Archive For The “Interview” Category

Interview: Sarah Pappas of Fresh Cut Detroit

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

This week, we had our first ever farm Instagram takeover with the lovely Sarah Pappas of Fresh Cut Detroit. Sarah took us on a two-day flower adventure, telling the story of her Detroit based farm, introducing us to her crew, and sharing her philosophy on sustainable farming practices. Sometimes it can be easy to forget all of the blood, sweat, tears and love that go into each beautiful flower you see in our buckets, so we can’t thank Sarah enough for using our platform to share her knowledge and spread some flower love (and during American Flowers month, nonetheless!)

 

Though we learned a ton during the takeover, we still had more questions, so continue reading to get to know even more about Sarah & Fresh Cut Detroit!

 


 

Hi Sarah! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions so our followers can get to know a little more about your farm after this week’s takeover! To start off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and how Fresh Cut Detroit came to be?

Hi Mayesh, thanks for letting me take over your IG feed! I’m Sarah Pappas, the farmer & founder of Fresh Cut Detroit, a flower farm in the city of Detroit. I’ve been doing farming & gardening work in some shape or form for over ten years. I’m a hardworking, fun loving, compassionate, ambitious farmer. I value a give-and-take relationship with my land, my crops, and my crew.

I’ve had a lucky, interesting life that’s given me a world of experiences in farming & gardening, education & empowerment, community living & loving. Fresh Cut Detroit Flower Farm is the product of these experiences plus the vibrant, pulsing moment of time & space that is the city of Detroit’s urban agriculture movement. I wouldn’t trade this space & time for any other in the world.

 

Tell us a little bit about your operation – where are you located and how big is your farm? A little virtual tour!

Fresh Cut is ¼ acre on a corner at the edge of the historic residential neighborhood of Woodbridge. We’re a couple miles northwest of downtown Detroit, a short walk from the campus of Wayne State University. You can see our hoophouse from a block away, and as you approach you start to see the bright colors of the annuals in the west beds. Our farm dog Ruti will bark at you as you walk along the fence, under the big elm tree that keeps our house cool, and to the east beds where our earliest self-seeded annuals & biennials are planted. The east beds cozy up to a wild woodlot area where we forage crops like motherwort, dame’s rocket, and wild sweet peas.

 

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

Do you have a team helping you out at Fresh Cut Detroit?

I have a lot of people helping at the farm, thank goddess. This year, on our crew we have an assistant manager, a design/delivery person, 2 farm crew members, and 2 youth crew members. Detroit has a historic, thriving Urban Agriculture community and my skilled labor is hired from this pool of local people. My crew members have completed agricultural training programs through Earthworks Urban Farm, Detroit Black Community Food Security Farm, and Keep Growing Detroit, and volunteered at the Student Organic Farm at MSU.

 

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

While growing flowers and owning a small farm sounds like a fairy tale job to many, I’m sure not everyday is as glamorous as it appears! It’s hard work, but probably very rewarding as well. What gets you out of bed every morning and inspires you to keep going everyday?

You’re right, it’s absolutely not glamorous every minute, but a cute apron and big earrings can do a lot for this farmer’s outlook on the world.

Early in the morning, I love the special feeling of reviewing the field before a harvest. I feel proud of the beautiful array in front of me that I’ve helped bring into the world. What inspires me to keep going is my crew and my community. I’ve created something that other people care about, and that gets them paid and builds on their skills & interests. It’s a demanding, but such a compelling and rewarding life to be a flower farmer & small business owner.

 

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

How many flower varieties are you growing at any given moment?

About 200 varieties are growing at any given moment on the farm… we like to keep it diverse! We’re playing more and more each season with complimentary co-plantings to maximize our bed space – millet & sunflower, peony & centaurea, motherwort & monarda.

 

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

Here’s a toughie, but you knew it was coming! What is your favorite flower to grow? How about to design with, if different?

I’ve been a true blue #1 fan of snapdragons since I was a little kid. I remember my grandma showing me how they open their mouths to ROAR when you pinch the blossoms… plus, they’re great for planting multiple successions to keep them blooming all season long. They’re my favorite to grow, in that they’re totally indispensable.

As for my favorite flower for designing, since I make so many bouquets in-hand, having a good branchy base to start with is paramount. These days, having a nice strong Salvia ‘Cardonna’ to start with helps a bouquet come together quickly.

 

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

Tell us a little bit about your weekly bouquet service… it seems like a great way for you to get to flex your creative design muscles and get to play with all of your gorgeous blooms!

The weekly customers are the heart & soul of the business. Their support through 20 weeks of bouquet subscriptions gave us the foundation to establish a weekly harvest, design, & sales cycle even when we were starting out. Some have been with me for years, and their flower knowledge & design eye is off the charts. From each week’s harvest, we play, and each bouquet gets a flavor of its own – hot mamas, big sprawling clouds of grasses, cool delicate posies… It’s so fun!

 

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

When we interviewed Michael over at Summer Dreams Farm, he told us a little bit about the flower farming scene in Michigan. It really seems to be a great community with lots of local growers popping up! Can you tell us a little more about what’s going on in the world of flowers in Michigan?

