Exploring the Evolution of a Business with the Lovingly Founders – Episode 12: Flower Shop Secrets

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How do you keep your business evolving?

In this special episode of Flower Shop Secrets, Joe Vega and Ken Garland sit down with Anglea Proffitt, podcast host of “Business Unveiled,” to talk about the evolution of Lovingly. In this hour- long conversation, Angela asks Joe and Ken about the history of their partnership, individual strengths they bring to the table, challenges, risks, and rewards that come with growing a small business.

Quick Summary

Key Takeaways

  • The Key to Successful Business Partnerships
  • Risks and Rewards for Small Businesses
  • Tips on Building and Maintaining a Brand

More About Our Guest

Founders and Co-CEO's of Lovingly, Ken Garland and Joe Vega.

Joe Vega and Ken Garland have always been hardworking, self-taught entrepreneurs that happened to find each other in the right place and the right time to co-found Lovingly. Their respectful partnership blossomed from a humble two-person operation working out of a tiny, shared co-op space in Manhattan, and into the company it is today that focuses on the well-being of so many others.

In this episode, Joe and Ken also discuss the positive impact Lovingly has had on small businesses in the floral industry, and how they work to combat the wire-services and order gatherers that have stifled the potential of florists for too long. Tune in for their advice on pandemic challenges, building a brand, setting and meeting business goals.

Full Episode Transcript

What’s up, everybody. This is Joe Vega, and welcome to another Flower Shop Secret podcast. And today, we have Angela Proffitt with us. Hi, Angela….

And Ken Garland. How are you doing Kenny?

Joe Vega  0:00  

You know, people meet us, like you were saying. Even our accountants, everywhere we meet people, and they get to know us. They’re surprised. They’re like, “Well, you guys are in business together. You haven’t killed each other yet?”  That’s weird.

 

Ken  0:13  

We’re equally as surprised. It’s like, why are you asking this question, are other people not getting along? I mean, isn’t that the essence of a partnership?

 

Angela  0:22  

No, that’s not normal guys.

Angela  0:26  

And I can say that because I’m a consultant and I’ve traveled all over the world, working with business owners, and I love how you both naturally fit in and work together. And at the heart of it. What a lot of people probably don’t know about you guys is, you both have a heart and you both care. 

 

Joe Vega  0:44  

What’s up, everybody. This is Joe Vega, and welcome to another Flower Shop Secret podcast. And today, we have Angela Proffitt with us. Hi, Angela. 

Angela

What’s up guys? 

Joe Vega

And Ken garland. How are you doing Kenny?

 

Ken  0:55  

I’m doing well. How are you?

 

Joe Vega  0:57  

I’m doing fantastic. And Ken, as you guys know, is my business partner. And today we’re gonna do a little bit something different today. I will not be the host. Angela is a great podcast host already from her own podcast. What’s your podcast name? Angela.

 

Angela  1:11  

It’s called business unveiled.

 

Joe Vega  1:13  

That’s great. So you’re going to be the actual host during this particular podcast, correct? Yes. And

 

Unknown Speaker  1:19  

I’m so honored. I’m so excited that you guys asked.

 

Joe Vega  1:22  

Yeah, well, let’s go. Let’s Let’s do this. So the big question is this. How can small business owners like us in the flow industry? overcome the greed of order gathers, and bypass the deceitful games played by wire services? How do we market sell and deliver flowers online? So we may break free from these antiquated practices and earn our freedom? Those are some of the questions we will answer on this podcast. I’m Joe Vega. Welcome to flower shop secrets, watch now on YouTube, like, subscribe and ring the bell for new episodes.

 

Angela  2:01  

I love that I get the opportunity to do this because I met you guys years ago. And I when I started my first business, my uncle told me that business partners were bad. And then I met Ken and Joe. And I got to see their chemistry together. And I got to learn all about lovingly, and go to New York and meet their phenomenal team. And then that myth of business partners don’t work went out the door for me. And so I’m excited to talk with you guys today. Because Well, I know a lot of this story. I don’t think that your customers and I don’t think your clients actually know the whole story. So I’m excited to jump in. So first, for our listeners that don’t know really anything about lovingly and how it started. How did lovingly even get started?

 

Joe Vega  2:55  

Well, let me get started. First of all, Ken and I actually worked at a bank, an investment bank in 2004 2005. So we knew each other back then. And I gotta be honest with you, Angela, the first time I met Ken, I mean, you know, I never in a million years would have thought that he was gonna be not only a business but brought a friend because he just we just didn’t click right away. Right.

 

Ken  3:17  

Tell the truth, Charles a jerk to you.

 

Angela  3:21  

their personalities are very different.

 

Joe Vega  3:24  

But But I think that’s why it works actually. Yeah, totally. Yeah. So we were working for an investment bank. And I had left that investment bank and I went to work for a major wire service. Let’s just say that the oldest wire service. And when I was you know, that’s when I got introduced to the floor industry. I got introduced with working with florists. And that’s where I saw an opportunity there. In the meantime, Ken had also left the investment bank, and you went to start your own company, right?

 

Ken  3:55  

Yeah, I was doing a lot of freelance work and had a had a small web design company with another friend of mine. And yeah, it was, it was an interesting time where, you know, walking the beach in New York City and just trying to find, you know, clients, you know, there’s so many people that didn’t have websites, then it was unbelievable. So we would constantly just show up and say, Hey, and pitch somebody an idea. And they’d either sign right there, or we go back to the cafe and drop our business card, and hope that magically, we would get some new business.

 

Angela  4:29  

So then you guys were just

 

Unknown Speaker  4:32  

talking one day. And

 

Angela  4:34  

I mean, take us back to like, how lovingly was actually born because Joanna that you You’re the one that had the connection to the actual floral industry, right?

 

Joe Vega  4:46  

Yes. So when I I ended up working for the wire service for about a year and a half, but that was enough time for me to find something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and how How I found it was you know, I used to be I used to travel it in North America used to be a point of sale installer. So my job was to go there every to fly somewhere North America, I’ve been to a lot of weird places, like places that couldn’t pronounce at the time like Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for example. You know? Yeah. And it’s, it’s, you know, I used to fly every Sunday land there, Sunday night, Monday morning, I would pack the equipment. And one thing led to another and I used to get really close with these flower shop owners, and a lot of them would complain about the the state of the industry at the moment. And I found a lot of synergy working alongside with them. And once I stopped working for, for the wire services, I really didn’t want to get a, you know, a nine to five, I did not want to go back to the nine to five life again. It just wasn’t for me, especially coming off of you know, traveling every single week. But traveling wasn’t for me either. Because you kind of a lot of people think is glamorous, and it is for like the first month, but then it just gets tiring. I don’t know how our students do it. But it’s all pilots. But it’s it’s pretty tough. I ended up doing a lot of consulting work for a few shops, a few florists gave me an opportunity. And I saw it as a business I you know, I was just getting by. And in the meantime, Ken and I sort of kept in touch, we would still meet at these, you know, after hours with someone would be the bank that we used to work in, that used to throw like a little party, and we used to just talk to each other there. And again, nothing overly friendly. It was just like, oh, you left or I left? Or you’re in business. I’m in business kind of like, was that? Was that for you? Does that sound accurate? Kenny? Yeah,

 

Ken  6:46  

absolutely. It was, you know, as always at the bar, and we were we were both kind of talking about what we were up to? And it was it was really yeah, it was it was very intriguing. You know, Joe was always talking about this, this magical formula of SEO and things of that nature. And I’m, and I’m over here talking about well, how do you code this? What are the different designs, how’s the what are the different algorithms that you want to employ and things like that, and we were just hitting it off at the, at the bar and just talking geek talk really, and alienating everybody else.

