So, I'll be honest. When I was in the wedding planning process, flowers weren't really a big deal to me. What can I say? I was the typical groom. But, ladies, I understand. Especially if photographs are a big priority to you, flowers mean EVERYTHING!
Well, fortunately for me, I got to be schooled on all things florals by Kerrie Brogdon from KB Farms Cut Flowers. Not only that but we also talked about how she and her husband came to owning KB Farms, how they've been able to adapt and make it through COVID-19, as well as what life is like in Cottondale, FL.
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The intro and outro for this Highlight Weddings & Events Podcast was edited and produced by DropHouse Voiceover Production Studio and Tony Tee Neto, Voiceover Artist & Audio Producer. For more info on branding elements, editing, and post-production services, visit http://drophouse.com.
The song used for the intro and outro for this episode is Crush by https://audiohub.com License: CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:00:25] Well, hello again, everyone. Thanks again for checking out the podcast. My name is DJ Josh with Highlight Weddings and Events, and I have an awesome guest with me today. Her name is Kerrie Brogden from KB Farms Cut Flowers. How are you doing today, Kerrie?
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:00:44] Doing great! Thanks for having us, Josh
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:00:47] Oh, my pleasure. My pleasure.
We were talking a little bit offline. You are actually the second guest in a row that I have never met in person. We have as Mallory phrased it instrument. So we're acquainted on Instagram. So if you don't mind, can you tell the listeners a little bit about yourself?
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:01:08] My name is Kerrie Brogdon and I'm a born and bred Cajun, so I'm a transplant in the panhandle. And I met my husband let's see, we've been married 13 lucky years. And we were in the oil and gas industry having a ball, adventurous, we moved a lot. It was fun, but then we had my son, and I guess as maternal and paternal instinct kick in, and it's like, "Ah, it's time to settle get them in school and put some roots down.
My husband is from Cottondale, FL. So we decided to come back to Cottondale. We bought 40 acres and opened up a flower farm.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:01:46] Okay. What did y'all do in the oil and gas industry?
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:01:50] When we were in the oil and gas industry, my husband and I both were abstracters, which meant that we researched the minerals and the surface title for oil and gas companies who were interested in drilling wells and, or putting pipelines through people's property.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:02:06] Oh, okay. So you helped the companies find ideal tracts of land to get the minerals that they're looking for.
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:02:13] Right. And told them who they need to go see to buy those minerals and the surface.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:02:18] Okay. What excites you about being a part of the wedding event team for a couple?
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:02:25] Well, it's an exciting time. Everybody's excited. Everybody's happy. There is a little bit of anxiety and, I think I chose a good industry because I perform well under stress. It's great to be able to take that stress from that bride and her family or her party, whoever it is, and channel it into positive energy, through calming them about the flower process and how much it costs and what they can do. It can all be overwhelming. So I enjoy the process of the bride first coming in, and then the actual end result. When she sees what she's decided upon and how excited she is about the day coming together.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:03:05] Totally. One of the things is, if you've never been married, you don't know what you're getting yourself. There's so much that goes into it. And I mean, it's one of those things that you just don't know what you don't know, so it definitely helps to have people or companies on your wedding event team that are experienced and professional because that's just going to make it easier for you to relax and know that everything is going to be okay.
And with a wedding, there's so many different things that are all happening either simultaneously, or then you have the process of getting to the wedding. There's things that come in and then you're dealing with something else and then, "Oh yeah, you have to take care of this part." So it's kind of like you're juggling, but the balls are coming in and out and you're not really sure when it's going to happen.
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:03:58] Right. So that's the other thing. As your experience grows, you learn, "Okay. You need to have somebody in charge of this part. If you want to have a dual purpose for a floral that we create put somebody in charge of this so you don't have to worry about it. We're going to set it up this way so that they can do this whenever they move it.
There's all those little details that make a wedding easy for the bride and groom, because in my opinion, the bride and groom should not be working on their wedding day. We work to make it as effortless as possible for the bride and groom and their parents and their bridal party. You know, that's part of our job.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:04:34] Yeah, totally. It kind of makes me sad when I'm at a wedding, and at the end of the reception I'm loading all my stuff up and I see the bride and the groom working on breaking everything down. And I'm like, "That's the last thing you're going to remember about the end of your wedding." And granted different couples have different priorities, but I think it's worth it to be able to come up with a solution where the couple is not involved in taking everything down and putting it away.
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:05:05] Yeah. And I think that's all part of the preparation that goes into it prior to your wedding day. And that's part of our consultation as well as the flowers and the fun part is the mechanics and how everything works.
