Jamie Lea Bates: Inspired By High School Sweetheart


I guess it starts with Mike, my high school sweetheart (still together today), encouraging me to come work with him at a local flower shop when we were in high school. It began as just a high school job until I was given the opportunity to deliver a wedding. I brought the bride her wedding bouquet and she cried with joy at how beautiful it was. Then I got to decorate and set up arrangements at a beautiful church and reception hall and then I cried with joy at how beautiful it looked! That day I remember thinking this is the most rewarding experience I have had and I need to do it again. I began delivering weddings week-end after weekend. I began to learn all of the design and coordination that goes into wedding flowers with the help of Lori, who was an amazing mentor and teacher. Once I graduated high school, I began taking classes in business management and working full time as a wedding planner at the flower shop. It was quite a work load and I always looked for-ward to the weekends, weekends meant delivering weddings! The shop was getting so busy that I was given the opportunity to meet with brides and turn their ideas into reality. Up until then I thought delivering a wedding was a rewarding experience, I was about to learn that working with brides one on one was even more rewarding. This was the start to my floral design and planning career.

I have since switched floral companies and am blessed to now be a part of Town and Country Gardens. I was given such an amazing opportunity here to continue doing what I love doing, plan and coordinate flowers for weddings and events.

I have learned so much along the way, from the designers I have worked with to all of the brides and grooms I have helped. I continue to learn new things everyday from the owners, designers, interns and staff at Town and Country Gardens. I have all of my clients to thank for inspiring me with new ideas and visions that I help turn into reality. I have an amazing job and it is truly rewarding everyday!

INTERVIEW BY RUTH OMANYA

RUTH: What memorable and best experience have you had in this business and what r wards have you received from it?

JAMIE: In 2007, the floral shop I was planning events for was honored with the award "The Best Of" from the Knot.com. This was such an honor for both the shop and me personally, and was very recognizable to our clients. Many brides respect the publication and we almost immediately saw an increase in our wedding sales. Another very memorable experience for me was the design of our website, eventsbytcg.com I was lucky enough to play a role along with the owner of Town and Country Gar-dens, in the design and creation of our new website. It was a lot of work and hours of effort but to see the end result was incredible. I am being completely honest when I say that every one of my events holds a unique memory for me and are all of the reasons that I enjoy my career.

RUTH: what other events do you service?

JAMIE: Bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, anniversary and birthday parties, baptisms, christenings, baby

showers, corporate meetings, and events.

RUTH: How do you achieve your perfectionism and attention to detail in your work?

JAMIE: By taking my time and treating every event as if it were my own. I connect with my clients and take the time to not only listen to their vision but to see it as well.

RUTH: What challenges do you face in the flower business and how have you overcome them?

JAMIE: I feel the biggest challenge in our industry is meeting each client’s budget and their expectations. Every client has a unique vision of what their special day should consist of with no exception on the decorations. We want to give our clients everything they dream of and sometimes we are the bearer of bad news that their vision unfortunately doesn't fit their budget. We then have to creatively find a way to balance budget and dreams. I overcome this by listening; understanding what is most important and to then turn a vision into reality with-out compromising the budget.

RUTH: What tips can you give aspiring florists and shoppers?

JAMIE: To an aspiring florist never stop learning; I continue to learn from my coworkers every day. Our industry is always changing it is important to keep up! Have an open mind and never lose sight of each client’s vision. Listen to each client and give them your attention. Be enthusiastic and always remember this is not only your career but your passion, enjoy it!

RUTH: Where do you see Town & Country Garden 3-5 years from now as far as growth is concerned?

JAMIE: Town and Country Gar-dens continues to improve on our procedures when it comes to our

wedding /event and everyday business. We continue to keep our quality superior and our service exceptional. We will continue to grow the shop in the years to come by always putting our clients first. Focusing on our client referrals and overall client satisfaction will keep us growing for many years to come.

TIPS AND IDEAS

BY JAMIE LEA BATES

DIY

It does not always make sense to try and do things yourself. Flowers are perishable and should be prepared right before your big day. Talk to your florist, be sure they know what your ideas are and let them help you. A good florist will create decorations that fit both your style and budget.

COLORS

Choose colors that fit your personality. There are so many colors to choose from when selecting wedding flowers. The flowers should always compliment your dresses.

BUDGET

Create a budget for your wedding flowers. Be realistic with your expectations, keep your florist in the loop and be honest right from the start about your budget. It is best to inform the florist of your budget and the things you need that are most important to you. Everyone has a different vision for their special day and letting your florist know yours will help them give you everything you are looking for at the price that is most comfortable for you. There are a lot of options when it comes to flowers and a good florist will give you ideas that not only fit

SELECTING A FLORIST

There are many factors that should play a part in booking your florist. You should feel comfortable with your consultant right from the start. You will need to work with them for months leading up to the wedding. They should have both knowledge of flowers and experience servicing weddings and events. Some great questions to ask are:

How many weddings do you take in a typical weekend? Do you have multiple designers on staff? Do you pro-vide samples if needed? What delivery options are available and do you have enough staff and vehicles to handle delivering my wedding?

BIOGRAPHY

JAMIE LEA BATES

Jamie’s been in the floral industry for 12 years. She was given a unique opportunity to grow and expand a suburban flower shop’s wedding business. In 7 years her attention to detail and customer service helped get her shop the prestigious award “Best of” from the Knot. However, Jamie does not take all the credit. She admits that she has had the opportunity to work with amazing floral designers and coordinators, which has contributed to her knowledge in both planning and coordinating all events, intimate or grand. Her perfectionism and attention to detail shines through in the hundreds of events she has been blessed to be a part of.

In 2007 Jamie joined the Town and Country Gardens team and has continued to use her creativity coordinating events. “I believe listening and understanding the vision of each client is the first step to creating unforgettable floral décor.”

IMAGE BY EB CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY

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Ruth Omanya, Editor in Chief
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