Monthly Archives: February 2016

Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: No. 76

Question:

Do you use locally grown flowers in your designs? If so, how do you go about sourcing them?

Answers:

Yes! Well, I am certainly lucky in that not only do I source as much as I can from my large cutting garden, but I also have a very skilled organic farmer on my farm who grows flowers. This year for one of my larger weddings we are growing almost everything locally.

Clare Day Flowers

I’ve also worked really hard to create relationships with other local growers and I LOVE these relationships so much. There is so much passion that local growers bring to their work that is lost in the normal sourcing of flowers.

Clare Day Flowers

There is still a lot of room for more local product in the industry. For a large wedding, I still end up having to purchase a lot of material commercially (usually product from California) because no-one is growing it here. For example, there isn’t a single grower on Vancouver Island or lower mainland of BC who is growing garden roses.

Clare Day Flowers

If you’re interested in growing your own flowers, in March I’m releasing a digital course in cultivating cut flowers called Garden to Vase. The course is designed for small scale growers and is perfect for designers who want to start their own cutting garden. [Botanical Brouhaha will bring you more information on the course when it launches in March!]

Clare Day Flowers | Garden to Vase digital course

Clare Day (Clare Day Flowers)

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Yes, my designs are heavily influenced by my personal gardens and I would highly encourage you to grow even in the tiniest of spaces. Loose, airy wispy greens are some of the favorite things we pull from the garden. I also work with local growers and each county or area should have a list of hort/ag businesses in your area. I am also happy to barter for cut flowers. I have met many a friend by knocking on someone’s door and asking if they would share their beautiful bounty. If granted the opportunity to cut from a stranger, I typically will give them flowers from my garden, create a design for them, or even bake them bread. In some instances you can offer to pay for the blooms you are stalking. I remember wanting vine and some unique blooms from someone’s garden while I was in London teaching with [fellow Expert Panel member] Nick Priestly. He could not believe I walked right up to the door and asked for the flowers. He in turn gave the owner of the property bunches of yellow roses!! Fun stuff and very rewarding, friends and flowers for sure!!

Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)

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Love 'n Fresh Flowers

Yes, we ONLY use locally grown flowers in our designs at Love ‘n Fresh Flowers. We are first and foremost a flower farm so we grow 99% of what we use in our floral designs. The other 1% comes from other local growers, usually in the “shoulder seasons” when our own farm is not quite up to full production.

Love 'n Fresh Flowers
A great source for finding locally grown flowers is ASCFG.org. This is a national association in the United States (there are also lots of Canadian growers) that works on educating professional flower growers in best practices. So when you find a grower listed on the ASCFG website, you know they’ve really invested in being a great grower and their flowers are going to be top notch.

Love 'n Fresh Flowers

While it’s a little more time consuming sometimes to source locally-grown flowers instead of just doing one-stop-shopping at the wholesalers, it’s well worth the effort to seek them out. The locally grown material is much higher quality generally and you can get really interesting elements that set your designs apart from your competitors. You might even want to consider growing some of your own! If you want to know more about how to get started, I teach a master class at my farm each spring called The Designer’s Cutting Garden, which will give you all the tools and knowledge you need to get growing yourself!

Jennie Love (Love ‘n Fresh Flowers)

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Yes, I use locally grown flowers all the time. I am very lucky to live in the beautiful state of Washington, which happens to have the “Seattle Wholesale Growers Market“. SWGM is a co-op of local farmers and they will source flowers from Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska. The dahlias they offer in late summer into the fall will make your jaw drop! Plus, lots of special little lovelies throughout the year – ranunculus, anemones, amaryllis, tulips, etc. Not your average fare. Sorry to say though to those of you outside of the Seattle area, they do not ship. I do hope that one day more cities adopt the SWGM business model, farmers CAN come together, support each other and sell their goods.
(Oh, and I grow a lot of my own Dahlias and foliages/vines.)

