In the fourth episode of our 2019 Design Star video series, Shean Strong creates a hanging installation in the corner of a room, using foraged vines & branches as his base and a variety of fresh flowers!
Aside from flowers, giving back to our communities is an integral part of our mission. We love when we see our branches taking an active role in their local communities, the most recent example being Mayesh Houston!
Joe Wildridge, Mayesh Houston’s Operations Manager, has played semi-professional football for the past ten years, many of which he has been a part of Tomball Bobcats, a non-profit organization that focuses on providing young adult athletes and other members of the community the opportunity to participate in organized competitive football events. They also participate in a lot of community events in the Tomball community, like the holiday parade, feeding the homeless, camps for the youth, and community clean up.
The Tomball Bobcats just announced Mayesh Houston as their most recent sponsor, and we’re so thrilled to be a part of this organization. Check out the announcement here!
In the third episode of our 2019 Design Star video series, Shean Strong demonstrates the differences between using floral foam and floral netting (chicken wire) for a centerpiece arrangement by creating one of each!
Hey you guys it’s me Shean Strong, your 2019 Mayesh design star. And today we’re doing all things centerpiece. Now we’re gonna be two separate centerpieces and they’re both gonna be the exact same. But I’m gonna be doing one with chicken wire and one with Oasis. Now I think it’s important to know how to do arrangements with both of these things. There’re gonna be times where we need to use Oasis, and there’s gonna be time where we need to use chicken wire. So we’re gonna work together and we’re gonna build something that’s gonna be the exact same arrangement, that’s gonna be absolutely beautiful for you and your guests to enjoy. All right so first things first, when you guys start designing, if we’re gonna be using our Oasis you need to make sure that you’ve already kinda mapped it out in the correct size for your actual vessel. I already have this Oasis right here that has been soaked. So we’re gonna place this into our vessel. We want to make sure that the flowers have plenty of water to drink. Then we’re gonna be using our floral tape. This is gonna be an easy way to secure your Oasis into your vessel. This is helpful because whenever you’re transporting these things whether you’re doin’ it for a venue, or if you’re gonna be having them on your own personal table, it’s nice just to have some security there. Now I like to make sure that I have the most space possible whenever I’m designing, so I like to pinch the corners of this tape. That way I can make sure that I’m getting the most space possible in my vessel. Now you’re good to go. This is secure and we’re gonna begin flowering. Now a lot of the times whenever I’m designing, I usually like to start flower first and I know that’s complete opposite of what a lot of other people like to do. But this time I’m gonna do something a little bit different for me, which is goin’ to be using our greens first. The greens are gonna be nice because it’s goin to allow us to build the shape for our design. So right now we have this beautiful clematis. It has this very very pretty purple color. And this is such a nice whimsical kind of shape, so it’s gonna be nice to be able to place this in here into the Oasis and begin building our design. Now the thing about Oasis when you’re using it, you gotta’ be rather intentional when you’re placing items. Because what happens is once you poke a hole in this, that hole does fill itself back up. You’re gonna need to make sure you’re being really really intentional with your placement. So if you have one thing here, try not to take this out. Because it’s already secure in the actual vessel. So what you wanna do is kinda just play around with the different shapes. So if you have a beautiful piece of clematis this, if you want something kind of cascading down, play around with it outside of the actual centerpiece, before you place into the actual Oasis. So we’re gonna start building this out. Make sure you give a nice angled cut. And I’m gonna start building out this direction. So you can kinda see the shape that’s already taking place with our arrangement. We have this high point up here, we have a lower point down here. We wanna kinda build some in between. I like to make sure that there’s gonna be a line that your eye’s gonna follow. So we have this high point moving all the way back down. Now we’re gonna keep building that with our clematis. And this is gonna give us like I said our base shape, and it’s gonna be a wonderful filler to also give some great texture, some great depth, and give us that really beautiful garden feel. Now clematis, this has been provided by Mayesh. And it’s one these beautiful flowers that’s really really delicate, but also has a lot of substance to it. So you can see kinda where we’re going with this. Now I want you guys to be able to shoot me your Instagram messages, and let me know your arrangements. After we do all this, I’d love to be able to see what are designing with and how this is kinda translating to something you guys are using at your own house. So I’m gonna begin design this direction. I’m gonna start turnin’ it around. That way I can see what the forward facing is gonna be, the side face is gonna be, the back face all that stuff, so we can get all these beautiful angles from each and every side. So we’re gonna keep adding in our clematis. ‘Cause this is goin to create the shape of our actual arrangement. Now we wanna have a little bit of negative space right over here, but we also wanna kinda fill this in up front. Also in the back and on the sides. Now it’s really important when you’re designing, to kind of consider the color palette that you’re working in. When you look at the color wheel, you can have red and green, you’ll have purple and yellow, and you’ll have orange and blue, which are your complimentary colors. And it’s always nice to pair those colors ’cause they’re easy on the eye. So once you know those rules, you’re able to kinda tweak them a little bit. If you had just purple and yellow, you