Pretty Big Flowers – The Original Giant Paper Flower Self-Assembly Kit Story!
I’m Yvonne, one-half of the PBF team, Caroline is the other half.
Most of the writing on this site will be from me and that’s because Caroline is busy handling customer calls, orders, warehousing and distribution of all of the kits we’ve been designing, manufacturing and selling all over the world.
We’ve been friends for going on 7 years and this recent venture truly was one friend (Caroline) having a great idea and the other (me) saying “Let’s do it!”
As an executive coach and professional speaker for almost 30 years I’ve helped numerous entrepreneurs create and launch businesses and had a few of my own in that time too. Caroline on the other hand has been running her own successful internet based business with her husband Phil since 1999. Part of that business was importing, marketing and selling ready-made giant paper flowers for special events like weddings, proms and photo shoots all over the world. Because of their popularity she began looking into alternatives to ready-made. There seemed to be only one – handmade.
Thus she found a gap for high quality, precision cut and most importantly easy to use, self-assembly giant paper flower kits (and came up with our fabulous name.)
Where to Begin?
While we had lots of ideas we first needed to design a flower that was easy to assemble, sturdy and also consistent so that our customer, you, would get a beautiful result each time. We also wanted to design a single flower that could be manipulated to create many different looks. So we dug in the kids craft boxes and found scraps of coloured paper and cards and sat at my dining room table testing some of our ideas.
We soon discovered that not all paper is good for paper flowers, that cutting out paper by hand takes absolutely ages and makes your hands ache sooooo much. When we were finished the dining room looked like a bomb had hit it, there were shreds of wasted paper everywhere. Caroline was exhausted and my nerves were frayed. We knew we would have to come up with a better way to do this.
On the plus side we learned a lot about how to truly engineer a paper flower kit to meet all of the requirements we had set ourselves. This is what we came up with:
- we chose my asymmetrical petal design as it offered us the most potential for different shapes. There are so many in fact I come up with new looks almost every time I make a flower. If you don’t believe me check out the Creative Ideas pages and my 30 Day Challenges.
- all of our petals have ‘feet’. When you cross and lock them at the ankle it creates a perfect, and consistent, 3d curve to your petal everytime
- we also invented our own ‘weaving disc’ to tuck your petal feet into to make sure your flowers achieve an beautiful bloom by spacing the petals around the disc evenly
- and finally we created a mounting disk that gives your flower strength and allows you to hang your creation either with the wire we provide or with your own velcro or string
Then we just needed a little bit of magic from our branding fairy and hey presto, a business was born.