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Meet Lisa Weddel and Laura Tonner of Designs Inspired by You

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Weddel and Laura Tonner.

Lisa and Laura, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We have approximately 39 total years combined floral industry experience between us. I (Lisa) have owned a retail business and an event business throughout the past 25 years. Laura was an employee in my last event business and then we became partners in business in 2016. After being in the floral business for such a great length of time, I (Lisa) was ready to change things up a bit. I originally thought I’d like to retire and began selling off all my inventory. Weddings were 90% of my business at the time and I reflected on trends and the industry and had a thought about a new concept.

Over the past few years, it seemed that all the brides coming in had Pinterest boards and were 100% on social media looking for ideas and making their wedding plans. I proposed the idea to Laura that we open a studio where brides could come in and design their own wedding flowers with our help. The way we describe the business model is somewhat like “Canvas and Cocktails”. They come in and, with our instruction, get to have a party with their bridesmaids, family, and friends. We streamlined the process of choosing flowers by setting up flower packages. They send us their social media photos that they have saved to “inspiration boards” and we fit them into one of four available packages. We order the flowers, receive and clean the flowers, count the stems and instruct them every step of the way. We then store the flowers in our temperature controlled coolers until time for pick up. We doubled the number of weddings from year one to year two and we are on track to double again for our 3rd year.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Our slow time, between November and April, is our biggest challenge. There aren’t as many weddings during this time and it scares us each month when rent comes due. However, as we are always taking deposits for upcoming months, we have always been able to pay our rent and taxes each month.

Since we are such a new concept, we are the only one of our kind and to get word of mouth out of what we do has been a slow process. Entering our 3rd year, we are now hearing that people have found us through a friend, mother or a former bride.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are a studio where brides or a group can come in and design flowers. It’s a networking event with endless themes. Although we specialize in brides and their wedding flowers, we also host holiday, birthday and company parties. For instance, we hosted a Valentine’s party for men to come in and design flowers for their loved one. We’ve done this for both years and it has been a very successful event. The gentlemen come in and design either a dozen roses or a second choice. When they leave, they are set for Valentine’s Day!

The difference from our concept and going to a big box to purchase bulk flowers is our knowledge of the business. The big box stores and online companies can order and ship the flowers but the problem arises once they get the flowers. Then what? How do they store them, put them together and care for them? We take all of that out of the equation so that they have a great experience. Lisa has the highest design degree you can have in our industry (we are not a licensed profession) and knows how to care for the blooms, what’s in season and what’s not. Lisa holds accreditation in the American Institute of Floral Designers, American Academy of Floriculture and Professional Floral Communicators International. With the knowledge from these organizations, we are set apart from many in the industry without any formal training.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Karissa Dahlquist

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