can go into more of like a eggplant, and citron kind of color. Or if you have a red and a green, you can go into more of a copper, and you can start into more of a sage kind of color palette. And whenever you’re playin’ around with your blues and oranges, you can also add in colors that are gonna be like teal and very very deep rust color. So you’re able to play around with these colors, once you kind of know your color theory. So again we’re just kinda building this out, I just placed this one right in here in front. I wanna create some depth, so I wanna have a lot of things comin’ out towards you. Things growing up, things goin behind. And I wanna make sure that there’s gonna be lots of movement taking place in the actual arrangement. So when we’re building out our arrangement, we wanna make sure that all of the Oasis is gonna be covered. You don’t have to necessarily use it with your greenery, but you can definitely add bits and pieces into your arrangement. We broke off a little piece there, and we’re just gonna start tucking it in. Again we wanna have those quiet moments right through here, and we can have some more louder statement pieces up top. So we’re just breaking off pieces of our clematis, and we’re just beginning to build out. And whenever you have those big impactful flowers, it’s these quiet little delicate ones that really create shape and movement for your actual arrangement. So as you can see we kind of have a front, we kind of have a side, we kind of have a back. This would be something that we could do as like a statement piece in where, a smaller statement piece of course. So again starting to just build everything out, and we’re getting the shape confirmed. We can see the direction that we’re going, a lot of the times when I’m designing I do a asymmetrical design. Again I wanna have a line that’s followed like with your eye. So we have a high point we have a low point, and we have these little pieces in between, that are creating that depth that we talked about in our previous video. Don’t negate these small little pieces right here. I do make sure that I’m cutting off these little nubs, because nobody wants to see that like jarring out of their arrangement. But we do wanna see something a little bit smoother, that way we can fill in with some more greens. And that way it can almost can look a little bit more complete. There we go, cuttin’ that bad boy off, and just building it out. You can just see how that’s already beginning to fill the back, and it’s creating that depth that we want in our actual arrangement. Awesome we’re getting there. This clematis is absolutely beautiful. I love being able to work with these small delicate kind of flowers to fill out as the main source for my designs. Now as you can see our arrangement is completely done. We have our, well it’s not completely done. We have our greens taking place in this. So what we wanna do is make sure that we have everything kinda following this line. This high point moving all the way down to this very beautiful point down here. All right now I wanna incorporate some fruit into the arrangement. I always think adding an element of fruit is almost a bit surprising for your client. So when they see that they’re just kind of intrigued in what’s goin on and they get to engage the flowers a little bit more. It also adds this kind of like this old world romance vibe to everything that we’re doing. Now what we’re gonna do, ’cause we’re gonna take our grapes, and we’re gonna take our flower picks, and all you’re gonna do is just wrap these around the stem of the grapes. So you can literally see it just hanging up like this. We’re gonna secure this off by making sure that we wrap the wire all the way around the stem of our grapes. So there you go. So when we place this into our arrangement, we wanna make sure that we’re placing it in pretty high, like pretty high in the middle ground of the actual Oasis. So that way this is gonna cascade beautifully into one of the corners. I’ll place it in and then I’ll show you guys what I did. Good thing about grapes is they’re gonna last outside of Oasis or water because they’re grapes. They don’t need to be anywhere else other than out. So there we go we got this beautiful cascade already happening right there. And again you can see how your eye is literally being drawn down the whole entire side. Your able to kind of mirror this and do some on this other side as well. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just a personal preference. So we’re gonna start adding in our flowers. Like I said once we have the grapes already integrated into the Oasis it’s gonna be really easy to start adding in you flowers at this point. So since we’re working with purples, I like the idea of working with yellow as well. Again they’re complimentary colors, so they’re gonna work beautifully together. So here we see one of these beautiful yellow roses. And once these things kind of open up, they just have this really beautiful color to them. And you can already see how that’s gonna look so incredible against that purple. Okay, so you can see we have our grapes cascading out of our arrangement, which absolutely look beautiful with this purple. Now again, when we refer back to the color wheel, we can add yellow into our purple arrangement, because they’re complimentary colors. So we’re able to kinda tuck some beautiful yellows down in there and they’re really gonna highlight the purple color in the arrangement. So I’m gonna put one in, then I’ll show you guys what I’m doing. So again when you’re dealing with Oasis, you wanna make sure that you’re pretty intentional. So don’t worry about putting the flower stem immediately into the Oasis. You can play around with it a little bit. You kinda see where you want it to be placed. If you want here, if you want it over there, you want it down low. I would be really really intentional with where you’re doing this. That way your Oasis does not fall apart. So again we have one rose right over there. I like to keep things kind of in groups. When flowers are growing naturally, they’re gonna be growing kinda together. We talked about that in our previous video, about having that kind of staggered effect. So when we have a group of roses over here, it’s gonna really compliment