Holly Chapple founded The Chapel Designers in 2010 and over the past six years new members have joined from around the world. While our organization began at a small gathering in New York City, we've now hosted workshops and conferences across the United States and abroad. Stacy K Ercan, of Stacy K Floral in Rochester, NY, joined us in 2013, and the phenomenal story of her first year with the Chapel Designers has inspired us to begin telling you more about the individual stories of our designers. The floral industry is one of constant chaos, but it’s also one of constant reward. Wedding and floral work challenges us as business owners, but each one of us seems to be pulled into this industry for a reason. The artistic expression of floral design partnered with the satisfaction of making a client's day are the reasons most of us are drawn in to this industry. Here are some thoughts Stacy shared with us back in 2013:
“Becoming a Chapel Designer changed the way I do business and in some regards my life. The week I left for my first event last year I was in such a negative place in my career and quite frankly didn’t even know it. I was so caught up with everything my competition was doing and being snarky and unsupportive. I also lived with a constant guilt for having worked at a local florist before branching off and creating my own company. This then stemmed a fear my team could do that to me any day. This handicapped me. I didn’t share, teach, or really entrust those I hired to help me. On a specific day of design at the event Holly herself came over to me and said something in regards to “this is a lesson you needed to see. 60 some designers, same recipe, and not a single bouquet even similar. This is the beauty of what we are doing.” At that moment I realized two things: one I found my new home and floral family and would never want to leave, and two, I was limiting myself, my team, and my store's potential. I realized my store could be next to my old bosses, but they weren’t me and nothing I do is similar to them. From that exciting moment on I vowed to teach anyone who would listen, love myself for spreading my wings and taking a chance, and never say a negative word about my competition again. If I can’t say something kind, I don’t let it pass my lips because it just brings toxins into my team environment. 2013 has been the BEST most successful and least stressful year yet. I love the Chapel Designer family and I am honored to be a member and feel with them by my side I can achieve any career goal I can dream up!!! Thank you Holly for planting a seed and nurturing it as it grows."
As you can see from the passion expressed above, we just had to show you more about Stacy and her work in this industry! As she said, the Chapel Designers helped her position her business for growth by changing her mindset, but it was her motivation, love of her work, and amazing attitude with her employees and industry peers that made Stacy K Floral into what it is today.
Recently, we asked Stacy how her business has grown, changed, and adapted since it was founded. Here's what she said:
“I started my journey into the floral world in high school working at a landscape center. I enjoyed the industry so much I decided to attend Alfred State College and get a degree in the floriculture merchandising program. I moved to Rochester to take a position as a florist, and because I loved the job so much I ventured back to school nights to get my business administration degree with a focus in marketing from Brockport University. My first independent wedding was one of my best friend’s weddings. At that event several guests approached me and asked why I worked for someone... I should be doing this myself. With the push of family and friends, in 2005 Stacy K Floral was created, and I started taking weddings and events, each year bookings doubled from the year prior. I took a slow and safe journey to get here but I learned so much along the way. Upon completing my degree, I was creating wedding and event florals out of my apartment studio. While my husband and I were dating we were fortunate enough to buy our first home with a very big garage... that was the next studio with a home based office for consults. In 2010 we decided to take the plunge and open our 1600 square foot studio on Park Avenue and start delivering floral daily. Stacy K Floral remained in this space for 6 years and as of June 2016 we are moving in to a new 2500 square foot location on Russell Street in Rochester where we are expanding our retail offerings to include new giftware lines, home furnishings, everlasting, and gourmet honey.”
Stacy’s story of development as an amazing business owner and florist is truly motivating, and a perfect example of how special our family of Chapel Designers has become. There is no conventional route in this industry—each Chapel Designer has taken a unique path to get where they are today. Some started out in other jobs, some have loved floral design since day one, and some have worked at different shops before starting their own. The similarity in each CD’s path is the journey itself toward a future of creating and contributing to the industry they love.
Each Chapel Designer focuses on different elements of the floral industry. Stacy shared with us what inventory she keeps, what lessons she has learned, and what her biggest challenges have been.
On Inventory: “We have grown in to offering daily floral delivery, weddings and events, event design, plant-scaping, everlasting design, and service many weekly and monthly corporate accounts. In retail we offer online retail which will be expanding to nation wide in 2017 (hopefully) and carry a unique selection of gifts and home decor items. In 2016 Stacy K Floral store manager Danielle and I are launching our new company Beehaviour, a subscription beekeeping company with a luxury honey line.”
On what she has learned: “To be grateful, humble, and trust in the universe. I used to stress about every little decision and every point of growth to the point I would make myself sick. I now know to just let it happen, and be the best leader I can be along the way and everything seems to fall in to place.”
On her biggest challenges in this field: “Learning how to let go. You can't build a brand all by yourself. I have a great team but it took me a long time to let go of the control freak side of me and get out of my own way. I was the only thing between this company’s success because I was bottle necking my team and their capabilities. I still have my moments but I try to call those moments out when they are happening and use them as a point of learning...
... Balance would probably be the second biggest challenge. I know I will never get it perfect but I do take steps with scheduling tricks, no laptop at home, do not disturb settings on the phone. All little adjustments to make sure I give my life and family the time away from work that is deserved.”
When Stacy talks about what has given her the strength to continue in this industry, her team is clearly instrumental. Stacy says that she would be nowhere without her staff—some started out as clients and eventually became valuable members of her team. She has amazing artists, designers, farmers, and friends all working with her. She is forever grateful to her team. She works incredibly hard to make sure her team is happy, and they work extremely hard to make sure the business thrives. She hopes the future with her team and her new location will help her newest dreams flourish. Stacy also notes that without her supportive family, her business never would have become what it is today. One of her greatest priorities is scheduling time with her family, even when her schedule is hectic.
Stacy’s business development, work with her team, passion for the art, flowers, weddings, and clients are the essence of what it means to be a Chapel Designer. We're honored to have a designer and business woman of Stacy's caliber in the CD family. When asked how the Chapel Designers organization has changed and helped her since her initial musings in 2013, Stacy replied:
“Through all of this, the Chapel Designers helped me know I was not alone and that I could just sell my crazy ideas and rely on them to help me figure out how to execute it later. Knowing that there were a few hundred designers to call on for advice has made all the difference for me, as well as learning I am one of a kind when it comes to design from the fearless leader, Holly herself.”