. A fellow wedding pro just sent me a link to an amazing blog that focuses on the legalities of creative businesses, pretty fascinating stuff! http://thelawforcreatives.com/2011/02/04/the-legality-of-unpaid-interns/

Miles Johnson said...

I hired my first intern two months ago. She came to me asking to be trained in floral design at a time when I was ready to have an intern. She wants to start her own floral design business so I wanted her to learn EVERYTHING that is involved in owning a floral studio, including the parts that are not fun. For the first couple of weeks I had her washing buckets and vases and processing before she ever got to design with flowers.

She worked for a week before I offered her the position so we could both see if it was a good fit. I made my expectations very clear: 1) There is no implied offer of a job at the end of the internship, 2) The internship would end when we both felt that she could consistently create an arrangement that I was comfortable sending out, 3) I didn't want her staying longer than that because I didn't want her to feel like she is being used, 4) She would work extra hours during holidays and events so she could learn and 5) She works every day she is scheduled or the internship ends.

It has worked out really well for both of us. She has been a great addition to the team and has the drive to really learn the business and the work. She was definitely the right person at the right time.

She works only 15 hours per week (3 five hour days). She had to learn everything that goes into prepping before she did her first floral. I gave her easy designs to start with and gradually increased the complexity. Whenever possible, I have her duplicate designs so she can develop consistency. I also make sure she does at least one floral each day to reinforce what she has learned. She also attends every class that I teach.

It has been a win/win situation for us. There is more than enough business in Seattle for us to share when she is done so I don't fear her becoming competition. In fact, it will be great to have another florist whose work I trust to refer people to when we aren't able to help a bride. She has also brought additional business in to us through her friends. When she is done, I'll definitely hire another intern.