Leann Moore of Whimsical Floral Design isn’t your typical florist. Yes, she rocks the lush, gorgeous floral creations…but she also rocks out to heavy metal groups like Mudvayne, Hellyeah, Slip Knot and Five Finger Death Punch.
Leann brings this bold authenticity to her wedding business, and it’s one of the reasons her clients love her, even if they don’t share her taste in music. When she created the Facebook group, REAL Wedding Pros Market Themselves — Be Yourself WITHOUT the Fluff, her superhero status was a lock. I had to learn more about what makes her tick.
Superpower: Flowers & People
Anything to do with flowers or people. I know that’s a broad statement, but to be successful in this business I needed to know both well.
I’ve always loved flowers and I enjoy absorbing as much info as possible about anything I want to learn. I read anything I can get my hands on regarding floral design, even $330 textbooks meant for the classroom. I read any and all floral design books, educational blog posts… I never stop learning.
People have always come naturally to me and they seem to confide in me easily. When working with people, I try to see things from their perspective as well. This is a very valuable skill to learn and will help you through any potential conflicts that come up as well as help you with sales.
Biggest Inspiration: Music, especially Chad Gray
Music has always inspired me to my very core. Has given me the strength to push on. To fight through.
I started with nothing and health problems that would have earned me disability but I wanted more.
Chad Gray, formerly of Mudvayne, now the frontman of Hellyeah, has inspired me so much as someone who came from the worst circumstances.
A quote from one of his songs that sums it up:
“I just wanted to write this note to all my opposition,
To say thank you from the pit of my soul for your caustic inspiration,
My methods may mean nothing to you as you question my dedication,
But to wear my life upon my sleeve is the source of my salvation.”
– From the song “X” from the Unden!able album.
Biggest Challenge: Marketing & Branding
I made a first run at this business back in 2008. I had no idea what I was doing!
My original business name was “Budget Designer Florals.” I ended up doing weddings that only had a $500 budget for centerpieces and personal flowers, so I ended up working with the simplest cheapest flowers (hydrangeas, roses) which I loathe.
I got a few bookings from WeddingWire but nothing that made a livable wage. I finished my last wedding October of 2009 and had my first child November 3rd. After that, I took a long hiatus and it was only after baby #2 was 18 months old that I told myself this was my dream and that I had to make a real go of it this time.
I turned to books and every free article I could get my hands on, even paying for the Rapid Growth System which really opened my eyes to how important marketing was to making it.
Before I just assumed everyone paid for ads and that’s how they got business. Oh, how wrong I was!
My first website was boring blush, which didn’t reflect my style, but I thought that’s what people wanted. I tried to look like everyone else as close as possible. I started to put more of my personality out there, but I thought brides would be thinking, “I can’t have her do our wedding. She’s not lovey-dovey enough.”
Success Secrets: Authenticity, Instagram & Facebook Networking
I feared being myself at first. I’m not the typical matronly florist. I love hard rock and metal music so much it’s what my husband and I do for date nights and vacation.
I am so different from my ideal brides it’s crazy, but they love me and appreciate me for who I am. I’m like their wild and crazy friend.
Hard rock and metal music isn’t the only thing about me though. I love weddings and flowers of course, and I love my couples to pieces.
The single best thing in marketing and networking is making yourself memorable.
Once I started showing off my real personality among clients and vendors alike, the referrals came pouring in. I no longer blended into the background and my fear was misguided.
I have a Jack Skellington jacket that’s not typical for weddings. I wear it because I like it, and I’ve had people remember me as the person who wore that jacket.
You see, the modern bride is not so judgmental. Even in conservative rural Virginia!
I say what’s on my mind. I do avoid political comments as that always seems to start a shitstorm with people. Ultimately you decide what you want to share about yourself and how much, but I choose to avoid it like the plague because I don’t judge people based on their political views.
Being authentic is not talking about yourself 24/7. It’s talking about what you do in an honest way.
Photo credit: Two Spoons Photography
Instagram is the place where I’m marketing the most now. One girl found a photo of my flowers on Pinterest that didn’t link back to me. She went into recon and eventually found me by looking through the photographer’s feed on Instagram. Now she’s hiring me to drive to DC to do her wedding.
I do my networking on Facebook. I don’t have a single business card! I keep saying I’m going to get some, but my business name and personality is memorable enough.
Look up other wedding businesses’ websites, and “friend” the key players on Facebook. Be very careful not to come off as freakish stalker. I don’t send them a message; I just hang back and get their attention through work posted on my personal page. I gain fans that way just by sharing that stuff.
I’ve gotten a lot of attention from people who came across work and freaked out over it. Mostly photographers who are like rabid dogs when it comes to flowers they love. That’s how I’ve made myself known.
Your work has to be good and speak to ideal audience. If it’s generic crap, you’ll have a really hard time marketing it. Perfect your craft as well as your marketing.
Something that’s helped me book higher paying weddings is that brides feel like when they hire me, it’s exclusive. Brides are telling their friends, “I have Whimsical Floral Design.”
Biggest Mistakes: WeddingWire & Letting the Mother-of-the-Bride Hire Me
I’m sure they won’t like me saying this, but WeddingWire was by far the biggest waste of money because my ideal client is annoyed by this site. It’s littered with ads and outdated styling.
Another giant mistake I made was signing a contract with the mother of the bride instead of the couple. She took over her daughter’s wedding. Ultimately I had to do what mom wanted because I was contractually obligated to her and not the bride. So much effort went into trying to play peace keeper it was exhausting.
Now I only sign with the bride or groom, but anyone else can pay.
Leann’s Advice: Just be yourself!
You are the only thing truly unique about your business. You don’t have to share everything about yourself, such as overly personal things like your bedroom preferences, but do talk about things you love.
Just make sure not to overdo it either or you’ll come off as egotistical and in love with yourself. There needs to be a balance here.
Stop making excuses about why you can’t do something, or why you can’t make more money. When I first started, I thought, “I’m not gonna be able to charge people more than $2,000 for a wedding.” Now I charge $4,000 – $8,000!
Charity of Choice: Fisher House
Fisher House provides military families with housing close to a loved one during hospitalization and hosts a scholarship fund.
My grandfather, dad and uncles were in the military. I know what they deal with they come back. They’ve seen a lot of bad stuff and they give selflessly.