Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Althea Wiles is the founder and education director of J Althea Creative, a floral design course and florist consulting program. She is offering a Valentine’s Day System Prep Class for Florist https://www.jaltheacreative.com/programs/webinars
Althea Wiles is also the owner and creative director of Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio in Fayetteville, Arkansas Her design studio takes part in 75-100 weddings and events annually and has been recognized by publications such as Arkansas Bride as well as being a featured artist for the Art in Bloom gallery exhibit chosen and hosted by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. www.roseofsharon-eventflorist.com.
You are a well-known florist consultant and educator. Tell us about your background.
Growing up, my parents owned a wholesale nursery and they grew quite a few of the plants themselves. I never liked growing the plants, but during the Summers, I would raid the daylilies and the zinnias to create arrangements for the house. My junior year of college, I volunteered at a local flower shop during Spring Break and when Spring Break was over, I was offered a part- time job. (I guess 40 free hours of work really does show dedication and interest!) After receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Hendrix College, I earned my Arkansas Master Florist Certification in 1996, and then returned home to Fayetteville, AR. Four years of work in traditional floral shops made me realize that I really enjoyed event work most of all. The local shops were all general florists, with gifts, houseplants, and daily delivery. I decided to start my own business where I could focus on weddings and other events. In April of 1998, the Rose of Sharon, Event Florist opened. After successfully running the Rose of Sharon for over 20 years, I added consulting and teaching to the mix. I contribute much of my early success to a wonderful mentor who took me under his wing and truly set me on the right path to be a successful florist. This is my way of passing that knowledge on.
You work with high-profile clients as the owner and lead designer of Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio. Tell us about your experience.
From large-scale weddings to holiday in-home installations at the finest homes, our team puts care and attention to every detail. Our more high-end clientele appreciates the years of knowledge and experience I bring to the table. That knowledge and experience often saves time for our busy clients, a commodity that is priceless in this day and age.
Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Tell us about your Valentine’s Day System Prep Class.
Valentine’s Day is a day that can easily overwhelm a florist. This is a class for any florist that wants to have a well-organized, less stressful (Valentine’s Day is never stress-free), and successful holiday. Executing a holiday where delivery volume can jump 10 times over a ‘normal’ week or where switching from 1 wedding delivery to multiple deliveries in one day, or where the orders come in at the very last minute can be challenging. In this webinar, I share numerous tips that I’ve learned over the years to make this a smoother process. It doesn’t matter if the florist has 20+ years of experience or is just starting out, if they’re overwhelmed with the planning & executing side of
Valentine’s Day, this webinar will be useful.
You were lucky to learn from a mentor, what do you want to share with the world?
Having someone in your corner makes ALL the difference!
Tell us about the takeaways from your class.
Ways to think about organizing a home studio for an easier workflow
Tricks to keep multiple orders organized
Products that I’ve found useful
Little things that keep your team happy (like providing lunch)
What to put in the ‘emergency kit’ for your delivery drivers
Things to consider when hiring extra help
It isn’t just about looking pretty is it?
Absolutely not! In fact, that’s just one small area of having a successful Valentine’s Day as a florist. It’s about organizing yourself, your studio, & your employees so that the promises you make to your customers are kept. (It’s not a successful holiday if your deliveries are a day late or if you don’t design what the customer ordered.) It’s about ordering, pricing, designing, scheduling, & delivering ‘pretty’ arrangements so that your customer is happy, the recipients are delighted, and the business is profitable.
As a consultant, what are people looking for today and how are you guiding them?
They’re looking for someone who’s been there, done that can help you go there & do that…in a supportive way. I’m not selling a system where I say, ‘Do ABC & get XYZ.’ I’m working with my clients as they determine what they want their business to look like what works for them. I’m guiding, suggesting, and listening. I’m sharing my experiences, both good and bad, so that they can have the confidence to succeed in their dream.
J Althea Creative Consulting
Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio
Photography: Sydney Rasch