Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in floristry but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rachel Schwartz, owner of The Black Rose, located in Manhattan Beach, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The Black Rose is truly a labor of love, devotion, attention to detail, artistry, engineering, and collaboration. I design florals for weddings, parties, and events- anything from a film screening or book launch to influencer gifting, company holiday party, or ecomm photoshoot. I design and source everything myself from local vendors or online if I need a specific vase or prop. I make all of the arrangements and do all the installations myself. It's a bit of a luxury product because you're engaging with someone who has a Masters in Fine Arts and brings an elevated, authentic, original vision to each project. No two jobs are the same, and I design and make everything with that in mind.

Tell us about yourself

I studied Art History and Fashion Design and worked as a designer for various fashion/apparel companies in New York City for a decade. I had dabbled in florals while doing some freelance prop styling, and it appealed to me because of how hands-on it is. To me, design is design; it's just the medium and some parameters that change. If I'm doing an eveningwear collection or flowers for a product launch, the same elements of color, shape, and composition are in play. When I moved back to LA from New York, I decided to try something new and work as a floral designer full-time. I found a job at a flower shop in Venice, where I worked for a year. I really enjoyed the design and production part, less so the retail and customer service part. Because it wasn't really full-time, I branched out and found my own clients, which eventually became the basis for The Black Rose's first major jobs.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I know that everyone I work with is happy with the product I deliver and my service level. That brings me joy and pride. I also taught myself accounting software and web design, so I'm pretty proud of that as well.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

For me, it's the sales/promotion/marketing. I am terrible at talking myself up and selling my brand. I find it really difficult and uncomfortable, and I would rather crawl under a rock, which you might not think upon meeting me because I'm fairly extroverted. It's this one area that gives me such a hard time!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

This is a quote from Ira Glass, for whom I have immense respect. His words are more eloquent than the mind could ever be. "Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, and I really wish somebody had told this to me.

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But it's like there is this gap. For the first couple of years that you're making stuff, what you're making isn't so good. It's not that great. It's trying to be good, it has the ambition to be good, but it's not that good. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you're making is kind of a disappointment to you. A lot of people never get past that phase. They quit.

Everybody I know who does interesting, creative work they went through years where they had really good taste, and they could tell that what they were making wasn't as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short. Everybody goes through that.

And if you are just starting out or if you are still in this phase, you gotta know it's normal, and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week or every month, you know you're going to finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you're going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you're making will be as good as your ambitions.

I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I've ever met. It takes a while. It's gonna take you a while. It's normal to take a while. You just have to fight your way through that."
—Ira Glass

Where can people find you and your business?


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