 

Angela  7:20  

So Joe, you felt the pain point, though, a very early on, it sounds like because, and I know both of your personalities very well, they couldn’t be more opposite. But that’s why this works. That’s why this is such a beautiful partnership. Because the way that kid’s brain is wired, it brings something to the table that Joe your brain didn’t do. And vice versa. Joe, you’re out there boots on the ground, getting in front of the people making the relationships, which is where the pain points, as we all know, if you’re listening, you’re a business owner, you should solve a problem. That’s That’s why you open a business in the first place. And so Joe, you are driven by the relationships, and you are driven by wanting to fix these pain points for these business owners. And so which one of you were first when you said let’s go into business together?

 

Joe Vega  8:17  

Well, that was that’s, that’s the most surprising part of this story, right? Because we we actually didn’t even say that what happened was, Kenny knew I was trying to I was already in business doing business with florist. And he was also doing his his side gig there. But at the time, his business partner had decided to just go back to school. So he was he was so low, I was so low. And Ken calls me up one day, he asked me Hey, Joe, I know you’re looking for a place to sort of work instead of working out of your home or cafes. And there’s this place called sunshine switch, which is kind of like a we work. And back then that was brand new, you know, no one like a co working space wasn’t a thing back then it was all starting to come. And and so we we went He’s like, hey, do you want to go with me to check it out? And I said, Sure, let’s go check it out. So we went together. And we liked it. You know, you get your own receptionist, you get an address of New York City, which is kind of like a big deal. You get a 212 phone number, again, a big deal in New York City. That’s a huge deal, especially back then. And we were working side by side, the way the CO working space work is you get a cubicle in the cubicle, you sits seats to people. And so I have my business. I rented a a not the cubicle but the actual desk. And Ken is also also rented a desk but we asked the guy Hey, could we sit together because they were going to pair us up with other people because we were coming in differently, right? So we were like, we’re only going to take it if we actually get to sit next to each other because we at least know each other. I don’t. I wasn’t comfortable sitting next to a stranger. So we were Yeah, well, I mean, that’s co working space, right. So we’re working for like 14 days. We figured like maybe we should just work together it happened.

 

Ken  10:02  

Yeah. And and and the, the desks that we had had this like metal sheet divider, right? After 14 days, we’re like, we’re gonna rip this thing out. Like this is stupid let’s because really like when you think about a desk, right think about a little bit of a longer desks, we kind of shared the same desk, it’s really what it is we we squeezed into a tiny little cubicle that had this plexiglass door that in a future story, I’ll tell you what, you know, one time I even locked Joe in, he had to crawl out underneath. So it was a tiny, tiny little space. And you know, that’s where it all started. And we had a size of a monitor now a little tiny whiteboard that we hung with a string on the side of this on the side of the cubicle, right. And that’s where we would keep our notes and keep our our first telephone number and things like that. It was definitely very, very interesting.

 

Angela  10:58  

So tell us about your first client, like how did you guys get your first client?

 

Joe Vega  11:04  

Well, our first client was roset florist is a flower shop in Montreal. And is it one of the flower shops that I actually did an install for when I was working for the wire service. And this is a very special shop because the couple that owns it, we’re very close to them. They’re still with us to till today. Francine and Lula Binya Lewis, it’s pretty interesting individual. He’s, he’s in his late 80s at the moment, and he’s a mentor to us. And we wouldn’t be here without him, I would say. So that was that was our first shot.

 

Angela  11:43  

So is that the couple that said, cuz you’ve got to tell the story. Joe, turn it off. Turn it off, Joe, is that a different person?

 

Joe Vega  11:53  

That was a different person. That was before I got together with Ken that’s when I knew I had something. So the story goes, it was four days before Valentine’s Day in 2007. And I was doing some SEO work for a shop in Edmonton, Alberta. And when she Her name was Karen, and when she came in, she saw that the printer was full of orders. And she got happy. And she just you know, the printer was printing. And it was out of paper like it was beeping. And so she replaced the paper and she was like, Oh my god, these are so many great orders. And she went off to do florists stuff. Then like 20 minutes later, she heard the printer actually beeping again. And that’s when she freaked out. She’s like, how am I gonna? So she was like, who is doing this to me, Joe, Joe is doing this to me. So that’s when she called me up. And she’s like, Joe, you need to turn it off. I’m like, turn it off, you need to turn Google off. I’m like, I don’t think you could turn Google off. And I just instructed her to call the wire service, the wire service website she had at the time and just basically like, Just shut up shut down for the day, she could have easily done that herself. But she was just freaking out because she didn’t buy enough flowers. She didn’t have enough designers to arrange all these, uh, these orders that she just got. So she was already envisioning, getting yelled at, from all of these different people because she didn’t she was there was no way she was going to be able to deliver all these arrangements.

 

Angela  13:20  

So that’s when you knew that you were onto something,

 

Joe Vega  13:23  

right? Gotta have a session key. Yes, that’s when I was like, Whoa, this SEO stuff is bananas. Like, and yeah, that was the lightbulb moment. Every every business owner has that lightbulb moment, right. And I can tell you the difference between a shop in Edmonton in Canada and a shop in New York City, right. During the exact same day. I was speaking with Karen around 7am. And this is what she was telling me and you know, crying on the phone tell me to turn Google off. Three hours later, Chris from booth flowershop gave me a call this shop is in New York City. And I didn’t even get a word in the same thing was happening to him, except he decided to just call me and he just says Joe, I don’t know what you’re doing. But keep doing it click and just hung up. So he was ready, willing and able and happy. He was gonna make it work somehow. So that’s that day it was I was just like, shocked. I was like, This is powerful. This this Google stuff. This SEO stuff is powerful. So

 

Angela  14:23  

and you guys learned it really early on. So here we are over a decade, depending on when you’re listening to this podcast 13 years in now. And so over time, I know that each of you have grown in your roles. But what I love about both of you is you stay in your lane as business people and can you take the stuff that you are naturally good at and Joe you do the same thing. So tell us a little bit about what’s your day to day role, which guys, if you’re a business owner this this stuff changes Like constantly, but right now, because we’ve just gone through a major transition, not just with COVID, and politics and buildings and shifts and changes, but day to day, can what’s your role? In lovingly?

