Kaylyn Hewitt is the owner and creative director at True Vine. After graduating from Baylor University, she moved to Boston, MA to pursue a career in child development. Loving her work, but not feeling as though she was the right fit for the industry, Kaylyn decided to end her pursuit of higher education and started dreaming of owning her own design company. For as long as she can remember she’s been drawn to flowers. After a year of dreaming and planning, she started 1956blooms (now True Vine Studios) and has been on this wild ride since.
Tell me about your path to becoming a freelance florist, stylist, and instructor.
My path to become a florist is almost as organic as it gets. I moved to Boston for school from my home state of Texas. During my first year in Boston, a lot of my dear friends got married, so I helped with design and flowers. At the time, it was more of a creative outlet for me. I had no plans of being of florist, but the more I did it, the more I loved it. Eventually, friends became friends of friends and the rest is history.
In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?
I was pretty naive to the creative industry and freelancing, so I did what I liked and didn’t pay too much attention to what everyone else was doing or what everyone else wanted. I stayed true to myself and what I loved, so when clients approached me, I knew already it could be a potentially great fit.
Do you have any tips for being your most productive?
A lot of times, it feels like I am the clown at the circus trying to keep all the spinning plates in the air. I’m not naturally a Type A person, but I’ve learned the tricks of the trade. Overtime, learning to say no and creating healthy boundaries have done wonders for staying productive.
What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?
There have been so many things—some small and some pretty big. But, when you’re a freelancer everything feels like the greatest struggle because of the pressure we put on ourselves.
For me, I think this sums it up, my greatest struggle has been trying to please everyone with my work. I design what I love, but for a long time I really, really cared what other people thought of it and any negative criticism or complaint felt like a swift kick in the heart. I care a lot about design and aesthetics, and creating is a really personal thing for me, but I’ve had to learn to not take everything so personally. There will be people that do not like your work. You’re not wrong and they're not wrong, aesthetics are subjective and that’s such a great thing.
What is your favorite thing about freelance?
I love creative control. :)
A little over a year ago you were shifting your focus away from weddings and more towards workshops and styling. How has that shift gone? What has surprised you most about it?
It’s been hard but great. I’m still in the trenches with that shift but I breathe deeper and sleep longer. :) This period has really helped me become introspective and really think about what I love and what I love doing. It’s forced me to acknowledge both my strengths and my weaknesses, and it’s given me the opportunity to take my time.
Do you have any tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details?
Yes, find a way to delegate everything that is not life giving to you. I felt like I had to do everything and trying to do everything was taking away all of my creative energy.
This advice sounds expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Ask for help. There are people in your life that are rooting for you and want to help. Being a freelancer does not mean you have to be a lone wolf. Ask your super Type A friend to help you organize your books or help you with responding to emails. The more you delegate, the more time you have to create and find your dream clients.
Since you are your own boss, do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?
I’ve gotten this question a lot over the years, and it’s always so hard to answer. And honestly, when you’re a freelancer, you work is a part of your life. You’re doing something you love and chances are it was part of your every day life before it became your job, so my advice is to find what works best for you. I label my time to help with the balance, and sometimes I might be doing the exact same thing during what would be labeled as ‘for work’ or ‘for fun’. Continue to practice your craft outside of your work environment and I think you’ll find balance there.
Any special projects you are looking forward to?
Not any in particular, but I’m excited for True Vine version 2018! Who knows what could happen.
The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:
Passion, gratitude , resiliency, and a fourth would be patience :).