Posts Tagged “mayesh 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
For more workshop goodness, head on over to our Instagram to see the rest of the images!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
See more beautiful designs on Sarah’s Instagram!
If you didn’t catch last week’s Instagram takeover with Team Flower, you’re gonna want to head over to check it out! But first, continue reading to find out more about the woman behind the flowers. She’s oh so adorable and brings a fresh perspective to the table with her passion for education and beautiful designs.
So to start out, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you found yourself in the flower industry!
I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains with my techie husband Jesse and our little golden-doodle Buster. Here is a little iPhone snap of where we live!
I’ve always loved design, but thought I would apply the principles through home interiors. I started my secondary education in Interior Design + Business. When the housing market crashed in 2008, my dad suggested I diversify. I moved credits around to make room for education classes and graduated a licensed teacher. Flowers were not on the radar at the time, but thankfully, both the design and education skills transferred beautifully when I discovered flowers. My first meeting with flowers changed my life, as I know they have for so many of you.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Classic. The principles that guide my arrangements are as old as the dirt flowers grow in! Balance, movement, rest and love. This arrangement shot by Mark Andrews is one of my favorites.
You seem to be very passionate about education, hence the creation of Team Flower. Can you tell us a bit more about that, and why you separated Philosophy Flowers & Team Flower?
I love education, but what I’m really passionate about is bringing people who love flowers together. Magic happens there! Education is one way to do that, and with my skill set, a natural fit. Will I always teach? Surely, in some way, but this is just the beginning! As I catch glimpses of the dream and what it will become I can’t help but think it will take on many shapes and sizes throughout my life and look different when I’m a grandma. But I do know I’ll always find myself in the company of “the flower people.”
As to why I split @philosophyflowers and @teamflower on instagram — Each company serves a different group of people, so I develop content to meet each where they are and encourage them. Philosophy Flowers is peaceful and Team Flower packs a playful punch.
What is your favorite part about teaching workshops & educating fellow designers?
I just love being with people. The cotton candy is fun too, haha! I love this snap of Janny, Michelle and I from last year’s workshop. Thanks Jake + Heather!
Let’s talk tools. Favorite florist tool, and favorite social media app you use in your business? Instagram is obviously everyone’s fave, but we’d love to know if you’re using anything else!
My favorite florist-y tool — Joyce Chen Clips. Marcie Meredith snapped the picture of them above. I must have 40 pairs floating around. Some people put keys on the entry tables by their doors, but I’ve got clippers there. My keys might be missing, but I’ll always have clips!
Favorite social media app — The best app on my phone, even better than Instagram, is called “Breathing Zone.” Learning to breath has saved my body and in turn, my business. Lots of flower folks run on adrenaline…and I used to be one of them…but my body gave way and I was close to quitting because of it. If you’re in a similar position I highly recommend it.
What trends do you see happening in flowers right now, or in the near future?
I just returned from the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Grower’s conference in Grand Rapids. I loved meeting America’s growers, and believe we’ll see more and more American grown product stocking the wholesale coolers next year. Wait until you see all the great things they are bringing to the table!
What is one piece of advice you’d like to go back and tell yourself during your first year of designing?
“Kelly, wear your hair in a fancy ballerina bun on top of your head. It’s simple and it suits you.” I know, silly example, but really, each thing that came to mind was linked by these three beautiful words — keep it simple. Simplicity is like a kiss of kindness. Wishing you a life filled with ballerina bun kind of moments. Thanks for reading!
Photos: Almond Leaf and Jake and Heather
The lovely lady behind this week’s Instagram takeover, Jenn Sanchez, is here to answer some questions about herself and her floral design journey! Continue reading to find out what inspires Jenn’s unique aesthetic and approach to flower design.
And if you can’t get enough, head over to Jenn’s Instagram to see more of her beautiful work!
So to start out, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you found yourself in the flower business!