 

Ken  15:19  

Yeah, over 13 years, my role has really morphed in all sorts of different directions, you know, in the, in the very beginning, you know, I was I was programming, I was doing the coding, I built the first couple iterations of the back end, right of our platform that we have. And over time, you know, at the same time I was managing the the financials, I was managing the Human Resources aspect of it, right. And he kind of facilities type stuff. And as a business owner, you know, you kind of have to be able to do almost anything and everything that your business requires. Even I remember, maybe like two years ago, I was in the office, when we still had an office, I was in the office. And you know, we’ve got a lot of employees now. And they see me walking down the hallway with a ladder and light bulbs, I’m going around changing all the light bulbs, because we need, you know, something that’s more energy efficient, or we need, you know, it was bothering somebody or who knows what it was, but it’s like, yeah, you know, what it needs to get taken care of, and I can sure I can find somebody, I can hire somebody, I can go through the whole process. But that takes time, right? Let me just grab these things, put these up and get it taken care of. Right. And, you know, the same thing goes with everything else, like one of the huge challenges that we were faced with. And I know a lot of companies were faced with in 2020 was with COVID, you know, what do you do things were shutting down, left and right. And, you know, we are quite fortunate to be able to effectively work remotely. I mean, we’re a tech company at the end of the day, right. So we’ve always been having people work remotely here, there, whether there was a snowstorm or not, or we had individuals that always work remotely, whether it was in California or in Florida. So we were we were pretty well equipped. But things were moving really quickly. And we had to make a decision, right. And one of the things that we had to do was shut down the entire office. And instead of renewing our lease, because it was up and paying a fortune for for something you don’t even you can’t even use and we don’t even know when we’ll be able to use it. So one of the things that I had to do with with the help of somebody else at the office was we need to figure out what we’re going to do with we had over we have over 10,000 we had 11,000 square feet of space. Where’s all the cubicle systems gonna go where’s all the furniture, the servers, the computers, like we had to scramble and, you know, I worked with, with somebody else at the office, and we just found a new place found storage hired an entire moving company. And within a couple weeks, we were able to vacate the space and leave it the way it was when we first found it. So yeah, you know, you always have to be willing to pick up the baton whenever whenever it’s, you know, your turn whenever you’re called for, you know,

 

Angela  18:17  

and your superpower is the data and the analytics and the research. And I can just see you right now. It’s like, the blinds are closed, and it goes dark in the office. And there’s Kenny and he’s researching all the storage stuff. And then he’s crunching numbers. And he’s like, we’re gonna say this much. And we can do this for our clients. If we close this, and everybody’s gonna do this. And Joe, you would rather be swimming in your pool, I think rather than to

 

Unknown Speaker  18:48  

Well,

 

Joe Vega  18:49  

yeah, Kenny, he’s a more structure person for sure. He’s a numbers guy. He’s a business guy. I’m a creative. I love the chaos. I thrive in it. I like people. And it was a perfect marriage in the beginning, right? Like, because he was a web developer, which means he’s a quarter he works with code and coders need something to code the needs to look like something and, and I was a designer at the time. By the way, everything we’ve we’re both college dropouts. So everything that we’ve learned is been self taught, right? So I was designing dabbling in design. So when we first met, it was just design and engineering or, you know, development, they just go hand and you can’t have one without the other. They literally meet each other. So it was it was just like a perfect it just made so much sense to work together. So I took care of that design. In the beginning I did a little bit of sales, which I did not enjoy, but I was the people person so I had to do it. Definitely the SEO Of course and the marketing. But then I found the new love and that was the conversion rate optimization which means basically getting As many purchases from the websites as possible, right, so a lot of that goes into product development. There’s a lot of psychology that goes into that. So I just completely, I’m still in love with it today. It’s, it’s, it’s my go to, it’s what I enjoy doing. So and that’s, I owe a lot of our success to the CRO part, you know, conversion rate optimisation. So that’s basically what I do our, you know, people meet us, like you were saying, even our accountants, like, everywhere, everywhere we meet people, and they get to know us. They’re surprised. They’re like, well, you guys are in business together yet. You haven’t killed each other yet. Like, that’s weird.

 

Ken  20:38  

We’re equally as surprised. It’s like, why are you asking this question like, are other people not getting along? I mean, isn’t that the essence of a partnership? No, that’s not

 

Unknown Speaker  20:48  

normal guy is

 

Joe Vega  20:52  

not normal, not normal. And I can

 

Angela  20:54  

say that, because I’m consultant and I’ve traveled all over the world, working with business owners. And I think this was such a natural morph. And it is your personalities. But the main reason that you all work. And again, I can say this, because I work with so many different business owners is one word, respect, you all respect the hell out of each other. And Joe knows his stuff, and Joe stays in his lane. And can you go to Joe for that, and then vice versa, Joe, you do the same thing. And, and I’ve been part of some of the discussions with you guys. And I love how you both naturally fit in and work together. And at the heart of it. What a lot of people probably don’t know about you guys is you both have a heart and you both care, which is not, it seems so simple. But from a genuine perspective, both of you were so genuinely caring that you first care about your team members, you care about those people, every single time I was in New York, and it’s been more than a few times working with you guys. And you all put the people first. And there were there were times where you’re like Angela, I know you’re here to like work with us. But we got to go to take care of some people’s stuff right now. And then we’ll come back to this, even if we have to stay up till seven or eight or nine at night working in the office, we’re gonna make sure that our people are good, and our clients are good. And not every business owner and a lot of business owners I even see after being in five years, they lose sight of that. They lose sight of why they started, why they’re good together. They know they need a team of people because they can’t do it alone. They invest in their people, and they invest in their clients, and they listen to their clients. And I’ve watched you all over the years morph into this amazing customer service. And both of you are still so involved, which is not always normal, especially in a tech company, especially in a tech company. So Joe, what’s your day to day role? What what is the what are days looking like for you right now?

 

Joe Vega  22:58  

Oh, besides putting out fires at the moment?

 

Ken  23:03  

extraordinaire, yeah, firefighters

 

Joe Vega  23:04  

started there. Right now. I’m involved in the creation of the marketplace. So a lot, a little bit of product development. A little bit of marketing, a little bit of design. Basically everything that I used to doing besides to sales, Ken has taken over that part. He’s managing the sales team. So design, marketing, conversion, optimization, product development. All that. That’s that’s my day to day.

 

Angela  23:32  

So Ken, what is one thing? Just one thing, if you had one thing that you had known before you started this business? What would you tell your younger self?