Alicia Schwede (Flirty Fleurs and Bella Fiori)

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I love using local flowers in my work. It is a great way to support your local farmers and it will definitely add to the beauty of your designs because of the freshness and uniqueness of the flowers. I often add flowers that are not available wholesale or don’t ship well. Some of my favorite locally grown flower varieties are Dahlias, Ammi, Gomphrena, Scabiosa, Zinnias, Peonies, Poppies and Chocolate Cosmos. I had a local organic flower farm, Muddy Feet Flower Farm, reach out to me a couple years ago and she has been supplying me with the most gorgeous flowers ever since. I love to give her the color palette of the event and let her suggest what she has available and often have her add flowers or foliage that I haven’t used before to try something new. I also use another organic farm that is located in VT called Mountain Flower Peony Farm. They ship gorgeous Peonies, Dahlias, Lilac, Viburnum, Spirea and other blooms.

Elisabeth Zemetis (Blush)

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Yes! I try as much as possible to use locally grown flowers. I get a very little amount of them in my own cutting garden and I buy all the others directly from growers at Paris flower market.

Laetitia Mayor (Floresie)

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Yes! I try to work exclusively with flowers and foliage grown in my garden (unless a wedding calls for one billion Cafe au Lait dahlias… then I have to source them from other local growers). Growing all of my own flowers means that I can use more unique, hard-to-find varieties that you can’t often source at markets. I can also create a custom color palette full of fun flowers and foliage. If couples reserve a date far enough in advance, I can literally sow and grow flowers specifically for their special event! Living in Belgium, I have a feeling that the flower farming scene (particularly small-scale flower farming) is a bit different than it is in the US… flower farming in my area seems more geared toward international distribution and auctions. When it came to sourcing additional locally grown flowers for past events, I turned to my local gardening groups and cutting gardens for advice. You may be surprised at the small-scale gems that you can find in your area. Social media is often a wonderful place to start (#flowerfarmer or #farmerflorist). Feel free to ask small-scale flower farmers that you find on Instagram or Facebook for advice… the network is so intimate and friendly that they will likely be able to direct you to a flower farmer in your area!

Emily Avenson (Fleuropean)

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I enthusiastically use locally sourced flowers in my designs! I am in Michigan, so my season for locally sourced flowers runs from mid May through October. During the off season, I try to source as much as I can from US and Canadian farms.

I am lucky to have a number of flower farms close by, and many of them send out weekly availability lists. This is so useful for planning- especially for weddings. I can see what’ll be blooming, and adjust my order accordingly. A few of my favorite local farms deliver to my studio. One of my favorite farms, a dahlia farm, is farther away- about an hour and a half- so I hire a driver to pick up these precious blooms. It’s completely worth the time to pick them up- the quality of the locally sourced dahlias is incomparable. I also grow a bit of my own- sweet pea vine, ornamental raspberry, ferns, hellebore, heuchera and succulents. I strongly feel that the addition of local treasures makes all the difference- infusing each design with a richness that speaks to season and place.

Susan McLeary (Passionflower)
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Jo Flowers | Modern Vintage Weddings

Jo Flowers | Modern Vintage Weddings

Jo Flowers | Modern Vintage Weddings

Provenance is key to my philosophy & I’m lucky enough to have large gardens in which to grow as many unique and unrepeatable stems and ingredients as I can.

Jo Flowers

I also have two wonderful local growers with whom I work closely when choosing flowers for my weddings for the coming seasons. These growers are invaluable to my business, ensuring the volumes needed during busy times, support and advice ..and of course catching up for cake.