the arrangement as a whole. So I’m gonna tuck some more of these bad boys in there, and we’ll be good to go. I’ll design a little bit right here, and then I’m goin to show you guys what I’m doin. Now again if you guys ever have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. I know a lot of you guys follow me on Instagram, and you guys are welcome to use me as a resource for color palettes or for design ideas, or if you’re needing help with something. I have no problem assisting where I can. All right, so here we go. So we have this staggered kind of effect. Again it’s a line that’s bein’ built right there, we’re working in groups of three. And I wanna be able to kind of incorporate a couple more over here. I think having this sharp line is kind of intrusive for the eye, so we’re kind of build up this direction and build out this direction as well. And that’s gonna really kinda compliment the shape of this bowl, it’s gonna highlight the fruit over here and also highlight this high point. So I’m gonna design a little bit more, and then I’m gonna show you guys our product. So now that we have all of our roses into our arrangement, we’re gonna start softening them up. Oftentimes when you see a rose, it’s just really kind of intrusive for the eyes, we wanna make sure to have something a little bit softer around it. That’s why spray roses are such a good choice to kind of pair with your roses. So kind of in this blank little area over here, we’re gonna tuck some in pretty deep. We’re also gonna do some back over here. And we’re just kind of play around with them and kind of add a little bit more depth to the arrangement. So the good thing about working with spray roses is they automatically have that layering effect that we have. So if you look at all the roses that we have here, they’re all in there own separate plane. There’s not gonna be one that’s gonna be on the same plane as the other one and that’s gonna help create some depth, and that’s gonna allow you to have a great photograph for your client. So we’re tucking in spray roses, making sure that they’re goin in pretty deep. We wanna make sure all that Oasis is covered. Now again with the Oasis, we’re making sure that we are being rather intentional with how we are placing our flowers. You don’t want to keep pulling things in and out of the Oasis because it’s gonna break, and it’s no longer gonna be secure for your arrangement. So again just kinda eyeball it, see where you want things to go, and start playin’ around with it. That’s gonna really help you be rather intentional with your design. All right so I think we enough spray roses in there right now. So we’re gonna be using the variegated ranunculus. Now this a beautiful beautiful flower, and you can see the purple striping already taking place in the actual flower. I like to be a little bit more whimsical and wild with our ranunculus. These are such a show-stopping kind of flower they can stand by themselves. So I think having one kind of up here just like rogue ranunculus, I’m all about that. Just a personal choice something you don’t necessarily have to do, if you don’t do it I will judge you. I’m just joking I won’t judge you guys. We can already see how this is bringing some life and some depth to the arrangement by having another high point over here. Because everything else is so low it’s nice to have something just so your eye can bounce to. Tucking in our ranunculus, I typically try to do at least three of them together, otherwise it ends up looking like eyeballs and we don’t want like your arrangement staring back at you. That’s just a little creepy in my opinion. I’m gonna tuck in a couple more of these flowers into the arrangement. Again, to kind of have that push and pull effect. By having something kind of coming out at you, something kind of jarring in your face in a good way. Not necessarily in a bad way. All right so I went ahead and added in some grass. Again, just to create that engagement where people are almost having to peer through to see what kind of flowers are taking place. One final touch, we’re gonna have this cool texture right over here and this is just going to highlight our roses that we have, and just pull some of the darker colors that we have goin’ on. So you can see how this is elongated up over here, and we’re gonna have some falling throughout over this direction as well. All right so we’re gonna have these guys kind of cascading through the arrangement. Again, we want to make sure that the eye is following a beautiful line. That’s gonna really help just kinda create this beautiful flow in your flowers. And by adding just these subtle little textures right here, it’s bringing out these little bits of color and these poplar color that are taking place through your arrangement. Now I’m gonna make the exact same arrangement, and it’s gonna be in chicken wire. And I’m gonna show you guys the differences and talk a little bit about how to work in chicken wire as opposed to Oasis. all right you guys so we already had our centerpiece with our Oasis, now we’re gonna be working with chicken wire. Now what I like about chicken wire is it’s recyclable. So not only are you able to reuse this actual piece again, but it’s also gonna be able to be recycled into something else later on. So right now we wanna make sure that we cut our chicken wire to the size of our vessel. You wanna make sure you have a couple inches over the actual lip ’cause that’s gonna really help you whenever we start folding this into two separate pieces. So right now I have these two corners, and I’m gonna take this side and this side and connect them together. Now this is imperative because you wanna make sure that these are really really secure in here. You can just take the wire that’s kinda already hanging off of this chicken wire, and just kinda tuck these pieces in. You wanna create this like cannoli-like shape right here. Now it’s nice to have this double layer because when we start putting our centerpieces together, it’s gonna be easy for the flower to hold onto itself. And if this just goes into one simple spot, the flower’s gonna lay flat. But if there’s two pieces for it to go into it’s gonna hold itself a little more. I promise it will work. So let’s see, we have this cannoli-like shape, we’re gonna