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Meet Nat Srisatjang of Bloom Designs by Nat

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nat Srisatjang.

Nat, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
As a hotel front desk agent, we were given name tag that requires to include our “passion”. I believe for the business purpose as to creating a small conversation with the hotel guest. But I didn’t want to just put anything there, I want my “passion” to really mean it! Then one day my manager shouts out to me, put something already! “How about flowers? you’re a woman!” I was skeptical at the time. But start to think hardly about it.

Two days later, I decide to enroll a class, a flower arrangement 101. I believed it would give me confidence when designing an arrangement. The first start, you would never know if you cut too short, too long, would you add the flowers in the right place etc. Although, you were always told “work in the industry is the way to do it! There is no shortcut but to get your hands on.” I started walking doors after doors, after doors to local flower shop offering my help without pay. No one hired me. Then, Craigslist search for keyword “flower” in job section. Putting my application in many shops. All of them liked my personality but when it came to the test, the real test: can you arrange a $45 arrangement, using any flowers in the cooler. I immediately fail. I didn’t get hired.

Because I never lose my sight from the “passion”, I walked into a number one event/catering company of Atlanta, who looked for help in the floral department. I printed my resume along with a few photos of my practiced arrangements. I got hired right away as a contractor, where I get paid $12 an hour. I thought I would be arranging some flowers. But nope! I worked in the floral departments lifting all these heavy water buckets and cleaning thorn off of the roses. After the 10,000th rose, my manager told me if I could make a flower ball for a flower girl. That’s where it started! That was my moment.

While working here, you learned all the event set up and how to handle flowers since it got delivered to delivering them to the event. I always told, no matter how beautiful your arrangement is if you don’t know how to pack them properly, there can be damages during the travel. One immediate break, bam! You’re done!

Meantime, I still wanted to give myself a taste of the flower shop feels. I got hired to work for the Valentine’s Day weekend, the busiest time of the year and continued working there. I couldn’t give myself another month. The flower shop is not for me. I like the fast pace and the challenge to which event set up can give me, considering each event is different.

While still having my full-time career, I was so ready to do something for myself already. I started by renting a kiosk at a mall selling Valentine’s day flowers. Result? I lost, epic lost. I was selling $65 pre-arranged flowers to people who were looking to buy $5 single rose. I waited long enough for the following year to do Valentine’s Day kiosk again with a new game plan, which I finally made profits! Then I started to think what about every other month? What could I do? A friend of mine was getting married, and there! my bright idea. I am going for a wedding floral business. But I didn’t close the deal though, because the couple cancel my flowers 2 days before the wedding (without paying me, and no paper work, ouch!). I had all these flowers sitting at home. I was so mad and yes, we are no longer friends!

I finally got a real customer from bidding via Thumbtack. I provided the bride with $2,500 ( the price I would charge today) with only $700, hoping to start my portfolio. When you know by heart that you can do this for a living., you’ll start looking into all the details in marketing and actually how to make profits. Once you reset your mind, you are no longer available in free service anymore. You don’t sell yourself short!

Now, I have enough money to invest in marketing. I put myself on the Knot. Which I have very good returns. I actually meet up with the real clients with the real money. There something for everyone, but I can’t be everything for everyone. I start to screen customers to fit my style and budget, the ones that worth my time. The reason I said this is because, weddings take months to plan ahead, and there’re many steps before you close the deal and until you show up at the event on the day of. I am one person show with occasionally an assistant on sight. So I need to pay attention to all the details.

As I put my name and face on my business, I know all my clients. We talk, email, meet up, simply create a small relationship with them. This is when you pick up their personality and translate that into floral designs that fit their style. You want to make your client feels confidence as much as you can. You don’t need to run through everything to them. But simply reply “I got you!” and then figuring out the how to later. Brides can be so worried before their wedding, if you can wow them on the day of. You have done your job right!

I am happy of where I am today but so excited of what to come next.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I was too shy to ask the customers to pay up at first. Because I didn’t want to chase them away. As a new to the industry, I was so worried every time I talked to a client. I would compromise everywhere I can, even give up some profit trying to have them book me.

I remember being so upset over a $400 wedding budget. The bride loved all my ideas, even kept telling me she was sending over the money to book me right now, but never did. I kept going back to write her an email begging for the job, which I never close the deal.

Even drive to the bride’s house, trying to close the deal with her in her kitchen while she was cooking lunch. When she paid me cash, she took the money off of a sock! Because I was so worried, I would lose her. Guess what I lost some money that she promised to pay when I deliver the flowers. But she never did.

Bloom Designs by Nat – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am a wedding florist home based business. The good thing about working from home is you can save the couples some money since I don’t have to pay lease for the space. This is when I can provide the couple with bigger and better choice in flowers. And I am willing to meet half way at some coffee shop to save their traveling to my home studio in Smyrna. I am giving a free venue walkthrough within 15-mile range. This is when I can see the actual space and proposing couples with alternative ideas that will look best and fit best to the actual venue space.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Looking how far I’ve come from day one. I can proudly tell the world what my “passion” is. Creating masterpiece is great, but making money to create masterpiece is the way of life. You make a living on what you live your life for. I still learning as I go each and every wedding. Floral design is like art. But the wedding floral design created a photogenic masterpiece. People take a lot of pictures at the wedding even hire a professional to take the picture. So you always take pictures with your phone before you send your flower out there. Because behind the lens, we can things differently. Also paying attention to details and following the proposal that include all the details is what guide me in the right direction when creating each arrangement, which I am ensured that the bride and I is on the same page. You only get one shot on the day of, this is it! It’s their lifetime memory.

Pricing:

  • Bridal Bouquet $175-$750
  • Bridesmaids Bouquet $50-$250
  • Gazebo/Altar Decoration(s) $350-$3,500
  • Guest Table Arrangement $65-$550

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Kate Bradberry Photography
Carrie Tabb Photography
Joshua Jacobs Photography and Graphic Designs

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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