Find Yourself A Mentor..
I cannot be more serious about this. If you have a passion that you want to get serious about, one of the best moves you can make is finding a mentor. I was fortunate enough to find mine early on in my floral journey and I cannot begin to express how lucky I am for knowing her! Katie taught me about floral business/design during my first workshop and she let me design with her for two busy seasons. Needless to say, I am grateful to have her as a mentor and I'm excited to share more of her story below!
Sweet Annie Floral Design began as a side hustle in 2011 by Katie Rocheford. She loved playing with flowers for holidays and family events and eventually became more passionate about the floral world. In addition to loving flower work, Katie was also driven by finding a career that allowed her to spend more time with her children, who were in daycare while she was in an office all day. In 2014 she left her 9-5 job and Sweet Annie became her full-time gig in 2014.
Katie's biggest struggle with starting her own business was actually believing she could do it. I have a feeling all small business owners experience emotions like this regularly, but especially when starting out. "I had no choice but to really go for it and give it my all. I had to prove to myself I could do it. I'm so happy and proud of myself now for believing in such a crazy idea."
Staying on top of her social media accounts, Instagram in particular, has helped Katie start and sustain her business traffic. Like many of us, she has a love/hate relationship with Instagram. Katie receives many inquiries through Instagram, but she agrees the comparison game you can play with other business owners on your feed can be a true struggle. She concentrates on keeping the pictures on her feed consistent with her brand and stays authentic in all of her posts. "You want your closest friends to think you sound like yourself through your captions...I always wanted to keep it real. I want my clients to know who I am as a person." Win for authenticity.
In addition to floral design, motherhood, and being a badass at keeping it real, Katie focuses her energy on showcasing local makers in her shared space/curated store, Salt & Grove, which she owns with Sarah Landry of Sarah Jayne Photography. Salt & Grove (along with Sweet Annie) just moved locations in Newburyport and Katie and Sarah have big plans for creative workshops and a "Feel Good Series". Spreading creativity in their community is a priority for these two creatives and the store offers locally made gifts and home goods that will make any customer smile.
I don't need to drive the point anymore about how much I admire Katie and her dedication to her business. When I asked her for advice for those of us who are venturing out on a creative path of our own, she made a point of being your best self and forgiving any mistakes that you make along the way. "You have to be able to chalk your imperfect decisions up to steps you've taken to grow and learn within your field." As accepting as I think I can be of my mistakes and floral faux-pas, it's hard for me to think of my mistakes as a positive thing in real time! Hearing this from someone who runs multiple successful businesses while keeping it real and continuing to design amazing florals for weddings makes me appreciate the fumbling process a lot more.
I am so glad I inquired about a business/design workshop to Katie years back and I am so excited to help design for her in the future while listening to quality boat music or The Lone Bellow on full blast in her new studio space. If you haven't seen Katie's work or if you haven't been to Salt & Grove, please click on the respective links above and check out the space if you're in Newburyport! You will not be disappointed.