Some of my great industry loves are attending floral expos/events, participating/presenting classes and in recent years freelance designing.
The anticipation of what you are gong to be creating, learning and discovering at a new, for the moment, job has it’s own kind of excitement. Here are a few of the things I think about when it comes to Floral Industry Freelancing wether I’m on the job or preparing for one.
Loyalty: When asked by many floral companies to freelance on the same dates, what is your process for choosing who to work for?
After freelancing for a few different floral companies, I’ve stayed true to a first come first serve rule. I have developed great relationships with the companies I have worked for so far and in doing so I know that if Company A books me first then Company B won’t hopefully be too put out. If I book with a company, they have me booked no matter what is offered after the fact. Nothing is more unprofessional than a freelancer canceling at the last minute because someone offers them more money at the last second or they change their plans without a thought of how it will effect your business.
Not over valuing myself as the greatest designer in the world means I don’t come with a crazy price tag or big ego creating good relationships with companies based on loyalty, hard work and trust knowing I’ll be there when I say I will and will do the very best work I can produce for them.
Expectation: What is needed or wanted while you are with the company? Are there dress codes, or anything that should be understood before agreeing to work for someone?
Though I try and keep up on trends and techniques you can never be fully prepared for a new freelance job. I will ask what they are looking to bring me in for depending if it’s a flower shop or specialty floral company so if I need to refresh on anything I can be prepared.
Understand what their expectation of you are going to be. Will there be a uniform, business casual or free for all dress? How you represent the brand of the contracting company should always be on your check list to being a good freelancer.
You are the product and hands that has been purchased for a period of time nothing more and nothing less. So if you are asked to clean vases, you make that glassware look like brand new; if you are asked to produce luxurious radial wedding designs, pump out the most perfect balls anybody has ever seen!
Knowledge: Versatile design esthetic and continual learning broadens the value of a designer.
I must confess that with all the national and international designers I have assisted or learned from, I still have a nervous rapport when sharing that skill with others. To share you have attended a particular class or assisted particular designers can set you apart from other designers, along as you are able to produce said skills. Some extraordinary designers around the world are one trick ponies and do very well as such but why hold yourself back. Expanding your floral knowledge base serves to help you through some sticky situations where a last second foliage manipulation or emergency mechanic may be needed.
No matter how many letters are after your name, years you tout around or how many social media followers you have; if you aren’t always educating yourself you are in danger of becoming a static basic designer.
Humble/Honesty: Don’t take a job you don’t have the right floral knowledge to succeed at, if someone is better fit for a job suggest those that will be better for said job.
If there isn’t enough time to properly educate yourself on a style or esthetic of design then you may do more damage then you are prepared for. Never waste your time or that of a company just taking jobs for the money or to fill a schedule as it will more times than not ruin your future freelance opportunities. Also don’t take jobs that you don’t like doing. If you don’t like doing shop design or mass production event design, why unhappily work for someone doing that kind of work. Your loathing of said design will show in your work or interactions around you.
One practice I try to use is saving freelance designers information I personally have worked with. Wether it’s saving their card or having an active google doc so I can suggest a good freelancer at a moments notice and actually know their work ethic and fit for particular companies. I would never suggest a freelancer that has more event design experience to a shop on mother’s day or valentines day or vice versa suggest a shop experience based freelance designer to a high-end event production company. Most designers I save hit points above as those that have a well rounded skill set, continues education and fit within any type of company expectations.
“To be humble to superiors is a duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness.” ― Benjamin Franklin
As someone that thrives off the new, exciting and adventurous arts of floral design, I can’t wait for all the great experiences future freelance jobs will create for me.