Learn From Our Tax Mistakes

If you think owning a business is glamorous…you are totally wrong. Can I get an ‘Amen’ from the back?! We don’t just get to decide our hours, netflix and work, or outsource everything we do. There is blood, sweat and tears behind that perfectly curated Instagram page. 

One of the seasons in business that is the toughest, just because of organization and tediousness is definitely tax season. Holy moly, we hate it.

The 2019 tax season is already upon us, and we were scrambling to get our taxes in order a few weeks ago.

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This tax season though, (even though we were still scrambling), we were a little bit more prepared than last year but not as prepared as we could’ve been, so we wanted to share with you the hard lesson we learned, so you can do things the right way! Here’s to next year! 

Our first year as Urban Flora, we did not hire a CPA (Certified Public Accountant). This led to instant regrets. We had to sit down and print off every bank statement, every transfer, every…EVERYTHING! You get the point…It was chaos. This year we hired a CPA, but about half way through the game. So we still went through stacks of tax info, and killed about three highlighters in the process. 

Our simple tips to make tax season a little bit more of a breeze would be to just simply, keep up with it. Every month, calculate your income, expenses, etc. and keep a spreadsheet so that in March and April, you can click attach and send to your CPA without batting an eye. 

Here is a little freebie for things you might forget you can write off as a small business owner and one of our favorite online CPA’s that sends out all kinds of tax guide freebies for creatives!

Amy Northard 

Also if you’re thinking about getting a CPA..just do it. Get off the fence and hire one! Our CPA has turned into our ride or die. We handed her a stack of tax info the thickness of a dictionary and she just took care of it. We know its a big investment, but an investment that we promise will be worth every penny! 

Tax Day is April 15th, which means its literally FIVE days away. I know, we just want to crawl up in a ball too. Some of us might have asked for an extension, kinda like if we had “accidently” forgotten to do that homework that was due a week ago…LOL. But we hope with our simple tips and a little encouragement to just go for it - that you really do just go for it. We made the mistake for you and learned our lesson, so just go ahead and hire that CPA and get organized! 


These Flowers Reputations Have Been Ruined...

Today, we are showcasing the most underrated flowers in the floral industry. These guys are the black sheep that many don’t even think about when they want a “higher end” flower design. These are the guys that we here at Urban Flora forget about sometimes. So often, people hear these names and probably get an idea of what they look like in their mind. Let’s try it… carnations, roses, and chrysanthemums. Yup…you’re probably thinking of a cheap neon carnation at the grocery store, a crisp red bulb looking rose, and bright yellow or orange chrysanthemums that you only buy during fall. Well, we want to break the mold and break the stigma. We are going to showcase these three picks in a different light, one that restores these little guys reputation’s. 

First up, are our little friends at the grocery store. Carnations are usually found dyed neon colors. Depending on the holiday, they can be blue, red, green, red, etc. Uhh, this makes us so sad! These flowers are so so beautiful and we love using them in our bouquets as fill flowers. Fill flowers are exactly what they sound like by the way - they go in as a filler, usually creating more dimension and texture to the bouquet. We especially love the long single stems that create a clean look with a smaller blooming flower at the top. The ruffling provides some soft texture, but also gives the bouquet some density!

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Next up are roses. Some of you might absolutely hate the thought of receiving a rose, but we bet you wouldn’t mind these. Roses come in so many different types and colors that most people don’t know about! Our favorite types to use are cappuccino roses and quicksand roses. Their names speak for themselves. These guys both feature a beautiful garden rose look with a muted beige/ rose tone. We live for these. When we use them in our work, they are usually our main flowers. The ones that we work the rest of the piece around - the focal flowers. A tip for roses (to make them look their best) is to reflex the petals. Do this carefully though, because its easy to break off some petals. This, we find, gives roses their best look. Here’s an example of a reflexed rose! (Slightly pull the petal downwards, creating a more open effect).

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Lasty, chrysanthemums. These flowers are usually found all over Home Depot or Lowes in the fall. The ones that you see usually in the rustic looking pots are a little smaller and have more of a basic look. The chrysanthemums that we love using, also as our main flowers, are heirloom chrysanthemums. They have more of a ribbon like texture and also come in more muted colors. Can you tell we love all the muted tones?! 

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So next time you see any of these three flowers at the grocery store, and question whether or not they can actually look GOOD…pick them up and try styling them! Even if they aren’t the exact flower we are using, we promise with small ways, like reflexing your rose petals, and sticking with the same tones in your piece…It will immediately elevate your flower creation. Let’s restore these flower’s reputations. We are sure they wouldn’t be mad about it. 

What’s In Our Bag? Day Of Edition.

Wedding Days are super fun for us. We have ordered, prepped, and designed everything  to make your wedding day magical. As we flick off the lights (usually at a super late hour on Fridays,) pieces and product are all sitting in our Studio - in all their glorious beauty, ready to light up your wedding day and make it next level. Yes, we love thinking that our flowers have little personalities and thoughts - sometimes we even talk for them. (This especially happens on those super late Friday nights where we may or may not be a little tired). 

The night before our wedding weekends, we want to make sure that everything is pieced together perfectly. We check lists, orders, and product three times over just to make sure we are 100 percent ready to just do our thing the next morning. 

