Poppy is a female-founded company on a mission to be female-empowering. Women at different stages in their lives are finding fulfillment and joy through freelance floral design at Poppy. You’ll meet four members of our freelance designer network in this series.
Meet Jane: This Is Work That Doesn’t Feel Like Work
“People were asking me to make flowers for them – and paying for them. It was surreal to get paid to do something like this that I absolutely enjoy.”
Design Is Design Is Design
Jane knows good design. She trained her eye through her first career as a graphic designer. That career would eventually set her on a path toward floral design.
She’s sometimes in disbelief that the path led here – and that she gets to do something so special with a product that’s so beautiful for occasions that are so meaningful. In short, she calls it an honor to do this work for her clients.
While Jane was working in graphic design, she was simultaneously managing an even more important job: raising three children. The balancing act was challenging, and Jane decided it was time for a break. Young children have a lot of physical demands, and she needed her hands and calendar free to immerse herself in raising them. Then, as they got older, the demands changed. They needed emotional support and help getting to their after-school activities.
From Graphics to Florals
It had always been Jane’s plan to return to work when her children were older so that she could contribute financially to her family. But she didn’t want to go back to graphic design beyond the small projects she took on occasionally for her friends and her church.
In 2020, she decided on a whim to arrange flowers for a friend’s 40th birthday. She was proud of the arrangement, and her friend loved it. So did a lot of other people at the celebration.
Reflecting on her earliest effort, Jane recalls that she didn’t even strip off all the leaves from the flowers or cut the stems at an angle. Floral Design 101, really, but she hadn’t taken any classes and didn’t know the processes or mechanics. She’d briefly considered floral design as a hobby at one time so that she could decorate her home, but life had been too busy then.
Yet, even without fundamental floral design skills, she’d been able to create something special for her friend. Jane credits her graphic design background for that. She worked with a cohesive palette and focused on the principles that make up any design: color, line, shape, and texture. Even better, she enjoyed the process.
Launching La Fête Design Studio
Jane began taking orders from her friends and local community. It didn’t take long for business to pick up. She launched La Fête Design Studio and made a logo. She also took a series of classes at FlowerSchool New York while practicing at home and seeking inspiration from premier floral designers around the world.
Her experience grew apace with her industry knowledge. At first, she didn’t understand pricing and what to charge for her work. Now she knows the costs of wholesale flowers, labor, and, of course, design. People who order flowers and really enjoy them appreciate the value of good design, Jane has realized. Design – even as a concept – is something quite valuable. A lot of thought goes into a floral arrangement before the designer ever touches a single stem.
The Benefits of a Home Studio
Jane works in her home studio. She points out that setting up a brick-and-mortar floral shop would take her off-site every day. She doesn’t want that lifestyle right now; instead, she wants the flexibility to choose which seasons and which events to work.
Another surprising benefit of working from home is that her family gets to observe her in action. There’s a lot of manual labor involved in floral design, Jane says, and they see her processing, prepping, designing, and staying up late to complete jobs. There’s no more wondering, “What does Mom do all day?” Now it’s on display, and Jane is really proud for her children to watch her work.
Gaining Experience and Clients
Jane is building her business with special events and a monthly subscription service for homes. She’s finding her rhythm in the industry, learning the arc of corresponding with prospective wedding clients, and booking them for the busiest season of the year. Proposals take a lot of time, and while she’s well-versed in that component of design, she’s still learning about the flowers themselves.
The subscription service has helped with that. Jane visits a wholesaler on Tuesdays, designs on Wednesdays, and delivers on Thursdays. She shops the flowers that are in season, unless a client has requested something specific. Jane takes special care of these clients, who subscribe for a year, and has seen the spaces in their homes where they’re displaying flowers. Even as she describes this aspect of her business, she reminds herself aloud to avoid anemones (one client is allergic). The arrangements can be as bespoke as they need to be, but they’re all emblematic of Jane’s aesthetic: classic and timeless with a twist of modern.
A Good Opportunity – and a Great Model
While she was expanding her client base and portfolio, Jane was invited to apply for Poppy’s freelance design network. She took the opportunity because she wanted to supplement her income.
Her initial perception of Poppy was that the team was friendly and accommodating of her schedule when they arranged her test. Now that she’s embedded in the network, Jane is finding that she really admires the business model. It’s very organized, she says, and Poppy’s requirements are always clear.
Poppy put a lot of thought into making this process smooth for freelancers, Jane says, and in addition to getting experience with floral design, she’s learning firsthand how she might one day manage employees of her own.
A Complement to La Fête Design Studio
In her jobs so far with Poppy, Jane describes a seamless process of reporting to a design specialist who, along with the in-house team, handles the planning, sourcing, and recipe writing for the client’s vision. Jane receives her Poppy flowers at home and has been able to execute down to the exact stem count what the client expects. She says that the jobs are well defined and the compensation is fair.
Jane’s experience is precisely what Poppy promises to its freelance designers: let creatives be creative, and we’ll handle the rest. Each client she works with has a unique vision, and Jane finds that she never grows tired of the work because it varies so much.
Whether graphic, interior, or floral, design elevates the everyday, Jane believes. Good design can even elevate how you feel. Now she’s creating that incredible feeling for herself – and her clients – with every job she takes on.
Interested in joining the Poppy Designer Network? Get started here.