And let me tell you something, you don't think brides are excited about that, but when you start offering hints about how things can go smoothly, those bride's eyes, just, they light up. It's nice for them to feel comfortable.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:05:31] And the flowers specifically are, I mean, coming from a guy's perspective, it's like, "Yeah, yeah, whatever." But if one of her big things is pictures, the flowers have to be perfect because they're going to play a role in most of the pictures that are taken for the wedding day. Another reason why a bride starts to get excited at that point is because now they're starting to see. Their vision come to life in front of them.
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:05:58] Yeah. We start out with a mood board, like what kind of wedding do you want? We'll have some brides that come in and they show us pictures. We service all clients, no matter what your budget is. So there are times where we have to substitute things and being a former florist and growing a lot of the things that we use for our weddings, we are able to offer beautiful things at a good price. So if there are substitutions, you don't feel like it's a substitution when you look at your wedding flowers. They're just as pretty as a picture that you came in with. And, you can walk our fields and see it so that you'd know and feel confident in your choices that you make.
And if we don't have it in season, we have pictures of it from the field. So they're able to pick and choose which flowers they want to fit their budget and wallk the fields to see them.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:06:51] Okay. And since you've kind of already touched on it a little bit, what's unique about KB Farms Cut Flowers.
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:06:58] The most unique thing about us is that we are not only a florist, but we farm our flowers. So we are a flower farm, and we grow on about an acre and a half. Brides are able to come to the farm. We are almost finished with our shop and our consultation area. So you're able to come have a few drinks or whatever you want to do. We wine and dine you, and then we walk through the fields and look at the flowers and we get a good idea of what you want for your wedding. What your vision is.
Some people might say, "Well, I don't really want wild flowers." Well, we don't grow wild flowers because we also sell to florists. So our flowers have to be top notch. They have to be straight. They have to be beautiful because we're not only servicing weddings. We do know how to produce flowers that are just as beautiful as what you would buy from Ecuador only it's grown in the United States.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:07:58] Okay. Can you describe what a florist-level flower would be for somebody who doesn't know anything? Because I sure don't.
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:08:08] So. I kind of referred to it as like my grandmother was my inspiration for the flower form. While she had beautiful flowers, she might not necessarily have had cut flowers that would last for a wedding out of water or be long enough to make these beautiful, big arrangements that we make. So I would mainly describe it as just being tall enough. The stems need to be tall enough. So we have to know how to grow them. They have to be straight, not too bendy, because you don't want that in your arrangement. And they have to be the right type. You have to know what you're growing and cutting so that it lasts on that wedding day and it's not drooping by the time you're walking down the hall.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:08:51] Mm, gotcha. What are some trends that you've noticed as far as what brides are picking out for their florals?
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:08:59] So I'll just tell you. The trends, they are mainly going to be around the pastel palette. The pastel color palette is what we're talking about. In the fall they like to use these dark, almost black, flowers in their bridles. And then we might throw a mustard color in there every now and then, but for the most part, everybody is choosing palletes that are not full of color. Lots of pinks. Lots of light blues. Almost kind of Victorian.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:09:30] Ok. What is it like balancing the different industries, because you mentioned that you not only provide florals for weddings and events, but you also provide flowers for florists. Is there like a distinct difference between the two? How do you approach that?
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:09:48] Our first year we just got burned. We just grew flowers and didn't really decipher between the groups. First, we were doing markets, we were doing brides, and we were doing florists. We were selling the same flowers to all three groups. Well, you know, after you have a little bit of experience, you learn that there are certain flowers, while you can use them in the wedding industry and they can cross borders, your flowers are different for the different groups.
Like my peonies that are going to be new to the farm this spring, I wouldn't necessarily bring those to market unless somebody would want to buy those specifically before we brought them. That would be more of a wedding flower.
Our zenias ,while we mix them in for our weddings, they're usually not a focal point. That tends to be more of a market bouquet. And when I say market bouquet, we also sell to grocery stores and things like that. So there are different flowers for the different groups.
And our florists, for instance, snapdragons are going to be really popular in the winter with our florists. While we'll use them in the wedding, they won't be the mainstay of the winter crops for weddings. We would use a lot of stock for weddings, the peonies, the ranunculus, all that kind of stuff. More of a high-end flower for weddings.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:11:10] I think that Rhoda went with peonies, if I'm not mistaken. But like I said, before I was like, babe, if you like the flowers, then we can go with those. I was not really invested in the floral decor.
I've talked to a few wedding professionals that run a business with their spouse. What has the experience been like for you and your husband operating a family business?
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:11:36] Well, when we were in the oil and gas industry, we worked together. Worked together, lived together, traveled together. So it's not something new to us. We enjoy it. And we've learned how to work with each other. I mean, you know, we have our times, but we keep work work. And when we come home, we try to just be a normal family. And the farming thing has been really fun because I did more of the planting and designing and the organizing. And he's more of like, let me run the tractor, figure out what tools you need for this and help you in that way. You know? So we each have our duties. He takes on more of, I call it the manly role. So it works out because we're not in each other's feet all the time.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:12:20] Oh, okay. Gotcha. So you've figured out what each other's lane is.