I currently live in Ventura, California with my husband who also owns a business so right now ours lives are pretty invested in that. About how I got started…for my 18th birthday my mom filled out the paper work for a resellers permit because she thought I should try my hand at arranging flowers. I honestly didn’t give it much thought. I sporadically did the flowers for friends weddings in the few years following that. I’m not sure if I thought much about design or detail at that point. It wasn’t until I came across the work of such artists as Saipua and Amy Merrick that I realized…”Ooooo, this is also a form of art”. Sounds like a silly realization now, but that’s what got me serious about making it a career!
I saw on your website that you used to do oil paintings, which totally makes sense because before I even knew that, the images on your website and Instagram reminded me of paintings already… so unique and lovely. How do you think your background with oils and the fine arts helps you when you’re designing with flowers?
Toward the latter years of my lessons, I was drawn to still life paintings where you would choose (or bring in) props such as fruit, flowers, tableware, and arrange them however you wanted the subject to look. So I guess you can say I learned styling without knowing it. I remember being obsessed with things appearing effortless. I hated when things looked too staged. I am still very much so that way when I arrange. I always say that I want things to be “perfectly imperfect”.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I feel like it’s constantly changing. I think even months ago I would have answered this question differently than I would now. I think part of that is because I decided (as a new years resolution) to be ok with my work defining itself which could mean it didn’t fit in one genre, per say. I don’t want to be pegged as “traditional” or “organic” or “modern”. More than key descriptive words I aspire to create work that makes people feel something. Not sure if that suffices for an answer!
I also noticed that your wedding services go beyond the flowers – what made you want to work with the bride on all aspects of her special day?
I think flowers can feel misplaced if all the other design decisions aren’t make in tandem with the florals. I didn’t want my clients to be paying for my services just for there to be a lack of cohesion when it can so easily be done right.
Above photos: @lunademarephoto
Let’s talk tools – favorite florist tool, and favorite computer app you use in your business, be it social media, business organization, or anything else?
Bind wire! I just love it. Not the strongest BUT it hides so well for smaller installations. Favorite app, assuming this excludes the obvious being Instagram, I really like VSCO for editing photos. It’s allowed not just my work but the way I edit photos of my work to add personality to my artistic voice.
You have a workshop coming up! Tell us more about that!
Ya! Really excited to be teaching a couple coming up. More info can be seen here: www.jennchez.com/classes
Have you always wanted to explore the education side of flowers?
Yes! I have spent many many hours googling and reading and asking lots and lots of questions to more seasoned designers and professionals. It’s made me value what I do that much more and the people who have taught me along the way. I think I always knew I wanted to give that back to people at some point. I am passionate about shared experiences and seeing people get excited about what they are passionate about. Having that be a commonality in floral design just sounds thrilling.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to go back and tell yourself during your first year of designing?
I would tell myself to take it easy. I tend to be a risk taker and dive headfirst into things, often too serious along the way. Part of that has been really good for my business, but I could have used a big dose of patience in all aspects.
Over the past two days, the lovely Christy of Colonial House of Flowers has been on our Instagram sharing her love of flowers! You may feel like you already know her thanks to her amazing captions that really told the story of CHOF, but if you want to know even more, keep reading for a more in depth look at this talented designer and the inspiring business she’s grown. Be sure to check out the CHOF Instagram as well for more Southern florals & charm!
So tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you got started in the flower industry?
I live outside Savannah, Georgia. CHOF team members all live in Georgia including Atlanta, Eatonton, Statesboro, and Nashville. I love my two children, Beatrice & Whitaker, more than anything (pictured below). And my handsome redheaded husband and black cat, Herschel. I was raised in the countryside of South Georgia, a place of uncompromising beauty. It’s always given me a sense of place. Its wilds have stayed with me even as I have grown. I know for certain that my love for making meaningful arrangements that are seasonal and intentional and real comes from my family—memories of gardening with my grandmother and crafting during the holidays with my mom and sister. I am fascinated with the rough hand of nature; positively convinced, that my roots continue to draw me to the uncultivated organic world, classic design, and unconventional materials.
