Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times 2/8/22) —Althea Wiles is the founder and education director of J Althea Creative, a florist consulting program in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She is also the owner and lead designer of Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio.
Althea earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Hendrix College then completed her Arkansas Master Florist Certification. Her design studio takes part in 75-100 weddings and events annually and has been recognized by local and national publications as well as being a featured artist for the Art in Bloom gallery exhibits chosen and hosted by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
You are a well-known florist consultant and educator. Tell us about your background.
I’ve always been around plants and flowers. Growing up, my parents owned a wholesale nursery and they grew quite a few of the plants themselves. I never liked growing the plants, but during the summers, I would raid the daylilies and the zinnias to create arrangements for the house.
During my junior year of college, I volunteered at a local flower shop during Spring Break and when Spring Break was over, I was offered a part-time job. (I guess 40 free hours of work really does show dedication and interest!) After receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Hendrix College, I earned my Arkansas Master Florist Certification in 1996, and then returned home to Fayetteville, AR. Four years of work in traditional floral shops made me realize that I really enjoyed event work most of all. The local shops were all general florists, with gifts, houseplants, daily delivery, and the like.
I decided to start my own business where I could focus on weddings and other events. In April of 1998, the Rose of Sharon, Event Florist opened. After successfully running the Rose of Sharon for over 20 years, I added consulting and teaching to the mix. I contribute much of my early success to a wonderful mentor who took me under his wing and truly set me on the right path to be a successful florist. This is my way of passing that knowledge on.
You work with high-profile clients as the owner and lead designer of Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio. Tell us about your experience.
From large-scale weddings to holiday in-home installations at the finest homes, our team puts care and attention to every detail. Our more high-end clientele appreciates the years of knowledge and experience I bring to the table. That knowledge and experience often saves time for our busy clients, a commodity that is priceless in this day and age.
With Mother’s Day a few months away, Althea has created a Mother’s Day Systems Prep Class to give you a slew of tips, tricks, and ideas that will make this holiday run smoothly and profitably for florists.
You were lucky to learn from a mentor, what do you want to share with the world?
Having someone in your corner makes ALL the difference!
Tell us about the takeaways from your class.
- Ways to think about organizing a home studio for an easier workflow
- Tricks to keep multiple orders organized
- Products that I’ve found useful
- Little things that keep your team happy (like providing lunch)
- What to put in the ‘emergency kit’ for your delivery drivers
- Things to consider when hiring extra help
It isn’t just about looking pretty is it?
Absolutely not! In fact, that’s just one small area of having a successful Mother’s Day as a florist. It’s about organizing yourself, your studio, & your employees so that the promises you make to your customers are kept. (It’s not a successful holiday if your deliveries are a day late or if you don’t design what the customer ordered.) It’s about ordering, pricing, designing, scheduling, & delivering ‘pretty’ arrangements so that your customer is happy, the recipients are delighted, and the business is profitable.
As a consultant, what are people looking for today and how are you guiding them?
They’re looking for someone who’s been there, done that & can help you go there & do that…in a supportive way. I’m not selling a system where I say, ‘Do ABC & get XYZ.’ I’m working with my clients as they determine what they want their business to look like & what works for them. I’m guiding, suggesting, and listening. I’m sharing my experiences, both good and bad, so that they can have the confidence to succeed in their dream.
How do we contact you?
J Althea Creative Consulting
Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio