Spring is in the air, and with it happy thoughts of sunshine and flowers. Amy McCord Jones, however, has flowers on her mind throughout all four seasons. The founder of Flower Moxie, an online business that sells flowers to DIY brides nationwide, is committed to helping DIY-ers create gorgeous florals for their weddings, saving money along the way.
Why did you start your business?
I got a degree in forensics and science. I was very interested in being an investigator or having a corporate job. I tried all that in my 20s and it just wasn’t a fit. One day, my mom and I were walking my dog. She said, “Hey, this chapel’s up for sale.” It was an old chapel that had been brought down from Nova Scotia. It had been an art gallery. It felt right, so I tried to buy it, but I didn’t have a down payment for it. So, my mom bought it for me. My sister and I started doing wedding planning out of the chapel. I taught myself how to do florals. It was kind of a side hustle at first – I still had a corporate job.
A handful of years later, I was thinking about how I could have more of a passive income because I was having to work a wedding any time I wanted money. So, I thought I could teach DIY brides how to do their own florals when they didn’t have enough money to hire a florist. That led into Flower Moxie.
How did you fund the business at the start?
My mother purchased the chapel, so that money was borrowed from her. I kept money streaming in while I was figuring the business out by continuing to work a corporate job. In hindsight, I wish I had been able to buy the chapel myself, but at the time, I was 25 and I didn’t have the wherewithal to know how to get a loan. To start the Flower Moxie business, I saved up $5,000 and started it at my kitchen table. I started it in a really slow way and tested the waters to make sure it was a fit.
Running the Business
How do you manage cash flow?
Customers pay in full before their flowers are shipped out. Our orders are placed with our suppliers about two weeks before the customer needs them. So, we are paid in full before we need to purchase the flowers from our suppliers.
I don’t spend more than what I earn. I make my financial decisions based on the level of sales over six months. When I reach a certain level of sales, I decide if I can spend more on things like SEO and website development.
What’s the most challenging thing about running the business?
As a business owner, you have to wear so many hats and do things that you’re not necessarily good at. I’m good with flowers; I understand brides; I can build relationships with wholesalers and shippers. But, doing proper projections and creating a system on the backend has been challenging. It becomes overwhelming because you have to learn a lot of things that you may not have an interest in learning.
What’s the most rewarding thing about running the business?
I love my customers. The things they create are amazing. I’m proud that I can employ people and have a good culture at my business. I’m very proud of what I’ve built.
What I’ve Learned
What’s the biggest mistake you made at the start?
I would ignore things that I didn’t understand. For instance, SEO work. Google algorithms are very hard to understand, so I turned a blind eye. But, there were things I could have done along the way to help with that. I got behind competitors because that was an aspect of business that I chose to ignore. Now, I try to make a list of things I have to do weekly. I try to do the one thing I dread most first.
What’s the smartest thing you did at the start?
I think some people try to grow too big too fast. I’m at the place with my business where money is coming in to grow it. But, that didn’t happen the first year by choice. People love the saying, “Go big or go home.” But, I think that if you blow it up without a foundation to support the customers before you really understand your business and your clients, you’re going to get bad reviews as things fall through the cracks. For me, being in a business that deals with fresh product and brides, there is no margin for error. So, I wanted to make sure I was providing good products and had built good relationships with my wholesalers first, so I could support my customers.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Make sure you know why you’re doing it and that you really believe in it and feel passionate about it. The burnout is very real.
Know that you’re going to lie to yourself. You’re going to see things at a certain angle, which can damage you and damage your business. Have someone in your life who will be a devil’s advocate and ask you the right questions so you can see things from another angle.
What’s next for Flower Moxie?
We’re in talks for some potential partnerships. And we’re thinking about expanding to new markets.