tuck these corners in together, and it’s gonna create a pillow. So what’s gonna happen is we’re just taking these bits of wire right here, and we’re just kind of tucking this in to itself, just to keep it secure. Same exact thing on this top part. So again tucking it in, it’s gonna create this pillow-like shape, and it’s gonna be beneficial for you in just a moment. So here we go. Now this is gonna be still a little too big for your actual centerpiece. So this is why we’re gonna tuck in these corners and just kind of morph it into the shape that we need it to be. all right so we’re just morphing this into the shape that it needs to be. Then we’re just gonna place it into our vessel like so, and make sure that it fits nice and snug. All right now that our chicken wire is in our vessel we wanna make sure that we secure it with some tape. Now this is very important because we wanna make sure that this is not gonna have a lot of movement whenever we’re using it for our designs. So we’re just gonna tape it down and we’re gonna do four sections. Okay one two, then we’re gonna do, another here three, and four. Now again, make sure whenever you guys are done with your arrangements that you’re removing this tape. We don’t want this to be seen for anybody to take a photo of, of them to see it. Doesn’t really look that professional. But this right here is pretty secure. So what we’re gonna begin doing right now is adding in our clematis, and kind of building our shape out. Here we go. All right so now that we have our chicken wire into our vessel, we’re gonna go ahead and start building it our with our clematis. Now I love working with clematis ’cause it has such a beautiful shape to it. Now a lot of times whenever we’re designing, we like to cut these little like nibs off. I like keeping them on when I’m working with chicken wire because it allows me kinda put that in the chicken wire, in not only the first layer but the second layer. And it allows me almost have a lock and key effect. So that way whenever I lock this in here, it’s gonna stay a little bit more secure, as opposed to just having a straight stem. So there we go, we’re gonna start building this out with our clematis. Now make sure when you guys are adding in something like clematis, make sure you guys are beginning to build your shape with the actual green. That way you’re able to kinda see where you’re gonna placing your flowers, and it’s gonna give you kind of the direction that you’re gonna be going. Again I want you guys to have fun with this. Make sure you guys are just being creative in your designs. It doesn’t have to be the exact same as every other arrangement, you can play around with it a little bit. So again just starting to build these things out, creating height in one section, and gonna start cascading on this side. So the same thing that we did with the Oasis arrangement, having one side a little bit higher, having the eye kind of follow all the way down. So you can see what’s taking place in this actual arrangement. make sure you guys are always givin’ a fresh snip every single time you guys are placing one of the flowers into your centerpiece. What happens is those stems tend to oxidize really quickly. So we wanna make sure that we are getting fresh water straight up to those beautiful blooms. All right so here we go, we’re gonna start greening this thing out. So now that we have all this greened out we’re gonna go ahead and add our fruit in the same way we did with our Oasis. I like to be able to add it in now because if we are adding in the flowers, we gotta work around a lot of materials. So the same way that we’re gonna be adding in the fruit with the Oasis, we’re gonna be using these floral picks. Now these are a wonderful resource because they’re gonna be able to tuck down easily into the chicken wire. Now you gotta kinda maneuver them a little bit and kind of just force them into that little area and kind of like find a little groove that they’re gonna be secure. so I’m gonna go ahead and do this up front, and then I’ll show you guys what the finished product is gonna look like. Make sure whenever you guys are wrapping your pick around the fruit, make sure you find a location that’s gonna be pretty secure. So like right there, that’s a good area that you guys can have the actual fruit hanging on this pick. And we’re just gonna wrap this wire around, and that’s gonna create some security for your fruit to fall into your chicken wire. All right so now that we have our fruit into our arrangement we’re gonna go and start adding in our flowers. Now we’re gonna be using Coral Charm Peonies. Now this is one of my favorite peonies because even though it’s super bright right now, it’s gonna fade into this beautiful buttercream kind of color. Which I think is gonna be absolutely beautiful paired with this lilac that we have from this clematis. So we’re gonna go ahead and give a cut on this, and we’re gonna start placing it. Now I like being able to have some taller moments, and some smaller moments so we’re gonna have an impactful moment over on this little side over here. Now peonies are statement flowers, so they’re definitely gonna be show-stoppers. So by adding them into your arrangement, your automatically going to have this beautiful, kind of eye-catching arrangement. So when you’re placing these, make sure that you’re doing so where they’re gonna be not necessarily grouped together, but they’re gonna have their own little moment where you can accentuate them with other flowers. I’m already liking the way it’s looking it’s looking great. All right so if you guys have ever followed me along on my Instagram, you guys know that I use pretty muted colors. And again these peonies are gonna start fading out to a more muted palette. But I think what better opportunity to work with some beautiful bright colors, than working with Mayesh right now. Now we’re gonna go ahead and add in our roses. Now these roses are from Alexandra Farms, they’re absolutely beautiful. They remind me a lot of Distant Drums, which I think that kind of color variation is very similar to those. Now what I love about working with Alexandra Farms is not only do they partner with Mayesh, but they give you this little sticker that let’s you know who picked your actual roses. So