One of the steps in being prepared for our wedding weekends is packing our big a** straw bag. This bag is not just any bag. It’s a bag that literally holds our lives inside it for the weekend. Without this thing, we would be lost. Not an exaggeration. 

Think of this as a window into our toolkit. We want to literally “unpack our bag” before you so you can get a glimpse of how we do things, what we use, and maybe get a little bit more of an idea of who we are.  We are linking everything below as well, so if you’re an aspiring florist, maybe just need a tool upgrade, or just a plain ole’ flower lover, you can snag some of these items for yourself! 

Our Massive Market Straw Bag 

If Mary Poppins were a millenial, she would have this bag. No doubt. This thing carries anything and everything. It also hides the mess we sometimes create when we tend to get busy and just toss things into it. If you’re not a florist like us - this is still a great bag for the beach, weekend trips, groceries, etc.  Buy it here!

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What’s Inside: 

Shears

We have tried A LOT of different brands of shears. Nothing comes close to these. They blow everything else out of the water. Just buy them…HERE.

Floral Tape 

We always use waterproof tape for our bouqs, centerpieces, installations, etc. This insures that everything taped will hold even with getting wet while sitting in vases, in vessels, or being sprayed with water post installation. We buy ours from our wholesaler but here is some very similiar! HERE!

Command Hooks (CLEAR)

It is so important for us to have these in our toolkit. Half of our installations start with these tiny little superheros. These stick to almost any surface and hold all of the smilax that we love to pile on them! HERE!

Our Linen Aprons 

Our aprons don’t just serve the purpose of pulling together a cohesive floral team, but they also hold all of our supplies while running through venues placing everything we need placed. Find them here!

We also love these too!

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Ribbon 

We are totally not about the really shiny almost fake looking ribbon that most retail stores sell. So we source our hand dyed ribbon from a company we love. It gives our bouquets that icing on cake, while still going with our look. These ribbons boast soft hues, earthy tones, and raw material. 

Their shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/HeyItsOHsoPretty

Most Important of All:

OUR SNACKS  

During our hectic wedding weekends, we don’t always get to these - but many times before we make it to a local lunch or dinner spot, we pop open our snack as an appetizer in the car. We usually are starving. Sometimes its carrots and hummus, apples, or our favorite homemade ave and tahini salad. Here are a few of our favorites if we want something quick: 

Chocolate Quinoa Granola 

Trader Joe’s Organic String Cheese 

Trader Joes Hummus (Okay, anything Trader Joes…WE LOVE)

Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars (These guys also come in a Chocolate Brownie flavor too…YUM!)

We love flowers, but we are also foodies over here too. So we hope, if you didn’t need the floral tool advice that you can try out some of our bomb snack recs! We hope that you enjoyed looking into our day - of wedding bag and are loving getting to know us more! xx

The Power of Your 'No'

Everyone Struggles

Whether you’re an extrovert, introvert, or somewhere in between, we think everyone struggles with this. Pressure and people-pleasing are two main reasons why many times it is so hard to say that two letter word - no. Innate in us are these characteristics and they can make saying ‘no’ one of the cringiest things you’ve ever had to do. 

As a business, we find ourselves often times in a bind of being professionally courteous, while also letting our client know that we just cannot perform what they’ve asked. Particularly in situations either out of our control, or in things we have already outlined in a contract. Don’t get us wrong…it was really tough that first time. We started feeling like we were letting someone down, or that the client would ultimately go and seek out that particular request somewhere else. 

Ultimately though, that was the reality. We just had to face it head on and accept it. 

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Your ‘Yes’ Becomes Worthless

Saying ‘yes’ as often as we did, really spread us thin. It weakened our work ethic, made us feel burnt out and most importantly really drained all the excitement and energy out of our true ‘Yes’!’ Our yeses were no longer meaningful, carefully thought-out, or impactful. 

There was a time where we felt like we had to say ‘yes’ to everything, and that ‘no’ could not exist in our business. If we said ‘no’ it made us weak, unfriendly, and devalued our brand. Boy…were we wrong. 

It took time. It took practice. And it took really learning how to create margin in our business to really be able to say the word ‘no’ - in a gracious but confident way. In a way that gave us freedom, creativity, and excitement back into those things that we could do, and do well!

Helpful Reminders

One thing that helped us with this was always giving a reason to why we are saying ‘no’. Whether in our emails or in phone calls, there is usually always a reason that we have for why we simply “cannot”. We explain this, so the other person feels heard, valued, and comes to an understanding with us of why we have to say no. 

We also love to support our clients/friends. If you are a client, or have ever worked with us - you are a friend to us. And friends support other friends. So if we ever have to say ‘no’ for whatever the reason - we like to give support in some way. By offering another type of service, another time, another vendor, or some type of option, we hope to show that we want to treat you like friends and to know that we truly do care! 

If You Scrolled Past Everything - Just Read This

‘No’ is not a horrible thing. It is actually very powerful. So is your ‘yes’. Guard both. Establish guidelines for both. Value both. When you do this, you create margin and harmony in your life that propels you to the successful life you have been pursuing. Whether in the little or the big things.