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:12:25] Right. Yeah. I don't ever see him meeting with a bride. Like I never see that happening.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:12:33] I mean, I will say this as a wedding DJ, we are one of the few parts of a wedding that is very much male-dominated, and I've always found it interesting how we have to, in our role, really relate to the bride well. Because, for the most part, the bride is the one who is making the decision for nearly everything.
Now, sometimes when the couple is planning the wedding, the bride tells her fiance, Hey, you're going to be in charge of the music or the entertainment, but I would say 75, 80% of it it's pretty much run by the bride. So it's always been that interesting dynamic of interfacing with the couple and dealing directly with the bride.
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:13:21] Now for our tour that we have, when the brides come, and they want to look at the flowers that they've chosen, they will bring their fiance at that time. They actually do have fun looking at what they've chosen, seeing what she's been talking about, and knowing how everything's going to come together. I find that they're okay with that. They don't really care as long as she's happy, usually.
Sometimes they're like, "You know what? I grew up and my mom always had lavender." Like I had a room the other day. His mom had lavender in her garden and he wanted to incorporate lavender. So I thought that was great, and we were able to do that for him. We were able to make his boutinere centered around lavender. That was really a good moment for us because we don't find that many moments, like you're saying, with the groom.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:14:07] I always ask this question because I've found that, even though COVID-19 has been something that's universal, everybody has had their own specific individual experience. So, how has COVID-19 impacted you personally and professionally at KB Farms Cut Flowers?
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:14:25] You bring up COVID-19 and I think everybody kind of takes a deep breath because you don't want it to overcome you, but sometimes it does. More than just how has it affected us, it's how do we get through it and make the best of it so that we're not in this sense of just a dark cloud. It hit us hard in the wedding industry. There were no more weddings. Not only that florists kind of quit buying from us for probably about four months because they didn't know what was going to happen.
And then overseas shipping was cut off. So then we got busy, but it's hard to decide Because we grow everything, we have to plan months in advance and we have to wait for that seed to grow. So what we decided with COVID finally is that we're just going to move on like COVID's not even here. If we sell them, we sell them. If we don't, we don't. And you know what we found? We found that the public retail customers came through for us so much and really helped us survive that time of just doom. I mean, it was just terrible. The six months were terrible, but we got through them, I feel like we're coming out on the other side now, and we've made some great contacts in the retail industry.
Which really has opened up a new group of people for us that we didn't have before. So we're thankful for COVID in that sense.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:15:57] No, if anything, it's required everybody in the business world to look at what they're doing and either figure out how to overcome COVID-19's limitation or how can you take what's going on and maybe pivot or do something slightly different that still makes sense with what you were already doing? I think it will be interesting to see if companies start doing more telecommuting, just because of how prevalent zoom has become.
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:16:28] Yep. We also do workshops where people can come. Like we have a Christmas workshop coming up for wreaths. In the spring, we do lots of bring-your-own-vase type of workshops. We have designers who come in and teach courses for people who just want to learn how to use flowers in their homes or who just want to have a girl's night out. A lot of that had to change and we started out doing zoom meetings for those things.
But what we realized is that as long as we enforce, "Hey, bring your mask." People wanted to get out still. They still wanted to do things. They wanted to get away from the kids for a little bit, because everybody was always together. And it was kind of nice to have some adult time. There was a period of time, like I said, about six months where we didn't know what was coming next. And then it started to get better. So we pivoted. We have new customers for it. Every day is a new day. And we have three weddings on the books already for April. So I think we are turning the corner.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:17:28] That's awesome. Yeah. I talked to Suzanne Miller. She does calligraphy. And she said something to the effect of that people were ordering more home signs because they wanted to change the decor in their house because they're always in their house. Because we've had to limit where we can go, just getting out and doing anything is a welcome break from the new normal.
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:17:54] Yeah. The weird.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:17:54] And I say that with air quotes. Yes, the weird. Just being able to experience something else other than the monotony of everyday life. People are kind of hungry or thirsty for it right
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:18:08] now.
Yeah. And you know, that's the thing that we've noticed is, sometimes people are like, "Um, is this a mask-required area?" I do find not as many people are so big on the masks, so I just not in a sense of like, "Oh, that's crazy." But if people are getting more comfortable with, this is a virus and we're just going to have to go through it, like we would, anything else.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:18:28] Ok. Well, Kerrie. You've already shared who you are as a professional. Would you mind if I asked you some personal questions?
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:18:36] No. That's fine.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:18:38] Because I personally have never been there, what's life like in Cottondale?