Maria, thank you so very much for these, I think they’re absolutely beautiful. All right so now that we have our flowers kind of bloomed out, we have this whole like blooming thing happening right now, I think it looks absolutely incredible. We’re gonna start adding in some gesture. Now a way we can do that is add in some more height, and these tulips right here are gonna be just the thing to kind of give us that little punch. So we’re gonna start tapping these into the arrangement, and we’re gonna start adding some up here, kind of having some through the middle, kind of having some cascade down with these fruit. Depending on how you actually place them in the arrangement, will truly determine how they’re going to fall. You can either have them up here for a gestural moment, or you can have something kind of cascading down this direction and they’re gonna fall beautifully well. So tulips are a great necessity if you’re looking for anything up high or down low. We’re gonna go ahead and begin adding these in, and we’re gonna create some beautiful moments with this. so again we’re making sure that we’re just doing a really sharp cut and we’re just gonna place this into our chicken wire. Now what I like about the chicken wire, is we’re able to kinda just feel around and make sure that these are gonna be placed where we want them to go. So there we go, I’m liking that right now. We have this beautiful gesture happening right up here. We have it kinda transitioning over here, we’re gonna have this cascading through this little area and down from the front as well. So we’re gonna go ahead and get started with this, and I’ll show you guys what that looks like. All right so now that we have our arrangement practically done we’re gonna add a little bit more moments of gesture. So ranunculus are a great flower for that. You can see right here that they just have this really pretty petal count on them. And by adding them into the arrangement it’s almost like they flutter on top of it. So it’s gonna add a really really cool shape to your actual arrangement. I don’t want to have anything to compete with this high point over here, so I’m gonna do something a little bit over here. That way again there’s a little bit of definition between the flowers that are happening on this side and this side, but there’s also some space between these over here. Now again this is a chicken wire arrangement, so these things are holding up pretty nicely in this actual arrangement. I’m not having too much trouble having to work around anything. So if this is something that you guys are interested in doing definitely give it a shot. I try to work when I’m using ranunculus to use at least three of them. If you end up just using two of them, they start looking like eyeballs looking at you, and we don’t really want that. We don’t want your arrangement looking at you, we want you to look at the arrangement. So by having three of them kind of together, it’s gonna break up that, that little eye look it can create. All right, awesome. Ranunculus are also great because they’re gonna create that depth that you guys are gonna be wanting in your arrangement. It’s gonna really help not only give some height, but it’s also gonna create a depth for you guys. That way you can have some push and pull effect with your long stems and your ranunculus. all right so this is my arrangement. I am going to add one finishing touch. You guys know I love my grasses, and it’s just gonna add that fun little element inside the arrangement again, to make your audience kind of engage with the actual flowers. So by tucking them in it’s almost as if they’re gotta kind of peer through, to see what kind of flowers you’re actually using. And again, just tucking this directly into my flowers. Little bits here and there. Really simple just to add that engagement. Now when your flowers are completely done and they’re placed on the table, you wanna make sure that you take this tape right here, and you tuck it into the actual arrangement. Your flowers aren’t gonna be goin anywhere, so they don’t need to be moving anymore. So you just tuck that in and it’s gonna make sure that your arrangement is completely finished. All right you guys, so this is the final product. I hope you guys enjoyed watching this video. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, you guys can definitely leave your comments down below and I’ll try to respond to them. You can also shoot me a direct message on Instagram and I would love to see what you guys create. Again these flowers are courtesy of Mayesh, and we’re here in Park Studio. Cannot wait to see what you guys design. So shoot me over your images, and I’ll see you guys at our next workshop. Thanks so much.
In the second episode of our 2019 Design Star video series, Shean Strong creates an “indoor meadow” installation, once again using a combination of fresh and dried florals. This is a type of design is great for indoor, outdoors, around chairs or other furniture that will create a beautiful visual effect for your clients, brides, and photographers.
Foraged Mock Pampas Grass, Bleached White Amaranthus, Sanguisorba, Leucothe, Gerbera Spider White with Black Center, Peony Red Charm, Peony Henry Bockstoce, Bleached Bunny Tail Grass, Wendy Spray Rose, Dried White Strawflower
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — we LOVE seeing all the amazingly beautiful designs you guys create with our flowers, and this shoot is no exception!
Fatima of Studio Terrain in Detroit dreamt up this stunning little installation, and it’s giving me all of the warm, desert vibes I need during these winter storms. Keep scrolling to see all the beauty and to pretend it’s summer, if just for a minute!
Inspiration for this shoot derived from the beauty and simplicity of warm neutral tones. Warm taupes & cool browns complimented by the vibrancy of terra-cotta made the perfect palette to warm up these winter months in Detroit.
The Mayesh Detroit branch provided the fresh floral for the shoot, and we finally got our hands on the luscious toffee roses everyone is talking about! We also wanted to design with ingredients that are often overlooked like gypsophila, carnations, anthurium, and daisies. The spider phantom daises and sprayed gyp added great texture to the installation!