Absolutely. The Michigan Cut Flower Growers Coop has just begun, and it’s already cooking. The market runs every Wednesday morning out of Passionflower Sue’s studio in Ann Arbor. Cut flowers are a powerful, lucrative agricultural product and I’d love to see them continue to grow in prominence in the state of Michigan’s agricultural profile. In the near future, I see even more growth in partnerships between rural & urban growers.

 

Supporting local growers and educating people about what you have to offer is so important, and these days it seems like awareness is really spreading! Tell us a little bit about your experience and/or involvement with the American flower farming community.

My path to the American flower farming community ran its way through diverse organic vegetable production farms.  These farms are run out of passion, love, and a commitment to cultivating beauty & diversity that serves the innate strength & interdependent web of which we are a part.

 

Mayesh Instagram Takeover Fresh Cut Detroit

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions about your farm! One final question – is there any advice you would go back and tell yourself when you first started Fresh Cut Detroit, or that you would give to farmers just starting out?

Always value your time! Pay yourself. If you’re in  a business or farming arrangement where you’re being paid less than ideal, identify how you’re building equity & savings for your future self to cash in on when you’re ready to move forward. Invest in yourself through professional development, and take care of your body with good health, sleep, nutrition, and relaxation.

 

Professional photos by Emily Berger

 

 


 

 

To see the rest of the takeover images, head on over to our Instagram, and be sure to follow @freshcutdetroit as well to keep up with Sarah and the farm!

Interview , , , , ,

MDS Workshop Sponsor Feature: Sande Flowers

MDS Flower Workshop Sponsor Sande Flowers

 

As we gear up for the fifth stop on our workshop tour in Houston next week, we wanted to share a little bit about one of our newer tour sponsors!

 


 

Sande Flowers is a Dutch flower farm based in Guayllabamba, Ecuador which is located 30 minutes outside of the Capital city of Quito.

Sande Flowers is the world biggest calla grower with over 20 years of experience in Ecuador. The 450+ employee company doesn’t only grow callas but beautiful lilies as well. They also have a line of summer flowers like Bells of Ireland and Larkspur which are very popular amongst the American people too.

 

MDS Flower Workshop Sponsor Sande Flowers

MDS Flower Workshop Sponsor Sande Flowers

 

The farms’ altitude (7500 ft.) and its position on the equator create the perfect circumstances to grow high quality flowers year-round. But what makes Sande Flowers really special is their highly qualified staff and Dutch production technologies. Callas are one of the most difficult crops to grow and they have mastered it from breeding to producing and to processing it.

 

MDS Flower Workshop Sponsor Sande Flowers

MDS Flower Workshop Sponsor Sande Flowers

MDS Flower Workshop Sponsor Sande Flowers

 

Sande Flowers is a proud Rainforest Alliance member. They believe in their core values. Living by their guidelines helps nature, improves the standard of the flowers and the well-being of their employees. Their turnover of staff is way lower than other farms in Ecuador and their people really seem to enjoy working for the company. The owners believe that only happy and satisfied employees will do everything to deliver that perfect beautiful flower, what has been, and still is, the most important feature that has driven the company for decades.

 

MDS Flower Workshop Sponsor Sande Flowers

MDS Flower Workshop Sponsor Sande Flowers

MDS Flower Workshop Sponsor Sande Flowers

MDS Flower Workshop Sponsor Sande Flowers

 

The relationship with Mayesh and Sande Flowers has always been great because they both strive to supply the best possible and supreme quality flowers from the grower to the end consumer.

 

MDS Flower Workshop Sponsor Sande Flowers

MDS Flower Workshop Sponsor Sande Flowers

 

Make sure to follow them on Instagram @sandeflowers!

 

MDS Flower Workshop Sponsor Sande Flowers

Interview, Product Info , , , , , ,

Live Chat Replay: Kristin Banta

LIVE CHAT W/ KRISTIN BANTA REPLAY

Hopefully, you didn’t miss yesterday’s live chat with Kristin Banta. If you did, do not despair, as we have the replay below for you, along with a list of questions that were covered. She was amazing! Kristin is so easy to talk to, but most importantly she is passionate about what she does and loves to share her wisdom when it comes to branding, event design, color, clients and so much more! My kind of person! Please watch and share with your fellow flower & event friends!

 

 

QUESTIONS

  • How did you start your brand?
  • How has your brand evolved over time?
  • What do you think are the most important parts about developing a consistent brand to reach your target clients? And who is your target client? When filming the Wedding Party you had said that your minimum is $150,000 and you have done as large as $1,000,000…. is this still true today?
  • Can you explain what your initial consultation/planning process is like when you first meet a new client or couple, and how you determine if you want to work with them?
  • How much influence do you have on the event design, and how do you help steer your clients in certain directions so that you can have the creative license to put on the best event possible?
  • In today’s world of Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media outlets, clients & brides often come to the table with a set idea on what they want. How do you push them to be unique and think beyond what might be “on trend” at that point in time?
  • I know you’re not afraid of color, which is so refreshing! Tell us a bit about your process when asked to design around a color or theme?
  • What do you think of this year’s Pantone Color of the Year?
  • How important do you think the color of the year actually is? Do you find it to be accurate and an inspiration in your designs throughout the year?
  • I like your “there is no rules” mantra … what are some of your favorite rules to break?

