I am originally from Madison, Wisconsin, but have lived in Phoenix for most of my life. I spent my summer breaks with my grandparents until my late teens, so I have always felt like a piece of me has belonged there. There’s something about being in the Midwest that makes me feel content… maybe it’s all the beer, or the scereney, or the fact that people are way nicer? All true. Honestly, there are several reasons that keep me going back, so it was only a matter of time that I decided to bring a piece of 1209 into the mix. Emmalee and Jacob’s wedding this past summer at The Lageret was my first Wisconsin wedding, and I seriously cried with joy when I saw these insanely beautiful images.
“If someone truly loves you, they won’t tell you love stories, they will make a love story with you.”
We were asked to fly out to San Francisco this past March for the awaited wedding of Lisa and Jess. These two women are insanely remarkable. They dedicate their lives to the medical field, to their loving families and friends, and of course, to one another. We stayed with them for four days, and in that short amount of time, we were quickly welcomed in as part of the family (sort of). I mean, how often do the florists bunk up next to the sweet grandmother, or get to after-party with the bridal party? Almost never. So we were living it up.
We stayed in the coolest 4-storey, purple and pink house (like what one would imagine a gypsy princess to live in with her pet unicorn). It was seriously the best. Everyone was so excited, alive, giggly and genuinely enjoying each and every moment. San Franciso does that to people. There's just something in air (besides the smell of weed) that makes people happy to be there. It's S-A-N F-R-A-N-C-I-S-C-O... no one ever complains about the city. And if they do, they are probably no fun. Congratulations, Lisa and Jess, on officially becoming Winton-Li. Yay!
San Francisco City Hall
THE AFTER PARTY
You tend to often hear about how owning your own business can be "awesome," "amazing," "the best thing ever" ...but business owners tend to not share what it can really be like. It's an extreme challenge, even when you are doing something you truly love.
Creating flower arrangements and working on events and weddings are not our only responsibilities behind 1209. We have part-time jobs (plural... jobs), on top of motherhood, personal obligations, random life events that come out of nowhere... all while juggling a very real and very important career path in this industry. I literally LOL if the term "work-life balance" is tossed our way. Work-life balance? Ha! Don't make us laugh. Learning to master that would just be another thing "to-do" on the already never-ending "to-do" list.
Never-the-less, when you're a small business owner, you just gotta keep it together. Don't let the people see you sweat because no matter what, you got this. It's what you signed up for; it's what WE signed up for. No one told us it was going to be a cakewalk. And in all honesty, I don't think I fully thought it was going to be as difficult as it has been. I've learned that when you start something of your own, you don't get to pay yourself right away, and you work harder than you have ever worked, AND you most certainly do not have an abundance of free time for yourself. Did someone say vacation? Nope. I think they actually said overtime... all the time.
Time is of the essence, and time is probably one of our most valued possessions. We do what we can in our time because after all, it's OUR time. It belongs to everyone, yet each individual has the choice to use it how he or she chooses. So here are 7 ways to use your time while running a business so that you can stay mostly sane and (almost) never lose your cool.
7 Ways to Not Lose Your Cool As a Small Business Owner
- Creative Outlets: Do something creative when you have the chance. Bored? Build something, write something, draw something, cook something, plant something... DO SOMETHING. And whatever it is, make sure it's for fun. For example, when we're bored we tablescape and play with leftover flowers. We are humans and need to find healthy ways to express ourselves other than working.
- Keep Up on Communication: Ummmm... it's everything to us. It's what makes the world go round! Don't get behind on emails, follow-ups or phone calls with clients and colleagues. It will all catch up with you, and even if you hide under your bed, it's allllllllll still going to be there when you eventually crawl out. An email a day keeps the headaches away! Just sayin'.
- Coffee Breaks: Caffeine? Foam? The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting in the air? We're there... first in line. Oh, but have you tried spicey coldbrew?? If you haven't, you've been living under a ridiculously heavy rock... literally, in the depths of an undiscovered crater. You'll find this amazing bad habit at Be Coffee. Life is not the same without it.
- Schedule In Finances: Ok, it's not exactly fun or glamorous, but "Finance Day" is the best day because once it's over, there's an over-sized glass of wine filled to the brim waiting for you... *clouds parting* and *rays of sunshine* happening. There's a light at the end of the tunnel... until the next month when it starts all over and you want to run away. Just keep up on your expenses, taxes and all things dollar bill related. It's important to get better at that boring stuff because you learn the ins-and-outs of what's going on within your own business. Organized spreadsheets will (may I repeat, WILL) become your besties.
- Networking: Chances are there are people out there just like you... trying to make a dollar doing what they love. And chances are there is a possibility that you can work together and somehow help one another out. AND chances are they love alcohol as much as you do. So we say go out, have a drink and make sh*t happen!
- Pet Therapy Sessions: At the end of the day, no matter what, hanging out with your pet is pretty chill. They don't judge, they don't talk back, and they think that you're the best ever. Don't have a pet? Go buy (or better yet, adopt) one. You'll have something to vent to 24/7, and they always think you're right. And the best part is you don't have to pay for them to listen (because you'll probably be broke for awhile being an entrepreneur). It's a win-win!
- Netflix Binges: Sometimes we need to escape reality and give our overworked brains a rest... soooooo, what better way to do that other than to find a new show on Netflix to binge watch until 4am?! YAY! It's the only way to keep some sanity and partly escape dealing with the outside world. Shameless, Blacklist, Peaky Blinders, American Dad, Stranger Things... give us all of the shows!
About the photos above: We did a styled photo shoot with BTS Event Management this past April (photos soon to come), but had a ton of leftover flowers from it. We hate to see flowers tossed away when they are still so beautiful, so we decided to do something with these super cool carnations. We will be the first to say that carnations definitely get a bad rap (seen as the sad grocery store flowers) BUT carnations are making a comeback. We've been seeing a variety of them coming in from our wholesalers in these amazing colors... plus, they last forever and are easy to work with. As florists, we're into all of that. So for fun (and #1 on our list above) we chose to partake in a creative outlet and create a Southwest-inspired tablescape with these carnations, a vintage China and crystal set, Crate & Barrel napkins and silverware, copper mugs, and a few decorative pieces from our 1209 decor collection. Ta-da!
photos by Nicolas Alexander