In 2012, I assumed ownership of a little nearly 50-year-old landmark flower boutique that was in my family, called the Colonial House of Flowers. I believe the spirit of my grandmother’s creativity and ability to resourcefully create something sophisticated flutters through everything I do. In 2014, Amanda Currier, my sister, joined the Colonial House of Flowers team. And my husband Brian Hulsey, who is an electrician, hangs our lights. It really is an affair of friends and family. I love this part! I love being a Chapel Designer. I am honored to be in the list of UGA 40 Under 40 most outstanding alumni. There are international bankers, world famous fashion designers and very accomplished professionals on the list. I think I’m the only florist ever to be on that list! And, it makes me smile!
Seasonally relevant flowers, branches, and fruit, are the true medium of my art. I’m ever thankful for my grandmother who always sent me into the garden, who brought me a found plant as a gift, and taught me to dig bulbs, grow cuttings, and stop at random roadside stands on family travels. My mom, dad, and sister, have always believed in me, and my husband has been a constant source of praise and encouragement at all times! And though I studied journalism at the University of Georgia, I believe I am in my life’s true work, as I continue to help people bring simple beauty into their own lives—helping them create things that are sensual and evocative. See more about me here!
How about your team? It looks like you’ve got a close-knit group of people working together in your dreamy little studio!
Right on! We are so close. The team at Colonial House are seriously some of this industry’s most madly talented experts. The company includes artisans as young as 8 years old, teens, college students to 30 year olds to Carolyn who started the shop who is in her 70’s. Plus, Margie Tygart (my grandmother) who frequently forages, grows plants and sources vessels for us, yes I am for real, is 89!! The fact that this art is everlasting is the coolest thing. And that no matter what your age being authentic and original and honest is always appealing. Real is so rare these days. Our motto is it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. We keep a list of mantras like this to keep us true to our attempt to design without conforming, to live without fences and to inspire confidence, kindness and heart led intentions → Our Pinterest Believe Board
CHOF has been featured in publications including, Southern Weddings, Smitten, Paprika Southern, The Savannah Magazine, The Knot and blogs like 100 Layer Cake, Style Me Pretty, Ruffled, Botanical Brouhaha, and Flirty Fleurs among others. CHOF is regularly featured on Pottery Barn Inside & Out and Camp Makery blogs. Without a creative process that encourages grace and a cheerful team that is committed to extraordinary service and design to the last detail all this wouldn’t be possible. People who only care about themselves, the narcissists, don’t last long around here. If I had to describe our team, I’d say they are the most giving, bright people on the planet. Everybody is a cheerleader. The way everyone genuinely boosts each other up is so awesome!
I saw that you have a little garden by your studio from which you bring in fresh clippings everyday to design with. Can you tell me a little bit about that? When and why did you decide to begin growing some of your own flowers?
My grandma and I once foraged wild Queen Anne’s Lace alongside an interstate to bring home for planting, and I’ve loved unceremonious materials ever since. Though the stateliest woman you’ll ever meet she prefers lichen and hand-plucked pinecones with her silver service. I, too, tend to focus on a timeless, elegance that is ethereal, moody and of the garden.
A statue called The Butterfly Girl was erected by the city of Nashville to honor her lifelong service of bringing flowers from her garden to well, to everything! To me, and my sister is the same, it just doesn’t look right if there’s not something in it that’s truly seasonal and that I gathered myself. My sister, who is on the CHOF team, is the exact same. She has been spotted on top of car with a broom handle gathering fresh Spanish moss! It’s not uncommon to see our deliveryman clipping the hedges of someone’s yard (with permission of course). Or, getting a package of something special from someone’s yard. I just have to use it. Even it doesn’t “match”. It means more to me that someone thought of me and took the time to clip it… so, if you spy something unusual in my work it might just be clipped from our garden or given to us by a friend! True story.
Every single arrangement I make has something I have collected myself, or someone has given me. It’s important to me.
What is CHOF’s focus? More retail or do you also do weddings & events?
The doors to our flower shop opened in 1968…. And we’ve been making local flower deliveries ever since. Crazy, I know. But, we have an old-time full service flower shop. Brick & mortar. Our retail shop bustles daily with funeral, new baby, get well soon and just because orders. Plus, we have an in-house espresso bar. A corner shop located in the heart of the Market District of Statesboro, it’s busy! At a time when flower shops are going out of business every day. It’s hard to believe but ours is burgeoning. In fact, it’s been recognized by the University of Georgia as one of the 100 fastest-growing businesses operated by UGA Alumni. That’s out of all the businesses in the world. So, that’s fast growing!