 
CURATED QUESTIONS

  • Chris Clark: I’ve heard you speak several times about your philosophy of “narrative” designing. When does the budget conversation happen in that process?
  • Carol Mason of Romp Events: We are receiving so many requests for garlands (along the aisle, on the table tops, etc.) which greenery has a long shelf life to provide us a longer work time before the day of?
  • Marcela Bogado Dhar: Living walls are starting to be a requested for corporate events and weddings. Any suggestions on cost budgeting for us?
  • Regina: Is there a specific software package you suggest for doing presentations and combining pictures?
  • Wireaccents: How did you become an event designer? What is trending at the moment? And what are you forecasting for 2018 trends?
  • Theweddingladyindy: Have you had a client that was not overjoyed with her work? If yes, how do you react to a client not totally overwhelmed?
  • Avalorendesign: What trends have you set that others are following?
Business & Tech, Interview, Video , ,

Interview: Park Floral Design + Siloh Floral Artistry

Sentient Floral Workshop-Carrie King Photographer

 

You may have noticed that our Instagram feed was on POINT over the past two days, and it’s all thanks to Ashley & Liz who filled it with stunning images from their recent Sentient workshop! They were sweet enough to answer a few questions for us about their working relationship, love of flowers, and the workshop itself! So let’s get to know Ashley (@parkfloraldesign) and Liz (@silohfloral) a bit better, shall we?

 


 

First of all, congratulations on what looked like a successful (and gorgeous) workshop! Can you first tell us a bit about each of yourselves, and how this all came to be? 

Thank you!

Liz: I have been designing flowers for the past 6 years, working under  and learning from two different designers and then I finally took the plunge and started my own company in November 2015. I have always known that I need to work and create with my hands. Flowers make me imagine and wonder, which is something I never want to lose. I spend my time (and money, let’s be honest) exploring the world and eating and cooking good meals. I’m a wine and whiskey lover and a sucker for a good old-fashioned.

Ashley: I have been working in the wedding industry for nearly 10 years but have spent the last 4 focusing on floral design and have found my calling there! I am a mom of two, wifey of one and a mama to four chickens and one pup. We recently moved to a new (old!) little bungalow in Denver and now I just dream of running an urban farm and garden.

We met a few years back when we were working together at another florist’s studio. After that we have each continued to build our own businesses, but honestly, we are floral soulmates and are constantly working together and bouncing ideas back and forth.

 

Sentient Floral Workshop-Carrie King Photographer

 

 

Have the two of you collaborated in the past, or was this your first experience doing something like this together?  

Oh yes! We joke that this is “the family biz” – we get to work together constantly. When we were first working together a few summers ago we bonded over our love of 90’s hip hop and R&B and it was instant fireworks! Working together is so seamless for us and we have a very similar aesthetic and approach to floral design. It is so natural and easy not only to design together, but also to teach side by side. This was our first group floral workshop that we have hosted and we’re already scheming up round two!

 

We’re a huge fan of floral workshops and the invaluable education that comes with hands-on learning in an intimate setting. I love that you designed this workshop around four art principles & concepts; can you explain what those are and why you chose them? 

Floral design is truly an art form to us. We work with a medium that is constantly changing and evolving, but that is exactly the reason that we love it. Florals are different than so many art forms, such as painting, photography, or sculpture, because we are working with things that are alive and also temporary. That is part of the magic though – it is this fleeting beauty that you get to create and behold just for a period of time.

Since we have such a similar approach to design, we found it was helpful to teach in a way that other creative minds could understand. Color, shape, movement and contrast were the four principles we focused on during Sentient. These principles dictate how we create conceptualize and design each floral arrangement. The palette is the foundation for our designs and where we love to spend the most time becuase it completely sets the tone for the entire creation. Shape is all about establishing a mood and giving an arrangement character and personality, while movement is about evoking a feeling in the design and letting the eye travel through the floral piece. We love to use some contrast as we work with flowers to help make things “pop” and add more visual interest.

 

Sentient Floral Workshop-Carrie King Photographer

 

What was your favorite part or moment of the weekend? 

The second night of the workshop, we hosted a private dinner catered by The Fond Life (@thefondlife) at Ashley’s home. It was such an intimate and special time to get to know each of the attendees and bond over incredible food!  We would also say watching the group come together for the installation design was so exciting and rewarding.

 

Sentient Floral Workshop-Carrie King Photographer

Sentient Floral Workshop-Carrie King Photographer

 

Let’s get to the good stuff – the flowers! It must be a dream to get to choose all the flowers for something like this, when you have no limits or restrictions from a client! Tell us a bit about your thought process behind your floral recipes for the different pieces you created.

THE FLOWERS – cue lots of squeals! We had such amazing product to work with for the workshop! Spring is one of our favorite seasons for flowers and we wanted to honor the season in each of our designs. We really believe that each design should be an artistic and dynamic expression, which means incorporating both light and dark tones, large focal blooms and soft, small spring blossoms, and lots of textural elements. We had a beautiful range of purple, mauve, sandy brown, peach, cream and white. We always want someone that is viewing an arrangement to be able to enjoy the visual journey so we are thoughtful about the way color moves across an arrangement.

 

Sentient Floral Workshop-Carrie King Photographer

Sentient Floral Workshop-Carrie King Photographer

 

Do you have any plans to host more workshops in the future? 

We do! We had such a blast hosting and teaching the Sentient workshop that we are planning to do another in the fall. Fall florals offer a completely different palette and mood and we can’t wait to have another opportunity to teach other designers. Stay tuned!

