To whom are we beholden?

Photo by With Love and Embers Attire by Sweet Caroline Hair + Makeup by Occasions by Diana Flowers by me(!) by Falls Flowers

Photo by With Love and Embers

Attire by Sweet Caroline

Hair + Makeup by Occasions by Diana

Flowers by me(!) by Falls Flowers

As a florist who primarily works within the sphere of weddings, I think a lot about flowers, the cost of those flowers, my farmers, and my clients.  In my personal life, I’m a numbers gal.  I love sticking to a budget, and I get a rush of satisfaction each time I make a student loan payment (not joking).  When I get to meeting with prospective wedding clients, we always discuss budget in our consultation.  Sometimes people reveal a lot about their financial situation, sometimes less.  Regardless of the length of the budget discussion, I always am sure to mention that we understand the importance of being respectful towards a budget.  Weddings can be expensive, even when they’re small, and it can feel overwhelming.

I believe that no matter a person’s budget, they deserve beauty in their life.  I also firmly believe that my Libra self needs beauty to surround me in order to be happy.  Beauty comes in so many different forms, but the ephemeral beauty of flowers is always at the top of my list as one of the most soul-nourishing forms.

There are lots of florists out there who have minimum budgets, where the clients must meet a minimum amount of money for services and products.  For some, it’s $3,500, and for others it’s $10,000 for comprehensive floral and event design. 

Along the same lines, for those like me who seek education and a chance to stretch our fingers, many florists host workshops.  This is a different type of investment, but the range of cost for these experiences is just as wide. 

I believe that in any field, if you aren’t continuing to learn, then you’re dead in the water.  Whether you’re seeking out opportunities or learning through experience, stagnation is not acceptable.  And at any time in your career, there is absolutely learning to be had.

As most of you readers understand, education is expensive.  Regardless of the cost, many people still value their educational opportunities and choice as worthwhile and edifying.  Even more so than formal college education, I severely analyze the benefit of workshops and classes in my field because I don’t have the ability to finance continuing my education.  Classes and workshops are expensive.  And if it’s not clear that there will be a large benefit, I’m not going to invest.

Not every person who follows your social media feeds will hire you.  Geographically and economically, there are barriers.  Not every person will sustain you in your profession – after all, it is essential to bring revenue in, in order to maintain your livelihood.  The bottom line is certainly important.

I don’t think that the bottom line is more important than our humanity.

But my question is this: who are we to credit with our success or our exposure?  To whom are we beholden, to be responsive and accessible?  [I will note that I am saying these things as a person who generally prefers to be left alone.  I will also note that before you disagree with my take on this matter, please look up the definition of the word “beholden” and then reread.]  

I recognize that through the support of others, I become more than I actually am.  And shouldn’t I give back to this cohort in some way?

I don’t believe that the way to give back to a community that has elevated and supported you (way before you were cool) is to market yourself in an inaccessible way.  Giving back is not a $5,000 destination workshop.  Giving back is not being aloof.  Giving back is not ignoring praise.  And giving back is certainly not what many people are doing.  Of course, tons of people are.  But this post is not about those gems.  And I happen to know quite a few of those people.  Those people are my cohort, and they are mine. 

This post comes forth for many reasons.  There are things that I wish to see, that I don’t feel like I’m seeing.  But there are also things that I don’t know, and I recognize this. 

I’m looking for the connection and the humility.  I’m looking for the openness.

What is your responsibility?  Who are you beholden to? 

Don’t forget those things.  Don't forget those people.  And don't forget who you were before you became who you currently are.