The demand for floral design classes in both NYC and LA is increasing more than ever now! People are just ga-ga over floral design, probably because it's so fun and you get to feel like a kid or an artist in that moment. I've been doing corporate classes for team-building and just for something fun as a treat for their staff.
I've also began to teach at Brooklyn Brainery, which is an awesome little spot and has a million classes to chose from. My Intro and Wedding classes sold out in a jiffy. Some students in the wedding class were there because they couldn't get in the first one. I will be teaching regular classes there including Advanced, Wood Boxes, and Garden Baskets. I love inspiring people and this truly isn't work for me. I've gotten the nicest emails from students after each class, and it really makes it all worth it!
I created this centerpiece for an online magazine shoot. This isn't for How Did She Do That?! section because it's a bit complicated. Basically I started with one type of flower and then creating sections on two silver dishes. I used folded red ti leaves to divide off certain parts. I like the monochromatic and lush look of this. What do you think?
On Wednesday we shot TEN, yes ten short videos for www.ehow.com
Whew, that was exhausting, but fun! Will def post the link when it's up in a few weeks. They are editing the videos right now.
Here I am prepping- so concentrated! Kristine and the filmmaker John are off to the side.
I will admit it- I've been kind of burned out lately from dealing with some unruly potential clients. Then I realized why. I'm a laid back kind of gal, and don't tend to click with those that are high-maintenance. I was feeling pretty bad about myself for a bit, but then thought about it and said screw it. I don't want to work with those type of people anyway!
I had the pleasure of doing flowers this weekend for my client Kristin's wedding, and she was SO lovely- the best kind of bride (or client in general) that you could ask for! It reminded me why I love what I do! When we came back for the breakdown, and everyone was dancing, on a marital bliss high, and you could feel the love- it made me so happy and a smile spread across my face. It was such a pleasure.
I reflected on this past year and felt so blessed to have the most amazing clients. They all had the same characteristic- they trusted me to do what I do best, and left it at that. No million call follow ups, or just as worse, not getting back to me, ever.
Kristin was so amazing I WANTED to give her everything for free! Please, please take the flowers! Take the vases! When we met, she was so great that I lowered my prices dramatically just because I WANTED really badly to do her flowers. I also let her keep some of the vases, and whatever else she wanted. At the venue, the Ebell Club of Long Beach, the coordinator said, Don't you just LOVE her? And I said, YES! She told me they upgraded all of the chairs and some more for FREE because she was so easy to work with, no hassle. Being nice, and TRUSTING your vendors is the #1 thing that will make them WANT to give you their services away!
So how did it go from the beginning? I met with her for a consulation at a Starbucks before I had the current space. She had the colors and style she liked, and we bounced ideas back and forth to come up with something she would love AND that would stay within her budget. If you are looking for a drill sergeant that tells you, THIS is what you'll have- that's just not me. I LOVE working with brides TOGETHER to come up with something. I like their input and ideas, and sometimes I wouldn't have thought of what they suggested, and of course vice-versa (that's my job afterall:)
On the spot, she hired me, and after some proposal changes to get within her budget, she sent me the deposit. We met once more to finalize all of the details, and she emailed me with questions about linen colors and escort card ideas.
Thinking back, that's how it goes with all of the clients that hire me. Getting worked up about the flowers will only cause you more stress. So go with someone who's work you like, and let them do their thing. The clients that allow me to do what I do, get the BEST I have to give. Without that pressure, I can say hey, this will look way better, and you know what I hear? My flowers looked even MORE amazing than I thought they would be! Now THAT my friends, is what keeps me going on days when I have some bridezilla telling me I don't take charge enough, cause you know what, I don't need to. Hire someone uptight then, is what I say (or think).
Another Kristen hired me to do her flowers in September at a winery, and she said, here's what I want, now do your thing. It came out wonderful and whenever I see those photos, I smile knowing that she will remember that day as being one of the best days in her life.
One more story, as you know I work at lot with my good friend Stacey Paulas, and had the pleasure to do her flowers over Halloween weekend. She's Type A to the max. I was starting to feel an ulcer every time she switched from a soft palette, to super structured tall arrangements, and then to Fall colors. Plus she's my good friend so I was really nervous! Maybe if we met during the initial consultation, she would've gone with someone else. But instead, a month before her wedding she said, I want these colors, do your thang! I could feel the sigh of relief. After we made up her sample, and her and her fiance approved (and loved) it, the creativity juices were pumping. Her flowers came out AMAZING. She got tons of compliments at the wedding, and said "I feel like you saved your best work for me", which MADE my day!!!!
I can't wait to share with you guys the pictures from the weddings I mentioned (to be updated on Flour LA in the coming months). They are all SO different, and so unique, and BEAUTIFUL!!!
So, the point of the story is- be nice, like really, really nice, and genuine, and I promise you, you will get stuff upgraded or comped because when you're that nice and trusting, people appreciate it. They remember you, and want to help you. They say to themselves, how can I make this even better than it's already going to be. That includes the florist, venue, caterers, rentals and photographers. If you bug your photog a week after the wedding- they are not likely to throw in that extra album just because.
Kristin #1 Getting ready
Kristen #2 Loving life
Stacey on Cloud 9
Any artist will tell you that anything and everything can be inspiration. Here are a few photos of some flowers that have inspired me lately.
I shot the cover last Thursday at a kitchen showroom in El Segundo by Syretta, and makeup by the great Kimberly Bragalone. I cannot WAIT to show you the pictures. In the meantime, I discovered a very weird, unique color combo that actually works.
Although I stopped online orders for daily deliveries, I still get a few occasionally, and will do them if time permits. For this, I used coral and lime green roses. Very bright and summery. It needed umph so I added dahlias from the centerpiece. It added a bold, and unexpected color against the white glass vase. Normally jewel tones and summery brights don't mix, but this just works.