 

Sentient Floral Workshop-Carrie King Photographer

 

And lastly, what would you say to designers that are interested in taking a workshop but are trying to decide if it’s worth the investment?    

Workshops are a big investment and one to be taken seriously. We believe that becuase floral design is truly an art form, that as designers, we need to constantly be inspired, moved, and learning more about this medium of art.  The goal is that each attendee walks away not only with some beautiful images for their portfolio, but also with a renewed sense of energy, inspiration, and confidence in their work. And, of course, the sense of community and support that is built between all the designers cannot be beat!

 

Sentient Floral Workshop-Carrie King Photographer

 

For more workshop goodness, head on over to our Instagram to see the rest of the images!

 


 

COLLABORATORS:

@carriekingphotographer (all images above)
@sweetcarolinestyles
@angelineloren.beauty
@yonder_house

@latavola
@creative.candles

@denverphotocollective

 

 

Education, Interview , , ,

Interview: Everything Beautiful OKC

Everything Beautiful OKC Instagram Takeover

 

This week the dynamic duo of Everything Beautiful OKC hijacked our Instagram feed & filled it with two days of floral goodness! Owner & founder Heather Hayes took some time to answer a few questions so we could get to know a little bit more about this Oklahoma City based floral design company. Enjoy!

 

Everything Beautiful OKC Instagram Takeover PC: @scissortailstories

 

I know you talked a little bit about how Everything Beautiful came to be during the takeover, but can you elaborate on your story a bit for us?

For sure! I’ve always treasured the notion of owning a floral shop, but bypassed it as being unviable. In college that reverie grew when I discovered Birdie Blooms. Katie, owner of Birdie Blooms, had a shop on campus corner in Norman, Oklahoma and it was kind of like my safe haven. Something inside me would come alive every time I stopped by on my way to class. In the fall of 2014 I was fervently looking forward to graduation (with a BA in English-Writing of all things) when my sweet friend Koby asked if I would be willing to do the flowers for her wedding and I agreed before I could talk myself out of it! It was single handedly the best yet most terrifying experience. I had the honor of working with Koby + Eric’s photographer, Magnolia Adam’s who had established a reputable brand and from there it was really an ambition advancing. I always jest that Everything Beautiful found me, not the other way around.

 

Tell us a bit about working with Jodi, and how the two of you collaborate & work together when it comes to vision & aesthetic?

I’m ecstatic about Jodi being a part of Everything Beautiful! Jodi has contributed to Everything Beautiful for over a year but formally became the first assistant designer to our growing team in March. In part, I think we’re still figuring out our dynamic, but she is keenly intuitive with the personality // style of Everything Beautiful. Jodi is the archetype of integrity and diligence. Usually, we will meet over coffee the week of an event and review aesthetic // vision // schedule // etc. From there, I trust that she will execute each project delegated to her with excellence.

 

Everything Beautiful OKC Instagram Takeover

PC: @kaileyconquers

 

I know this is such a cliché question, but I always LOVE the different words & phrases people come up with when they answer it! So get your creative juices flowing 😉 how would you describe Everything Beautiful’s style?

Haha // No, I love it! The word whimsical appears a lot in our style. I arbitrarily started identifying arrangements by Dr. Seuss characters one afternoon. Ultimately, we aim to fulfill the style of our bride, but have a pretty candid awareness whether or not we will be a good fit for a bride. We gravitate toward style that tells a story, utilizes movement, and sparks that feeling of magic.

 

Everything Beautiful OKC Instagram Takeover

PC: @ashleyrwestphoto

 

I’m always so fascinated by learning about the floral industry and creative community in general in different regions & cities. What is it like for you as a floral designer & small business owner in OKC?

Honestly, competitive + supportive. I think people hear the word competitive and think it’s a negative quality, but I think it can be inspiring. I feel like Everything Beautiful was set up for success from the very beginning and I am tremendously grateful. Let me clarify, it has been a process of acquiring knowledge, trying innovative concepts, and asking countless questions along the way. I was fortunate to work with and learn from brilliant designers // photographers from the beginning and I understand the significance of having those opportunities. Overall, the local community in OKC is ridiculously talented and supportive of one another. As a floral designer, living in a land locked state can be challenging, but that’s where Mayesh has been valuable- allowing us the opportunity to order blooms we wouldn’t be able to grow locally. There are definitely objectives to learn and progress to be made, but I think that is universal. We are progressively cultivating a community that is collaborative and growing takes time.

 

We know the natural, garden style is here to stay (thank goodness!) but are there any other specific trends you see happening now or in the near future for flowers?

Oh wow, that’s a tough call. My equivocal answer would be I think we will see a lot more designers thinking outside of the box when it comes to floral and utilizing it in innovative ways. For instance, elaborate wall installations, storefront designs, and fellas rockin’ floral pieces. Why not?

 

Everything Beautiful OKC Instagram Takeover

PC: @bulgerjoseph

 

Let’s talk tools – favorite florist tool, and favorite app you use in your business, but it social media or business organization? Instagram counts, but if there’s anything else you’re using we’d love to hear about it!

I have shears stashed just about everywhere, but for design I really love the structure chicken wire creates. Business wise, I am old school. I still do everything by Xero and Google Drive // I know, I know… // I might be slightly crazy. Adaptive Creative does all of our branding and I’m really proud of how well they represent our character!