Forget Christmas, one of the biggest holidays of the year is upon us… Valentine’s Day! There’s a lot that goes on behind-the-scenes at Mayesh to stock our customers’ shelves with roses… so we thought it would be fun to share the process leading up to the big day.
Juan Carlos is part of our Purchasing Team, and every year, from about January 27th through February 6th, he visits the farms in Ecuador to walk the fields and greenhouses for quality control and to make sure our orders meet our expectations.
During his visits, he’s checking on a few things…
QUALITY: that our roses are coming in free of issues, such as botrytis and other diseases
TIMING:that the farms are on time with the orders and deliveries, and then that the Cargo agency at the airport is on schedule
Valentine’s Day is most definitely one of the busiest times of the year for us, but it is so important to us to provide quality products to our customers for such a big day. We wish you all a successful holiday… see you on the other side!
This week’s Instagram takeover was a dear customer of our Detroit branch, and was first introduced to me after Detroit’s buyer, Andy Arthur, enlisted Julia Griffin of Willa Rose Floral to create his floral beard after winning our No-Shave November contest. She totally rocked the beard and set up the coolest urban photoshoot with Andy, so I knew we had to see more from her!
You learned a bit about Julia’s journey as a farmer florist through her takeover this past week, but let’s dive in a bit more!
So tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am a flower enthusiast – my life completely revolves around flowers! My cut flower farm and design studio are in Detroit, MI, a couple miles from downtown. I couldn’t imagine a better place to start a farm or business, as I am surrounded by tons of creative energy and encouragement. I have an amazing partner and 2 really sweet cats that love to eat flowers (the cats eat my flowers, not my partner).
You’re both a flower farmer & floral designer — which did you start out doing first, and how did it lead to the other?
I started out as a farmer, growing vegetables actually! I was getting my degree in nutrition and food science and I realized I had no idea how to actually grow food, so I contacted a local vegetable CSA farm and started volunteering there. After a season of volunteering once a week in exchange for a box full of vegetables (which was an amazing deal), they offered me a full-time job for the following season when I graduated. The couple who owned the farm, Tom and Nancy, were transitioning to flower farming the following season after winning a community development grant for non-edible crops. This worked out perfectly because Nancy and I were already in the midst of falling head over heels for flowers. They took me under their wing and taught me everything I know about farming which I am unbelievably thankful for. Growing the flowers naturally led to the idea of wanting to create with them. I have always been creative but I don’t think I ever had the perfect outlet, until flowers. About two years into farming I started to become really interested in the design aspect of flowers and I took on wedding and event design.
Tell us more about your farm!
Ahh my happy place! My farm is located in the Core City neighborhood of Detroit, which is about 2 miles northwest of downtown. The farm is small – about ½ an acre – and I’m focusing on growing unique and interesting varieties that I know I can’t get elsewhere. Everything I grow will be directly used in my design work. I’ve spent months planning, clearing, shoveling, and ordering, and seed starting begins in a few weeks!
I found the land when a friend introduced me to Philip Kafka, a developer who owns most of a few square blocks in the neighborhood. A few years ago, Philip built a village of Quonset live/work huts on a collection of vacant lots, and on top of building out my studio, is in the middle of building a bakery, restaurant, park and a handful of other projects. I am really excited to be a part of this community!
What are your favorite flowers to grow?
Wow that is a hard question… Anything out of the ordinary! Ranunculus are one of my all-time favorites. They are fairly easy if Mother Nature is kind to you. They produce a TON and the blooms last a solid two weeks or more. And the colors available to grow are phenomenal. I just put in a massive order for some Italian varieties for the 2020 season that I am beyond excited for. I also love perennials because they are fairly easy, they produce more and more every year and they add interest to design work. Some of my favorites are garden roses, bears breech, Japanese anemone and clematis. I’m also really into plants that attract pollinators — I’ll have hives on the farm starting in the spring, and am turning a whole nook of my farm into a pollinator garden.
I think it’s so interesting that Michigan has such a vibrant flower scene. From Detroit Flower House to all the small farms I’ve learned about, there are some really cool things happening there. Can you talk a bit about the floral community there?
I have been so blown away by the flower community here. Everyone is so supportive, encouraging, and kind. I swear I am like a kid in a candy store when you put me in a room with fellow flower lovers. We are so lucky because there are so many amazing growers and designers in Michigan who are so giving with their information and time. We also have Michigan Flower Co-op!! It’s the best. Local growers bring their product weekly and other designers/growers can shop. It gives growers an outlet for their flowers and it gives designers access to amazing, unique locally grown flowers! And Detroit Flower House… walking through that was truly one of the best experiences of my life.
Jumping to the design side of things… how would you describe your design style or philosophy?
I would say my design style is natural, romantic and whimsical with a touch of weird. I like to think my style is a bit unconventional. I really really strive to make things that I haven’t seen before. I try to do things as sustainably as possible by growing my own flowers, not using flower foam, composting everything after events and I even use the cardboard I get from wholesale boxed flowers as a base to build my flower beds! It’s called the lasagna method but I won’t bore you with more details.
