HoneyBook member Amanda Lankford has won countless awards for her work. But after nearly a decade of running her floral and design company, it’s also taken a toll on her health. Faced with a repetitive stress injury, Amanda could have thrown in the towel. Instead, she’s focusing on a new strategy to diversify her business. Here, she opens up about the physical and emotional challenge of joint pain (a common problem impacting many entrepreneurs who work with their hands) and what’s next for Amanda Jewel Floral + Design.
Three fun facts?
- I grew up on a chicken farm.
- I’m a country girl at heart, but I love city living, too.
- I keep string cheese in my purse on a daily basis.
What are your career highlights?
I am going on three years in a row of winning the “Best of Weddings” by The Knot! It’s so fun placing the plaque in my studio next to another one, year after year. I also most recently won 2nd place at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens Flower Show by creating an all-floral wedding dress. My work has also been featured in The Knot Georgia, Unveiled, Southern Bride and The Celebration Society.
What’s your favorite HoneyBook feature? And why?
You’re going to laugh! I can promise you that it is not all about the money, BUT I love it when I book a client and the app starts raining money! 🙂
What do you do to get inspiration?
I have my very own studio in our 95-year old home. We have lots of rooms, so I am constantly redesigning them. For example, in our bathroom shower we hung dried flowers all on the walls and ceiling. It’s epic. I also constantly flip through magazines from West Elm catalogs to bridal magazines. I’m old school, so when I find something that I really like or want to try, I’ll add it to our inspiration wall in the studio.
How has the floral business changed over the span of your career? What’s next for Amanda Jewel Floral + Design?
The floral business is tricky. People ask me if I’m still doing it like if it were a hobby of mine. I am, and I’m making money doing it, but most importantly I’m happy. Also trends change and things come and go so much. My prediction for what will happen next for the company is interior design, but in a way that no one has seen before. Launching that excitement in a month! Stay tuned, my friends.
What’s something that’s surprised you recently in your work?
What surprised me most recently is that I’m human. I now have joint pain in my hands and knuckles. I work with my hands so it’s become a huge hurdle for me both emotionally and physically. For many years, I’ve just done things myself to get it done, which means I overwork my body and hands. With this newfound pain, it’s reminded me that I can’t do it all, and that I have to learn to trust others. This is half of the reason why Amanda Jewel Floral + Design is launching a new element to the company.
What surprised me most recently is that I’m human. I now have joint pain in my hands and knuckles. I work with my hands so it’s become a huge hurdle for me both emotionally and physically.
What’s one of your most favorite projects and why?
Oh gosh, every time we do a wedding I say “oh, this one is my favorite.” I get to know my clients so much that I fall in love with them more than the design, and then by default I love the design. Does that make sense? I would have to say my studio is an ongoing project for me. Each time I change something or add something to the studio I fall in love all over again. Each person who walks through our door wants to buy everything in it!
What’s one of the hardest things about your profession that people don’t often realize?
The DIY-era hurt the floral and design world big time. Yes, you can do it yourself, but you are going to spend so much time running in circles and getting nowhere. We professionals can get it done right the first time and probably much cheaper. In the floral world, there are long hours and so much to be done before, during and after. After an event is the biggest piece of the puzzle because no one even thinks about how much clean-up is involved.
Our members are always asking how other professionals are using HoneyBook. How do you use it? Are there any tips you want to share to help others unlock the full potential?
HoneyBook, as a client management software for small businesses, is a huge tool for us in that it helps me track our clients. Before HoneyBook, I would be in the car and someone would call or email, and I would literally write down their info on anything that I could find that would be close to me. Sometimes it would be my hand. 😛
HoneyBook helps me track client responses—I can even see if they read the email, which is huge! So many people ghost in this industry, so it’s easy to see who is just not interested with HoneyBook.
HoneyBook helps me track client responses—I can even see if they read the email, which is huge!
Do you have a motto you apply to your life/business?
Yep. It’s simple. There’s no option to fail. I LIVE BY THIS.
Where’s the craziest place you’ve ever worked?
We most recently hosted a photo shoot in New Orleans at a cemetery. It was eerie, yet beautiful all at the same time. Then last year, I flew to Seattle and planned a photo shoot literally on the edge of the U.S. at Forks, WA beach. It was one amazing feeling, and I begged my model to get into the ocean with the dress on and plunge the bouquet in the water. It was stunning and gave me goosebumps.
What advice would you give yourself at the start of your career?
It’s going to take time. I started my company with no money or investors so it took A LOT of time to get to where I am today. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Plus, three more entrepreneur interviews you might like:
- Mark Dickinson, photographer and inventor—”When I was working at jobs, you’d have to ask for a raise. It’s no different owning a business—you have to ask for a raise. You can create value and urgency. Those two things will seal a sale instantly.”
- Christina Scalera, attorney and instructor of the class Legal Steps Every Business Owner Should Take—”I’m most excited…to help business owners understand legal basics. They can re-write the story of, ‘I’m not an attorney, legal stuff scares me.’ I’m excited that this class will help normalize legal issues.”
- Mandy Ogaz, floral designer – “I would have to say the biggest challenge is educating the general public on the value of a floral experience and the ambience and mood florals bring to an event. Having the ability to send guides and packages through HoneyBook to educate inquiries has helped…”
(All photos provided by Amanda Lankford)
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