 

What is your favorite or most memorable event or shoot you’ve been a part of?

I recently drove to California for a 1:1 session with Siren Floral Co. I mentioned it in a few of the Insta posts but it really was a game changer! I learned several techniques regarding composition, depth, color theory, and movement. Being a land locked state, it’s easy to envy coastal wholesale markets, ranunculus the size of your face, and the ability to tangibly lay everything out and see it before taking it. The whole trip was a dream!

 

Everything Beautiful OKC Instagram Takeover

Everything Beautiful OKC Instagram Takeover

PC: @ashleykelemen

 

What is one piece of advice you’d like to go back and tell yourselves during your first year as a floral designer?

Looking back, I would tell myself to extend my vision. To think beyond what I thought was possible. To push boundaries and ask hard questions that are not necessarily hard just courageous because you’re asking for what you want. And sometimes it will not work and that is okay. Don’t overthink it. Follow your instinct. // For the love, stop comparing. // Work hard. Stay humble. You’ve got this!

 

Everything Beautiful OKC Instagram Takeover

PC: @sarahlibbyphotography

Interview , , ,

Interview w/Erin Benzakein {Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden}

Floret_Floret_Spring349_LILACS_Atmospheric_04-1440x1080

 

We couldn’t be more thrilled with all of the rich educational resources that are becoming such an important focus within the flower industry. From in-person workshops to online tutorials, there are so many different ways for florists to continue learning & growing, and Erin Benzakein’s new book, Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden, is a welcome addition to this growing collection of educational tools.

Lucky for us, Erin was able to take a little time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her book, and we wouldn’t be surprised if you hightailed it out the door to your nearest Barnes & Noble to pick one up after you finish reading! Enjoy!

Above photo by Michele M. Waite

 

Cut-Flower-Garden-Book

 


 

So let’s go back to the very beginning. With everything already going on in the Floret world – growing & selling flowers, educational workshops, and selling seeds just to name a few – adding a book to the mix seems a little bit crazy! What made you want to write a book in the first place?

I have a habit of taking on multiple massive projects at the same time; and you are right, it can be a little crazy!  In this case, I have the book to thank, and to blame, for Floret Seeds.  For years, I had dreamed of writing a book and having my own line of seeds, but the latter was always something I envisioned for sometime much further down the road. Well, that timeline got bumped up when I realized that many of my favorite cut flowers, the very ones I was writing about in the book, are not widely available unless you’re willing to wade through obscure catalogs without photos organized by scientific names, or spend a lot of money buying seeds in bulk. Most gardeners, florists and small scale growers only need 50 to 100 seeds of a particular variety, not 1,000! My editors at Chronicle Books emphasized the importance of making the book accessible and approachable to home gardeners, so rather than substitute some of the flowers I featured, I decided to source the seeds myself. It was then that Floret Seeds was born!

 

You’ve mentioned that you wish this book existed when you first began growing flowers – what do you hope readers will gain from it? Is it geared more towards the everyday gardener, or those wishing to start their own flower farm?

It is definitely geared towards the home gardener and floral designers wanting to start their own cut flower garden to supplement their design work. I wanted to show flower lovers that they don’t need massive estates or expansive farm fields to grow great flowers.  Even in the smallest spaces, you can create cutting gardens that are both pretty and super productive.

Some of my most popular posts online are ones that feature big buckets overflowing with freshly-cut flowers. But harvesting these big, beautiful blooms is just one small part of the longer process of growing great cut flowers.  The book fills in all of those blanks by taking readers through the entire progression starting with planning your space and prepping the soil all the way through post-harvest care and providing design ideas for what you can do with your floral abundance.

Whether you plant flowers in honor or in memory of a loved one, to provide food for bees or other pollinators, for a business or exclusively for your own personal pleasure, flowers are a beautiful balm for the soul.  There are so many reasons to grow, share and enjoy seasonal flowers. My hope is that my book will help others discover this joy and grow the garden of their dreams.  

 

View More: http://wildflowersphotos.pass.us/floret

Photo by Joy Prouty

 

I’m sure throughout the writing process, there were so many little things you wanted to cover. What was the most challenging part about writing this book, and editing it down to the essentials?

It is so true.  There was much, much more I wanted to include in the book, but simply could not because of space constraints.  Even after successfully lobbying to have the number of pages increased, I still struggled.  For example, it was hard to pick just four peony varieties to feature in the book, when I really wanted to feature 14!  I also wanted to go into even more detail about how to grow certain types of flowers, but had to narrow the focus on some of the easier to grow varieties that appeal to a broader audience.

 

How about the most rewarding part?

The most rewarding part was finally holding the finished book in my hands.  I’m not going to lie, the book was a lot of work and challenged me in so many ways.  After working on it for so  long, finally seeing the finished book felt a little unreal!  Reading the heartfelt notes and sweet reviews from folks who have been inspired to grow more or new flowers because of the book makes it all totally worth it.

 

9781452145761.pt05-1440x1080

 

Being from the Pacific Northwest, our seasons are very different from other regions – hello, rain! Will the seasonal format of the book speak to gardeners in varying climates?

