Photo by @kychellephoto
We’re super excited for this interview (for many reasons), but mainly because we have admired this designer’s work and influence on the flower industry for the past few years. It has been so fun to follow her journey, from a small, young florist to hitting it big and becoming one of the most sought after wedding floral designers out there. You have most likely heard of Sarah Winward of Honey of a Thousand Flowers in Salt Lake City, UT, and we were able to catch up with her and find out what’s been going on since our last interview in 2011!
So it’s been four years since Sabrina interviewed you, and in that time, a lot has changed for you! Can you tell us a little bit about how your business has grown since then?
Everything has changed! When Sabrina interviewed me I was in my first real year of business and I was still finding my style, my clients, and getting used to the wild floral and event world.
Since then I think I have narrowed in on who I am, what my style is, and I have found “my client”. I made my way through a few years of just making lots of beautiful flowers and sending them off to events that weren’t really that interesting to me. Since then, I’ve worked to find clients that are hiring me to make flowers for their events that also match the aesthetic of my flowers. I feel so grateful to finally have clients who are hiring me for my look, and trusting me to do what I think is best. It feels so wonderful. I actually cried four years ago (around the time of my last interview) while I was sitting in a meeting with a future client ( I played it off like I had something in my eye) when she was telling me how she wanted her flowers to look. I was so overwhelmed with joy that this bride was verbalizing to me how she wanted her wedding to look and feel, and trusting me to interpret and execute that, rather than sending me a Pinterest board and asking me to copy it. I cried with joy because I felt like I had finally been hired by someone who was hiring me to be creative, and that is why I was attracted to working in flowers in the first place.
I travel for most of my events now, and I love that. I love working in different environments and with different materials as I travel.
Photo by @heathernan
Photo by @kateosborne
Photo by @heathernan
Going off the last question, how has your design style evolved over the years?
I think my style is constantly evolving, and that is what keeps this job alive to me. I love that the seasons change and bring with them new flowers, textures, and color combinations. I take most of my inspiration from the individual blooms that are in season, and the environment that will be their final destination. Since I have been traveling for most of my work I think my style has picked up pieces from everywhere I’ve been. I have always loved greenery, and seem to always be incorporating more of it and smaller more textural flowers into my work.
Being a destination-wedding florist, you must have traveled to some pretty incredible places! What have been your favorite wedding destinations?
Before I worked in flowers I made traveling a priority in my life, and I spent all the time I could out exploring the world. I am so happy that my job has brought me to a point where I can combine two of these things that I love so much. Ireland and Thailand are probably tied for my favorites so far. Ireland was incredible because I was there in the fall and we caught all of the foliage in its most colorful stage. It was my personal heaven to be able to use so much colorful foliage!
Thailand was incredible too! Though most of my flowers were imported, I used all local and mostly foraged foliage from the small isolated peninsula in the South of Thailand that I was working on. It was incredible to watch ordinary roses and tulips take on a jungle look by mixing in the local foliage.
And of course, working in California is always amazing because there are so many wonderful resources for flowers, and I don’t have to have them shipped!
Photo by @kellylenard
You have recently added workshops to the mix! Tell us a little bit about those, and why you decided to expand to the educational side of things.
Teaching gives me new life, and makes me see things in that simple, beautiful way that I did when I first started working with flowers. I love the energy in the room when students are really loving their work. I feel like I am at a point where I do have a lot of knowledge I can share, and I love sharing it. I love keeping in touch with students and seeing what they do with their style and business after we meet. In general, I feel like teaching flowers spreads happiness, and I love that. It is a nice contrast to the quick paced and stressful event world.
Photos by @kychellephoto
So I won’t ask what your favorite flower is since we already know it is the Indian paint brush (unless that has changed?) Instead, what flowers are your favorites to work with and why?
I do love indian paint brush! (Of course I love a flower that doesn’t last well as a cut and isn’t cultivated in the floral world!) I love spring blooms Foxglove, Hellebore, Fritillaria, Allium Sicilum, etc. I love the small, intricate bell shaped blooms. I love the texture that they give to arrangements. A garden rose is nice and luscious, but I love indulging in all the small stuff and experimenting with mixing them together and still making strong focal points.
Photo by @kateosborne
What trends do you see surfacing in wedding flowers right now?
Wild and natural looking is definitely front stage right now. People are wanting more moody color palettes instead of the really soft, subdued stuff everyone was into for a while. And last but not least, installations! People want stuff hanging everywhere.
Photo by @jon_upchurch
I loved your story about the bees! With your busy floral life, are you still tending to your backyard beehive and making wild honey?
Yes! It doesn’t take that long to “keep” bees. They pretty much take care of themselves, but I check on them every week or so and then harvesting takes some time. In the late summer we harvest honey if we are lucky. It is such a wonderful thing! The honey tastes like all of the flora that was blooming with the pollen and nectar were collected and I love being able to taste my surroundings. It is a whole different way to experience flowers.
And last but not least, knowing what you know today, what would you tell your younger self, as you were just starting out and beginning your floral adventure?
I have really enjoyed my flower journey, and am really grateful for how smooth it has been. From the beginning of it until now has been a very organic process. It felt a lot like a tornado that I was sort of thrown into, not knowing what I was doing, but it was a beautiful tornado!
I do wish I would have photographed more of my work. Sometimes I send a really beautiful piece away, and never get photos of it. That hurts! I wish I had just made the time to photograph them so that they could live on forever.
I would have also been more selective about the work I took in the first few years. In the beginning you have to take work because it is work, and not necessarily because you love it. But, I found that work I did not love drained me of my creative spirit, and being able to use that creative spirit is the whole reason I got into this. The second I started being more picky about the work I was taking, was when my business took off in the direction I wanted it to. If I had valued my own time a bit sooner I think I would have saved myself many exhausting jobs that did nothing for my love of flowers or bettering my business.
We hope you enjoyed our follow-up interview with Sarah, and that you followed along with her Instagram takeover on our page!