I just can’t picture what it will look like

July 23, 2018
Picture of Design by the Blossom's owners

Not a fancy headshot but this is Alicia & Julie at Plant Masters farm in Maryland photographing flowers for our virtual floral design tool!

 

Design by the Blossom came into existence because of one simple but huge hurdle to overcome in the wedding planning process…and it comes right after presenting your amazing floral design concept. It sounds something like, “I just can’t quite picture it” or “I’m having a hard time visualizing what it will look like.” And so the sketching, google image and Pinterest hunt begin. Usually, the end result is a long rambling description of how it will contain a little bit of each of these five bouquet images- with the hopes that will satisfy your customer, and you won’t hear the dreaded request for a sample.

The story of how we brought a solution to this visualization road block begins with Alicia’s wedding in 2009. We’ve been friends since Kindergarten and life took her down the path of chemistry in pharmaceuticals (which might as well be a foreign language to me!) and I was on the creative end with wedding floral and event design. So when it came time for Alicia to get married, I was happy to help her with her wedding flowers! We sat down and talked about flower ideas, which was a bit limited as she wasn’t super familiar and this was just before Pinterest came into existence. So we tried what anyone else would do, Google image search to the rescue! Except it didn’t quite save the day. I would explain ideas but she just, you guessed it… couldn’t picture what it would look like! And so we both were at a bit of a loss of how to bridge the gap between the ideas in my head and what she could visualize.

And this was the turning point. Alicia said, “There must be a way to make bouquets online so you can see what it would look like.”

So she began the search and after finding only one or two websites with very basic and somewhat cartoon like options, we were left disappointed. I don’t remember how we finalized her wedding flower plans but after that meeting something sparked inside. A couple weeks later, I called her and said, “I’m going to create a website business that will allow people to visualize their wedding flowers, do you want in?” Probably not realizing what she was getting herself into, she said yes! And that’s where this journey began.

 

 

So, with this visualization problem fresh in our minds we searched for a website company. We found one that agreed to take on our project and looking back on it I’m sure they got way more than they bargained for having to code such a complex program. But they did it and we had a website called Designed by the Bride by the end of 2009. Now there’s a huge amount of work hidden in that statement that includes me photographing over a hundred flowers and photoshopping the backgrounds out (we are now over 550!). We started out trying to get permission to use existing images from online wholesalers but were denied. So it was a real labor of love to get going. We were so happy though, the website achieved the solution for which we were hoping. You had complete freedom to move real flower images around the space and layer them into a realistic looking floral arrangement. We were able to offer the ability to test ideas and create samples in minutes without wasting fresh flowers and supplies. And if you needed to create an arrangement using flowers that weren’t in season at that time, no problem! We didn’t truly understand the value this had on the wedding industry quite yet.

In the beginning we focused on brides being the main customer as that’s how we saw it from our experience. They need a tool to play around with ideas and know a little better about what they want before talking to a florist. But we did still see florists appreciating the site and tried to monetize in various ways that included them. But overall, the site was very slow moving and had a backseat spot while I focused more on my non-floral event design company. Fast forward to 2013 and technology was changing and our website was still flash based which wasn’t going to cut it any longer. Our original website designer was no longer able to help and we searched for a new company. Alicia found a small local business that we met with and she responded very positively that it wouldn’t be a problem to redo the site in an updated code. She gave us a lovely design but unfortunately the programming was way more complicated than the team realized and it was a journey that lasted several years. It was a learning lesson for all of us. During this time we realized we should be putting a lot more attention on the florists as it is such a valuable tool for them. We had gotten several unsolicited responses since the beginning of our business about how our program really elevated their businesses and was a real game changer.

 

 

Finally in 2017, we re-committed to really making this business flourish. We began working with a new web technology company but soon found out things weren’t going to go as smoothly as planned. They did some “band-aid” type adjustments but in order to really make any changes and add new features, we were going to have to start from scratch. We were a little devastated after hearing the price tag associated. Nothing is ever impossible but our game plan really had to change. Since then we’ve consulted with some industry leaders and are trying to make the best of what we have. Because even as is, it’s pretty amazing if we say so ourselves! But oh the plans we have for it, and we haven’t even dreamed our biggest dreams for it yet! It’s a program that can revolutionize the industry-

… We are equipping newer florists with the ability to create portfolio pieces and get the ideas out of their heads
… Every florist with the request for samples can now quickly make one without the headache of ordering in and wasting flowers for a sample (and all the explanations of why it’s so expensive for you to create a sample)
… Designers can share sample designs with their team
… Let’s not forget about the brides who can have a better understanding of what’s available and what flowers they like
And how about just because it’s so much fun to play with flowers anytime, anywhere!

 

Victoria Clausen Floral Events

 

There’s so many things we are excited to do with this program. We just need the support of the floral and bridal community to really get this virtual design program to the level it’s meant to blossom into. So please share with those you know and never hesitate to send us your feedback. This program is for you, so we want you to have a say in what it offers! And we always love to see the designs you create, so share them on social media with #dbtbdesigner so we can admire! We are grateful for all of you that are on this journey with us and we can’t wait to make this program even more amazing!

Thanks for designing with us,
Julie & Alicia

 

PS- If you know a fantastic program developer, we are looking for another business partner! Email us at info(at)designbytheblossom.com