We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Katie Arani. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Katie below.
Katie , appreciate you joining us today. Let’s start with what makes profitability in your industry a challenge – what would you say is the biggest challenge?
One of the biggest challenges to keeping a profitable business in the event industry is price inflation. Many event professionals price out their products and services months, sometimes a year in advance of the event date. I primarily focus on weddings, which has proven quite a challenge with Covid-19 setbacks. We are seeing flower price increases from 10-40%, due to the increase in fuel costs and labor shortages. This presents a challenge, because a wedding booked pre-pandemic is locked in at cost during normal circumstances. A lot of the time, the event professional ends up absorbing the additional cost. It’s been a struggle to maintain healthy margins over the past two years. It’s looking like price inflation is here to stay, so I’m currently trying to educate my new clients that a wedding floral budget in 2018, really needs to be increased about 25-40% to cover increased product and labor costs.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
I graduated from University of North Texas with a degree in Communication Design, emphasis on Art Direction. I worked my first few years at advertising agencies and in-house for Neiman Marcus Online. After much reflection and quarter-life-crisis-angst, I decided to leave the advertising and branding world to do something different. I was tired of having my day predetermined for me and needed more excitement. I had always imagined one day having my own business. After taking a job working at a flower shop and loving every second of it, I realized that is what I wanted to do.
I started Billie ball & co. in May 2017, and it’s been a roller coaster ride ever since.
Billie Ball & Co. specializes in floral design for weddings and events in the DFW Metroplex. I get asked all the time about the name. A Billy ball (also called craspedia) is a type of flower. It’s a tiny yellow ball on a skinny stick. I love them so much because they don’t really look like flowers at all. They are the different kids that don’t really fit into the other flower groups. I changed the spelling to “Billie” to make it sound a bit more feminine. It’s in all lowercase because I’m a branding nerd and we like pointless oddities like that.
That leads me into what makes bb&co. different. We are small. Real small. I handle every single aspect of my business. I have a team of designers that help for large events, but mostly it’s just me. I have a distinct level of care and attention to detail that I impart into all of my designs. I obsess over every single arrangement, every stem, every piece of waste I put in the trashcan. I love spending so much time with my clients, most of them become my friends.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
When I first started my business, I was desperate for any and every opportunity! I was eager for experience and a chance to learn. Once I got my first 100 or so events under my belt, I kept going and continuing to pursue every inquiry that came my way. This eventually lead me dangerously close to burnout. I’m now trying to stay true to my value and aesthetic by only taking on the clients that are the right fit, even if that means taking on fewer. Essentially, I learned to say “no!”
Any insights you can share with us about how you built up your social media presence?
Honestly, the key with social media is repetition. The algorithm constantly changes, but I feel like frequent posters get rewarded. I don’t post nearly as often as I used to, but when I first started out, tagging other collaborators and using the most accurate hashtags really helped. I looked to see what hashtags other successful brands were using and applied them to my list.
- Website: www.billieballco.com
- Instagram: billieballco
- Linkedin: Katie Arani
Laning Photography Alyssa Cates Photography