I had one thing in mind when I sat down to write my year-in-review – gratitude.
First, I am thankful for you, whether you are a reader, customer, friend, or bride-to-be. Dandelion Farm is better today because of you. A year ago, I decided I wanted to be a different type of florist, fueled by nature’s whimsy in the garden, not recipes and unnatural symmetry. To do that I knew I needed to travel to learn from the best - honing my skills in workshops on flower farming and floral design to business courses for creative entrepreneurs. Do you want to know what was the most unexpected thing I learned this year? Community matters. Investing in your community, is just like gardening, you reap what you sow.
Love from the local community is like good soil – you can’t grow anything without it. In a town of 7000 people, word-of-mouth matters more than a Facebook ad campaign or a fancy-pants styled shoot. Sure, I enjoy putting my work out on Instagram, but I am proud of the value our town puts on face-to-face conversations and a love for all things local. Lander is full of my tribe of friends and family, flower lovers, fellow growers, and a surprising number of businesses that invested their hard-earned money in our flowers. At the end of the day it is these relationships that give me the fuel in my soul to keep the business going. I am thankful for each personal recommendation and review. (and if you enjoy our flowers and have not reviewed Dandelion Farm – I would appreciate a review on Facebook or Google listing).
A professional community is like water – your garden will be spindly without it. For every workshop I attended this year, I came back with new skills, but more importantly, some amazing new friends. When I say amazing, I mean badass. Inspiring. Giving. I attended a workshop in April led by one of the industry leaders in flower farming, Erin Benzakein, at Floret Flower Farm in Washington’s Skagit Valley. I was blown away by the hard work Erin and other farmer florists have put into their communities and the Slow Flower movement. Our little farm is part of a much bigger community of growers who are changing the cut flower industry in the US (more about that in future blog posts). In November, I attended the Blueprint Summit led by the inspirational Shanna Skidmore. I connected with other creative entrepreneurs from across North America that are powerhouses for their small businesses. And they are doing what I want to do – own a sustainable business and have a balanced life. Thanks to Shanna and new friendships - next year is more about planning and less about flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants.
At each of these workshops I brought back with me invaluable friendships forged during late-night conversations with bottles of wine (is there a better way to become fast-friends?). These friendships have sustained me through many challenges this year – because contrary to popular belief, being a farmer florist is not about frolicking in the garden and playing with flowers. These friends gave me the swift kick in the pants I needed to pursue projects that are challenging and a little scary. If they are doing it, so can I. No excuses.
The seeds of Dandelion Farm – ideas, designs, garden plans, could not grow without community. Earlier this year I thought I had to act like a “big” business and pretend I have acres of flowers to attract customers. Boy was I wrong. Thank you for giving me a community to just be myself, growing with my family in our backyard, designing in my home studio, and bringing into the world the best of what Dandelion Farm has to offer. Here's to 2018!
With Gratitude, Teresa