One of my very favorite things is sharing what I’ve learned on this decade-long adventure as a farmer-florist. My mission has always been to try and help others avoid the same costly, frustrating mistakes that I did. Over the last four years I have had the opportunity to watch so many past Floret Workshop attendees go on to launch or refine their flower-based businesses. Seeing them emerge as new leaders in the seasonal flower movement has been an absolute thrill.
While hosting these in person events has been such a blessing, the demand for them has surpassed my wildest dreams. There is just no way our small team can scale to meet the demand. So we’ve decided to take a break from on farm workshops and instead focus all of our energy into making this information available to everyone who wants it. You can read can read more about this decision, plus the backstory in my recent post, The Future of Floret Workshops.
Since early February the Floret Team and I have have been working steadily away at converting all the information we share during our Floret On-Farm Workshops into a new convenient, easy-to-use online format. We’ve also added loads of brand new resources and a few other surprises. Read more about the new Floret Online Workshop.
Prior to opening registration for our new Floret Online Workshop in early November, I’m thrilled to announce that we will be offering a total of 5 scholarships this year to learn with us online. But before we dig into scholarship specifics, I wanted to share a little backstory about how our scholarship program came to be.
I know how difficult it can be to invest in yourself. When you are just starting out, every penny counts and it can seem impossible to gather the needed funds, supplies and support to move forward towards your dream.
I started Floret with a $1,000 loan from my mom, a used wheelbarrow, a shovel, a few clumps of dahlias from a friend and a head full of dreams. I spent the first few years learning how to be a flower farmer largely through trial and error. Mostly error! It was a frustrating and back-breaking way to learn. I don’t recommend it.
It was years before I felt like I was in a place that I could invest in my own education and ultimately myself. I spent far too long overworking and trying to prove that I was worth investing in, but no matter how hard I worked or how well I did that season, I never kept my word to myself and followed through on investing in education.
My future changed the day I got an email from a floral designer that I admired offering me a slot at an upcoming workshop if I could just get myself there. I’ll never forget that moment. I sat at my desk and wept. Just before that fateful day, I was on the verge of quitting my little business. But having that opportunity to learn from one of my floral heroes was a turning point and completely transformed what I thought was possible. I came back to the farm refreshed, and with a renewed focus and a new plan to grow my business based on my strengths and passions. I also vowed that if I ever had anything of value to share with someone else who needed a leg up, I’d pay it forward. Always.
I’m thrilled to now have an opportunity to pass along something that will hopefully make a difference in another person’s life. This year, we’re giving away FIVE scholarships for the new Floret Online Workshop.
I’ve invited last year’s scholarship winners to share a little bit about their experience applying, winning and attending in hopes of giving you additional encouragement to take the courageous leap and apply.
2017 Scholarship winner: Joanna Letz, Bluma Farm
“When I received the email last year from Floret saying I had been offered the scholarship to attend the workshop I was sitting in my van having just finished a long day selling my flowers at market. After reading the email I sat for a long while and cried- of happiness. Receiving the scholarship gave me the push I needed to keep going into year three of owning and operating a flower farm and attending the workshop gave me the confidence to take my business to the next level.
At the end of last season I wasn’t sure how I could keep doing what I was doing. I was working myself into the ground. I made it through the first two years of my business on sheer will and adrenaline. And the only reason I survived those first two years is because my family made sure I had food to eat and clean clothes to wear. I knew I would not survive a third year that way. Attending the Floret workshop was a game changer for me.
The workshop provided me the confidence to grow as a business and also to grow on a personal level. The workshop made me realize I can have my flower farm and also have a good quality of life.
The Floret workshop helped me take my farm seriously and gave me the confidence to do so. I realized my personal well being was intimately tied with the longevity of my business. This year has been one of immense personal growth and growth as a business. For the first time I have a full crew helping both on and off the farm. I have found time to sleep, eat, dance a bit and enjoy my friends and family. And I just decided to purchase a 14 foot refrigerated box truck. I am excited to go into year four and to continue looking back and gleaning insights from my time at Floret.
The Floret workshop allowed me the room I needed to grow as a business owner and flower farmer. The workshop offered me the encouragement, guidance, and insight to take my business to the next level. I will forever cherish the friends I made at Floret and the insights that continue to have a positive impact on my life and my business.