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:18:43] So Cottondale has one stoplight. And Hey, we're on the book, right? From what my husband tells me. And I haven't had time to do much history, but it's a railroad town. It used to be really popular town. And I'm hoping one day it will be again, because 231 goes from Dothan, Alabama, it goes farther than that, but a lot of people coming from dosin coming from Georgia, Tennessee goes to the beach via 231. So, I'm hoping one day to see Cottondale build up again on 231 where you can stop and get an ice cream, or you can stop at these little shops.
I hope one day. It like that again. Because it's empty buildings right now on 231. And I just envisioned cute things along there where people can stop with their families before they get to the beach. So if you're looking for a good drive, it's not a bad drive and you get into the country pretty quick. I'm used to growing up in the city. So having 40 acres and a farm life is new to me and I'm loving it.
It's so nice to wake up and watch the sun rise and just slow down for a little bit and enjoy the simple thing. We have ducks, we have chickens, and we're learning about how to have a worm farm and things that I just never thought would be possible without this farm and this land and being in the country. Now don't get me wrong. I love the beach and I love driving the 30A and Panama City and everything else. But home for me is definitely in the country.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:20:14] Now you said you grew up in the city. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:20:19] So I have a master's degree in education and I guess for about five years, I was a teacher in my first job years. Just realized that while I loved teaching, I think there's a lot of things that teachers have to do in addition to what they're taught to do. Sometimes that can weigh on you. I have a huge respect for teachers. But, for me, the path wasn't going to be teaching for the rest of my life. I knew that I wanted to do something where I would be home, where I could do my own hours, I wanted to be my own boss. And I looked at other people like, "How are they doing that? What are they doing?" And I would just dive into, I want to be my own boss one day. Flower farming has opened that up and the oil and gas industry sort of gave us that, because you have a lot of leeway on the timeframe you need to work and lunch hours and things like that. Teachers don't get lunch hours.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:21:16] You're kind of confined. You're limited as to the choices or the freedom to kind of create your own.
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:21:24] Yeah. Very limiting. And it's also, you put your heart and soul in it, through it sometimes. And then sometimes it's still not good enough. So I felt like it was always trying to reach that bar with, especially some of these children who come in and maybe they don't have the background that other kids have. Maybe the parents didn't read to them and you have to totally start from ground zero, which is what you're taught to do. But sometimes it doesn't work out.
And so for me, going home and knowing that I had failed in some sense, sometimes. It was hard on me. I saw these kids' faces all the time. And so I knew I needed to step back from that a little bit and just do something else that wasn't so hard on my heart.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:22:05] Yeah. I got my bachelor's in accountancy and while I was taking my classes, I knew that I did not want to be an accountant.
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:22:14] Yeah. You know, my husband, that's what he graduated in is accounting, and he definitely did not ever want to be an accountant.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:22:21] Yeah. I think the school of thought with getting your degree is it shows that you can complete something that you start, which is why most people don't even really necessarily have a profession that their degree is directly applicable to. Which is kind of weird because why get the degree anyway then?
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:22:41] Well, for one, because my dad told me to, and that's what I did. And then for two, because when I tell somebody I have a master's degree, that makes me feel better. And I don't know that it's should, but it does. It makes me feel like I finished something. And that even though I'm not teaching in a classroom, we also have field trips and kids come out and they get to see how a seed goes from a seed to a flower. We talk about that and they walk the farm. So I think I'm always teaching. It's just not in a classroom setting.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:23:18] Well, Kerrie, do you have any final thoughts that you'd like to leave the listeners before we wrap it up?
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:23:24] I want them to know that we are in Cottondale, Florida. We design weddings. We design events. We have flowers. And if you're thinking, "Oh, I don't know if she's going to have this in season. I don't know if she can grow this stuff. Well, we supplement also. We are a florist as well. If you're looking for something different, if you're looking for something cool and exciting, come visit us or give us a call.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:23:52] Okay. How can couples reach out to you and get more information about KB farms? Cut flowers.
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:23:58] So we're on the internet and our website is www.KBfarmscutflowers.com. And they can go to All Things Wedding on our home site. We're also on Instagram and Facebook underneath @KBformscutflowers. And if they'd like to talk to us a little bit or have questions about anything, they can call us at (850) 272-8770. And we'd be glad to talk it through.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:24:25] All right. Well, Kerrie, thanks so much for stopping by and getting on the podcast. Did you enjoy it today?
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:24:31] I did. Thank you so much. This was really nice afternoon. She took me out of the field. It was really hot today.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:24:38] Ah, good old Florida. What are you going to do?
Kerrie Brogdon: [00:24:42] Never know. Never know we'll be in the fifties soon. Huh? That's what I hear.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:24:46] I hope so it would be much nicer. So here's to all the couples that are in the wedding planning process and here's to making those weddings a highlight.