Today we’d like to introduce you to Kevin Miller.
Hi Kevin, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
I started working at a local florist back in 2007 as a design assistant. I really enjoyed putting florals together for the designers. I learned color combinations, which flowers went well together, pricing, etc. I wanted to learn more and grow in the industry. I would work with the flower designers and they let me make simple arrangements like 3 roses with some greens in a bud vase and I just loved it and wanted more. In the meantime, that was not part of my job but after my manager caught on, she said Well you’re not really supposed to be doing this but you did a good job so we are going to train you into a floral designer. All of this happened over 2 years and that is when the 2009 crash happened. There was an announcement that there would be multiple layoffs within the company. I was 19 at the time and volunteered to be laid off because I was still living at home and going to school. Part of the reason I volunteered is many of the people I worked with, this was their bread and butter for home. Many raising kids and need the income more than I do. I ended up getting laid off in early 2009 and that year my older brother was getting married. He asked me to do his florals for the wedding and I said ABSOLUTELY! I didn’t have much experience but I was so excited and he trusted me to do it. He is in the accounting field and helped me set up a tax Id to get wholesale pricing to help with the costs of the wedding. Then the word got around I was doing my brother’s wedding and others started to reach out. That year I ended up doing 17 weddings. With absolutely none under my belt beside a few times helping at the florist I previously worked at. The next year I grew to 45 events and in 2011 54 events. This is when I started to really learn to price and realized I just created my own career. All this happened while working out of my parent’s basement. I would ask them to go to dinner (on me at times lol) while I would have a client over to have a meeting. I transformed the basement into a workspace and storage. In 2012 it was time to move to my first building which was a little 400sqft over in Shelby twp. From there we have moved a few times because of the growth of the business and we are now in Rochester Hills. We have 8 full-time employees from designers, inventory specialists, in-house carpenter and set up team, and another 6 part-time employees that include our set up and take down team. We do over 300 events a year from large-scale weddings to corporate and private parties. Staging for local companies and decorating lots of beautiful homes and corporate offices for the holidays. We frequent Detroit’s local Fox 2 News with segments on party inspiration ideas you can do at home with your family and friends. We work with luxury brands including Tiffany and Co, Cartier, BMW, and more! The events we do today are things I dreamed about doing years ago and now I look up to high-end designers in California and New York for inspiration and drive to do more beautiful events. None of this has been possible with the support of my incredible team, family, friends, and loving husband.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I never thought in my wildest dreams I would own a business so I really had to push myself to take on the role of being a boss and running a team to create these beautiful events. I have learned that culture is very important to the company. At times we would have someone that really brought the team down and I had to make hard decisions of either seeing if we could make it work or if they were just not a fit for our company. Those decisions made a world of a difference in our work culture. I realized I’m not only looking for a talented person but someone that can work well with others and be a part of our team.
Working with fresh flowers can be pretty stressful at times. Most people don’t see the behind-the-scenes of what goes into making an event happen. Whether it’s the sourcing of flowers for a particular event or figuring out the weather and how the flowers will do either in 90 degrees full sun ceremony location or below 0 in the winter and if the flowers will freeze if the couple goes out to take pictures for some scenic winter photos.
Covid was a huge struggle for me because I thought wow how will we survive when our industry in events was completely shut down because of gatherings. Which is pretty much what we are. The pivoting and coming up with other ways to be busy was stressful to make sure our team kept their jobs and we kept moving forward. Now that events are back the supply chain is just as interesting for fresh florals as it is for pretty much everything else going on in the world.
Overall, I would say these last 12 years have been such a great adventure in my life. Learning the work/life balance is also been something that has been super important to me. As our industry is mainly weekends and sometimes holidays. Working early mornings and late nights to get the job done and quotes out for the new clientele. I am working hard to make sure that our team and I get quality time with family and friends by taking some of the holiday weekends off that may not be a huge weekend for us and also giving Saturdays every so often throughout the year.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Twigs & Branches Floral?
Twigs & Branches Floral provides full-service custom event and floral design for weddings, showers, corporate events, and private parties. Opened in January 2009 to serve Metro Detroit, TB Floral has since been recognized for their tailored approach to event design and serves clients throughout Michigan and the United States.
Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Everything takes time. I am 12 years in and I can’t believe the amazing events we get to be a part of now. I think the pricing is important for a way to be competitive. If you don’t have a lot of overhead, it helps to bring your pricing a little lower than others to gain business. Be very active in showing all of your work whether it is a smaller event or something large. You never know who is looking at your work and what new clients might come along. I also think treating each event as if it is your only one that day keeps your quality good and strive to do your best for each client. Sometimes doing a little extra or surprising the client with something has really helped to show we are more than just a florist for someone’s event. I wish I took a bit more risk at times because I truly believe you can gain so much from challenging yourself to do more than expected.
- $5,000 minimum for full-service events
- Website: www.tbfloral.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tbfloral/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TwigsandBranches/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66Y7s_H-MZQ
- Other: https://www.fox2detroit.com/video/866686