 

Ken  23:44  

Yeah, I would say buckle up kid, you’re in for a ride. It’s it’s been a roller coaster ride, you know, it has its ups. It has its downs. But it’s well worth it in the end. You know, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. But it’s it has its challenges. It also has, there’s a lot of risk involved. I don’t think a lot of people really understand how much risk small business owners or just business owners in general take on you know, we’re not we’re not some VC backed company where you’ve got Wall Street dumping, you know, millions of dollars in your pocket and just say, hey, try anything, you know, we put our reputation on the line, we put everything that we have on the line to build this business so that we can provide for our families provide for the families of the people we employ, and also make a profound positive difference in all these towns where we work with retail florists. I mean that’s, you know, I don’t I don’t think everybody really understands the you know how far the impact of lovingly actually goes.

 

Angela  24:50  

And I know where I want to talk about that in a moment because I know Joe got to go pro and

 

Joe Vega  24:55  

went on the road

 

Angela  24:55  

before this fake call Coronavirus, and you really really, really got to see But before we go there, Joe, what’s the one thing that you would tell yourself? your younger self? When you first started? Is there one thing that you wish that you had known?

 

Joe Vega  25:08  

Yes. And for me, that answer is really easy. And that is, so when Ken and I met at the bank, we actually, the environment there, at least in the beginning, was pretty toxic. It was a toxic work culture, it was really bad. So when it was time for me to leave, it was an easy decision for me to leave, because it just wasn’t that great at all. I think I would tell myself that creating a company culture is, is going to be your biggest challenge. Because no matter how much you try to do the right thing, because people are people and we all have, you know, we all want different things at different stages of our lives. And sometimes it’s just not a good fit. Sometimes it’s a great fit, it’s all over the place. So as you’re growing a company, um, I would say just be patient and just stick to it. And that’s what I would tell myself. Got it.

 

Angela  26:04  

So when you first went into business, though, it actually wasn’t called lovingly. It was called you fn. So what was you fn? How did you come up with you fn? And then why the switch to lovingly?

 

Ken  26:19  

Well, I’d like to add one more thing to that. So even you know, you fn is how people actually knew us. Before that it was they knew us more like united Florida’s network. But secretly underneath all these brands, it was really particle ventures is that’s really what the company was called. And the reason when Joe and I started it, the reason we called it that it’s like, wow, we were going to start this floral business, we’re going to get this off the ground. And then we’re going to do the next thing. And the next thing, and we’re going to have all these businesses, it’s going to be so much fun. Yes. So 13 layers, we’re still doing this, because it’s, um, it’s tremendous amount of work. It’s, you know, it was a little naive of us in the very beginning. But yeah, so you fn was really the acronym of United florists network. And we, you know, at that time, we were just like, what do we call ourselves, we had no idea we didn’t have the training and the know how of what you needed to know, in order to develop a brand at that time. And it was just, you know, enforcing that work, everything is fine. And as we were adding more and more florists, you know, United florist network is a mouthful, you know, so then they are in our industry is full of all sorts of acronyms when it comes to companies. And so they just started calling us, you fn. And it just stuck and we kind of just ran with it.

 

Angela  27:34  

So why the change over to lovingly?

 

Ken  27:39  

No, no, you go, go ahead.

 

Joe Vega  27:41  

Yes, I cry that I saw this. So okay, so yes,

 

Ken  27:44  

my time’s right. It was like one

 

Valentine’s snowstorm when we were like, we’re trying to find a different brand.

 

Joe Vega  27:50  

Well, it Yes, it was, it was just it was a Saturday morning. It was a snowstorm outside Yeah, I mean, the reason we changed the name from ufm to loving me is because you fn is obviously an acronym, right? And, you know, unless you’re a BMW, or some 50 or 100, or IBM, you know, an acronym is not really is what you call them. The in the marketing business alphabet soup is like, if it needs a description, it’s it doesn’t work, right. And we had higher aspirations to just being near the current products that we had at that time. We wanted to actually create a national brand so that we can help florists out even more and and as a national brand. You fn wasn’t cutting it, as a matter of fact, if he was to type A, the worst ufm in Google image search, you would get some flowers, but you also get guys beating the hell out of each other because you fn stands for Ultimate Fighting night. So flowers and blood don’t really go well together. So we know, we knew we needed a name change. And we had a list of requirements. When we we actually sat down and we went through a bunch of names until we sort of like hone in on lovingly we don’t, we were almost called Pied Piper D. That was the second name. That would have been a horrible name, but it was, it just happened so quickly. And we actually went with PI for one day until we came back. The next day is like you have pi snap, which is not really feeling it. And we’re so we feel lucky to have the name lovingly.

 

Angela  29:25  

It’s such a conversation starter. And I’ll never forget when I saw both of you walking down the aisle, I was working a tradeshow booth on some technology thing that I was doing at the time. And here come Joe and kin with their Navy shirts, and the pink heart with their jeans in their sport coat because that is their go to look, but it’s such a conversation. So everywhere we went, we went to dinner. Every time we would go somewhere. Everyone, everyone, every waiter or waitress, what is that? What’s on your shirt? What is lovingly? What does that mean? It’s a heart. But most importantly, it strikes an emotion. And did you all know the impact that you were going to have from an emotional perspective when you rebranded?

 

Joe Vega  30:19  

No, not really. I mean, the name was lovingly like, it could mean so many different things, right? Like, it definitely sparks emotion. That definitely sparks romance, and other things. It’s it can mean it definitely sparks curiosity. Because when we’re when I’m wearing the shirt, and people would stop me, uh, you know, fast food joints be like, what, what is that? You know, they’re curious about it. And they’re, it’s recognizable. It definitely leaves a mark, you know, I went to a few years ago, I went to the bank and the local Teller, there was like, looking at me weird. And I was like, Okay, this is odd. But she’s like, you guys are at 5252, which is where our address was. I’m like, Yeah, she’s like, you’re lovingly, right? I’m like, yeah, that’s thing. Like, I see your sign on 52. And you’re the only sign ever notice because our sign is part of like, a bunch of other signs. But ours is the only one that stands out. So I was like, wow, this, this brand is great. We’re lucky enough to have it.