What trends do you see emerging in the world of floral design & weddings?
I think floral design is becoming this insane art form and designers are really pushing the boundaries of an industry that seemed kind of stagnant for a while. Whether this is through crazy installations, massive headpieces, or really unique arrangements, people are thinking outside the box and seeking out more obscure flowers. And color! The use of color in the industry right now is stunning to me. I think this is slowly seeping into design for weddings too. Of course some brides still only want what they see on Pinterest. But I think they are becoming more aware of the fact that is okay to do something different! And designers appreciate doing something different.
Do you see yourself really diving more into one of these businesses in the future, or do your farm and design studio have a symbiotic relationship that will continue to grow and work together?
I don’t know if I could ever give up either. I do think I am already going deeper into the design aspect of the business and backing off a little from the farming. Instead of growing tons of flowers, I am really focusing on only growing rare and unique varieties, and focusing on things that I want to use in my own work that can’t be shipped or bought elsewhere. It would definitely be easier and probably more profitable for me to buy all my flowers and just focus on design, but I also don’t think I would feel satisfied. There’s something so special about using a flower you nurtured from seed to stem in your designs. And brides love being able to visit the farm months before their wedding and see their bridal bouquet blooms as seedlings!
We can’t end this interview without discussing that EPIC floral beard you created for our very own Andy Arthur!!! When we finished our Mayesh No-Shave November challenge, we honestly thought everyone would shave and that would be the end of it. But, since Andy is a rockstar, not only did he raise the most money, but he kept his scruff & enlisted you to design that awesome floral beard. Not to mention the photo shoot that followed! Tell us a bit about that process and how you came up with the design for that?
That was seriously so fun!! I was so happy Andy asked me and we have become good friends since. And by good friends I mean I bug him daily about flower availability and ask him about 10 questions a day. He asked me to do it and about 5 days later I built it. Luckily he is an amazing flower sourcer and got me everything I needed really quickly, with the addition of some plant bits from a local greenhouse. I went to his office and measured his face for the pleather base. Then I glued the flowers and plants directly onto that. To be honest, I didn’t really have a clear design plan for it. Like most of my design work, I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do, and then just started gluing. I did know that I wanted it to be super wild and have little curly pieces sticking out everywhere, which I accomplished with goanna claw. One of my best friends, Catherine Holden, is an amazing photographer and is always down to shoot my crazy ideas. So she and Andy came over and we had a little photo shoot of the beard!
Any advice for new farmer florists?
It is hard work! And it never gets easy. You will probably fail at a few crops. But you will definitely learn from those failures! And there is nothing more rewarding than when you finally succeed! Don’t be afraid to ask local growers or designers questions. Learn everything you can from everyone! And once you do that you will still probably only know a tiny portion – but that’s the best part! There are endless things to learn about flowers.
We hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about Julia & Willa Rose Floral! Make sure to give her a follow to keep up with farm & flower happenings!
I’m super excited to share our interview with the designer of yesterday’s takeover, Amy Atkinson-Barnes of Brier + Ivy. Now, I’m not exactly sure what’s going on in Oregon, but we’ve had a surge of Portland & Oregon based designers taking over our feed! I think Amy is the third consecutive Oregon designer to do a takeover for us, and I’m loving it! Although, I may be a bit biased as I graduated from the U of O and spent ten years in the PNW (Go Ducks!)
Anyhow, Portland is such a wonderful city that really supports the creative community and is just blossoming with young artists, so it probably does make sense after all!
I hope you enjoyed Amy’s takeover as much as I did, so let’s get to know the designer behind the flowers a bit better, shall we?
So tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you found yourself in the industry!
I studied psychology in college + was unsure of my career path. I was considering school counseling, but knew I wanted to work with people. I decided to take some time between undergrad and a masters program. In the interim, I got an office admin job and quickly learned the office life wasn’t for me. I started to pursue floral design as a side project and creative outlet but it quickly grew from that and I am so glad it did! Floral design comes so naturally to me, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!
We’ve had a few other takeovers from Portland floral designers, and I always love hearing their thoughts about the Portland flower community! (I went to to school at U of O and have spent a lot of time in Portland, so the city is near & dear to my heart!) What is your take on the industry in Portland?
As a Portland native, I have always loved this city. It has gone through so much growth and change over the last decade and as a local that can be hard to grasp at all times. That said, I think the wedding industry in Portland has gained so much from this growth. The Portland wedding industry is so vibrant + different than anywhere else I’ve witnessed. Though at times it feels over saturated, the overall sense of community in this industry is unparalleled and very encouraging. This unique community has become a model for vendors all over the world striving to make weddings more unique + artistic.
You own Brier + Ivy with your husband – what is his role in the company and how is it working so closely with your significant other?
