Thursday, February 2, 2012
my thoughts on sample meetings;
I used to hate them, now I love them.
I only do a sample meeting for clients who spend over 10K. And only if they ask.
Clients who insist on samples who are spending less I charge for the sample. (Most of the time, sometimes I just don't because I'm not a good business person, or I forget.) As those of you who work in flowers know, it's impossible to put together a sample for less than $300 if you are using 10+ varieties of flowers. We have a "retail shop" where I could sell some of the leftovers from the sample, but lets be honest - my retail flower sales range from $0-250 a week, so there's not an active market to move those stems.
Clients who are strangely persistent about samples spur red flags in our office. Trust is pretty important to me. If you trust me, and I love you than I'm going to go above and beyond for you. I'm going to buy the tree peonies at $7.5 a stem even when Asheley says we're over budget. There is NOTHING more exhilarating in my work than making incredible flowers for clients who love what we do. Nothing. And no budgets, whether big or small will ever stop us from finding those people we can make happy with flowers.
I take my business very personally, and I like to be on friendly terms with clients. I really like to get to know them. And in getting to know them, hopefully earn their trust. Once I had a client ask me what would happen to the wedding flowers if I DIED before we delivered them. That was a red flag too...
So with samples; as I said - if the budget of the wedding allows for it we create a full sample meeting with linens, dishes, flowers, etc. I think with a big wedding this is so important; to be able to see and play with the elements together. I am the kind of designer who has a hard time conceptualizing abstractly. I'm much better with materials right in front of me.
Lastly - do your samples in season - 2 weeks before the wedding. There is just no other way to get an accurate seasonal mockup.
So C - you asked, I hope that helps. I'd say if you have a client that is being too finicky and requesting multiple sample meetings - beware. Some brides are destined to be unhappy from the start. The industry's promise of "the perfect day" leaves many women with unrealistic expectations and sets them up for dissapointment on what should be a fun party with family and friends.
I have said to clients before; "You know, it's just a wedding."
But then, I am known for putting my foot in my mouth.
(And for forgetting to wear a brassiere.)
p.s. The professor and I have something big in the works - should be confirmed by the end of today. I give you hint; Manhattan. Valentines Day. I'm so excited I can't stand it...