Today we’re speaking with Carol and Susan, the creators of Forged Florals, a sustainable flower farm with one heck of a story! They recently graduated from our Dream Business Program and were kind enough to share their experience with the program.
The Dream Business Program is a 6-week virtual incubator that gives rural entrepreneurs the clarity, confidence, and courage to take their business to the next level–whether it’s barely an idea or fully formed.
Thanks for chatting with us today. Let’s start at the beginning. How did you find out about the Dream Business Program?
Susan: The fact it was rural, so it was targeted directly to us. And we were still in that early messy stage where we knew we needed some guidance and we weren’t clear where or how to get that. And that’s the magic of Facebook! When you need something, it just appears on your feed in front of you. And this was exactly what we needed.
Carol: And as soon as Susan read more about what was being offered, and realized that the program was connected with Andrew Button, who she already knew through his work, then that was the clincher!
Awesome! Gotta love the magic of Facebook! So how would you describe Foraged Florals to our readers?
Susan: Well, I’m, I’m a floral designer, Carol brings her film knowledge and together we’re telling people’s stories through the use of flowers. We’re leaving a legacy of the land better than we found it. We forage for the inputs in the arrangements and we do it in a permaculture way- in other words, everything we do is an investment. We create the soil and in the land and it comes back tenfold so it feels like a gift, every part of it.
Carol: We’re saving the Earth! Sending a floral message and saving the earth at the same time!
Love it! That’s beautiful. What was your biggest takeaway from the program?
Susan & Carol: Clarity!
Carol: We were really struggling as to what we were selling and who we were selling to. Floral arrangements are a huge market: there are weddings, there are just gifts, there are cut flowers at markets, etc. We knew we wanted to focus on weddings and floral arrangements but the ‘who’ was much less clear.
So this program helped to clarify who our target market is and who our audience actually is!
Excellent! Clarity is so important. What would you say to someone who’s on the fence about joining the program?
Carol: Apply to do it for sure! Whatever stage you’re at, whether you’ve just got an idea or your business is already up and running you will gain something from the six weeks. For us, it was learning to pitch. We had to do a three-minute pitch and an elevator pitch, which was something we hadn’t done before. We must have done 20 versions at least to get it succinct but eventually, it rolled off our tongue. It was a really, really good challenge.
Susan: Where we ended up was so different than where we had started. That’s how we looked at it. We really felt it was a huge investment in ourselves.
Carol: We’d also like to add that our facilitator, Paul Wartman, was exceptional. He held space and was so respectful of everyone’s needs at where they were at that precise moment, in their day and in their life. I can only speak for us, but this we a huge help for us! We always knew that he was going to be respectful and that no matter how you presented yourself, you would be accepted and respected.
It was all a learning curve for everyone and a growth process. We all supported each other, it was really great. We were only together for six weeks but we felt a strong bond thanks to Paul!
And what would you say to the folks who fund and sponsor events like these?
Carol: Keep it up. The Ivany Report indicated strongly how important the rural economy was to the continued development of Nova Scotia so the more resources (ex. financial and training) that can be used to encourage and develop rural businesses, the better.
Susan: I think that’s what I want them to see is that even a 10$ shift in investment really has that much, much larger impact down the road, it is kicking a ball really forward and that they’re going to see those numbers manifest down the road! Not just the numbers and new businesses being created, but the booming, vibrant communities speak for themselves! We’d love to see as much support for local businesses as possible!
Thank you so much for being gracious with your time. It was a pleasure speaking with you and we’re so glad you decided to be part of the Dream Business Program
For more information on Foraged Florals you can visit their website.