Here's the unexpected colors that clash, but work. I made a bouquet to use for my shoot. How lame would it be if I didn't make the flowers?! Actually that would be funny. I had this bright summery bouquet, and then saw that centerpiece nearby, so I picked out the yellow and black calla lilies. Again, this should totally clash, but it adds depth and character. I used a teal blue ribbon for the base, to add extra color and pizzaz. Roses and callas always look good because of the shape. The callas form to the roses.
I'm always asked about color combinations. I don't necessarily think I have a great eye, but am willing to experiment and not play it safe. Most of the time, it's by chance. You put something next to another thing that you think wouldn't work, and ponder. Then you realize, why yes, this may just work! As yo can see, I mixed two completely different looks to get something interesting. The yellow would have been fine on it's own. To add some depth to nearly ANY color combo, add a super dark or "black" flower. This can be the black calla, black bacarra rose, fiddleheads, or chocolate cosmos.
I had the privilege to teach another floral design class at Whole Foods last weekend. It was all about using organic herbs, fruits, vegetables, and flowers in arrangements and for entertaining. You can pick these herbs from your garden or the farmer's market. Grab fruit from a tree. Choose fresh veggies and fruits that are locally grown (and even use them to cook later in the week). Buy organic, edible flowers and place them on plates or in drinks to add some jazz. There are so many ways to get creative. Think about bringing summer to you and your guests all year round!
The trick to putting any sliced fruit, candy, lentils, or whatever you are using, is to place a smaller glass inside the vase. Ideally it will be about 1/4 inch narrower. I however was shorthanded that and grabbed a lovely Sam Adams beer glass and stuck it inside. Perfect alternative and realistic too! Insert lemons in layers until you conceal the inner glass. Fill inner glass with water.
And that's it folks. Sometimes I feel like Julie in Julie & Julia. Hellooooo, are you reading this? Is anyone out there?
A rose is just a rose is just a rose. People love 'em or hate 'em. I'm kind of indifferent. Probably because I've seen so many beautiful types of flowers. I think back to my first days at the Empty Vase in West Hollywood. I think back then I knew what a carnation was because once in 7th grade I bought my mom one for Mother's day. Yes, literally one at $3, which seemed like a fortune. I spoil that lady;)
In my quest to make the rose a bit more funky I've discovered two techniques. I will share one with you now. The other is in the reserve- hint: cut off the top to make it look like a very expensive garden rose. Fine, I told you.
Here's how to make a fringed rose. Pretty cool, eh?
Yes, I'm old. I know all of you out there that are my elders are like, screw you lady, and all of you young-ins are like, shit you are old. I just had my birthday and my spry younger boyfriend was so kind to remind me that he could be my child. Okay, he couldn't be sicko, but you know what I'm getting at.
Anyway, I digress. I'm old, and wise, so you should listen to my advice. The most common question I get is- how did you learn how to do arrangements? Well, you see, I don't believe I know how to do it all, but I did learn the good old fashioned way by being inquisitive, researching and most importantly, experimenting.
So you want to do some design work, eh?
Stacey and I have been friends for a while now, and our beginnings are quite funny. She moved into my old room at what was once called The Brotherl apartment by The Grove. The Brothel was technically before my time there, but we did have a rotating group of friends that lived there at one time or another. Now all of my old roommates are fashion industry rockstars. When I would visit, Stacey and I would chat, and soon we became friends one night over a Dateline episode and wine. You see how my Fridays tend to be- they don't call me Grandma for nothing! Since those times, we've both become rockstars ourselves, and I love being able to bounce ideas around with a friend in the industry.
How old were you when you knew you wanted to do event and wedding planning, design, and production?
I don't know. I have always loved to entertain and have guests over. I like to create new experiences for people. It was a natural progression.
What's something you were surprised by when you got into the industry?
I began in the advertising world working with large corporate clients. They expect an extremely high level of detail and customer service. I bring that experience and level of attention to every client whether its designing a tablescape, or a 500 attendee launch party. When I started SLD I was SHOCKED at how long it takes people to respond to requests and how slow their communication can be. That type of service kills me. If you don't need to give amazing customer service, than I don't need you!
How cut throat is it really?
In California, there are SO many wedding and event planners. Its UNREAL! It is pretty difficult to distinguish yourself. However, a little competition never hurt anybody and I think it keeps everyone performing at their best. There are plenty of events and weddings for us all. Its just convincing clients they need us in the first place !! (which they do )
Any horror stories? We like to hear the juicy stuff!
I was recently working on a video shoot where a very popular band was to create an intro video for an upcoming live event. We were hijacking another video shoot to get about 15 minutes of quality footage for this intro video. The shoot we were interrupting was a pool party scene and the talent only had on silver speedos. This was NOT going to work. After a lot of sweating and running around, we found an appropriate shirt, the video was shot from the waist up, and the crises was averted with 30 seconds to spare.
What advice would you give to an aspiring planner and/or entrepreneur?
Everyone will tell you, its not easy and you have to work hard to get where you want. But thats not the only part. You have to really love it. If you love it and you have a bit of talent, it will show - and the success will come. It also doesn't hurt to do good work and be nice to people.
What's the greatest job you've ever worked on?
This one is easy. My own wedding! As a planner and designer, I am always working hard to make sure intimate events reflect the couple in every detail. It was fun to figure out what kind of event would represent us.
Red or white wine?
Red, White, Rose, Bubbly, they are all close friends of mine.
What's your favorite curse word? (Taken from Inside the Actor's Studio)
Carly, you should know I am not big on the curse words, but my faces usually say it all.
Follow Stacey at @staceylynn and check out all of her green ideas at @thenaturalbride
The Flower Chef
How Did She Do That