For anyone thinking of applying for the scholarship- Do it! You got nothing to lose, and everything to gain.”
2017 Scholarship winner: Maggie Smith, Pine State Flowers
“Receiving a scholarship and attending the Floret workshop was one of the most validating and exciting experiences of my florist life. Starting a new business—any business—as many of us know, is challenging and can often feel lonely and never-ending. The workshop was a breath of fresh air—to be able to press pause, enjoy being surrounded by so much beauty, and learn some valuable skills at the same time. It was the refresher I needed to return home reenergized and excited for things to come. My advice to anyone even remotely thinking about applying is—do it! At the very least it’s a perfect opportunity to examine where you are, where you want to go, and maybe even be proud of how far you’ve come.”
2017 Scholarship Winner: Grace Alexander, Grace Alexander Flowers
“I couldn’t quite believe it when I won the scholarship. My business was at a crossroads. I was getting more and more work and weddings but something didn’t quite feel right. I always felt on the back foot, out of step with my flower field, making it up as I went along and not in a good way. (It’s a standing joke that when I feel a bit wobbly about things, I go on a course. Or buy a book). I went to Floret with joy in my heart, believing that maybe if I finally got my successional sowing right, and my planting holes burnt at the right distances, then I too could be like Erin’s Instagram. So when she started to talking about psychology and asked us to complete a personality test, I will admit to being wrong footed. I am a clinical psychologist and I use a lot of personality psychometrics in my work. I rolled my eyes and started to get a sneaking suspicion that this dreadful pop psychology wasn’t going to be the answer I was looking for.
But oh my goodness it was. Of course it was. Over the course of our days together, we (and I adored every single person on the course) listened and thought and listened and talked. Pennies dropped and ideas clicked and paradigms shifted. In many ways, the more time passes since the course, the more grateful I am for the time I had with Floret and her team. My business is very different now. I know my strengths. I play to my strengths. Sometimes I don’t and things get tense and stressful again, and I go back to what I learned from Erin, and I re-adjust. I now sell beautifully packaged cut flower seed because that is what works for me. I ask other people to do things that are their strengths and not mine, and this has improved every area of my life. (I have a cleaner now, thanks to Erin.) Oh yes, and she will give you a book with all the planting distances in and a sowing plan and teach you about compost tea. It’s worth applying for the scholarship just for that, but there is much more to being a flower farmer and she’ll teach you that too.”
The scholarship application process is quick and hopefully pretty easy. We’re accepting applications for one week only, so don’t delay if you plan to apply. We’ve kept the application process really simple. The application consists of a short essay question and a few multiple choice checkboxes. Yet, even though the application is brief, it’s your chance to tell your story, share your dreams and a bit of your heart.
I want this opportunity to be given to someone who is ready, willing, and able to jump-start their flower-focused business with a little help from Floret. I’d love to support someone who is ready to take their flower-filled dreams to the next level. If that someone is you, please consider applying.
ELIGIBILITY & OTHER IMPORTANT DETAILS:
*Applications are due no later than 12 midnight PST on Monday October 30, 2017. Due to the volume of applications and our limited staff, we cannot accept late entries.
*Applicants from anywhere in the world are welcome to apply.
*Previous gardening or flower farming experience is encouraged, but not required. The scholarship is open to “dreamers” – those who dream of having a flower farm or flower-based business –as well as anyone who previously or currently owns, operates, interns or works on flower farms, florist shops or other flower-based businesses.
*Previous applicants who did not receive the scholarship in the past are STRONGLY encouraged to re-apply. Previous scholarship winners, however, are not eligible for additional awards.
* Make your essay compelling and succinct. Your essay is restricted to just 1,200 characters including spaces, or approximately 200 words.
*Only complete applications will be considered for a scholarship. Please be sure to complete all the application fields and upload your profile photo as part of the application process. Note: profile photos are used only for the purpose of announcing the winners. Your photo can be no larger than 1 MB.
*Upon submission of your application, you will see a screen that says “Thank you! Your submission has been received.” If you accidentally hit submit before your application is complete, simply submit a separate, fully completed application. There is no need to email us to let us know (we get it–it happens sometimes!). We will disregard the incomplete form and review only your complete application.
*Winners will be notified by email and announced publicly here on the blog on or before November 6.
The team and I can’t wait to ready your submissions.
APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED
Thanks for that my dear fellas!