Absolutely. I worked with my phenomenal editor, Julie Chai, to make the book as universally applicable as possible. Instead of referencing specific months or days of the year, for example, I discuss planting and harvest dates in relation to the number of weeks until your first or last frost.  Plus, all the measurements include metric system references.  This took a little extra work, but it was important to make it accessible, regardless of the growing zone, continent or even what hemisphere your garden is located.

 

One benefit to growing flowers is that you have an abundance of gorgeous blooms at your fingertips to play with! You are a great example of someone who has taken advantage of that and become a sought-after floral designer on top of growing. Tell us a little bit about the floral arranging aspect of the book.

For each of the four seasons, I include a few floral design projects.  I loved being able to showcase the beauty of seasonal flowers by creating simple, elegant designs. Each project includes detailed instructions and photos illustrating each step in the design process.  Several of the projects incorporate nontraditional foliage you may have in your landscape that I love tucking into your into designs for added texture and interest.   

 

blog_image-01

Photo by Joy Prouty

 

Lastly, if you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice when you were first starting out, what would that be?

In regards to writing, my advice would be: be patient. Just as it takes a lot of time, patience and a lot of love to take a tiny seed and nurture it into a fully grown flower in bloom, so too does it take time to take an idea for a book and nurture it into an actual book. In terms of gardening and flower farming, I’d remind myself about the phrase don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

 


 

Thanks again for sitting down with us, Erin, and for sharing your invaluable knowledge with our community. For more gardening how-to’s and information, be sure to check out the Floret blog – it’s a treasure trove of growing tips & tricks!

Education, Interview , , , , ,

Interview: Joe Mineo Creative

 

Over the past two days, floral & event designer and recent author Joe Mineo filled our Instagram feed with vibrant & glamorous images of his events. Joe has a very unique approach to event planning & design, and I absolutely love the way he describes how he envisions an event as if it were a theatrical production in his interview below. We hope you enjoy learning a bit more about the man behind Joe Mineo Creative, and don’t forget to snag a copy of his new book that’s been long in the making, It’s My Party!

 


 

So to start out, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you found yourself in the floral & event industry!

After leaving New York City while attending NYU with a degree in theater, I moved back home for a short while–at least I thought it was a short while. I needed to start making money just to live so I took a job at a local flower shop. In that one year time, I learned as much as I could and then opened up my company a year and a half later. We were a typical flower shop with accessories, etc., but we specialized in events. Of course, events in 1987 were very different from where they are today. What was attractive to me was the fact that we had some of the most important days of people’s lives in our hands. It was our job to make it extra special for them.

 

I love your sentiment that “Events are theater.” Can you expand on that a little more, and walk us through your creative process when it comes to designing and executing an event and the flowers?

Theater has always been a big part of my life and my heart has always been drawn to the stage. Many people ask me why I am not an actor these days. While I can’t even imagine at this point in my busy career, working the crazy hours that I do, what it would be like to be cast in a show and then have to attend nightly rehearsals and memorize lines, theatre is still a huge part of who I am. Every event that I create is theater. I treat each party like a production and elements of theater are obvious throughout every time line. Each production includes direction and acting, scripts and cues, an eager audience, and hopefully good reviews. The pre-show is like the cocktail hour, when guests arrive and mingle with the anticipation of what is to come. The opening of the curtain is our grand entrance into the party space. Intermission is after dinner, when guests get time to interact with each other. Act two is a dance number, when people let loose and dessert is displayed. The “11 O’Clock Number” is the big show-stopping song and it reminds me of the event’s late night snack, an unexpected surprise that always puts a smile on the faces in the audience. The final curtain is exactly that: time to recap what an amazing night it has been and take a bow.

 

 

What trends do you see happening in flowers right now?

The trends we are seeing right now in the event design are steering towards loss of a contemporary structured look and much more a soft romantic, natural feel. This is portrayed throughout flowers, linens, draping and for room transformations. All of the texture and colors steer towards a much more organic feeling and style. We are doing far less acrylic and many more stained wooden boxes! Even if the client is asking for a more contemporary feel, there is some element of nature in the design.

 

 

How would you describe your style, and where do you draw inspiration from?

Personally, my style is very chic, streamline, less fussy. I like things that are very structured and linear. That certainly does not mean that that’s what you see Joe Mineo Creative producing every week. Our job is to look into the minds and hearts of our clients and create what’s in their head. As for inspiration, I know it sounds cliché but, inspiration is everywhere! I find myself observing at all times. Some of my favorite places to pull inspiration from are window displays, restaurants and hotels. Being that all of those are referenced from interior design, I certainly find that we are focused on creating environments that prove much more livable rather than something that we have created that only needs the last four or five hours, during the duration of an event.

 

 

Let’s talk about your new book, It’s My Party! Tell us a little bit about it, and what readers can expect from it.

The book is inspiration! How do we create an event for our clients, where does the inspiration come from, what are our biggest challenges, and what do we learn from every event we product. The book outlines 18 chapters of some of the creative events that we have designed at JMC over the last 29 years. Not only is it filled with fantastic photos, but it truly tells a story that will guide the reader through the process of an event designer and his talented team.

 

 

A book is quite a big undertaking, especially when you seem to be rather busy with events and other industry happenings! What made you decide to write one in the first place?

