Poppy has a network of 438 floral designers, and that number is growing.
There’s huge appeal to working for a female-founded company like Poppy. Poppy exists to empower creatives to be creative – and the other aspects of running a business, like marketing, accounting and providing customer service, are handled by Poppy’s in-house team. This means that florists at various stages in their careers can join Poppy to help them find new clients, grow their skills and even allow them to find a new path into the industry. (Or out of the industry, if they are giving up a floral shop to become freelancers.)
The one expectation for a Poppy floral designer is to execute a wedding day vision perfectly. This means that Poppy only accepts the best designers into its network.
At Poppy, we always promise transparency. We’re open and honest about our flowers, supply chain and other business operations. Now, we want to tell you how we recruit and vet designers. This way, you’ll know exactly the caliber of the designer who’s responsible for your wedding flowers.
When Poppy launched, we began building our designer network with hand-picked recruits. Our in-house team scoured Instagram for the most gorgeous floral work and reached out to people who showed obvious talent and whose work was a good fit for the Poppy aesthetic. We were looking for designers who had experience in florals – and in wedding florals, in particular, because that’s such a high-pressure workflow.
Designers who showed clear expertise through their portfolios and work history moved on to an interview. In this round, we sent prospective designers a test kit of flowers and inspiration pictures for a bouquet and boutonniere. We asked for photos and videos of their process, including opening the delivery box, conditioning the flowers, giving the flowers time to drink water, and, of course, arranging the bouquet and boutonniere. While working, we wanted to hear them narrate their actions and choices. Because still photos can be edited, filtered and angled, we used the video and narration to further authenticate the designer’s skills.
Our Poppy team reviewed footage and photos to determine whether a designer had the expertise to join the network. We began finding some of the most talented freelancers throughout the U.S., and we now have designers serving 52 markets.
The initial designers that we recruited made up the first iteration of our network. Now, we vet our designers a little differently. This is because we are actively accepting applications to join the team, and we can be more selective. Markets like Washington, D.C., New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta are where many of our Poppy couples originate, so we need more designers there to service weddings.
Beyond the imperative on building up designer teams in these locations, Poppy is eager to build community among its designers. One of our top goals for 2023 is to bring our designers together – virtually and in person – for the purposes of continuing education and sharing experiences. Because we want our designers to work within the network as a passionate and supportive team, it’s important that we hire freelancers who have the desire to work collaboratively and within our vision of a female-founded company that’s empowering creatives to do their best work.
Prospective designers can now apply directly through the Poppy site. They answer a variety of questions ranging from, “How many weddings have you completed as a lead designer?” to “If you have attended a formal training or workshop, who have you studied with?” We ask designers for access to their portfolios, whether that’s through a personal website or Instagram. Our team reviews applications and images to decide whether a candidate has enough experience and the right style to continue with an interview.
As we’ve done since the earliest days of Poppy, the interview includes a test kit for a bouquet and boutonniere. The flowers come directly from Poppy’s farm. We want to see video and photo documentation of how the designer handles flowers. Unboxing is an important part of the process. Even though we package our flowers carefully to prevent damage, it happens. Can the designer spot damage – and communicate it quickly to our team so we can replace the flowers? We want to see designers trimming and prepping flowers and putting them in water. We’re also listening for their commentary on how the flowers look and why they’re making decisions about trimming certain petals, for example.
We’re taking a lot of time to watch the raw, unedited footage of their workflow and to review their photography (also unedited!). We need the final products to match the inspiration pictures, of course, and we’re also ensuring that the preparations and arrangements are done properly so that the flowers look healthy and are secure throughout a wedding.
We invite into the network only the most capable and talented designers. And, we can say with complete confidence that we have a full view of how these designers work and communicate.
The communication piece is important, because even when designers are delivering for actual Poppy weddings, we still require photo submissions of the finished products. Poppy has an in-house team of design specialists, all of whom have extensive floral backgrounds themselves. They are the day-of quality control for your vision. This team has your complete customer history, including your order and any notes for tweaks you’ve requested through your wedding specialist. The design specialist works in real time, lockstep with your designer to review all your arrangements and ensure they’re perfect. (If anything needs adjustment, this is when that happens.) Once the flowers are approved, they’re ready for you!
Not only do you have a fully vetted designer servicing your wedding, you have – in the wings – an entire Poppy team that’s overseeing the execution of your vision. There are at least three Poppy team members, including the wedding specialist (your soon-to-be best friend who can demystify anything about the Poppy process when you’re placing your order), design specialist and floral designer, double-checking that the correct flowers have been ordered, they’re all lush and healthy, and the final products are up to specification. That’s an important word. It means the flowers are more than perfect – they’re exactly what you specified in your order. This team is all about you on your big day. The designer isn’t working any other weddings; it’s your flowers and your vision entirely.
You might wonder: What happens to designers who aren’t approved for the network? We keep in touch with those who show real talent but need more experience. Maybe their portfolios aren’t diverse enough, or maybe they haven’t actually done wedding flowers yet. Sometimes we see applicants who look hesitant or uncertain in their videos, and we can’t be sure they’ll have the skills to manage the pressure of a wedding day execution. In cases like this, we ask designers to check back in once they’ve led or assisted with more weddings, and filled out their portfolios. Yes, Poppy wants to nurture its creative team, but our primary goal is delivering for the customer. We have a threshold of expertise that we do not compromise.
FOR THE BIG DAY