Last time we featured ex student Derek and his wife Wendy of Fable Studio Co on our blog they were just getting started. Recently we caught up with Derek, now a few years into their wedding florist business journey, to find out what they are up to and how the business is shaping up.
Tell us about your business?
Fable Studio Co is Sydney based wedding professional services, specialised wedding planning, wedding styling and wedding floral services. Fable is small business with team of duo Derek (me) and Wendy. In general, I worked on most of the back house work, such as organising staffs / freelancers, purchase flowers, stock taking and now, I am up to social media managing. Wendy is mainly for front house work and design, like, meeting, networking, customer services and sales.
What got you into floristry in the first place?
Actually, I really didn’t think I’ll be a florist. I’m a plant lover and love to do some terrariums work during my spare time. I worked at different kinds of job before, I started my side business to create Terrarium. At the time of 2017, Wendy, my wife, and her design classmate start the business of wedding planning and styling service as Fable Studio Co. The flower part always takes a large proportion on the styling service, and the quotation turnover was way too long without the basic floristry knowledge. I was thinking of shifting jobs, so Wendy suggested me doing a floristry course and be a florist. This is how I firstly think of floristry. I chose to study Certificate III in Floristry in 2018 with Pearsons School because on the Information Session, Barbara had told us many useful tips. So, my first place of really knowing flowers is from Pearsons School. This is how I got into the floristry.
How would you describe your floristry style?
At the beginning, I was thinking of more is good, I made my arrangements very balance and full of materials. But after practice and observation, I’m doing more grouping design with organic shape and negative space now, less is more.
Tell us about your business journey so far?
Our floristry business journey is like riding a roller-coaster!
I was graduated at the end of 2018, Fable’s business picking up so quick in 2019 since the in-house florist (which is me) taking place. We were very positive for the year ahead. And then Covid hit, the world was stopped. Especially our industry, kinda stopped for two years.
Then the post-covid period came in 2022, the wedding industry blooming year. All the postponed weddings and new weddings flushed into the wedding market, such huge demand brought large number of new suppliers into this market. We were still busy, we’ve worked on double or triple weddings per day for popular dates. During this period, luckily we met some the student helpers from Pearsons School, till now, they still freelance for us and build up a strong florist team.
2023, the wedding market fever is calming down, we hope weddings are back to normal. We are now learning and testing on marketing, especially digital marketing. Social media is taking big step forward compare to when we just started out. For wedding industry, we don’t have return customers (or at least we don’t expect return customers), therefore marketing is huge and non-stop project we need to keep ahead with. Referral still plays an important role, however we have to consistently put ourselves up on social media to show our audiences we are still in business.
Where do you see your business heading?
Business plan is a big topic. We hope Fable Studio Co will become a strong wedding professional brand in next couple years and have our stable team to operate business.
We are going to educate clients how wedding things running from beginning to the end and we are also going to share experience and knowledge we’ve learnt from mistakes to fellow vendors to create strong community.
Plan is not enough, the execution is the key. If we want to achieve all that, we need to have updated knowledge and understand the aesthetics. Keep learning, new trend, new technique, new materials, etc. We want our couples are proud of “Fable Studio Co” this brand, proud of hiring us for their special day, even they’ve been married in ten years.
Tell us something you love about what you do?
We like challenge and challenge usually pay off with rewarding outcome.
In recent years, our installation works are beyond weddings. We have been invited by some well-known brands to collaborate with for floral design & installation and public exhibitions for special events.
For example, Fleurs De Villes World Pride Flower Show at Royal Botanic Garden Sydney this year, and creating 10 days lasting fresh floral sculpture was huge challenge for Sydney’s summer.
Once more, we were helping Shangri-La Hotel Group to install large scale of indoor whimsical garden for the new global campaign “find your Shangri-La” launch event in Sydney. Tight time frame is absolutely challenge for a large scale.
Moreover, retail merchandising and shop fit out is another part of commercial project, required long lasting installation. Sourcing materials and permanent installing are nothing like a wedding. This is also a new challenge for us.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the business?
- DO know your target market and DO understand their needs and wants. I am still learning it, but providing the product and services matching what they want.
- Hold your ground, DO NOT under charge. This is very important, looks busier doesn’t make your business profitable. Be aware, if people accept your quote very quick, you probably need to review your price!
- Your competitor isn’t really your competitor, IS YOUR COMMUNITY. Wedding isn’t an one-man show, need planning, team-working and coordinating. You need industry friends to help, physically and mentally.
- DO NOT GIVE UP. I’ve heard a business will survive if it can last the first couple of years (maybe a little bit long than couple of years). Do not give up, you will be there.
- Understand why you want to have own business rather than working for someone else. Answer that WHY will make you go longer. If you are not sure about it, don’t do it, you will get lost.
- Finding any opportunities make your business resilient: networking, learning new skills, open minded for new challenges. Your brain needs to work on business mindset and creative mindset simultaneously. Unfortunately, it is not only about making pretty flowers, it is about creating a sustainable environment letting you make pretty flowers.
- Keep learning
- Get yourself PAID!