Meet Stephanie Major :: Women In Business {Series}

INTERVIEW WITH Stephanie Major of p e t a l o s  | Portland, Or.

Hi Stephanie! I’m excited to feature & interview my first florist in my Women In Business {Series} ! First off, how long have you been in business, and what type of arrangements do you specialize in?
I’ve been in business for a little under 2-years and recently completed my 2nd wedding season.  At P E T A L O S we specialize in creating unique arrangements that enhance the experience to any wedding, party or event. However, I would say that we excel in creating tailored bridal bouquets that exude each individual’s wedding theme and personality.

How did you know that you wanted to be a florist? How did you get started?
I’ve always enjoyed flowers as long as I can remember.  After having my son, I came upon a crossroad in my life in which I wanted to start a new career that would provide me the flexibility to be with my family.  Coincidentally, I was receiving a lot of inquires after doing all the floral for my own wedding that it felt like the right decision to make.  Thus, in January of 2010 I started p e t a l o s.

You definitely need to have creativity in arranging flowers. Anyone can cluster flowers together and call it a bouquet, but how are your bouquets different from the other florists?
With every arrangement, especially the bridal bouquet, I look at them as small architectural pieces.  Given my background in architecture, I reflect upon the spatial components of each floral variety and identify textural qualities from the bride’s gown to develop the bouquet.  

What are some of the styles you love, your inspirations, your favorite flowers, & just the palettes you adore?
I‘m always a sucker for pastel tones but this past season I’ve fallen in love with really bold color palettes—blue, purple, red and green.  
I’m sure a girly, girl so I love garden roses, peonies and ranunculus. But, my favorite flower of them all is blushing bride.  It’s femininity and architecture packaged together into a beautiful flower!
As far as style, I’ve yet to find a style I don’t like. I LOVE them all!

Do most clients come to you knowing what they want in mind, or do you do a lot of the suggesting & directing them in what you think fits their desires? How do you go about this process?
I want to generate an experience that educates people about floral, design and the value floral can bring to compliment their event.  Regardless if the client knows exactly what they want or we’re starting from scratch the process is always the same.  

Prior to meeting for a consultation I’ll always ask the client to provide with some general information:
    •    Where is your venue(s)?
    •    What are your colors?
    •    How would you best describe your wedding vision?
    •    What flowers do they not like?
    •    A photograph or link to their dress
    •    Inspiration photos they may have already acquired
Based upon these parameters, I’ll compile a series of flowers into a presentation, which reflect the textural and spatial qualities that I find.  It’s my goal to identify the common “trends” so our consultation becomes a constructive conversation about the floral.  From there I’ll prepare two documents—a proposal and a visual concept.  The proposal will break down the cost per requested item while the visual concept acts as a reference guide for the client of the product we envision to produce for their event.

Recently, I’ve added event design to our services.  This allows me to work with our clients to develop and design an event from the ground up–the color palette, theme, party favors, etc—in conjunction to their floral. My goal is to make every detail a reality and personalize each component to fit our client’s vision.

Are you married? Do you have any children? If so how do you best balance family & business?
Yes I’m married and I have a 2-year old son  I’m very fortunate to have such an incredible husband that allows me to pursue something I love.  The best way to find a balance, for us, is building it into our schedule.  It feels like you work around the clock, being a small business owner, so we make sure everything is in our calendar—if its not on a calendar it’ll just get lost.

Do you own your own flower shop? Do you work alone, or do you have hired staff?
I lease my floral studio at Cathedral Park Place.  I primarily work on my own and bring on assistants accordingly, per project size.

How did you get your name out there? What has been your best form of marketing?
I’ve done a combination of things to market p e t a l o s—advertising, social networking, delivering complimentary arrangements to local events, Facebook and getting involved with inspiration shoots.  The 3 most effective pieces of marketing I’ve done have been actively posting on Facebook, inspiration shoots and advertising on-line.

What is something that you wish someone would have told you about the business when you were first starting out, that you could share with others who are looking to travel down this road?
I always knew it would be a difficult path to go down.  I wish someone told me to appreciate the accomplishments we make regardless, how big or small they are.  So just remember to take that moment to stop and reflect.

Are certain times of the year slower than others? If so, what do you do to compensate in the slower times?
The winter season is definitely a slower time however; this gives me a great opportunity to have some down time with my family and work on other projects.  For instance, last winter I developed t e r e s a –a line of paper flowers.

How important is it for you to have a website, and blog that is up to date, as well as good photography that showcases your work?
ALL these aspects are very important!  Constant visibility is how clients are able to see your thought process, how the business is developing and what you bring to the table.  However, these cannot be effective marketing tools if you don’t have great photography to validate it.

As a business woman what are you most proud of in your business?
This is a loaded question  Since I’ve started my business I always gave myself goals to achieve every 3,6,9 and 12 months.  It’s been a proud moment with every goal I’ve achieved. However, my proudest moment was being published on Style Me Pretty.  
When I was a bride, I drooled over this blog and admired all the creativity from the vendors. I still use this blog to gather inspiration and motivation to drive my business. So to get published there made me feel like my business made it.

That’s awesome Stephanie, congrats on being published on Style Me Pretty! Finally, what are your best 5 pieces of advice for any woman trying to start or better her own business (floral or any other).
    •    Understand your category and the areas of opportunity.
    •    Understand how your business differentiates from others.
    •    ADVERTISE! It takes a little money to make money .
    •    Determine what “success” means to you and your business.
    •    Make sure your website is html. (Current learning experience)

Thank you Stephanie! It was awesome featuring you and your business this week! Find Stephanie’s page on FACEBOOK!

Thanks for stopping by everyone! If you enjoy these Women In Business Interviews, please leave your feedback below! Also if you have anyone that you’d like to see interviewed or have questions to ask, leave those below as well!

Much Love & Happiness ~Heidi

  • Stephanie - p e t a l o s - Thanks for having me be part of your Women in Business Series 🙂

  • Lindsay - Great interview from such a talented lady!!! I enjoyed your answers Stephanie.

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