 

Angela  31:22  

good choices, you make good choices. So Ken, when is the time that you can recall? when things got really tough? Like, is there a moment where you’re like, Damn, I don’t know, I don’t know how we’re gonna get through this. I don’t know, when we’re gonna get through this, but we’re gonna get through it. And how did you handle that as a business owner? Yeah, great

 

Ken  31:46  

question. Well, something, you know, the way I think I never think that things are impossible, that there’s no way forward, right? There’s always they’re always options, there’s always things you can do, you just have to put your mind to it. I’m a really, really strong believer in that. So I was never ever at a point where it’s like, oh, that’s this is going to be it, I don’t know what we’re gonna do. It’s really just, you know, what we need to focus, we need to figure it out, we need to move forward. And there were actually, you know, definitely a few instances, you know, it’s not, it wasn’t an isolated case, because as you know, starting your own business, it has those ups and downs. And, you know, I always tell people, my, you know, I have a crystal ball, but it doesn’t work, you know, you don’t know what’s coming around the corner. And you’re all you know, you can prepare all you want, right? You can, but you never know, at the end of the day, and there was definitely an instance where we had a situation where we were, you know, we manage a lot of finances, we manage a lot of money, you know, florists depend on this money coming to them, right. And there can’t be any errors, there can’t be any mistakes. And there was definitely an instance where one of our back end providers had a had a flare up, things weren’t working well. And I was at the office, this was our previous previous office, I was there until one o’clock in the morning, making sure writing code making changes and ensuring that the next morning that that money was going to show up in all these floors, banks bank accounts, because that, you know, it was just completely unacceptable to me that, that we would be at fault for something like that. And, you know, I was sweating bullets, you know, but at the end of the day, it works. You know, but it was, I was going to make sure it happened, because that was just something that just couldn’t happen. Right. So that was that was definitely one instance and another one. This one’s more comical, I want to say is, Joe used to say I was cursed, because every single time I would take just the slightest vacation. The shortest vacation, it doesn’t matter where I went or what I did. Every time I went somewhere, something critically went wrong. And I was going with a buddy of mine and we were going to Mexico and I just you know, I’m landing I’m landing in the airport, I’ve finally turned on my phone. I’m getting frantic text messages from Joe Where are you what’s going on etc, etc. and I’m just like, I don’t know, Ola. And I’m, I’m on vacation. And you know, it’s it’s it’s hotter than hell. I get a I go to an internet cafe. I didn’t have anything with me. I go to an internet cafe. I have to buy minutes to use this rinky dink old computer on this old dial up connection in Mexico, and Joe’s on the phone with me and we’re trying to do a remote connect and I’m like walking him through how to what codes to punch in and what changes he’s like. He’s like, the site’s are down. The sites are down. We need to get the site’s back up and here I am sweating and my buddy over there he’s drinking his pina colada Like, let’s go hit the beach. I’m like, nope, nope, nope, can’t do it. So, always something happens. So.

 

Angela  35:08  

But the bottom line is, you’re always there. And you hear the stories from entrepreneurs, at least I do all the time. And all the books, I listen to other podcasts I listen to, it’s like, there are a lot of sleepless nights. And there are a lot of nights that we stay up. And if it’s like, why, why are you doing that, but you do it because you care. That’s what it goes back to. And, you know, you also hear people say, like, how many of you like I know, I’ve been in a room of like, 1000s of entrepreneurs who own multiple companies. And they’re like, how many of you can take a vacation, and like, go to remote island, and you’re chill for 30 days. And it’s like that just that does that DNA that makeup doesn’t exist, it can exist. But the bottom line is no matter what you are there through thick and thin of even if you’re a Mexican of vacation, I bet you travel with the laptop. Now. Do you take your leg?

 

Ken  36:08  

Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, even when I was going to Europe, you know, I’m taking my laptop with me. And there were many, many times, you know, I’m visiting family, and they’re yelling at me, why aren’t you spending time with us, and it’s like, I can’t I have, I have a responsibility. At the end of the day, it’s I have a responsibility to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Because like I just mentioned a little while ago, there are countless numbers of people that depend on us. So we have to be there for them.

 

Angela  36:37  

And something that I just want to really point out to go back to that you said, I don’t know, if you like have these three F’s in your head that you talk about all the time, but you specifically hit on a few things that if you’re a business owner, and you’re listening, having the attitude and the mindset of always knowing there’s going to be a way to move forward, don’t give up, you have to focus, which is the number one thing. And if you don’t know what to do if there’s a problem in your business or a problem in your company, call Joe.

 

Unknown Speaker  37:07  

Just kidding.

 

Angela  37:08  

But seriously, get a mentor or get somebody you know, Joe and Ken are out here that they can figure it out with you. So you’ve got to hunker down, you’ve got to focus, how are we going to get through it, and put a plan together and then move forward. And so those three F’s like focus, follow through and move forward are really important when it comes to running a business. And so I just wanted to point that out, because that’s something that’s really, really important. So Joe, what’s your one time when you recall that you were on vacation? Or there was just not necessarily vacation? But there was a tough time when you were really like I don’t really know what to do, but you handled it and you did it? Like what was your tough time?

 

Joe Vega  37:55  

Well, I was not planning things before I go on vacation for them to go wrong. I’m just kidding.

 

Ken  38:03  

You didn’t even take vacation? time.

 

Joe Vega  38:06  

Yeah, I Kenny’s always encouraged me to take vacation. And that’s one of the things that I have to get better at. I’m like a workaholic. I

 

Ken  38:14  

just scheduled one last year. But what happened to that one?

 

Joe Vega  38:17  

Yeah, COVID happened. Unfortunately, the one time I really ended, we were going for 10 days, and it was look really looking forward to it. I haven’t taken a vacation before then a few years. Like, I was really looking forward to it. And then we ended up not going anywhere. Because obviously COVID happened. But the one you know, I can think of a few times where you know, things hit the fan. One was there was a you know, in the beginning, we didn’t have our own selection guide. Right. So we dependent on florist providing, you know, they were members of a wire service. And because they were members of those wire services they are they have permission to use the wire services selection guide. However, florists would just quit the wire service. And don’t bother tell us that they’ve quitted. So they’re no longer able to use the selection guide. So we got we got a letter to from the wire services telling us that we’re not allowed to be using these. These images, which they were correct. They were no longer members. So we quickly acted, we we had a small, we develop a small selection guide really quickly, with the help of Amy Nightingale our first employee, she’s still with us, she created the first selection guide. And we didn’t want to take a chance of getting more letters because the letters, you know, was very threatening in nature. And we fought we replied to the wire service, we actually asked him Hey, how are we supposed to know that? You know if a florist is a member of yours or not, could you give us a notification from these members that we know that they’ve left you and They were no longer able to use the selection guide. And we’re all in the clear. They just said, Nope, we’re not gonna do that to you. So we were like, Alright, then. So we’re not allowed to use your selection guide whatsoever. So what we did was overnight, we quickly just switch, about 100, florists selection guides, I was on the phone for four days. So as Kenny, we were all there trying to explain to our shops at the time that we had to make this change. And they were like, they don’t understand because they’re a member of the wire services. Yeah, but they can, you know, they’re talking a big game. And we were really small at the time, we didn’t want to take any of these risks. So we just, we just pulled through, and we came out right after that.

