In a world of instant gratification, our latest podcast guest, Mary Love Richardson, is here to remind us of the value of a slower, more sustainable approach to business.
Peaceful isn’t often a term we associate with business growth, but Mary Love Richardson is proof that it’s possible. While running a near-million-dollar floral design business, she’s built a routine that protects her energy and allows for regular time off.
Mary Love shares how she went from the edge of burnout to tripling her prices, hiring her first full-time employee, and opening a brand new studio space – all while never working past 5 pm.
Press play for the full interview or keep reading below!
Always an artist at heart, Mary Love studied painting at college. When she graduated in 2010, she took an au pair job in Switzerland while she decided what to do next.
Inspiration struck at her sister’s wedding when she saw her first floral designer in action. “I remember thinking, ‘That’s a job I could do and love.’”
She asked her sister’s floral designer for an internship and the rest is history.
Fresh out of college, Mary Love knew a lot of people who were getting married and needed help with florals. “It blossomed, no pun intended, into a business very quickly.”
Mary Love worked her first wedding in the spring of 2012. Her first full year in business, she did six weddings. By 2014, she’d grown to 35 weddings, and the next year, almost 50.
Although she was largely self-taught, Mary Love also looked up to women like Amy Osaba and other pioneers of the floral design world. “I was very lucky to get into the industry at a golden moment when the niche was open.”
Mary Love didn’t set out to start a business. “I stumbled into it, and I feel so lucky to have found something that combines all my unique skill sets and makes me feel fulfilled.”
For the first few years, Mary Love split her time between nannying and growing the floral business. “All of it was new and fresh. I was trying to figure out how to be a functioning adult and make money, which is a hard transition.”
Eventually, she began to see floral design as her escape from nannying. With the support of her husband, she grew the business steadily until she was making enough money to go full-time.
About four years into business, Mary Love reached a turning point. She was working 47 weddings a year and doing the majority of the work alone with no outside help. “I wanted to continue doing the work I loved, but I needed help to make it sustainable.”
The Blueprint Model was Mary Love’s first major investment in her business education, something she now makes a habit of doing every year.
“Every time I invest in my education, I see a huge return. I wish I had been willing to ask questions earlier instead of feeling like I had to know all the answers.”
The Blueprint Model helped Mary Love name and acknowledge all the outside costs that went into her business – and raise her prices accordingly.
In 2017, her first year after the course, she doubled her prices. Every year since then, she’s worked fewer weddings while continuing to grow her revenue. She now works less than 20 weddings per year. “I like working, I like a busy schedule. But I also want balance.”
At the end of 2019, Mary Love Richardson reached a second turning point. Despite building strong systems in her business, she was still working solo and teetering on the edge of burnout.
When the pandemic started and brought the world to an abrupt halt, Mary Love knew it was time to take a break. “In retrospect, I don’t know if I would have been able to keep going. That was my lowest point.”
The quiet season during Covid gave her a chance to rest and reset – which turned out to be just what she needed.
“Coming out of 2020, I was really determined not to be burnt out again,” Mary Love says. She started outsourcing as much as possible, everything from office work to candles to cleaning up after an event.
In 2022, she hired her first full-time employee. “I started getting inspired and excited about using my business to create work for other people.”
Hiring help wasn’t easy, but Mary Love knows it was the right call. “I still have to tell myself, ‘I’m not being lazy, I’m creating jobs.’ I have to fight that mindset all the time.”
After 11 years in business, Mary Love knows that slow and steady growth is the key to success.
As new entrepreneurs, we tend to compare ourselves to people further along in their journey. But as Mary Love says, “We can’t skip ahead, because we wouldn’t be ready for that.”
Taking on too much too quickly can lead to burnout. Instead, try taking on challenges that expand your capacity for success – keep taking small steps forward, until one day you look back and realize how far you’ve come.
Mary Love never could have predicted the exponential growth she’s experienced these past three years. In 2016, her average client size was $3,300. After taking The Blueprint Model, she was able to triple that price to $9,000. This year, her average client size is $47,000.
While it’s tempting to tell a flashy success story, the reality is that Mary Love Richardson didn’t reach those numbers overnight. She put in years of hard work at almost 300 weddings, gaining experience every step of the way.
“I look back and see that I needed that. If I had taken on a $47,000 budget back then, it would have brought so much stress.”
Her monumental growth has been 11 years in the making – and that slow and steady approach allowed Mary Love to enjoy a peaceful transition from small weddings to luxury.
There are a few key areas that Mary Love Richardson invested in to fuel her growth over the years. The first was her network.
In 2021, when the world started opening back up, she invested a lot of energy and money into networking. She attended conferences, put herself in the room with new contacts, and partnered with multiple wedding planners.
Secondly, she created strong systems in her business – frameworks she and her team could follow over and over again. Those foundations have made all the difference. “It doesn’t matter how high you go. If the foundation is good, there’s no limit.”
One place Mary Love truly excels is in work life balance. She maintains firm boundaries around her time and energy, sticks to a consistent morning routine, and never works past 5 pm. During the annual slow season, she and her husband take time off to travel.
After 11 years in business, Mary Love Richardson has learned to detach her identity from floral design. She loves her work, but she also loves making time for life outside of the business.
Her biggest takeaway from The Blueprint Model was that you can use your business to create the life you want to live. “I could live and breathe flowers all day everyday, but I don’t need to.”
Now that she’s started growing a team, she plans to pass on that same work life balance to her employees.
Mary Love Richardson is on track to reach her first 7-figures next year, but she’s not in any rush to get there. More than a decade in business has taught her to trust the timing and be at peace with where she is in the current moment.
“Amazing things will happen on the journey, but it’s okay if they don’t happen today. It’s okay to go slow and grow without the stress.”
While not everything will happen on the timeline you want it to, Mary Love Richardson’s story is a great reminder: sometimes the wait makes it even sweeter.
To hear the full story and more about Mary Love Richardson, press play on the player above for the full interview or click here to download the transcript.
Since establishing Rosemary & Finch in 2012, Mary Love has built a beautiful business known for lush designs and creative installations. With her organic design style and knack for creative mechanics, Mary Love has developed a specialty in floating floral installations and memorable color palettes. After 11 years in business and nearly 300 weddings, Mary Love lives for puzzling out challenging logistics and thrives on leading a joyful, connected team.
From a childhood of crafting to college days spent falling in love with Impressionist-inspired painting, Mary Love has been obsessed with color and texture since the beginning. Where she used to mix paint on an artist’s palette, Mary Love now blends floral varieties to produce unforgettable color stories.
At home, you can find Mary Love with her husband, Ben, on the balcony of their downtown Nashville high rise, probably drinking old fashioneds and naming all the dogs in the park next door. She and Ben travel often and widely, and together they have hiked all over the world from New Zealand to Tanzania to Patagonia, snorkeled among sea turtles in the Galapagos, and wandered the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
September 14, 2023