Today, I am interviewing the talented florist and event planner, Victoria Clausen of Victoria Clausen Floral Events. Ms. Clausen joined me at my recent PB and Friends Event in July, and I am pleased to share more about her below. I will be profiling all of my guests in the coming weeks in my Up Close and Personal series and hope you are enjoying getting to know these talented artists as much as I am.
Tell us a little about yourself and your journey into events.
VC: I came to the united states from the Ukraine 16 years ago and was lucky enough to land my first job at a flower shop. It didn’t take me too long to understand that I had found my dream job. For me, designing events and flowers offers the perfect mix of constant inspiration and challenge while offering a strong creative outlet and the ability to traveling and meet the most amazing people.
What do you enjoy most about being a florist and designer?
VC: I love the instant gratification that comes with making our clients happy. Not too many people can say that they make dreams come true for a living! I love the challenge to make each event unique and unforgettable in a very personal way; one that reflects our clients. Constantly pushing ourselves outside of the box, and going far beyond our clients’ expectations is another healthy challenge. On the flip side, finding a perfect balance between work and personal life is something that I am constantly striving for as well.
What is the most rewarding event that you have ever worked on?
VC: I worked with a client who would say “I don’t care” throughout the entire process. She would continually let me know that she trusted me and again added the phrase to conversations, emails, and meetings. The day of her event, she walked in and said, “after months of saying I don’t care, I can truly say that you’ve exceeded my expectations. If I walked in here today and I didn’t like what I saw, I would have cared. Thank you for caring.” Compliments like this bring about the moments that are most rewarding for me.
What was your most challenging event like?
VC: A couple of years ago, we had to set up a wedding during a hurricane. The club had lost all of its power early in the day. We set up lots and lots of candles, and all of the food was grilled on the back porch! The band was asked to bring acoustic instruments. This took a major team effort, but it resulted in a truly unforgettable experience for one super-happy couple and their guests.
What inspires you most?
VC: I feel that there is inspiration all around us! Architecture, art, fashion, nature, beautiful people and places, travel are all big on my list. I also love watching kids. They have the most amazing, crazy and fearless imagination that often leads to the best ideas!
If you could change anything about our industry, what would it be?
VC: I would love to see a little bit more support and sense of community in our industry. We all are working through the same challenges. Teamwork is powerful.
What is the best compliment you have ever received from a client?
VC: One Father-of-a-Bride approached me during a set up and said, “You know, when my wife and daughter excitedly returned from meeting and handed me the bill, I had a big problem with you. Now, seeing it all come together, I have to tell you that you should have charged more!” It absolutely warms my heart when our clients write us thank you notes for making their dreams come true. But men like this do give the best compliments.
Have you ever thought of quitting? If so, how did you move through that time?
VC: Absolutely, on a few occasions. We work in a very hard business, one that takes physical and emotional tolls. But I stay motivated by the happy tears of joy on clients faces, my amazingly talented and supportive team, and the few dear friends and colleagues who believe in me, support and encourage me on a daily basis. That is what I need to push me through the valleys.
Can you tell us how you felt about the event as an attendee? What did you like and not like about it (I promise our technology will be better next time)?
VC: I was totally blown away with the openness, generosity, and you and your teams readiness to share your wisdom and experience with all of us! I left encouraged, energized and left full of ideas. I cannot thank you enough!
What are the three best pieces of advice you would give someone who is just starting out?
VC: I would say to believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to be different. Also, find someone who believes in you and supports you all of the way.
We all have someone–a client, a friend, a mentor– who has challenged and inspired us to go for our dreams. Tell us a little bit about who this person is for you.
VC: There is a wedding planner that we work with a lot. Through the years, our business relationship has grown into friendship. It is a priceless gift to be able to talk through business ideas, hopes, dreams, problems, mistakes, challenges with someone who understands ‘the game’, but who also cares enough about me to always say the truth in love and give me wings when I heed a lift. My growth as a business and creative person would not be the same without her!
Thank you so very much, Victoria!