It's All Uniquely, Christi Lopez

 

Christi Lopez is a very talented floral designer, a successful business woman and a creative entrepreneur. Her experience and commitment to always strive for the better are attributes that make her style unique. She is eager to share, ready to boost one's moral and self confidence, she has proven an immense capacity to lead, manage and always be on top of things. Above all that, she is ultimately a true believer that any success in this industry is not only related to the quality of the designs you produce, but also in the quality of the business one runs.

Tell us about your day one, when did you start working in the floral business?

Gosh, this takes me back! I actually started working with artificial and dried flowers out of my mom’s basement but longed to work with fresh. I bought my first cooler after a year in business just so I could do fresh flowers! 

Share with us your vision on the importance of having a purpose in floral business. How did “creating something that matters” make a difference in your career?

Intention. That is what it boiled down to. My WHY was clear to me. I could have picked a myriad of careers to put my focus, but I had a passion for flowers and what it did for the people that received them. This completely framed most decisions when it came to how I wanted my brand to be perceived. And I would update my brand every 5-7 years so that it would reflect the current status of my business. It also gave me purpose to be consistently growing.

Tenacity to stick with it even if things aren’t working the way I thought.

Adaptability to move and change things that need to be. Don’t stay stuck!

Resilience to bounce back from “presumed” failures and figure out how to make it work. They are lessons really on the way to continued success.

Which are, in your experience, the main reasons floral entrepreneurs lose their focus?

The next shiny object! Or worse, loss of passion. Distractions are really a deal-breaker from gaining momentum and staying on track. These distractions range from single, daily interruptions to large projects or changes that we experience. Either way, it’s a practice to take an audit of our lives either weekly or at the most monthly.

Ask ourselves, “What can I do to get back on track?” or “What has my focus this week?” Even, “What could get me off focus right now? How can I keep from letting that happen?” This is a continual practice and one I learned late in business. So I encourage other to look at this often!

Could you say decision making in floristry has certain particularities that business owners find challenging? Care to elaborate a little bit on how you approach such challenges?

For sure! Not only are we focused on e-commerce and learning sales, but we have to balance working with a perishable element as our product. And, knowing the product, how to work with it, and what items to pair with it is as important as running our business. Without either one, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do as business owners.

I am continually implementing systems and procedures/workflows and managing knowledge of technology as my advantage. And, if I don’t know how to do it, I find someone who does and hire them. Wasting time on trying to fit a round peg in a square hole is insanity. So often I would do that (and sometimes I still do!), but I find that I’m quicker to realize that this isn’t the best use of my time and get help. That’s what I offer other floral entrepreneurs now with the Floral Business Academy. It’s super important to me that the florists in our industry are equipped to grow and prosper.

When it comes to pricing, the debate over how it should be done is endless in the floral industry. How would you advise florists to approach the concept of “knowing their worth”?

It can be difficult for creatives to have a solid comfortable lifestyle because we often don’t price what we are worth, so I’m on a mission to help others to know their worth and be profitable. Most think that knowledge is king as we’ve been told that for as long as I can remember. But one thing Tomas and I talk about all the time is the difference of Knowledge vs. KNOWING. We can get all the knowledge in the world and still not apply it!

As creatives, we need to realize that we each have our own uniqueness. The issue of Imposter Syndrome is rampant in our industry (well, actually in many industries). We compare each other’s IG followers or beautiful images, but at the end of the day, it’s not about the other creative! 

Also, that creativity in business is also a powerful thing. I apply that knowledge on a daily basis; in marketing, designing my web presence and applying my brand. This is what all goes into what makes up you! And, it’s all uniquely you.

So, take pricing and all the different models of how people go about it, find one that works for you. But don’t ever undercut yourself! You’ve worked hard to get this far, don’t take that for granted. And, if you don’t know the different models for pricing your work, well, let’s talk! Don’t just wing it!

Empowering business owners through the events of this last year seems like a challenge to big to take it on, yet somehow you developed a successful business around this. The question is quite simple: how?

Well, it goes back to Adaptability and Tenacity. I know that the word PIVOT has been overused this year, but it’s one of the best ways to describe what we all need to be able to do. It goes back to what I talked about earlier…focus. You have to bring yourself to ask the questions every week to make sure you can course-correct if that is what’s needed.

And I plan, I don’t mean just this week or next, but I set goals for what I want to accomplish 3 years from now. And, when I take those long looks at the future, I then break it down to how that affects the next year, and then the next 6 months, 3 months, month, week, day. It may sound like a daunting task, but I know if you do it, you will see that at the end of that time you got what you wanted. And if you didn’t, well, it’s because you didn’t plan for it in the first place.

And what if plans don’t go as expected? Well, since you had a goal/plan in place you are able to course-correct and adapt. If you don’t have a plan, then how you change and adapt? Nothing was in focused on to begin with. It will keep your wheels turning with no traction.

Where do you find yourself today? What is your vision over the “today” of the floral industry overall and how would you recommend business owners approach this day?

Well today, although I have dual focus, but it boils down to one thing. Educating florists!

Not only do I work within EMC as a co-partner with Tomas (I love EMC on so many levels, it’s truly been such a blessing to me and so many others); but I run the Floral Business Academy.

Many may not know about the business side of what I do, but I love working with other floral entrepreneurs to help them have growth, be wildly efficient, & profitable. My website offers FREE resources and community for floral businesses as well as paid courses and bundles, 1:1 offerings and a Mastermind. I’d love to have them join the Floral Business Academy (joining is FREE) at christilopez.com.

Embracing it and learning how to use it to build a better, more engaging business is how they will stay relevant. The world needs creatives. But one thing we bring as floral creatives is the ability to bring emotion through our designs and reach a greater audience. We just need to hone our prowess and share our beauty while creating a business that grows and remains profitable. It’s possible…I’m a starry-eyed believer!

edited by Diana Toma, EMC

pictures provided by Christi Lopez, AIFD, EMC



The EMC mentorship program is a very important part of the educational experience we offer to our students. Having a mentor gives you the opportunity to learn from someone who whats you to grow, to be guided by someone who has already experienced the entire process. The mentors are chosen from our previous generations of graduates, who are talented designers and, even more importantly, have the skills and passion to guide fellow students on their journey within the European Master Certification program. Read the full article here



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