The Splendid Five asks the same five questions of a different wedding or creative professional each Friday.
This week we're meeting Timo Bolte, a creative entrepreneur specializing in event and fashion floral design based in Vienna, Austria and Paris, France.
Name: Timo Bolte
Company Name: Timo Bolte Floral Design
Wedding Industry Segment: Floral Design
Years in Industry: 13
Location: Europe – Vienna, Austria and Paris, France
1. How did you get started in the wedding industry?
For me there is not a question about how I started in the wedding industry because flowers and weddings are always closely connected. You will never find a wedding without flowers. Since I became a florist, I've been a fan of event design and the flowers that accompany them. Living in Vienna and Japan, I've experienced extraordinary times since the first days. Lavish weddings led the new norm, sleek design, the best materials, and impeccable floral service. A wedding is a space of imagination and dreams and somewhere you can go to experience life from a very different perspective.
2. How has the industry changed since you started?
I have lived in Vienna for the last couple of years and my experience was that weddings in Vienna went from DIY to more opulent flower arrangements and decoration. Vienna has so many wonderful big palaces and beautiful castles that need lots of flowers to be decorated adequately.
Another aspect is that there are many destination weddings in Vienna from all over the world i.e. Indian, Chinese, Arabian, Russian, and American couples who bring new, international, and fresh wind and influence to an old and very traditional European city.
3. What was the biggest lesson you learned early on in your business?
From very early on, I have learned that as a supplier, which basically is a florist, you should not be as romantic and dreamful as a bride. If you keep the distance, you can be a good guide to your bride and help her when she has unrealistic expectations and is changing her ideas and dreams daily. Of course the bride doesn't know how to plan a wedding – how should she? For most, it's the first and hopefully the last one. So it's on me to earn her trust in the beginning, which will make my life much easier during the next steps until everything ends up being more than she expects.
4. What is the biggest lesson you've learned in the past few years?
It's all about the mother. You can be best friends with the bride, and you could even say her bridal soulmate, but as long as you don´t reach the mother you've lost. On the other hand, when the bride cannot make any decisions, the mother is turning into the secret leader. Make the mother your best friend and the budget will be on your side.
5. What one piece of advice would you give to another entrepreneur on sticking it out in a competitive industry?
What I have learned in the last few years is that you should be courageous and trust in yourself to find your own way.
Do not copy others.
You should stick together with others in the industry because it is not always easy and it is better to have trustworthy people in a competitive market who can help you when you need their help.