Working in the Industry
I'm almost 10 interviews in to my "Interview with a Florist" posts and you may have noticed that all the interviews so far have been with flower shop owners, not employees. Most Flower Shop owners I know don't work alone and if you are like I was, my shop was only as good as my employees. At the end of my floral career I was lucky enough to work with wonderful people. I admit that I had quite a few "duds" over the years and truthfully, that is putting it mildly. Anyone that manages staff will most likely tell you that managing their employees is one of the hardest parts of the job. Especially in this industry where the profit margins are so low and the need for creativity is so high. Put those together and they don't make the best math equation you've ever seen. lol
As this particular blog is geared towards those already in the floral industry, I thought it might be interesting to flip the script and interview a few people who work in the industry but are not owners. I think there is always something to be gained from seeing things from the other side. I'm sure if you are a flower shop employee, you might have found the Interviews with shop owners enlightening and I think if you are a flower shop owner, you will find these Interviews just as telling.
Many shop owners started out as employees. I'm unusual in that I never worked in a flower shop before I started. That is a long story for another day (and not the way I recommend you do it). Some worked for their parents before buying into or inheriting their shops but no matter how you came into the industry, it might have been a while since you could see this side of the equation. It's hard to be an owner with all the pressures that come with the responsibility but I'd imagine that being an employee is much harder.
genuinely like (or love) them. I've had employees who I thought were great people but not great employees and others who I didn't really like as people but they were great employees. I used to say that they were great to work with but I would not want to be friends with them. That sounds odd but it's the truth. When you get those folks to work for you who are fantastic for your company and you think they are wonderful human beings, you really hit the jackpot!! I can say for sure, that's what I had at the very end of my career. Covid really taught me that a few good people could do a lot. My business would have failed quickly during that time if my staff did not come right back during Covid, even though they would have made more money being unemployed. For that Kevin and I will always be grateful!
Although they say there needs to be a line between you and your employees, I always tried to be as upfront and honest with my staff. At the end when we were trying to pass the business on to a new owner and keep the business moving along, was probably the hardest time of my life because I could not let on to anyone. I'm sure even though they never said it, they probably felt a bit betrayed. There were no secrets and I mean none at our shop. They could read my email, knew what I was talking about on Social Media, knew when I went to the doctor, they knew it all. I was a complete open book. I think (and hope) they know that we had their best interests at heart, trying to find a new owner they would have wanted to work for without scaring them to death about the future of their jobs with us. Not an easy balancing act and in the end, we said no to a possible buyer who we knew our staff would have hated. I did not want to see the business that I built for 34 years just fall apart. Best to walk away.
Anyway, if you are a shop owner or even a manager, I hope you enjoy the upcoming interviews and perhaps find yourself being more understanding of what it means to be an "employee" these days. Look for those interviews over the next few weeks and of course, I'll be starting with my very own Alicia and Alanna. I will be finishing up with 2 more "Owner" posts soon. Feel free to let me know your thoughts!