Monday, November 11, 2013


Here we are at the end of another momentous event season. How are we all doing? Everyone still have their wits about them? I'm sick of flowers! This happens every year to me in November just when the garden is all done and the flower markets are really sucking - unless you happen to live in Portland Oregon and are one of the lucky luckies that's been to Kings Mums and posted practically pornographic images of chrysanthamums all over instagram. Jealous!!! Currently trending: mums, pressed juices, ignoring climate change and I'm sorry to say, still...flowercrowns. Discuss.

In my world the last month has been a blur of back and forth between the city and the farm, but I'm glad to report I'm sitting still for a while. Feeding the animals, wheelbarrowing something around, digging up dahlia tubers, picking ticks off the dogs, staring at my computer screen trying to write this little book I'm putting together.

At Saipua we're reorganizing again. It feels like a constant regrouping process there this year. What did I expect? The farm has really thrown a monkey wrench into things. I tend to take on too much, and then hold my work to the highest standards. And when it doesn't reach those standards I beat myself up like nobody's business. But the positive side of this is that we're always evolving, always keeping ourselves away from the dangerous, murky shores of stagnation.

You can always do something better. It can always be better next time. One constant struggle I have: it's never good enough. Which is the saddest part of me, and I'm figuring out how to work with that. Though mindfulness and meditation. (Also trending.)

 I want to tell you something helpful or give you something useful with this post. Yesterday I was talking with new friends about business. They are just starting out, and I felt the same excitement for them that I've felt over the years at Saipua at our different junctures. As I've been thinking about how to move Saipua forward, I have been thinking about what's worked for me as a business owner - one with no business training.

 First, I think diversity is key. Creating a business that has lots of different facets. Having different modalities for doing business allows for more growth, more ideas, more ways of making money. The different pieces feed off each other. And when one thing fails or slows down, you have the safety net of another. For us this has been selling soap, making weddings, teaching classes, now growing flowers. So when we slow down in the winter with weddings, we can rely on holiday sales of soap and candles. I see farms do this a lot; and they have's never a good year for every crop. The more varied your crops, the more likely you are to have a profitable year, or at least get by.

 I also think good people make for good business. This one is trickier to explain, but I believe in this more than the diversity thing. In a world blown open by the internet, friendships happen so fast. Networking happens at lightning speed. Some of these relationships are great, and some are like junk bonds. Taking time to foster true relationships with people ends up benefiting your business. You ever meet someone and you can just tell they want to land you as a friend and then keep on climbing? Shake em off! Before they get to be a fat tick!!!

Reflecting on these photos from a big wedding we did in October, brings me always back to a familiar place which is how lucky I feel to have some many great people to work with. Not everyone is perfect; not everyone is the best at everything. I get to know everyone's strengths and their weaknesses. And my own too. And then I try to put us all together and make the most amazing, elegant machine. The perfect beast, big enough to defeat all my disappointments.
That monster moves forward without fear of what's coming.


Mlle Paradis said...

wow! you covered so much in such a short post! stunning! and ringing very true. bravo!

Emily said...

Deanna's got some guns!

Camille said...

"...the most amazing, elegant machine." Love that image. I feel bad sometimes that as my business has grown, I've outsourced some of the crap jobs (prepping candles, loading the van--although I am very good at loading the van) in favor of having more time for making bouquets, writing proposals, etc. I feel elitist for getting a college student to clean buckets. But the machine is working better, smoother, and our work is beautiful and better, and I am less angry and stressed out all the time. Trending?

Shelley said...

bloody hell, Sarah! that chuppah! looks like it took two trucks worth of material. gorge..eous.

Reenie Rose said...

This is a great post Sarah.

Gina said...

You don't know me nor I you and yet,
these words, your words, resonate
like nobody's business (oh, pardon the
pun). Thanks then for the great company
of your musings.

grizelda said...

Hey Sarah:
Spoken like a true artist; relentless self reflection and perspective at the same time, and a critical eye which needs removing and that goad in your back that keeps the ideas and the love 0f nature and flowers and the ephemeralness of it all driving you on to beautiful representations of the botanical world. If I wasnt here on Vancouver Island doing much the same as you, I'd come and wheel some barrows of compost and weeds and dead dahlia stalks and help pick the ticks off the dogs.

Unknown said...

Thank you. (For so much.)

jj said...

Wow! This is great! And encouraging. I too, am sick of flowers and so ready for a break. Thanks for your honesty...makes me feel not quite as bad!!! :)

Anu Hastha said...

Outstanding post. what a collection of flowers you have. When i see in picture i can imagine how it will be in original. Lovely.:)

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