Even though the foundation of our flower shop is in retail. We do weddings and events throughout the South almost daily. Elmer & Carolyn Phillips made the Colonial House of Flowers famous with their dramatic wedding work years ago — even back in the 70’s. You should see those pictures. Families have been using CHOF for years. Weddings & events continue to be a part of our brand and service list. The only difference is the addition of travel to our services, which allows us work in dreamy spots around the country. We hope to work in Paris this year!
How would you describe CHOF’s design style?
Classic with an unexpected twist. Raw. Real. Honest. Un-designed. Effortless. Brought together from the garden.
Which flower varieties are you really excited about for the upcoming season?
Me? All of them, girl! I love all flower varieties. It’s true; I haven’t found one I didn’t like, yet. I am really excited about the gaining momentum of American Grown Flowers. Slow flowers speak to me. I am excited the movement is finally coming to the Southeastern United States. Um well, if I have to pick a fave it’s a Ranunculus. Or, a Peony or Freesia. Or, Blushing Bride protea. Really, anything Charity sends me. I love her pulls!
Let’s talk tools. Favorite florist tool, and favorite social media app for marketing yourself? If you’re using anything besides Instagram & Facebook, we’d love to hear what else florists are starting to use!
My favorite florist tool is an old school frog, a really good one. But, I don’t get to use them as often as I’d like. The oasis foam and tape is better for transport.
Our fans are incredible. We connect with them daily through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and Periscope. Instagram and Pinterest are the ones we adore the most. What we enjoy most is collaborating with others in our industry to show people just how easy it is to incorporate flowers into everyday life, how easy it is to use things you already have on hand.
Our social media includes collaborations with other brands that we really, truly love. Some examples are Cameron Hughes Wine, Rosaprima Roses, Syndicate Sales, Camp Makery, Wedding Chicks, Style Me Pretty and Pottery Barn. I am enjoying our relationship with Pottery Barn the most! Pottery Barn Inside & Out blog has featured our flower making tutorials every season for the past few years like How To Make A Flower Girl Halo or DIY: Cake Stand Centerpiece. Our tutorials are also featured onCamp Makery. Check them out, you’ll see some Mayesh flowers in there!
What’s the most memorable or favorite event/shoot you’ve worked on?
Well, it’s not the most famous shoot we’ve ever done. But, the time my family came together to share my Grandmother’s pound cake recipe for Camp Makery and Pottery Barn is the one I treasure most. We all happen to be together in Nashville at the same time so my sister and I pulled it together on a whim. Javon Longieliere Photography met us in the middle of nowhere; actually it was the place where my parents got married, the day after Thanksgiving. Seeing all the generations in my Mother’s family together making the flower arrangements and setting the table is really special to me.
One of my favorite weddings was a French Industrial wedding in Atlanta. It was styled by my dear friend Lauren Weems of Camp Makery. My aunt and I did all the flowers at her Lake Oconee home. My Uncle kept us fed and in good spirits. And, my cousin and husband did the lights. We had the best time!
Dear Christy, Your greatness is not what you have. It’s what you give. So hang in there. Keep giving all the love and good vibes you’ve got to those flowers, those people, and yourself. Keep trying. Kindness matters and actions speak louder than words. You know this is gonna be tough. But you’ve done harder things. Keep being honest. Authentic. And you. Listen to that inner voice when you’re collecting and arranging and building your tribe. Lift others up and let go of the things that don’t matter. And stop apologizing for saying no. Your arrangements are going to reflect what’s in your heart – the people and the energy in there. So, appreciate all the love and gracious people in your life. Be confident, believe in yourself and give yourself grace. Be happy. There’s beauty everywhere when you stop looking for flaws. Life and beauty are fleeting so keep living it up and making things that mean the most beautiful to you! You go girl! Don’t stop. Get it. Get it! 🙂 Xx! Christy