Brier + Ivy has been a total dream for me. Pursuing this little flower business has been my main passion for the last few years + I am so grateful to have such a supportive partner! Brian has been getting more + more involved recently + it’s been awesome! Being able to travel together has been a game changer for us – we spent a month in Europe last fall flowering in Iceland, Switzerland + Italy! Brian has a background in production and management so he runs more of our day to day and behind the scenes operations. I work with clients and do all the designing. He is also our expert “installer” for larger floral pieces needing to be hung etc. Perhaps, most of all, he keeps me organized! When designing florals I tend to be very messy 🙂
How would you describe your design style or philosophy?
My designs are very much driven by the flowers I use. (Shoutout to Jocelyn for always helping me get incredible orders!) I am inspired by crooked stems or a random colored petal. I love texture + detail. While I’ll always love garden roses + peonies, those larger blooms tend to take a back seat in my designs. Focusing more on the detail + creating as much texture + depth as possible. I truly believe that makes each individual flower shine so much more!
We all know being in the wedding industry isn’t easy, but there’s always that something for each of us that keeps us in. What keeps you going and motived to live that flower hustlin’ life every day?
The flower hustlin’ life is definitely exhausting but there’s two things that keep me motivated. First, our clients! I know vendors like to brag about their clients, but I truly am so very grateful for the people we work with – they’re kind, inspiring + generous making the hard work + long hours so worth it. Secondly, simply being able to pursue something I love + am passionate about as a career is so incredible. Building a business that is so close to our heats + watching it support our family has been one of the greatest joys of our marriage thus far!
Let’s talk tools – favorite florist tool, and favorite app you use in your business, be it social media or business organization? Instagram counts (ha!) but if there’s anything else you’re using we’d love to hear about it!
Honestly, I am terrible with tools. I lose them all the time, or forget they’re in my purse + they get taken at TSA, haha! So my favorite tool is the one that I find in my pocket at any given time. My other favorite are the newer rose strippers – the bigger ones that are a larger plastic cylinder that surrounds the stem – so much better than the old metal ones!
My favorite app is Instagram, it feels cliche to say that, but it truly is such a unique way to be able to share your portfolio + your business with a broad audience. It is also such an incredible way to connect with other vendors + fellow florists. I do also love WordSwag + Unfold for make insta stories etc.
Besides the obvious “romantic garden style” style, what other wedding and floral trends are you noticing?
While I love oversized + lush bouquets + installs, lately I have been so inspired by the more modern minimalism approach to design. Things like a hand made ceramic bowl with an exposed pin frog sitting in it + just a few lovely stems coming out. Or an organic feeling ceremony backdrop made of just one or two types of florals. I also love to monochromatic trend – we made an all blush bouquet this fall that was too cool! (Yes, it did involve spray paint!)
Can you answer the age-old question… all-time favorite flower? I’ll allow a couple because even I can’t choose just one 😉
Oh boy, I am never good at this question but I’ll do my best!
Sentimentally my fav flower is a dahlia. Brian’s grandma grew them when he was a child + he has fond memories of her dahlia fields out on the Olympic Peninsula. They were a main part of my own wedding bouquet I designed.
Currently, my fav flower is a butterfly ranunculus. they’re just too darn cute + delicate!
Texturally I love Icelandic poppies (particularly the ones that are just barely blush colored) + I am obsessed with the tiny white rambling roses. They are so delicate + the season is so short but they are just too cool!
What would you go back and tell yourself as you were just starting out?
You can’t do it all by yourself, so stop trying!! I am not someone that really likes to ask for help and I love to be self-sufficient. Thus, starting this business I was so motivated to do everything myself. Now my motto is, “know your strengths.” I am a lot happier (and probably more successful) now that Brian has taken on a lot of the aspects of the business that I’m not great at. Hiring an accountant was probably the best thing we could have done as well! Being a little more freed up to focus on design + vision has been life changing!
Since launching our 2019 Mayesh Design Star workshops with Shean Strong, we've had a LOT of questions regarding our Masterclass Workshops in San Diego & Austin! We have realized that the name of the class may come off as a bit intimidating, so we wanted to explain a bit further.
To put things simply, the class will go into more depth than the All-Levels and cover master level content, but you do not need to be a master level designer to attend. Shean is there to help you build upon wherever you are in your business at this point in time.
Let's hear a bit more from Shean himself, and if you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask!
Last month, Mayesh participated in No-Shave November, raising $2000 for the cause. We had quite a few male employees partake in growing out their beards, but our MVB (Most Valuable Beard) had to go to one person, and that person is Andy Arthur of our Detroit branch!
Andy raised the most money ($440 out of our $2000) and posted some pretty great progress photos along the way, compliments of his adorable daughter Chloe, who also put up with her dad’s scruff for over a month.
The prize for our MVB was to have that branch create a floral beard out of the winning beard, but Andy took it a step further and enlisted Detroit floral designer Julia Griffin of Willa Rose Floral… and boy did they exceed our expectations! From the amazing floral beard itself to an awesome photoshoot with Andy looking all dapper, we’re so excited to share the result!