I have talked about writing a book for many years. A publisher approached us a few years ago and it helped open the door to making it happen. It was a very long endeavor. Over two years we worked on the book and had to put it on hold a few times just because of our schedule. Looking back, it was a blessing that the book did not come out until February of this year for many reasons. I always believe that everything happens for a reason, and this book is certainly no exception. I wanted to write a book because I wanted something that would not just be a beautiful coffee table book but you really let the reader experience all of the challenges and rewards of producing events. Many people think that event designing and producing is a very glamorous job, and sometimes it is, but like many other professions, it certainly comes with its challenges. That’s probably why I’ve seen event planning named one of the top five most stressful jobs of 2016 right under brain surgeon!

 

What is one piece of advice you’d like to go back and tell yourself during your first years in the industry?

I think the one thing I would like to tell myself if I could, back when I began in 1987, is to dream big and push hard. I needed that in many different ways. Dream big to grow the company to the place that I would want to be and not be intimidated by what other people were doing around me. Push hard to grow the business, and expand the event industry into much more of the unknown. As I said before, event design has changed drastically over the last 29 years. We never thought so many years ago that we would be producing events as we do today. Honestly, I don’t think any of us really thought event design would ever turn into $1 billion a year industry. I guess I just wish I saw what the future would hold more quickly than usual. But as I mentioned before everything happens for a reason in its own time!

Floral Design, Interview , , , ,

Interview: Bloom Babes

bb_header-01

 

Last week, the two Southern California best friends that make up Bloom Babes took over our Instagram feed! They filled it with bright, tropical blooms and beachy, laid back vibes. It was pretty awesome, and if you didn’t catch any of it you can check it out here.

Now that we’ve seen their gorgeous work, let’s get to know the dynamic duo a little bit better! Emily took some time to answer a few questions about their business and what the Bloom Babes are all about. (above photo: @reamazonas)

 

So to start out, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourselves, and how you found yourselves in the flower business! 

I was going to college and Angie was working as a waitress, both of us not super stoked on our paths that were being laid out, I think we both knew there would be a better option for us. I grew up in a family with strong floral and artistic ties, so being a florist was always in the back of my mind; Angie grew up spending most of her free time in nature and also had an innately keen eye for design. With both of us having a main goal of surfing every morning, a conventional job was kind of out of the picture. So to piece these details together, we both ended up getting jobs at flower shops, from there we had several friends ask us to do their wedding flowers (free of cost), we happily agreed and we LOVED the work. Bloom Babes was born when we left the flower shops in 2014 and has just continued to grow from there!

 

Working with your best friend sounds totally awesome, but must come with its own set of challenges. What is your favorite part about working with your bestie, and what things do you have to work on to keep a good balance between being friends & business partners?

Working together is exactly like what I imagine a marriage to be like. We love each other enough to work through our differences; we have had to learn how each of us communicate so to create a better working environment. We are able to share our highest highs and our lowest lows, something that truly we are only able to understand together. I love having a support in difficult situations, I love having someone take over a bouquet that I am struggling with, I really can’t imagine doing this job alone– as we all know it is MUCH more difficult than anyone would give a florist credit for. Props to the ladies who are doing it by themselves!! We make sure to spend time as friends too to keep the work balance flow : we surf together and travel together often 🙂

 

How would you describe The Bloom Babe’s style?

Ever evolving!! We like to be perfectly balanced in an unbalanced way, and we love playing with different styles!! We have been known to do the more modern tropical look, the bright fiesta look and lots of fun florals. But in our hearts we actually love plants as decor, and we love the old European garden style!! 

 

Top photo: @meganwelker  | Bottom photo: @heatherkincaidphoto

 

You seem to be inspired a lot by the ocean and nature – how do you think those elements show up in your work?

Maybe more in an abstract way; Angie and I have been personally affected by the combination of our two great loves (surfing and florals), in that the lessons we learn from both play off each other and have allowed us to grow in our skills. Failure is mandatory for growth in surfing and failure is mandatory for growth in floral design. Learning how to cope with our mistakes, and keep progressing despite the seemingly slow improvements is something that we have to learn in both realms, so the two skills don’t seem so different when compared on this level. In terms of combining the two passions on a more physical level, we can say that our floral design vibe is much more relaxed and free flowing– probably due to all of the salt water in our system 🙂

 

Photos: @kara.donovan

 

What trends do you see happening in flowers right now?

I know that the bigger the better has been on a high as of recently, however I think the trends will begin to taper down in size and style. I think we are going to be seeing a lot more minimalistic florals with smaller bouquets. Lot’s of white and very muted colors!

 

Photo: @elysewhall

 

Let’s talk tools – favorite florist tool, and favorite app you use in your business, be it social media or business organization? Instagram counts, but if there’s anything else you’re utilizing, we’d love to hear about it!

Favorite tool? Well how can I mention anything other than my trusty clippers? I don’t leave my house without them, I carry them in my purse and keep a pair in my car, because you never know what you might come across while driving down the street!! Our favorite business organization has been Honeybook; they keep everything organized and without them we would have no idea what to do!! We use Instagram as our main outreach to our community, I can’t believe how instrumental it has been for a “blooming” business.

 

What is your favorite or most memorable event or shoot you have been apart of?

Neither of us really expected Bloom Babes to be the business that it is today. The opportunities that have been presented to us have been crazy in very unexpected ways and we are so grateful and so stoked to have this life. I feel like we are in the right place at the right time with our business, and I couldn’t feel more empowered by it. Specifically partnering with Billabong last year has been the highlight of our awesome surprises, probably because we got to experience a direct connection between our two passions.

