Last week, we had yet another terrific takeover on our Instagram – this time by the lovely Randi Eshelman of Carte Blanche in Arizona. We caught up with Randi to ask her a few questions about her love of flowers, her opinion on current trends, and how she got where she is today!
So tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you got started in the flower industry?
I have always loved working with flowers, however, when I was younger I didn’t believe a career as a floral designer was feasible, so instead, I worked in Commercial Real Estate for several years. Fast forward 10 years later, I really wasn’t enjoying the career path that I was on, so I started researching weddings and floristry, and I fell in love with the soft, organic, artistic floral design that Flowerwild, JL Designs, and others were creating. I freelanced for a little while, getting my feet wet, while continuing to work full-time. Then, four years ago, I started my own company. I started off VERY part-time, doing friend’s weddings and parties, and getting referrals from them. I was juggling two small kids at the same time, so I was unable to invest a lot of time in my business. However, in the last couple of years, I made a commitment to really work on my business and I am really blessed to have it where it is today. I have no real formal training, I didn’t grow up in the flower business, and I left a stable career of 10 years, but I am so thankful that I made the leap to do something that I was really passionate about.
I adore your name, Carte Blanche! How did you decide on this to represent you and your brand?
Thank You! Carte Blanche loosely means – “whatever you desire”. Years ago, I had an unfortunate experience with a florist when I was planning my own wedding. I saw a beautiful wedding in a magazine (before pinterest, ha!) and I wanted to find a way to use it as a springboard for the inspiration for my own wedding. The florist basically knocked it down right away and said I should do something else. It was very sad to me and left a lasting impression. I did find a florist that took my idea, ran with it, and it ended up being perfect! So, when I was developing my branding and thought process behind our name, I wanted to convey to my clients that it is okay to dream!It is our passion to see their vision developed into a beautiful reality.
You offer both floral design and event styling. Do clients generally ask you to do both, and if so, do you prefer doing the whole shebang, or just focusing on the flowers and collaborating with other event stylists?
Right now we are focusing most of our time on the flowers and floral design. I love designing the arrangements; flowers just make me happy. We also design a handful of events for a few clients each year, however, it is not the main focus of our business right now.
How would you describe your design style?
Organic, Nature Inspired, Soft, Romantic. I really love using beautiful, full blooms in my arrangements, such as garden roses and ranunculus.
Photo by @danielkimphoto
Photo by @andrewjadephoto
What trends do you see happening in wedding flowers right now?
I am seeing a few floral designers moving toward tropicals, whether they are phalaenopsis orchids, or large banana leaves. Tropicals have typically been used with very modern designs, but I am enjoying how florists are bringing them into very wild, organic compositions.
Which flower varieties are you really excited about for the upcoming season?
I am looking forward to using one of my all time favorites, the Hellebore flower. I love how it is such a delicate and beautiful flower. I feel like whenever I add it to one of my arrangements, it creates a little magic. I am also looking forward to all of the Japanese product Mayesh sources. Those flowers can’t be beat! They are simply stunning.
Photo by @melissajill
Since your wedding season generally starts a bit later due to hot, Arizona summers, what do your summers looks like in terms of floral design?
Summer for us in Arizona is probably a lot like other florists’ winters. I try to catch up on everything that I couldn’t get to in the Fall and Spring seasons, like paperwork, networking, and sleeping! 🙂
Let’s talk tools. Favorite florist tool, and favorite social media app for marketing yourself?
My favorite tool is probably a sharp, straight edged knife. I just seem to work faster with it than with clippers.
My favorite social media tool, by far, is Instagram. I enjoy it so much more than other social media tools because I am very visual. It has allowed me to connect to clients as well as a wonderful floral community. It also saves me time because I can display my work quickly without having to blog all the time.
What’s the most memorable or favorite event/shoot you’ve worked on?
A few shoots come to mind but one that sticks out the most was when we created the floral design at the Luminary Workshop hosted by Daniel Kim Photography. It was an all day workshop for film photographers. We helped create three separate styled shoots for them (A boudoir shoot with a suspended garland over the model, a bride and groom shoot with several elements, and a single model with florals). It was challenging and so much fun at the same time. I enjoyed it because each of the three shoots was so different from one another.
Photo by @danielkimphoto
What is one piece of advice you’d like to go back and tell yourselves during your first year of designing?
Be true and confident to who you are as an artist and designer. Everything always looks better when your soul is inspired. This is something I have to remind myself even now. And continue to invest in yourself and furthering your understanding of floral design, whether it is taking a workshop, joining a community of florists that you can learn from, or just plain practicing. There are always new things to learn and new friendships to forge.
Photo by @melissajill
Photo by @charitymaurerphoto
For more drool-worthy Carte Blanche designs, check out her Instagram! Enjoy!