Jo Rodwell (Jo Flowers)

Jo Flowers | Modern Vintage Weddings

Images of Jo’s garden courtesy of Modern Vintage Weddings

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Flowers + Table Numbers

A Stem Above

A Stem Above

Ashley Fox Design | Jody Savage Photography

Ashley Fox Designs | Jody Savage Photography

Black House Flowers | Stacy Keck Photography

Black House Flowers | Stacy Keck Photography

Bloomin Bouquets | (Once Like a Spark) Photography

Bloomin’ Bouquets | (Once Like a Spark) Photography

eb + jc Photography | Cori Cook Floral Design

Cori Cook Floral Design | eb + jc

Just Priceless | Anna Paschal Photography

Just Priceless | Anna Paschal Photography

Michael Daigian Design | Sasha Gulish Photography

Michael Daigian Design | Sasha Gulish Photography

The Pollen Mill | Kelly Boitano Photography

The Pollen Mill | Kelly Boitano Photography

Tracey Reynolds Floral Design | Jenny Kim Photography

Tracey Reynolds Floral Design | Jenny Kim Photography

Dropping By The Brouhaha: Sachi Rose

I’m overjoyed to have Sachi dropping by BB today to share a little of her story with us. If you’re not familiar with Sachi’s work, you’re in for a treat! Her designs are artistic and stunning. Enjoy!

Sachi Rose

Botanical Brouhaha: Welcome to the Brouhaha! What inspired you to become a floral designer? When and where did you start your business? What did you do prior to opening Sachi Rose?

Sachi: I fell into it by accident in actuality! I come from an artsy-fartsy family, and have always been a creative person, so when I graduated from art school and realized the irony that I couldn’t actually pay my student loans making paintings, I decided to look for a side job. I had just moved from Chicago back to LA where I’m from, and got word that my sister’s friend was opening a flower shop. I figured it would be an easy way to make money until I found something “real”. That’s when S#%T got real. Easy? No. Completely gratifying? Yes! I went from sweeping floors to becoming the manager & head designer. I had to juggle a lot there, from walk-ins every minute to writing proposals to designing arrangements while taking phone orders. I had my hands in everything, and learned to do it all by the seat of my pants. The owner (former fashion designer, Stephanie Schur) was really the first person to ever open my eyes to the fact that flowers could be arranged differently than your average “flower ball”, and I began to think of it as another medium that I could express myself. It became a creative outlet for me, just like painting.

In 2011 I moved with my soon-to-be husband to Brooklyn to try a new life style. I jumped around between a few shops, and finally settled as a designer at Flora NY whose style is very modern and angular, unlike my own. It was a big learning experience for me to create arrangements that weren’t my style. I learned a lot more of the business side of things there, and I think it made me a little more well rounded in terms of technique. Pretty unexpectedly, the owner decided to close up shop and move back to Taiwan. I had always wanted to start my own thing, but never quite knew how. Suddenly when Flora’s doors closed, another door opened for me. Luck happens when an opportunity presents itself, and you take it. I got lucky, and was able to take Flora’s clients with me as I started out. I came home and told my husband, “Well, I’m out of a job. But I think I can do this …”. I applied for a tax ID, made a Facebook business page, sent introductory arrangements to event coordinators at hotels, made business cards — it all happened really fast. And then suddenly I had a business. Little old me! I started out doing weddings from my tiny apartment. We had to make a path through the buckets of flowers just to get to the bed! Imagine flowers in the sink, flowers in the bathtub, flowers in the refrigerator — they were everywhere! And then finally I outgrew my apartment, and graduated to a workspace in an old warehouse in East Williamsburg — the current Sachi Rose studio.

bouquet and photo by Sachi Rose

BB: Are you completely self-taught or do you have some formal training in floral design?

Sachi: I don’t have formal training (like from a school), but I don’t think anyone really needs that. Instead, I learned just by jumping right in and doing the grunt work in a boutique flower shop. I started out sweeping, floors, cleaning flowers, and answering phones. And all the while, I watched what the designers did and tried to learn. Eventually I was taught the basics, and it was all just practice from there. It’s like driving; someone can teach you the basic rules, but you only get good by doing it on a regular basis.

Flowers & photo by Sachi Rose

BB: Can you describe the Sachi Rose design aesthetic?

