Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in floristry but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Maxime Vialade, co-founder and creative director of Écorce Flowers, a floral design studio located in Vancouver, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Floral Design Studio.
Tell us about yourself
I come from the South of France, where nature was a big part of my childhood. I remember cycling through the vineyards or helping my dad with the garden - we have olive trees, pomegranate trees, and fig trees. At 16, I started working in the food industry, which made me travel and eventually brought me to Canada in 2013. I lived in Edmonton for four years, where I managed an Italian coffee shop on one of the busiest and trendiest streets of the city (Whyte Avenue).
After I moved to Vancouver in 2017, I felt something was missing in my life. I wasn't feeling fulfilled, and I realized I needed to do something that answers my desire - and need - of creating. I am passionate about colors, shapes, and textures. There is so much beauty in the floral world! I am lucky to live in Vancouver, where nature is really generous. Springs are magical, with blossoming pink cherry trees, beautiful magnolias, multicolored rhododendrons - but also banana and palm trees in the summer!
Each day I am motivated and inspired by my surroundings. I love foraging (picking up flowers and greenery in the wild, such as fern in the forest), and I am never disappointed by my findings. I started working as a floral designer in 2018 for a few shops in Vancouver, and I recently launched my own floral business - Écorce Flowers.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I feel very lucky because I was able to change careers. Five years ago, I hadn't made a single bouquet in my life. And today, I own a floral business! I'm very proud of that. I'm also very happy that I have the freedom to create, experiment with styles, and collaborate with other artists on creative projects.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
You're on your own! That's the biggest challenge. You have to be self-motivated because no one is going to tell you what you have to do. It takes self-discipline but also some sort of courage. At times it can feel lonely and disorienting. I have actually launched my business with my partner Lucas Pilleri, which helps break the solitude and motivates me even more to succeed. He's in charge of the management, administrative, and marketing stuff, which allows me to focus on what I love the most - designing!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Try to remove your own mental barriers. We sometimes feel we don't have what it takes to be successful, and that kind of thought can discourage us. Go for it, then see. Ask yourself what you really want for your future, and try to turn that vision into reality step by step. It will take time for sure, but at the end of the day, it is worth it.
- Do connect with other people around you, whether that's in your industry or not. There are so many talented people waiting to collaborate with you on creative projects. I have met many kind people in my field that I love working with. Knowing you're not alone and you can find support is a big plus.
- Keep in mind that inspiration is everywhere. When feeling blocked, expanding your horizons can really help. That means getting yourself out there, traveling if you can, being curious, exploring - I try to do it myself, although I could certainly do more!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
My business is still very young. I'm just at the beginning of my entrepreneurial adventure, but it's an exciting new chapter of my life. My biggest dream is to be successful with Écorce in the long term, designing floral creations I'm proud of, enjoying my independence, and, perhaps, working on cool projects worldwide!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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