 

Angela  40:42  

So I know that there’s a lot of changes coming out, like with the floral industry, let’s just be honest, business is ever changing for all of us, no matter what industry you’re in, but especially in the floral industry as a whole. And I know this because my uncle had a florist, a small, your town florists on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. And I’ve watched over the years morph and grow. And if you don’t keep up, you get left behind bottom line. And florist has turned into something so different from what it started, I remember where when I was a little girl, I would just go in and it was like the refrigerators and like nothing was pretty like the shop, that wasn’t the expectation, because gifting hadn’t started yet. And so then gifting was introduced. And then now you can and I don’t even know what year it happened. But I also remember my uncle saying like, Oh my gosh, people are going to be able to go to the grocery store. And you can do this one 800 flowers thing and, and I got to get a website. And there’s a whole host of just business entrepreneurial things that that as a florist you were expected to do but then no one, like taught you how to do it. And no one like taught you how to integrate all these different components that technology was bringing to the table as a florist. And so then I watched his shop morph into more of like a design center, where you would walk in and you see all these designs and then that broad will do you have a scanner system, like how many chairs Do you know that you have in stock? And there’s just all these things that for us have been thrown at over the years. And then you have things like Pinterest that come out. And then you’ve got the consumer saying, well, I want my stuff to look like that. And then the pressures on the floors. And so there’s all these little things that I bring up, that it can be incredibly stressful, as a creative when you’re just trying to make some freakin flowers for the community people. I mean, come on. So what what changes do you see coming down the pike now that this online consumer shopping, it’s been going on for years. But when COVID happen, there’s a real difference, being able to go online to someone’s website, which by the way, guys, if you’re listening, you’re listening, you should know this, the flower industry has spiked because people want to deliver things to not only people that are sick, but people that are alone. And they’re sad, and they’re depressed, and they can’t leave their house. So there’s all these changes that have happened over the years with the floral industry. So what do you guys see? Like what’s ahead? What’s coming in the 2021, that the floral industry, they need to be aware of it, they need to focus get a plan together? And how are they going to move forward to continue to stay relevant.

 

Joe Vega  43:45  

I would say that a lot of flower shops right now realizing that they don’t need a retail store. So a lot of you know, a lot of them are going to be moving to design studios, you know, pay cheaper rent, a lot of them, some of them are moving to their garages. You know, which is fine by our book, you know, we consider a florist to be as you know, there’s a lot of fake florist and order gatherers out there. But the way we define a florist is if you can arrange and deliver your own flowers, you’re a florist, right? So I think design studios is is the one that I would say would be there’ll be more of in the in the future. And another thing is, because there’s a you know, the industry is doing really well right now because of COVID in deliveries, people can’t see each other so they have to, you know, they want to be there. So the next best thing is to send some flowers. I think a huge challenge for shops right now is finding good help, you know, finding good designers finding delivery drivers. You know, I’m not exactly sure what, you know, exactly what this generation that we that’s coming up now they but then they’re not exactly into the whole world of floristry You know, they’re you know, Or arranging flowers is difficult is really hard. It’s tough work, you’re wet you’re dealing with thorns literally like you’re it’s, it’s tough. And you know, finding good help, I would say is the is the thing that is going to be a challenge for shops.

 

Angela  45:15  

And even though you know, I’m sure some shops I know, you know the local community shops, you can always go to your local college. And you can also always get interns, you can always sign up for things but something that I really noticed over time, is that exactly what you’re saying, like these design studios. And then people set these backdrops in their garages, which whatever, and they want to show people how to do flowers, and they just want to make videos and then they want to monetize it on YouTube. That is a completely different type of florist. Okay? What if you had to reproduce that one bouquet or that one, look 50 times and go to and go deliver it to nursing homes and hospitals that it’s a whole different business model, then you take it a step further. And then you’ve got the design studios that I’m most familiar with, where they don’t do it, the public at all. They are 100%, special events, private events. And even when COVID hit, there are still virtual events going on, where we need flowers, we need backdrops, we need stuff to look amazing. So whenever I talked to florist, and because I’m on the consulting side of things, I have to step back and say what do you really want? What makes you the happiest? When you were creating these things? Do you want to do it for TV? Do you want to do it for YouTube show? That’s one thing? That’s great. Do you want your company to be able to deliver all of these things? Or do you actually want to be in special events. And so there’s different sectors that you can bring on and different revenue streams, but you’ve got to keep up with the changes. But even before you keep up with the changes, take a step back and say, What am I gonna do for me? What am I going to do for my family? What am I going to do? What’s gonna make me happy and serving the community. And there’s two specific stories show that I want you to bring up where I know that when you go even before the podcast, and even when I when I first started work with you guys, I’m like, you guys have got to do more video, you’ve got to capture more emotions, like lovingly has changed so many lives and the trajectory of so many small business owners. And you you’ve got to celebrate that you’ve got to show people that power. And so one of the very first trips that you went on, I’m like, you got to get a GoPro, put it in the just put it in the car, and drive around and start to see what lovingly is done for these people. And it’s incredibly emotional to be able to see these things. But there was one gentleman in particular that and you guys posted a video in your Facebook group, and I’m not a crier, y’all. But this man, him and his wife had been in business for so many years. And what did he tell you that lovingly helped them do for their family? Do you know what I’m talking about the home?

 

Joe Vega  48:18  

Yes. So that that came about, I decided to take a trip a bit of a tour is the first time I’ve ever done that, actually. And it turns out that I actually miss going to flower shops. It’s fun. I feel right at home in a flower shop. I did it for almost two years, every single day. And it was it’s fun. And there was that the stories that came out of that were amazing. I wasn’t expecting any of that at all. There were a lot of people, you know, it felt kind of weird to be honest with you. Because, you know, they knew me, but I didn’t know them. Exactly. It was the first time that I was meeting them. And every time I will walk into a shop we visited about five or six shops in the Portland area. And it was it was it was like it was a bit strange for me because I was like hugging people and kissing babies basically. Now, I’m just kidding. But that’s how I felt because they were like, they were so welcoming to me and into my assistant at the time. And it was so amazing. And the gentleman that you’re talking about, basically told us that was the most heartwarming visit of the mall because he basically said to us numerous times that before he got with lovingly he was not only arranging flowers, but he was actually you know, driving a cab and night just to make ends meet. And because he joined lovingly, he ended up just becoming a full time florist which was great. The story didn’t stop there. By the way, he’s there with his wife and one of his daughters and, and he was able to expand his shop. He kept people around his Plaza kept going out of business but he Kept expanding into more business, he was doing fantastic. And he was telling us when he first met us, I think he was doing about $120,000 give or take, when he first got started, and by the time I visited him, you know, which was three years later, he was about he was doing about over $540,000, which is completely a huge increase. And he also told me that, you know, we are partly responsible for putting his daughters through college, we, and they actually just closed on their dream home last month, and all this great, amazing stuff. And I’m like, just, I wasn’t expecting that at all. And it was just an amazing feeling. I never felt that before, it was just completely awesome to feel that. So that’s what happened there.

 

Angela  50:50  

And this man, he’s like, ah, turn the camera off, I’m gonna cry. And there’s not many men that you see, even, you know, you think of flowers and machinists and men. And it’s not like that behind the scenes guys. Like, it’s not every day that you walk in, and men start to get emotional when you start to ask them about the business side of things. But that’s what the tech piece that’s 11 Lee has done. And then there was another recent story that you were sharing with me about a woman. And all she wanted was to be able to work with her daughter, and have more time with her daughter. So what was the backstory with that?