Sachi: Sachi Rose is luxury floral design for the wild at heart. Our aesthetic is very much influenced by nature & art. We like to let organic elements speak for themselves. Whether it’s a twisted tulip or a craggy branch, I would so much rather embrace the shape of something “imperfect” than to pack it tightly into an orderly arrangement. Why take something natural and try to make it look man-made? Nature always does a better job, and I feel like it’s my job to call attention to that. At the same time, I think there’s a fine line between wild and messy, and we are very careful to draw that distinction in our work.

Arrangement by Sachi Rose

elevator pic by Sachi Rose

BB: The quality of your daily images is outstanding. Do you take the images? If so, what kind of camera do you use? Do you have training in photography?

Sachi: It’s funny that you mention that because I never feel like my photos are as good as other florists I admire on Instagram — so thank you! I did take a few photography classes in college, however I attribute any of my good photos to natural light. I use a Canon Rebel T3i, which is about 6 years old but works like a champ! When I’m working in the studio, I always take photos in our freight elevator (see above) because it has great natural light and beautiful old wood floors. As pretty as the photo may be, the truth is we are usually sweaty, dirty and improvising in an elevator. Ha!

BB: What would you say has been the highlight of your career up until this point?

Sachi: I’ve had the honor of creating custom arrangements for contemporary artists such as Marina Abramovic & Wolfgang Laib. A well known art critic ordered them, and asked me to create arrangements that echoed their work. It was a really fun challenge for me. Wolfgang Laib is best known for his work with flower pollen which he meditatively picked by hand to create large, yellow (almost glowing) installations. The arrangement I made for Wolfgang was very minimal & architectural, and consisted of blooming mimosa, craspedia, and a Buddha-finger lemon. Marina’s arrangement was dark & dramatic (like her performance art), with red charm peonies, black callas & black spray painted plumosa that reminded me of her hair. Other than that, I think the best is yet to come! We have some pretty exciting events in the works for 2016, but I’m not ready to spill the beans quite yet … Stay tuned!

Sachi Rose StudioSachi Rose StudioSachi Rose Studio

 BB: How do you find balance between your business life and your personal life?

Sachi: Both lives are very much intertwined. My first intern, Olivia, is now one of my closest friends, and so are a handful of event coordinators and photographers I met through work. I truly believe that it’s not work when you love what you do, and the same goes for who you do it with. I try to surround myself with people who are not just talented at what they do, but people who I would genuinely want to spend time with. At the same time, I try to keep my husband and work separate. He’s friends with some of my work friends, but I try not to ask him to help me too often with anything work related because he’s the only aspect of my life that isn’t totally absorbed by flowers. Some people are happy working with their significant others, but I think it’s important to recognize when it’s better for a relationship to keep work & romance separate.

Sachi Rose

BB: What have been your greatest struggles/frustrations while building and then growing your business?

Sachi: Making money and justifying costs to brides. I have so many brides who come to me with beautiful, grand visions, and then when I find out they have a $3,000 budget for what should cost $10,000, I completely deflate. Most people are getting married for the first time and simply don’t realize what flowers and labor cost. I’ve heard so many recently married couples say things like “Don’t florists make a killing from weddings? Ours was so expensive!” and the answer is a resounding “NO!” After many hours of meetings and proposal drafts, buying and processing flowers, designing arrangements and arches with a team of people (who have to all be paid), delivering, installing, and finally breaking down an event — we really don’t make very much per hour. Have you ever heard of a rich florist? Yes, ok, there’s Preston Bailey, but he’s the 1%. Most of us do what we do because we love it, and not because we make a ton of money.

Arrangement for Samuelle Couture | Sachi Rose

BB: When you think back over your career, does one design stand out as exceptionally meaningful to you?

