When I sit back and think about how my business has changed and grown over the past six years, the word ‘grateful’ doesn’t even seem to scratch the surface.
When I first opened Paisley Floral Design Studio, I had my sights set on becoming a wedding floral designer. It was that simple. And like other entrepreneurs, I hoped to one day be successful, so I started to advertise that I was ready, excited and available to design for weddings on the weekends.
But what took me by surprise was how often my phone rang with requests for other designs- birth arrangements, birthday bouquets, sympathy spreads, etc. “Of course I’ll create something special for you!” was my response to these requests, and the continued referrals, shares on social media, positive reviews as a result of my response, and willingness to go out of my way to serve my customers helped to grow Paisley Floral Design Studio to be what it is today.
After only one year in business, I quickly realized that I could not continue to serve my customers in a way that was personal and timely if I alone designed, created and delivered the arrangements, so my retired neighbor, George, offered his assistance, and boy am I so grateful that he did! George has managed local, greater Manchester deliveries for five years, and there’s no sign of stopping my funny and friendly right-hand man whom customers have grown to know and love by name AND personality!
New Features Bring New Opportunities
Years two and three were consistently busy as I designed for nearly thirty weddings all on my own. But it was when I was contacted by New Hampshire Magazine Bride to design for a feature photo shoot that my business really started to get noticed. Admittedly, when I first received the phone call, I was nervous, but I was also excited for the opportunity to not only design for such a prestigious, local magazine in our industry but also to see my work in print for the very first time!
Upon seeing my work in their magazine I couldn’t help but tear up. There was my design, published for everyone to see, and the exposure helped to grow my connections beyond that of friends and family. I received speaking opportunities at several local garden clubs, and Paisley Floral Design Studio started to become a name that people recognized.
Years four and five were real turning points as I was consistently booking fifty to sixty weddings per year. It was becoming clear that I would need help designing as clients’ wishes became more intricate, and the amount of inquiries per day were showing no signs of slowing down. Annavitte, an experienced designer and friend, approached me and offered to help design with me. Even though she worked full-time elsewhere, she was able to assist during the wedding season, large holiday season and even for our fun DIY design nights. Both her skills and friendship are invaluable to me as this second set of able hands and another creative mind was exactly what my business needed to be able to keep up with the demand while still serving my clients with the individual attention and love that is at the cornerstone of my business.
Up, Up, Up We Grow!
In addition to the increased demand for our designs, the process of acquiring flowers for our arrangements and getting them ready for the design stage was starting to wear on us physically. After getting up at 3:30 AM to travel down to the New England Flower Exchange in Chelsea, MA, to pick out the flowers for the upcoming weekend’s weddings and special arrangements, I arrive home excited but exhausted. I’m so thankful that Laurie and Emma greet me at the studio at 8 AM when I return home with my Honda Element chalk full of fresh blooms to help process the flowers for Thursday’s design session. These two women take great pride in their important work behind-the-scenes and even prep our studio for the next day’s tasks.
Now as we round year seven in business, I liken our growth to that of a perennial placed in the ground. It takes a few years for it to grow and establish itself, but all of a sudden it blossoms into a vision of beauty and potential. This blossoming is what we’ve experienced thanks to our loyal customers who refer others our way, the awards that we are so grateful to have received like WMUR’s Viewer’s Choice Award and the Manchester Union Leader’s Readers Choice Award, and our recent feature on NH Chronicle. We are as busy as ever and enjoying every minute of it!
So busy in fact that we have had to grow our team yet again and welcome Julie and Joni! Julie, who now joins Annavitte and I on design day, is a retired special education teacher with great organizational skills and patience. She graciously assists us by prepping containers, cleaning the cooler, making labels, re-organizing materials, running errands, and so much more. Her fun and upbeat attitude keeps us smiling, and I am so grateful to have her as part of the team. Joni, like Julie, is a retired special education teacher who is eager to help in any way she can. Her flexible schedule is an incredible asset as sometimes we are swamped at the beginning of the week, and she is always willing to pop in to help out! And when we are REALLY up against a deadline and need some extra hands for delivery, Jen and Diane are always willing to help, too!
Pretty Arrangements. Personalized Service.
As you can see, what started out as a one-woman show has now grown to a team whose common goal is dedicated to the success of Paisley Floral Design Studio and our wonderful, loyal customers. Every day we strive to live out our motto of providing: Pretty arrangements. Personalized service.
So thank you from the bottom of my heart to #teampaisley as without each and every one of you, we would not be the successful small business that we are today. And thank you to our customers and loyal clients who keep us busy doing what we love - creating beautiful and personalized arrangements for your special events! Your support of our small business, wonderful reviews, continued referrals and votes of support mean the world to this humbled, fortunate and grateful business owner!
let's get to know each other
With the launch of my new website, I wanted to share a little more about myself with my clients and customers. I had a friend craft some fun interview questions for me to answer so I could add a little more dimension to myself then just a face and a name. At Paisley, I want to be a friend to each and every one of you. Whether it's a quick phone call to get an order out to a loved one or you're coming to my in-home office for a bridal consultation, I want the experience to be personal and comfortable. So here are five things you probably didn't know about myself, Marie St. Onge of Paisley Floral Design Studio -- question and answer style!
Do you have a favorite flower?
It's so hard to choose just one.....but some of my favorites are Cymbidium orchids, parrot tulips, free spirit roses, to name a few!
Did you have flowers at your wedding? What were they?
*Laughs* Yes, I did! Carnations, mini carnations, babies breath, a few roses, and some leather leaf....but to be honest, at the time I loved carnations!
If you could hop a jet anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go? Who would you bring?
I've been talking a lot of Iceland....even thought I really don't like the cold. But I would love to stay in one of those glass domed cabins and see the Northern lights! Of course, I would bring my husband Tim!
What’s your favorite jam to bust out arrangements to?
I guess the happy go lucky girl has a dark side sometimes because I love grunge music! Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Metallica, Godsmack....are all my favorites to work to! But I also love disco! It just isn't on my antiquated radio system in the studio! I was lucky enough to see Pearl Jam last summer after a busy wedding delivery weekend!
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
My husband Tim and I have talked about building our "retirement home"....with my perfect, in-home-studio! Hard to believe we are in the beginning stages of planning for that season of our lives! My plan is to continue to design, maybe scale back the amount of work that I currently am doing, that way I am able to enjoy the beginning of retirement!
So now you know a little more about me! I look forward to getting to know a little more about you, the flowers you have in mind and the best arrangements to help express whatever those flowers need to say.