How to Chase a Dream
It’s been about a 7 weeks since I last posted and wow, things have changed. At that time, I was plugging along but feeling a bit overwhelmed and wondering what direction to take the farm. I had no sales to speak of and my newsletters to florists were generating zero responses. Nothing is more overwhelming that working yourself to death for no apparent reason. I mean if no one was purchasing my product or giving me feedback, then what’s the point?
Well, about 3 weeks ago I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post from one of the florists I was emailing and right there, in his write up, he mentions buying local flowers and they were not from me. Well, you can imagine that my heart sank. So I immediately looked up the folks he was buying from and realized I had met them at a workshop about 2 years ago. Honestly, I was shocked at myself for actually putting their faces together with that workshop. In general, something like that could take me days to figure out, but not this time. And I think that was part of the Universe’s plan. After I put together who they were, I stepped way out of my comfort zone and actually reached out.
Jess and Aral own Phoenix Hill Flower Farm and later the same day after reaching out, we were all sitting around my dining table discussing how to pool our resources in order to become the go to growers of cut flowers for the Louisville / Southern Indiana market. Jess and Aral are young and full of hustle. Like me, they both have full time jobs that pay the bills while also being flower farmers. But differently than me, they have to travel to different pieces of property to tend to their flowers. But that hasn’t slowed them down. I admire their confidence and entrepreneurship. While I have been sending emails from home, waiting for a response, they have taken the flower cart by the handle and have shown up at the local florists with blooms galore - and the florists are buying!
And now I can say that, through Phoenix Hill Flower Farm, I have sold my blooms to some of the local florists as well. To go outside Tuesday morning with the intent to harvest rather than to just cut willy-nilly is hard work but so gratifying. Fortunately, while awaiting the bounty of all my hard work, I did put the infrastructure in place that is helping me accomplish the harvest. I have a cooler for storing the flowers, a plethora of buckets to harvest the flowers into, bundles of rubber bands ready for bunching and various cutting tools, sharpened and ready to use. Last week alone, I harvested 25 10-12 stem bunches to sell. And to be honest, I was restraining myself. While that is not a lot for some of the larger growers, it is what I can handle at the moment and is teaching me what I need to know in order to get bigger.
While there is very sound advice about making a business plan before starting a company, sometimes, you just have to jump in and go for it. That’s not to say that it’s the wisest or most financially savvy move. But for me, it has made sense. Because I have a day job and income to cover my bills, I have not gotten myself into a lot of debt with this venture which is great. I have been able to get my feet wet so to speak and “learn” how to be a flower farmer. And each week that Jess gives me an update about what has sold, I gain more confidence. Earlier this year I had thrown out a number in my head of how much I would like to sell this year and I believe I will surpass that number. With careful documentation of what has sold, what I have grown successfully or unsuccessfully, I think that I will be able to come up with a business plan in the coming year or two that will help me make better plans and sell even more.
While I may not have an actual business plan, my flower farm is moving forward. What am I learning this summer? I have a green thumb. I have more courage than I thought. I have good ideas. And if I put myself out there, I may be pleasantly surprised by what comes my direction. Until next time...