 

 

What is one piece of advice you’d like to go back and tell yourselves during your first year collaborating and designing together?

Honestly, I can’t imagine having it any other way than it was! I think we learned everything so organically and made all the mistakes when we needed to (and are continuing in this growth pattern) and thats how and why we have grown into the business that we are today! I don’t think I would tell ourselves anything, I am more than happy to have had to figure this out on our own.

Interview , , ,

Interview: Sarah’s Garden

Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

You may have noticed that over the past two days we handed our Instagram feed over to the lovely Sarah Watts of Sarah’s Garden in Arizona (and if you didn’t see that, get yourself on Instagram and follow us!) It was a burst of warmth & color, which was much appreciated for those of us living in freezing winter temperatures! And now, a little bit more about the lovely Sarah:

 

To start, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself, and how you found yourself in the flower industry.

I am a Nordic gal (Minnesotan Norwegian) living in the Arizona desert with my sweet husband, teenage stepson and 2 little dog fur babies. I was recruited into the flower industry by my best friend’s mom in 1996 (20 years ago) to help manage in her newly purchased flower shop in Minnesota. Her cousin was our lead designer, a 30 year maverick designer and taught us the ropes. My bestie and I then acquired the business and ran it for almost 2 years. What a ride!

 

I saw that you have studied both art & interior design – I, too, have a background in interior design! Can you elaborate on that, and how it all comes into play as a floral & event designer?

Nice! One of the first useful things I learned in interior design was to use a “keyoff” – an inspiration piece to draw your palette and materials from. It can be anything really. I like to look to the Arizona desert for inspiration to bring the outside environment in the design. When taking art classes, I learned to pay attention to the negative space also and to start light and then layer in if need be. Also, that critique can be very evolutionary and eye opening if you get your ego out of the way.

 

Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

You have quite a bit of experience with many aspects of planning a wedding. What do you most enjoy about doing weddings (flowers & full event planning) & working with brides?

My heart is fullest when I know that our creations added to the beauty and meaningful experience of a wedding day. We ask LOTS of questions, including what their hobbies are, where they’ve traveled, how they decorate. We want their wedding to feel very personal and comfortable. I love that my couples trust that we “get” what they want and we always aim to exceed their expectations.

 

How would you describe your design style?

Deconstructed English Garden. LOL! I think I just made that up! My husband is first generation American from English immigrants and I am so inspired by their customs and decorum. But I’m a bit of a rebel, so I design with deconstruction and like to break the rules a bit. I don’t like to create completely round and structured designs.

 

Mayesh Instagram Takeover

Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

What trends do you see happening in flowers right now?

Airy, light, free form. Natural, not too manipulated. Focus on foliage. Each bloom shows it’s beautiful face.

 

Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

Let’s talk tools. Favorite florist tool, and favorite social media app you use in your business? Instagram is obviously a industry favorite, but we’d love to know if you’re using anything else!

My ARS pocket shears are totally amazing, they are crazy sharp! For social media, Instagram all the way!!! I love the community and the format. I also use Lobiloo, Honeybook, and Quickbooks to stay organized with orders, client management, and the always fun, bookkeeping, lol!

 

What is your favorite or most memorable event or shoot you have been apart of?

My friends Brushfire Photography, KDP Events and I did a shoot on top of Mount Lemmon in Tucson on a stormy day and the images came back so ethereal and amazing. I styled the whole shoot, but kept floral minimal by only creating a bridal bouquet. It was inspired by the desert mountain cliffs and was very unique.

 

Check out the Mt. Lemmon Elopement here!  

 

What is one piece of advice you’d like to go back and tell yourself during your first year of designing?

To not say “yes” to everything. Building my business, I thought I had to take every inquiry that came my way. No regrets now though, because I feel like I learned so much from key mistakes I made. I didn’t even think about developing a solid style and brand until about 2 years in. Now, I attract clients that want my specific style and I make sure that they are just as good as a fit for us than we are for them. After executing over 300 weddings in 5 years, I follow my intuition and if my gut says they may not be our ideal client, I pass graciously. I fully understand we can’t make everyone happy and I want all of my energy to go into blowing the minds of our ideal clients.

 

 

Mayesh Instagram Takeover

Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

See more beautiful designs on Sarah’s Instagram!

Floral Design, Interview , , , , ,

Slow Flower’s Podcast w/ Summer Dreams Farm

Summer Dreams Farm

 

If you weren’t already aware, Slow Flower’s creator Debra Prinzing has a weekly podcast in which she interviews different people within the American flower community. When Debra sent me this week’s podcast, I just knew I had to share it with you guys!

This week’s guest was Michael Genovese of Summer Dreams Farm, a dahlia grower in Oxford, Michigan. Earlier this year, we interviewed him for our blog during American Flowers Week, and since then, our relationship with Michael has grown, and we’re excited to share that Summer Dreams Farm is now selling their gorgeous dahlias exclusively through our branch in Michigan, Mayesh Detroit!

If you’re like us and you’re a total flower geek, you’re going to want to hear his story. Head on over to Debra’s website to tune into A Dahlia Love Story.

{Photo by Heather Saunders Photography}

 

Floral Design, Interview , , , ,
Go Top