Friday, October 26, 2018

economic planning

Meg, Zoe and I sat down for lunch last week - another slutty pasta dish* involving those little 'fairytale' eggplants which were prolific in our field this year. I was, admittedly, coming close to nightshade exhaustion and angrily googled 'Are eggplants even good for you??'

Which started a deep dive into the worlds of flavonoids (there are loads in the skins of eggplant). Flavonoids are responsible for the creation of the colors in flowers which attract pollinators and also act as chemical messengers in soil, aiding in the symbiotic relations with nitrogen fixing bacteria and legumes. Why would anyone choose a career outside of the magnificent world of plants??

Satisfied, I serve lunch.

After we eat, we crunch numbers. The 2019 experiment requires us to generate $4000 a week in sales at Worlds End in order to support three full time people, two apprentices and a $500/week food budget.

The number is daunting. We split it up a few different ways. We could try to sell 2 small at $2000 a week. We could sell 1 wedding at $3K and 10 arrangements at $100 each to people willing to buy them in the city. We could offer a flower subscription? A CSA based sort of model...None of these feel quite right.

This is very different economy than what I am used to running Saipua in the city - where the numbers for weddings are inflated to accommodate full service floristry and usually begin around 15K and cap off around 100K. That sort of profit is larger and spilled out to allow us to do things like build a castle in Brooklyn. Which was nice for a while, there was a fireplace. Now those big events are fewer, we're more selective about them, and the profit pays my salary, Bryony (who works on commission) and slowly chips off at the debt we've incurred over the years - I cringe to tell you this number, but I feel the transparency is useful especially to those (most) of you reading who are florists or business owners - $160K.

It has often felt daunting to pivot the giant Saipua cruise ship to sell small weddings with our farm grown product. People are confused about what's happening to the brand**. Friends pull me aside and express their concern that I am 'burning it all down' (dropping an instagram account with 120K followers is arguably a nonsensical move). But I'm following my instincts here into new territory. I can't do the old game anymore, Saipua can't go back to that which it once was. Fortunately trudging into new territory is something I'm good at.

We've gotten exactly one (!) inquiry for a tiny wedding in August! I felt like celebrating. It's like we're back at the beginning and I'm in love with it all over again!

* I will absolutely share my eggplant game here soon including 'saipua's slutty eggplant disaster pasta'

** I started a brand rant yesterday that is equally delicious but needs a little cleaning up//will share soon.


Anonymous said...

Even though I miss your Instagram account, I'm so happy that you're writing here. You are so inspirational.

Jenny said...

Long time reader, first time poster. Thank you for your writing as of late! I'm so inspired by the general fresh vibe, your words about financing, simplicity, Goop and art. I'm farming in Minnesota and this space has been helpful. Can't wait for the slutty pasta recipe.

-jenny (little big sky farm)

The Tilted Tulip said...

I'm obsessed with your writing and the new prolific blog posts are feeding my soul. I'm eating them up. I've never before read anything like the way you write. It's wonderful, refreshing, weird. Keep 'em coming. (No pressure.) ;)

LPC said...

As one of your small wedding customers, I want to say that anyone getting married at a place like, say, a beautiful City Hall, ought to spend the $ on one of your bouquets. Your flowers were the perfect splat of nature, decay and humanity against architectural stone, they made my wedding a personal statement. Thank you so much, again, five years later.

And then some mark-the-occasion flowers at the restaurant where you host your friends and family for the reception. Just a few scattered on top of the small sculptural cake:). <3

Sarah York said...

You are so kind to share all of this with us. The beauty of your flowers, the honesty in the business aspect of things, your writing. Thank you!

Joana said...

Same as the other commenters — long time reader and follower, first time poster. I'm thrilled to see where Saipua goes next. Screw Instagram! I miss the lambs, sure, but I've missed your writing more, and I'm glad you're letting us follow along.

Nidhi said...

I miss comforting to read you here. I can't help with the economics but I know it will work out.

Canoe said...

Your honesty continues to inspire-- thank you for sharing behind the curtain and helping dispel the myths that build around companies and the people who build them. BRAVO for quitting instagram and following your intuition. Look forward to reading more about how you're defining success for yourself.

thea said...

If you ever choose to revisit the flower CSA idea, sign me up as your first customer please.

thank you for sharing both the hard and lovely bits of this new direction - its a great breath of fresh air from the perfection of instagram and design/lifestyle/the universe in general.

Marie said...

SO glad i found you here but really missing HOMESTEADING TODAY and your ninja turtle elderberry syrup making stories