Sachi: There was one arrangement for Samuelle Couture Bridal that always stood out as one of my favorites. I used a neutral mix of cream garden roses, cafe au lait dahlias, purple succulents & trailing vines. I always felt like it exemplified our signature style; wild & organic, but never messy.

Sachi Rose Bouquet  | Pic by Sachi Rose

BB: Where do you find inspiration to sustain your creativity?

Sachi: I try to go to the flower market as much as I can, since I find inspiration from specific flowers that I see. It also keeps me on my toes in terms of what’s in season. I didn’t used to like anthurium, but after running into a black one at G.Page (NY wholesale florist), my mind is completely changed after using it. Now I love them! I also find inspiration from the vases I use. I try to get as many one-of-a-kind vases as possible, because it forces me to work with different shapes and color palettes.

Sachi Rose | Mikkel Paige Photography

Image courtesy of Mikkel Paige Photography

BB: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received along your flower journey? Have you had mentors along the way?

Sachi: The best advice I ever got was to only put out in the world what I want clients to order. In the beginning of starting Sachi Rose, I took any business that I could, and made lots of modern, angular arrangements that weren’t my style. But when I posted pictures of that work on social media, eventually clients would turn back around and just order more modern arrangements. I realized that it backfired on me to take all the business I could, because it watered down my style and didn’t leave room for the orders that I really wanted to get. I finally decided to refer those clients to other designers so that I could leave room for the clients who were a better match for me.

Also, never sell yourself short! I’ve been told this a million times but I had to learn the hard way. After too many occasions of bending over backwards for clients whose visions didn’t match their budgets, I finally realized that you can’t please everybody. When you value your own time and stay true to your prices, you naturally weed out the clients who don’t value your hard work, and make room for the ones who do.

Photoshoot for Love Inc. Mag at Sky Gallery Brooklyn | Sachi Rose | Mikkel Paige Photography

Image courtesy of Mikkel Paige Photography

BB: What long-term dreams do you have for Sachi Rose?

Sachi:  I have always wanted to travel more for events, and am just starting to advertise that. This year, we have a wedding coming up in Detroit that I’m super excited about, and I hope to book more! I am also actively trying to expand to weddings & events in Los Angeles where I’m from. I would love to find a way to be bi-coastal so that I can see my family more often, and get a regular dose of that California sunshine that I miss so much. And if all goes well, I would really love to get a bigger studio and a full time employee to help tackle proposals, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Sachi Rose Studio

Sachi Rose Studio

Sachi Rose Studio  

BB: Can you describe your studio space for the readers?

Sachi: The Sachi Rose studio is located in East Williamsburg in an old warehouse. It’s a large room sectioned off and shared with a fashion designer on the other side. Our side is pretty small at about 250 SF, but somehow it works. We have a vintage floral refrigerator, a slop sink and a freight elevator — so all of the basics are covered. My favorite part about the studio are the white exposed brick walls, the high tin ceilings, and the JM trains riding right past our windows. It feels very old New York, which I love!

Sachi Rose | Mikkel Paige Photography

Image courtesy of Mikkel Paige Photography

BB: Do you have a favorite flower? Favorite rose? Favorite color palette?

Sachi: I have a lot of favorite flowers, but at the top of the list are garden roses, ranunculus & Japanese anemones! I couldn’t possibly choose a favorite rose. It changes depending on my mood. Same goes with the color palette. But as of now, I’m interested in an almost unnatural vintage palette, like a tinted photograph. Something with polar blue, muted pink, beige, burnt orange and gold. I have always been a sucker for kitsch, and lately I’ve been experimenting with painting leaves, vases & props to create stylized still lives.

Sachi Rose working on a wedding at the Soho Grand _ photo by Andrea Riviera Photography

Pictured above: Working on a wedding at the Soho Grand Hotel (image courtesy of Andrea Riviera Photography)

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You’re Invited!

sachi rose FLOWER CLASS

THE EXPERIENCE INCLUDES:

  • A comprehensive, intimate lesson with the owner of Sachi Rose on the basics of floral processing & arranging, with an emphasis on wild & organic design techniques.
  • Complimentary clippers & floral design starter kit
  • A chance to style your arrangement with props and have a professional photo taken for your portfolio
  • Champagne & hors d’oeuvres
  • A beautiful floral arrangement which you get to take home at the end and enjoy!