 

Joe Vega  51:29  

So the backstory with that was that was also during the same trip. And she had a really small, beautiful shop in a nice, really nice, trendy area. And we weren’t there. We were there for about three hours or so. And things were going well. And, you know, again, a lot of hugs, I was getting a lot of hugs. So it was it was great. And as we were leaving, I was trying to keep it professional in a way What I mean by that it was like, Oh, I’m glad things are working out, you know, very transactional. And she kind of yelled at me, in a good way. She’s like, just stop it. And she’s like, I’m like, Okay, what just happened? Like, I don’t know, and we were recording this, by the way. And she’s like, it’s not about the money, you have no idea what you guys have done for us. I’m like, What is that she’s like, I get to work with my daughter every single day. You know, before I join you guys, I was about to quit the entire I was gonna, I was gonna go get a job. And now I can leave this business to my daughter. It’s not about the money. Joe, it’s about what you have done for me and my daughter are those right there. And it’s like, and that was such an incredible moment for me. Because when I got back to New York, on the plane, I was just, I couldn’t wait to see that video. Because a lot of times, you know, our team works incredibly hard. And they do an amazing job. But they are a little bit of a they’re disconnected a little bit from what the fruits of their labor actually mean. And I’m they’re experiencing it. So part of me was like, I couldn’t wait to get back to say, Look, guys, you’re not just designing or coding or supporting. It’s like you’re doing meaningful work. This is what it’s really all about. It’s not about the website. It’s not about the conversion rate. It’s about this. This is incredible. So that was it was a really heartfelt moment for me.

 

Angela  53:18  

Yeah, so stories like that, that I just think it’s really important to highlight, like what’s going on in the background of these things. And things aren’t always perfect. And business isn’t always perfect. But what the lovingly community and what the moment makers need to know is, you guys are working behind the scenes to make sure that all of these changes that are coming down the pike that from a technology standpoint, like whatever they want, if they stop and think about it, like you’ve got them, you’ve got them, you will help them get to whatever their goal may be. So Ken, what is one piece of advice that you would give our floral listeners if they can apply it in their business today? Is there one thing that you would give them a piece of advice that they could do right now in their business that would change the future of their, their? their books, their business, their? Everything, what they’re doing day in and day out? One thing?

 

Ken  54:15  

Yeah. measure what matters is also a book called measure what matters. It’s picking objective picks a goal, pick what you want to achieve, whether it’s this month, this quarter this year, or maybe just you know, for the life of your business, what is that one objective that you’re working towards? And then pick a few you know, three or four key results, three or four things that you’re going to measure that will tell you whether you’re successful in reaching your goal or not. And what that really creates is a North Star it creates a North Star for you so that you can stay focused and keep on track. It creates a North Star for the people that work with you so they know what are you trying to achieve is it that you Maybe it’s something you want to get that you want to buy the shop down the road, or maybe you’re looking to retire early. Or maybe it’s that dream vacation or that dream home that you’re trying to purchase, right? Make that your objective. Now figure out what are you going to measure to make sure that you’re able to reach that objective? And

 

Unknown Speaker  55:19  

go ahead.

 

Ken  55:19  

And and we’ve done that ourselves, you know, we we practice what we preach, we’ve done that for our own organization. And what it allows everybody to do is understand where we’re going, how we’re going to get there, what are we going to do about it? Right? This focus is so critical, whether you’re a large business and medium business, or very small business, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re never going to get there.

 

Angela  55:43  

Yeah, but I actually just did a video lesson of tic toc. And I said, when you buy an F flight, you know where you’re going, you would buy a ticket. And you know, if you’re going to be going into rain, because you look at the weather ahead of time, typically, you’re going to the snow or you’re going to go hang on a beach. So why entrepreneurs and why business owners and us creatives, thanks, show it out. We’re like the worst. When it’s like we were going sometimes, and you know, surrounding yourself with people to make sure that you know where you’re going for your business. And it could be something so small, but when you put it up on that vision board, and like you said, Can your is as long as your team and your employees, like you got to know everybody needs to know like, Don’t

 

Unknown Speaker  56:32  

bottle it up, don’t

 

Angela  56:33  

keep it inside. Like if you want to do 100 orders in a day plaster it up there manifests that you can do that. So we know that that’s one book that you would probably recommend. Do you have any favorite books that you’d recommend for

 

Ken  56:49  

us? That’s pretty much my favorite book right there measure what matters by a john Doerr. And it was, it’s really written for a lot of like tech type companies. But you can you can do that in any kind of business. And going back to your analogy about the flight ticket, right, you buy that flight ticket, let’s say you’re going from New York to LA, you know where you’re going to go. Alright, and the pilot, they they file a flight plan, but just like business, they don’t follow that flight plan, plan 100%. It’s got its ups, it’s got its downs, left and right. But you know, what they know where the destination is, and they can always steer themselves right back on course. And the same thing is true in business.

 

Joe Vega  57:26  

Yes, yes.

 

Angela  57:27  

Do you have any advice in terms of just building a brand, if someone is starting a new brand,

 

Joe Vega  57:35  

I would say have a growth mindset for building your brand. A lot of times when you’re building a brand, you sort of take the identity of the brand. And it becomes a little bit like confusing in terms of, am I the brand? Or is the brand me or how do I want people to perceive the brand, I would say have an open, have a growth mindset and like do as much research as possible to sort of learn how to grow a brand. brand is a really hard thing to build. And it’s very sensitive, and you can lose it at any time. Right. So you always is not only building it, but also keep, you know, maintaining it is the hard part, I would say. Because even after you build it, you know, it’s it could be a house of cards in terms of the access, you know, with social media for now. Or, you know, somebody can leave a bad review, all of a sudden, you’re dealing with a fire, you know, if you have one or two people that’s that’s upset with you now, you know, no one looks at the 98 that are not, they’re only looking at the two that are pissed off. So you just have to stay strong. You have to keep you know, keep the lines of communication open with those who do love your brand. And don’t don’t allow yourself to sort of get down for the people that are sort of on the fence about it, because you’re always going to have those people. So that’s what I would say to that.

 

Angela  59:01  

You’re always going to have the trolls and yes, guess what you’re not for everybody. So if we

 

Joe Vega  59:06  

can please, you can please some of the people some of the time.

