The Hotel Florist Podcast

What Working with Hotels Florals Taught Me: An Interview the Floral Business Academy

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Christi Lopez joins me today and she is a floral entrepreneur who has learned that a healthy, thriving floral business doesn’t have to be time-consuming or stressful to be incredibly successful. 

And I’m talking 7-figures successful. Let’s get blooming. 

Franceska McCaughan: I love the fact that you are a woman and are showing up and announcing that you are a 7-figure business owner. Thank you for doing that. 

Christi Lopez: Oh yeah. I think it’s something we should constantly remind ourselves about and then remind other women too, especially other florists.

FM: Exactly. Let’s dive right in. Where do you see the floral industry headed? 

CL: The opportunities for us as creatives are endless. And not only being creative with our designs but also creative in how we market ourselves and how we do business. Creativity is how we survive. They’re already teaching robots how to put flowers into vases. So what separates us from robots? Our creativity. 

FM: I completely agree. I love that you’re encouraging creativity as a strength. It is what gives us that edge.

Christi, with over 30 years in the industry, with experience in floral retail shops, events, and in-house hotel florals, what is something you wish you would have known when you started? 

CL: To thrive – to grow faster – I needed a better handle on the business and finance side of things. Especially the cost of goods. I wish I had designed in a repeatable way. For example, create 6 designs to rotate through over 6 weeks. 

FM: Wow. Now you have my wheels turning.

CL: Automation makes a huge difference. When I would repeat a design, the mechanics and style would be the same, but I would swap out the flowers or color palette, making it always new for the guests. 

FM: I’m sure it saves time. In the past, I would do a full reset every week until I realized I didn’t have to do that much work to make an impact. I’ll swap out vases, flowers, the color palette and play with the shape and height of the design, but the mechanics and style are the same, and the time it takes to install it is the same. 

Let’s get as polarizing as possible. What is something about the floral industry that bothers you? Everyone has something. 

CL: I may be stepping out on a limb here… 

FM: I love it.

CL: … How many people don’t think education is necessary. And because of it, I’m seeing a lot of copycats. Creativity has gone out the window. 

FM: It’s the elephant in the room. We are constantly looking around to see what is working for someone else. I am guilty of doing that in the beginning. I made arrangements I saw on Pinterest, but I felt like something inside of me died a little bit every time I did that. When I came up with my own thing, I felt good about what I was doing. 

I’m not saying I reinvented the wheel, but I found inspiration from other hotel florists rather than copying them for the sake of wanting the success they had. 

CL: There’s that book called “Steal Like An Artist,” and it’s incredible. We all copy in some way, shape, or form because we’re influenced by everything. But the thinking that copying someone is the way to succeed only makes us constantly compete in the same market. Coming up with your own brand and your own story sets you apart and keeps you in the industry for a long time. 

FM: You’ve created something very, very unique. There is so much thought and creativity behind it in a very intentional way. It is something I noticed right away about your work and have always appreciated. 

What gives you the confidence to do what you do and create what you feel called to create? 

CL: Because I have no problem going, “Hey, Franceska, I’ve been trying to do this, but I’m not getting it. Is there something I’m missing?” Or say to myself, “Ok, she is doing it this way, but I could adapt it,” and find creative solutions that way. 

That way of thinking is one reason why I absolutely love EMC. 

FM: For those who don’t know, Christi is the COO of EMC International, a floral school that provides master certification in European floral design. 

CL: EMC is not just teaching florists how to design. It teaches the fundamentals of design. It’s where the thought process and creative process marries and create a bridge. Then you can think for yourself. 

FM: Yes. You trust yourself to think outside of the box. And you either get the result you were looking for or the lesson you needed to learn. There is no such thing as failure. 

CL: Something I find still rings true today – in everything that we do as florists – is the difference between confidence and courage. Confidence is something you get. Courage comes from inside of you – it is stepping outside your comfort zone to go where you want to go. Courage has to come first. With courage comes confidence. It takes courage to think outside of the box, learn, understand, and adapt to create your way of doing things. With that comes the confidence to keep going. 

FM: I’ve never thought about it like that, but it 150% starts with courage, and everything else is a domino effect to gaining confidence. 

Because you’ve worked with hotels in the past, how can florists flourish with hotel partnerships? How did the consistent income impact your business?  

CL: Well, first, I want to mention one mistake I made in signing my first hotel contract. I didn’t ask for the right of refusal for the hotel’s events. 

FM: Ooh. Yeah, that is something you need in your contract. 

CL: Yes, it is because having access to the hotel’s events is what I really wanted to grow my business. I could maximize what I do best with events. But I realized it was an oversight, and I fixed it. I had a conversation with them about forgetting that one little snippet, and it went really well.

FM: I love that you addressed it and didn’t shy away from it. 

CL: Yes. Back to hotel partnerships – you can do so much with hotels. And I was able to get one hotel and sign with other hotels because the word was getting out. 

FM: Yes. I’ve gotten so many hotels, as well as retail and corporate clients, from someone seeing my work in a hotel lobby.  

What exciting projects are you working on? 

CL: The Wedding Sales System. It really is the most robust course for wedding florists on the market. 

Brides can get answers to their most commonly asked questions and use the calculator to figure out their budget before you even start talking to them. It also prepares your bride for the consultation, walks you through the proposal process, processes the sale, the whole gamut.  

FM: Your systems are tried and true. I believe in what you’ve created. 

CL: It took me 10 years to perfect the system and 23 years of using it with a solid 90% booking rate. 

FM: If I were to go back and do weddings again, I would, hands down, take this course. 

CL: Thanks. You should. 

FM: If I change my mind, I’ll let you know. 

Christi, where can people find you? 

CL: You can find me on Instagram @christilopezemc and www.christilopez.com

FM: Perfect. I know I’m walking away with lots of giggles and good information. I appreciate your time.

CL: Oh my gosh. It was so great to spend time with you.

Binge all episodes of The Hotel Florist Podcast on  iTunes or on Spotify

P.S. Be sure to check out my FREE masterclass for florists looking to create consistent 5k months through hotel partnerships here. 

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