Welcome to the New Provincial newsletter!
I'm Romane, the creator behind the New Provincial! It's been pretty quiet up in here 🙊 But I've finally decided to restart my newsletter and you can now expect a monthly email and regular Instagram updates on my creative journey, work from creators that inspire me and other musings.
For the first edition of the ✨ New Provincial Newsletter ✨, I'm bringing you along my flower farming adventure... This summer, I started a side-hustle business, selling fresh flowers I grew from seed in my garden. Most of my revenue came from farmers markets, but I also completed a few ad-hoc custom orders. Here’s everything I learnt in the last 4 months.
Selling things I make has always been outside of my comfort zone. I was really nervous about asking people money for my flowers. On my first market, my bouquets were seriously underpriced and I needed some encouragement to raise my prices. Luckily, my boss Nathan posted some timely pricing advice:
Following Nathan’s tips, I refined my bouquet tiers, increasing the price and quantity of the medium and large tiers. I also renamed my bouquets to “posy”, “market bouquet” and “gift bouquet” instead of using “small”, “medium”, “large” to better highlight the value of each tier.
That next week, I thought no one would buy my more expansive bouquets. But here's what happened instead: I sold out and and my sales grew by +135%!
2. Perfect your flower mix
I wished I planned my plant selection better in winter. At the time, browsing the seed catalogues and adding to cart flowers I fancied was fun but these choices had very real consequences during market season: I felt very limited by my past decisions. It may be difficult when shopping for seeds to visualise your selection but ask yourself carefully the following questions:
I recommend graphing your list of plants, by plant type (focals vs fillers vs structural), colour and flowering time. With proper planning, you'll be sure to have a balanced flower selection that will get you going all year round.
3. Learn to work with the weather
I try to grow flowers sustainably and that means no pesticides and minimal watering. In 2021, Devon was being Devon and it rained the majority of the summer. I prepared for 2022 with organic preventative slug measures and with a selection of flowers that will enjoy our wet climate. But guess what happened? The drought of the century, no rain for 4 weeks!
It slowed down my production dramatically and shortened my flower season by a good month. While I do not have an immediate solution to fix climate change, my practical advice is make sure to have more seedlings ready to go at all times. My philosophical advice is to learn to let go: gardening will challenge all your controlling tendencies.
4. Side-hustle vs full-time gig
It may sound like I am always outside, tending to my garden, but I actually spend the vast majority of my day in my home office, working on new features for ConvertKit. As soon as I started growing flowers, I fantasised about one day retiring from tech and being a flower farmer full-time.
This summer has shown me that I am not ready for this switch just yet. Flowers provided a very beneficial creative outlet but I was always very happy to go back to my desk and use a different part of my brain for the rest of the day - a perfect balance. By keeping flowers a side-hustle, it takes a lot of the pressure off my shoulder. It’s also much easier to mentally manage extreme weather or an empty market. More importantly, I discovered that it’s very difficult to make a living by growing flowers… Continue reading for more details 💸
5. Profits and costs
The big question: how much money did I make?
With five markets and a few custom orders, I made a total of £450. Did I cover my costs? Nope, not even close! This year alone I invested almost £800 in getting the farm running. That being said, about 80% of my costs was for compost (I’m planning on making my own going forward) and tools I will use for years to come. Going forward, with better preparation, I believe I could make around £500 per month, from June to September. At that point, my side-hustle will pay for itself.
It's not a lot, but it's something. Sorry if you read all of this hoping you can get rich growing and selling flowers!
So... what’s next?
My fresh flower season is over but I’m still very much inspired by the nature around me. I’m currently busy processing flowers for drying and I’m hoping I will be able to sell my dried-flower and pressed-flower creations in the autumn, probably on Etsy and at a few local Christmas markets.
I’m also focusing on growing my calligraphy, illustration and sewing skills and I will share this process with my newsletter and on Instagram. My goal is to document my progress and, hopefully, to inspire others to live a creative life. If you’re interested in seeing what I’m making and discovering fellow inspiring makers, watch out for future emails and follow me on Instagram:
I hope you enjoyed this little flower journey. I can't wait to share what I'm working on with you! Don't hesitate to reply to this email, I'll be more than happy to talk about flowers some more ✨