 

Angela  59:11  

Yes. And then one of my favorite books with branding is story brand by Donald Miller. It’s a great read, it gets into psychology. So if you’re thinking about a reshift, or a brand or just taking your brain to the next level, like that’s, that’s really one of my favorite books. So a lot of people have faced everyone, not just a lot. Come on, let’s be honest, every one of us is we’ve we have faced challenges through this pandemic. And there’s things that lovingly has done to overcome some of these roadblocks that a pandemic has put in front of you. And so is there any thing that you can share from experience to help people that are still may be facing a major challenge with the pandemic Something that they could do that could help them get through the pandemic. Sure, so

 

Joe Vega  1:00:05  

I can go first, um, one of the things that we developed is we call it a loving, exclusive theme. And, you know, when the epidemic first hit, it took down the whole floor wholesale, you know, pipeline, you know, you couldn’t get the flowers, you know, a lot of flowers went bad. So a lot of shops were open for business in some states, but they couldn’t sell, you know, customer, there was a misalignment between what the customers were buying and what they had in the shop. And the Floor Supply Chain was literally up in the air is broken is still a little wacky right now. So one of the things that we did was we we developed a loving the exclusive theme for the everyday, which basically turns your entire website into a landing page that only sells the florist choice product. So when a customer gets to that homepage, they’re only allowed to sell, they’re only allowed to buy, excuse me, the lovingly, the florist choice product, which means here’s some money, here’s $100, florists, just, you know, I don’t want to be in trouble. Just save me Do whatever you want. And the florist can now clear their cooler, they can make something amazing. And they can everyone’s happy. So that’s one of the few things that we there were other things, but that’s, I would say that’s,

 

Angela  1:01:21  

that’s perfect. That’s an amazing solution.

 

Unknown Speaker  1:01:23  

Amazing.

 

Ken  1:01:24  

I want I would also like to add to that is, you know, the pandemic is scary. But you know, we as a country, we’ve we’ve been through a lot worse, believe it or not, we really have I mean, just think World War Two, and how we bounce back from that, right? So anytime you’re you’re feeling a little down and you’re in, you’re concerned about the futures remember, it’s like the people before us, they’ve been through this too, and look at the look at what the economy was able to accomplish. So I would go back to being very scrappy, right, really thinking about where where can you cut costs? Where can you make a few temporary changes, until things really get back on track? For us? You know, we had to look at a lot of different things, right. You know, one of the, one of the good things that we had actually is we we founded the company during the financial crash in 2008. So, you know, everything was tanking, we thought why not start a business now, because this is an awesome time, right? It’s just like, right now you have people starting businesses, you have restaurants opening up, you have new florists going into business. You know, normally as a sane person, you would say, this is a terrible time, why would you do this, but it’s those people have a dream, they have something they’re trying to achieve? And, and it’s the, it’s the constraints that the pandemic puts on you, that forces you to think outside the box, right? And it’s really understanding that there is always another way, and really give that some thought. And you will, you will find that way and you will be successful.

 

Angela  1:02:59  

That’s awesome. So one like last technical question, because I don’t know if creatives really know the behind the scenes, how to lovingly compete with the wire services.

 

Joe Vega  1:03:15  

So we just recently launched a marketplace. And we’re so psyched about it, because in order to compete with the wire services nationally, you do need a national brand. And that’s one of the reasons why we also change our name from ufm to lovingly, right. competing at a local level with individual shop domains, is it doable, but it’s got its limits, right? Google wants, Google makes hundreds of billions of dollars a quarter. And 85% of that money comes from paid search is either 80 or 85%. but who’s counting right? And they want you to they Google wants everyone to pay them to play up there. It’s like the new arena. And in order to really play down a national level, you need a national brand. So how we compete with the why service is by we’re building this national brand to help local florist

 

Ken  1:04:11  

and one key differentiator on that is you know, you look at the wire service, they have their national brands, but they they also dictate those prices. One of the things that we do very, very differently is we you know, we show them what the florist is wants to charge right at the end of the day, you can create all the arrangements you want, but you know is are you able to express that artistic freedom? Are you making profitable orders? That’s what it really boils down to at the end of the day. And that’s and that’s what the loving the marketplace allows you to do.

 

Angela  1:04:44  

So as we wrap up, guys, this has been so much fun, so much fun. We always have so much fun. Is there any more stories, compelling memories, meaningful things that that you want to leave your most Make a community with.

 

Joe Vega  1:05:03  

Whoa, that’s quite the open ended question. I would say if there’s any florists out there who have business partners, I think is really important. Like Kenny and I didn’t really didn’t even notice or realize what sort of special relationship we had. Or we have still. And we started asking question, why do you think it works? And you know, there were, there’s a lot of answers to that question. We’re still learning. At the end of the day, we want the same thing, right? how we get there is not that important, the important things is we get there. So, you know, it doesn’t matter. Like when we have a topic, and we’re debating the topic, which by the way, we’ve in 13 years of working together, I think we’ve had two arguments that were sort of, like really real arguments. And they had nothing to do with work. It has some It has everything to do with like guy stuff, stupid, silly stuff. Don’t even say it, don’t bring it up. Like, it’s just silly, silly stuff, it doesn’t even matter. It’s just so it’s so miniscule, is unbelievable. But in terms of work, when we don’t remember a single time, we got pissed off at each other. So I think working together with your business partner is all about having an open mind. And putting your putting your ego aside, ego is the enemy. It’s another great book. Absolutely. And to me, like, I’d rather be wrong 100 times and get it right, then be right 100 times and get it wrong. Right. So I think that’s a huge part of why our relationship has worked.

 

Ken  1:06:41  

And the other thing I’d like to add to that is, you know, at the end of the day, nobody really has it figured out, right? There are how many countless businesses out there, right, everybody has their own unique individual experiences. But it’s the collective, the collective of that experience, that we all as business owners need to learn from, right. And, you know, we make you make plenty of decisions, you know, every single day that steer the course of your business, right? There are people out there who’ve done it before, but it’s not going to be 100% the way you’re going to do it. But you can always learn from that. So going back to what Joe says it’s all about having that growth mindset, having that open mind, and always understanding you know what, you’re not the first to do this. Other people have done that, to learn from that build upon that, and you can create something great.

 

Angela  1:07:33  

And everybody that’s listening, I hope that gives you a phenomenal insight to how lovingly was started a little bit about where it’s been going on its journey and how it can help you as the local community, florist, floral designer, creative business owner entrepreneur, continue your journey to move forward and build a legacy, if that’s what you’re looking to do. So make sure that you are a moment maker on the Facebook group. What are some other ways that people can connect with lovingly?

 

Joe Vega  1:08:06  

Well, we have a you know, right now we have a chat on lumley.com. We have your basic, you know, online forums there that people can fill out. But we found the best way that people get in contact with us as other florists. You know, for the first 1011 years. Right, Kenny, we literally did zero marketing, it was all word of mouth. So how they found us was other florists speaking on our behalf. The best way to connect with us is through phone, online or social media.

 

Angela  1:08:38  

Awesome, sounds good. Check out lovingly.com. Make sure that your moment maker in the Facebook group, and be sure that you’re a subscriber to flower shop secrets. Thank you so much for your time and thank you for listening and be sure to tune in next week for another episode of flower shop secrets with Joe Vega.

 

Joe Vega  1:09:00  

We want to help your business bloom. Check out more episodes of flower shop secrets. Watch now on YouTube. Like Subscribe and ring the bell for new episodes.

 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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