New & Improved Flower & Bouquet Construction!

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The Paper Florist has been a segment of my business now for almost 8 months, and in that time I have sold a total of 22 bridal bouquets and 4 large table arrangements. Add to that over 50 corsages and boutonnieres and over 200 loose single stem flowers, and The Paper Florist has brought in 16% of my business' net revenue for 2015. And I should mention that more than half of that revenue was earned in the last month... Happy wedding season! With growth comes opportunity for improvement in my products and efficiency in my building process. I started out making flowers for my own wedding, and I constructed my flowers and bouquets from what I could find. I'd cut a square base from a cardboard box or scrap of cardstock I had lying around, then glue a cube of dry floral foam to one side. Then I'd trim down a paper towel roll and glue it to the other side, stuffed with packing peanuts for stability. This was the skeleton inside every bouquet I made until a month ago:

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While I appreciate the idea of reusing and recycling things like paper towel rolls and packing peanuts, it's just not a sustainable business model, at my size. (I ran out of packing peanuts after the third bouquet, and I guess I don't order enough products from companies that still use them! And we don't go through paper towels fast enough..) Not to mention the labor involved with constructing a base like this for every bouquet, on top of the flowers! Once the bouquet was constructed (flowers on short bamboo stems stuck into the floral foam and secured with glue) there was also the finishing touches, like cutting and attaching leaves to cover the base and then gluing and pinning ribbon to the handle so it looked pretty:

_MG_1720To keep my prices reasonable, I had basically left the labor cost of bouquet assembly out of the equation, and was just charging for the flowers that went into it. It would take anywhere from 30-60 minutes per bouquet to assemble, so if I was going to be able to keep growing I'd have to find a more sustainable solution.

So, I did some research and tried out some different materials and methods, and decided on paper-covered wire stems and a new building process (from petal to bouquet) that cuts the assembly time way down. The finished arrangement is much more realistic looking, and the assembly is just like putting a live bouquet together (except its easier because the flowers are now on wire!). As I was pulling together my first bouquet on the new wire stems, it occurred to me that there was a time in my childhood that I thought I wanted to be a florist. It really feels like I am now!

Check out the first order I sent out the door with the new assembly!

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The stems also look much more realistic in a clear vase, and are much easier to arrange than the bamboo sticks I used to use. If I get some free time in the next few weeks, I plan to fill my new apartment with some fresh arrangements using these bad boys. I'll definitely share the results here!

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Want to order your own? Lots of examples are for sale on the Etsy shop, but the possibilities are endless! Let's chat!

All-White Bridal Bouquet - Featured in Anna Pearl's Curiosities!

A couple of months ago, my aunt asked me if I would like to put some of my paper flowers in the front window of her shop. My Aunt Sharon owns a vintage shop on Main Street in Niantic, Connecticut that's just too cute for words. If you're ever in the neighborhood (or driving on I-95 and need a break) definitely stop in and check out Anna Pearl's Curiosities. There is something for everyone, and Sharon is brilliant at finding one of a kind antiques and vintage treasures. The shop window faces Main Street, and for the spring months she installed a wedding-inspired display; vintage jewelry, accessories, veils and even a vintage dress. She thought a bouquet would be a perfect addition, and would give my business some extra exposure (can you tell she's super supportive of me??).

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She suggested an all-white bridal bouquet, to match the white and ivory pieces in the window, and I agreed it was the best option for something that would be appealing to most brides. I was going to include my most popular flowers--roses, calla lilies, hydrangeas and a couple of peonies. But as I got going on the assembly of the bouquet with the mix of ivory and white, I was loving how it looked with just roses and hydrangeas, so I kept it simple:

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The bouquet is finished with ivory satin ribbon and pearl accents, and as always is lightweight, durable, and won't wilt in the summer heat! With some basic care and dusting, it'll last forever--no expensive preservation needed!

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I'm in the process of making a second bouquet that will be more "hands on" for customers so you can feel how lightweight they really are and see the flowers up close and personal. But in the meantime, I think this one looks great in the shop window!

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The listing for the all-white Rose and Hydrangea paper bouquet is live on the Etsy shop, but as always it's just a sample of what you can order. I love working with custom colors and special requests.

And if you're in the Niantic area, go visit my Aunt Sharon and tell her Katie sent you! [googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d2996.330514154921!2d-72.1942835!3d41.323425799999995!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x89e6108950899ef7%3A0xdcb3f8fe31e1f1f8!2s281+Main+St%2C+Niantic%2C+CT+06357!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1433793439665&w=600&h=450]