COST: $325.00

TO REGISTER: info@sachirose.com

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To see more of Sachi’s work:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Coffee Table Styling with Chairish

What a fun surprise! The kind people at Chairish, an online vintage furniture marketplace, recently invited me to style vintage coffee table from the Chairish website. I had a hard time choosing just one! And you can bet that each one I chose had to include flowers.

Black and Pink Mood Board | Chairish Coffee Table

Valentine’s Day is obviously on my mind this week, so my first table was inspired by thoughts of a romantic evening spent at home with my sweetheart of 34 years.  The Barbara Barry black tray cocktail table seemed the perfect backdrop for a dramatic yet romantically feminine display of black and pink goodies: a Honeysuckle French Candle from World Market, a Vintage French white and pink porcelain match striker/keeper, a box of porcelain dominoes, a Jane Packer hatbox of roses, a milk glass candy dish, and some sterling and crystal drink coasters. Grab a drink and a piece of chocolate, put your feet up on the black and white mud cloth floor pillow, enjoy the candlelight and roses…and have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Alabaster and Wood Mood Board | Chairish Coffee Table

I was immediately drawn to the richness of the antique wooden coffee table in our second style board. Timeworn pieces, each one with a story of its own, seemed the perfect pairing for this table: a vintage wood 9-candle holder on a 1914 Columbia School of Mines Dore Bronze Tray, an Antique French Suc Simon porcelain match striker/keeper, honed marble coasters with silver-dipped edges and a stone bouquet that will never wilt!

Nickel and Onyx Mood Board | Chairish Coffee Table

The Ralph Lauren black glass top coffee table calls for styling of equal parts sexy and sophisticated. I love a mostly monochromatic palette for the tabletop treasures: an Eddie Zaratsian cloche filled with succulents & orchids, a couple of Mid-century ceramic flower dishes, the One Hundred Flowers coffee table book and a Pool House scented soy candle with black matte finish. The felt flower ottoman is a fun addition for putting your feet up at the end of a long day.

White Wash and Sea Glass Mood Board | Chairish Coffee Table

My love of the beach and memories of our beach cottage vacations were the inspiration for the white wash + beach glass style board planned around a coffee table ottoman slipcovered in Belgian linen. A large chrome and white tray holds a pair of turquoise apothecary bottles, a trio of succulents from Tulip Floral + Goods and a beach shell with mottled colors of aqua, brown, tan and ivory. Love the versatility of this set up. Simply remove the tray of beach treasures, grab some popcorn and put your feet up for movie night.

 Black and Grey-Green Mood Board | Chairish Coffee Table

And finally, I couldn’t resist the Mid-century elliptical iron coffee table styled with one of my favorite colors…grey-green. For this table, I chose some favorite botanical pieces: a Jayson Home succulent arrangement, a 1930’s Dazey Manufacturing Co. metal flower frog and a Living Wreaths coffee table book. The retro coaster set and black milkglass flower bowl are dramatic, yet fun additions. I think I’d need to use the flower bowl as a candy dish (seeing a pattern?). And the chunky-knit dark gray pouf could be tucked under the table and pulled out when needed as a floor seat/pillow or ottoman.

Check out the Chairish website for more vintage furniture, art , lighting, rugs and decor. But watch the clock…time passes very quickly while you’re on their website! An entire afternoon can disappear before you know it. Thanks, Chairish, for the invitation to participate in the coffee table styling exercise!

Note: The vintage coffee tables on Chairish sell quickly which means some of the links in this post will not work once the tables are sold. Hurry over to see them while they’re still available!