Songbird the Singing Rose Girl
What inspired you to create this character?
I think it was less inspiration and more necessity. When I first started selling roses at a renaissance faire, it was recommended to me that I should consider some kind of gimmick, something that could call to the market and therefore, make me special (and help my sales rise). I was asked that season, sometime in the beginning, to do a "make her laugh and blush with embarrassment simultaneously" delivery.
Oh, that's a thing you should know: rose sellers sell to the patron masses coming through the gate, but often times we'll also sell and deliver flowers (depending on the show, it can be more than just roses) from vendor to vendor, performer to performer, or any combination from Person A to Person B.
So it was left up to me to determine the "make her laugh and blush with embarrassment simultaneously" bit, and I had already been playing around with singing as a way to catch a patron's eye (or in this case, their ear), so I picked a song, got noticed, and from there the Songbird persona started.
How did you decide to combining singing and selling roses at Renaissance Faires?
Well, like I said, I wanted to think of something, and when I was younger, I had decided I didn't want an actor's life (my career is primarily based behind the scenes now, which was always my bigger passion), but I missed singing. Singing was the one part about performing that jazzed me the most. So I like to think serendipitous found its way back in somehow.
What songs do you sing?
Anything! I tell people, I'm a walking, talking jukebox. Sometimes, people who want a flower delivered by me want a song but can't think of one, so I pull from a roster of things I know: previous deliveries, perfect situational go-to's, the odd duck here and there. But there's rarely just one song I always sing.
What’s your favorite song?
Whatever happens to be stuck in my head at the time.
What has driven growth behind your business?
Numbers. Anything successful in business is always a numbers game. I talk to everyone I see, and I mean everyone.
Mostly I aim to make them laugh, happy people are likely to spend their money. Sometimes I'll spend all day joking with the same few people, I run into them all day, and at the end, they said yes to purchasing a flower, because the flower reminds them of the funny rose girl with the hat who made them laugh all day.
They're then more likely to take care of it too. I've had patrons come back several weeks later and say the flower I sold them is still going strong on their kitchen mantle.
What challenges do you face as a performing arts businesswoman?
I think the biggest challenge has always been dealing with those who value power over collaboration or customer service. It always boils down to ego - which the performing arts is chalk full of. And it's hard to tell who'll be into what at first glance sometimes.
I've found I've had to walk the line as a young minority in my career over anything else. Over time, it's become less challenging and more annoying, but I've gotten to a point where I can pick and choose who I want to work with. It makes it easier for sure.
What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
I would say get uncomfortable with your goals, real uncomfortable. You can't find success playing safe. And also, have the self-awareness to see what's working and not working when you're in that uncomfortable zone, it can help you reshape your uncomfortable goals and up your chances for success.
Meet Songbird, the Singing Rose Girl on Facebook.