Building connections

Collaboration is the name of the game.  It’s with some trepidation that I entered the world of business.  There’s a huge difference between being in demand for Christmas door wreath workshops and being asked to run more frequent classes, to actually being in business as Julie Davies flower workshops.

But connections were made.  And from there referrals came.  Out of the blue I received a phone call one April morning asking whether I would be interested in teaching floristry in Partnership with Kent Adult Education.  By the following September, there I was.  CRB check done; course outlines, schemes of work and lesson plans done.  Not all entirely new to me though, as I had previously taught evening classes for Hadlow College, as well as accredited courses.

Classes went well.  I returned for the spring term.  That year I made a resolution that I would re-launch my business and Julie Davies flower workshops was born.

2013 was a tick list of goals and achievements:

  • Corporate head shots with Sophie.  I first met Sophie when she came with her daughter to a children’s workshop I was teaching as a fundraiser for Oxfam.  She then came to one of my Christmas door wreath workshops.  A connection made.
  • Business cards and re-branding.  A chance re-connection with Michelle.  I first met Michelle very early on in my floristry career.  We has adjoining stalls at a Christmas fair.  Michelle then went from market stall, to shop and from there to shop number two.  She was kind enough to champion my skills by stocking my wirework corsages at her eponymously named store.  Several years later we bumped into each other at a café in town and from the depths of my mind I made the graphic design connection.  Michelle took over the branding of my business.
  • Social media next.  In response to a Facebook request I was put in touch with Daniel and bizarrely enough my Facebook fan page came into being on Valentine’s Day.
  • My workshop programme started to become reality.  In those early days some invited guests made up my numbers, a strategy that (literally) paid off with return workshop bookings.  Leanda blogged about me.
  • I was featured in the local paper.  This spurred me on to approach a local restaurant and ask whether I could use their space as a “pop up” venue for workshops.  A day time class, with lunch to follow.  A perfect combination.
  • Another connection was made.  I met the delightful Samantha Jones at a wedding fair and she kindly photographed the wrist corsage I was wearing.  Our paths crossed again shortly afterwards at a Charity Ball.  More photographs came my way.
  • Realising that I couldn’t teach and take photos, I made the call.  The photos that Sam took that day now appear on my homepage and in a YouTube clip.
  • With Christmas in my sights I visited my friend Vickie, the charming host at The Linen Shed.  Why hadn’t I tapped into Vickie’s expertise earlier?  I came away with a notebook of tips and some great contacts.  Thank you.
  • I’m struggling to remember how I got involved in Small Business Saturday, but the driving force behind this event in Faversham was Jude.  I’ve known Jude by sight for years – the Venn diagram that is my home town really should be drawn!  Small Business Saturday was another day of connections.  I met Alison of No Place Like Home and Karyn from Tonbridge Reiki at Faversham.
  • I took the plunge and had a website built. Ta-dah! www.juliedaviesflowerworkshops.co.uk. I put this task in the hands of Jude at Sach Virtual Assistance.  Initially, a postcard of an internet presence, it quickly evolved into a blog and an online booking facility for my workshops.  Jude also tidied up my Mailchimp template and has calmly responded to my yelps of help …
  • Via Facebook I’ve hooked up with lots of interesting networking/support groups (and some individuals I would never have personally met in a million years), which has given me the confidence and support to keep on keeping on.  One such connection via Kent Creative Live took me to Catriona and a session on marketing and the use of Twitter.  Again, a notebook full of advice and contacts.  Why not say hello to the #createinkent gang on a Monday from 7.30-8.30pm.

A year after setting my goals, I visited Faversham BNI for breakfast.  I’ve taken the plunge and moved my advertising budget from flyers and leaflets to membership of the BNI – ready to fulfil my role in the philosophy of “Givers Gain”.

And for the rest of 2014?

  • I’m looking forward to collaborating again with Sam on a DIY wedding flowers workshop
  • work is in progress on a blog with Beverley at Exquisite Vintage Teas
  • more workshops in collaboration with Sally at Jolie Rose, with the driving force of Claudia Kerr Designs encouraging me forwards
  • attending a writing to promote workshop;
  • and last, but by no means least working with my colleagues at BNI Faversham – do you fancy some business talk over breakfast?

There’s so much more to look forward to in growing my business.

I’m always on the look out for (Kent-based) pop up “destination” venues for my workshops.  I need ambiance, an easy-sweep floor, natural light, a tap and a lovely outlook.  Perhaps you know somewhere that would fit the bill?

Until next time, happy flowers! Julie

5-DAY FREE MINI-COURSE

If you’re planning to find your happy with flowers this week don’t forget you can amaze your friends with your knowledge about getting your flowers to last longer by signing up here for access to my FREE five-day mini course.

HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT #FLOWERSTART?

I’m an award-winning florist. I run an online flower arranging course you can fit around your busy life whilst creating beautiful arrangements to gift to your friends or family (or don’t tell anyone, keep for yourself). You’ll have something Instagramworthy in no time. If you’d like to join #FlowerStart my 4-week online flower arranging class you can find out more about it here – click through to my post on Frequently Asked Questions – or email me julie@juliedaviesflowerworkshops.co.uk

FLOWERSTART WORLD ON FACEBOOK

If you love having flowers at home make sure you join FlowerStart World on Facebook – a place where you can share your flower arranging successes and pick up hints, tips and advice

 

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6 thoughts on “Building connections

  1. Nothing less that you deserve Julie Davies, you continue to be an inspiration to me and you and your workshop have literally changed my life. Thank you and here is to continued success in 2014 and after

  2. Loved reading your story Julie & well done on all that you have achieved in the past & all to achieve in the future x Jackie

  3. Personal relationships are so incredibly important in business. People buy people and personal referrals form such a large part of my business. Photographing your floral designs and workshops allows me to be in the company of creative people and is so very enjoyable! I’m looking forward to working with you many times in the future and let’s hope one day we both work on weddings together too!

    1. Thank you for your comments Sam. I’m just so pleased with the latest photos you’ve taken for me. Here’s to many more collaborations!

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