Your name: Kay Studer & Susan Studer King
Your Business name: Buckeye Blooms
Your Location: Lima, Ohio
How did you start your business?
Susan: The idea to start a flower farm in Ohio was actually conceived while my husband and I were living in Ecuador as Peace Corps Volunteers. As we neared the end of our two-year service we started contemplating our next move. It was around that same time that my mom was retiring from Ohio State Extension where she worked for years in the Horticulture and Master Gardener programs. It was a period of transition for both of us, so it was the perfect time to think creatively about what we wanted to do “next.” For me, I wanted to live more simply and sustainably. I left a high stress job to serve in the Peace Corps and knew I didn’t want to go back to that field or lifestyle. So we moved back to Ohio and started Buckeye Blooms on the family farm where I grew up—and where my mom grew up too. For me, it was a great transition to living in the States again after such a challenging, yet rewarding and ultimately transformative experience working in Ecuador. (It was there that I saw firsthand the social, economic, environmental and health impacts of the commercial rose industry. I knew we could provide a product that was fresher, more fragrant and even more beautiful than what you could get at traditional florist shops (and without all the terrible toxins that pollute rivers and poison people—primarily women—in South America). But I suppose some of the seeds for the business were planted even earlier than that, when my mom grew and designed the flowers for my wedding—all the way back in 2000.
Kay: The farm where our business is based has been in my family for several generations. I was actually born in the farmhouse and have lived here my entire life. This farm is in my blood. I’d rather be on the seat of a tractor than in a seat at the beauty shop, that’s for sure! We grow corn and soybeans on much of the land and dedicate approximately one acre to flower production. We also have a large established perennial garden and windbreaks that provide great cutting material for our designs. Our design studio is in what once was the milking parlor of the barn. The bulk of our work is for weddings throughout Western and parts of Central Ohio.
How many years have you been in business? Since 2009
What is your design aesthetic?
Our signature style is a “fresh from the garden” aesthetic that is very organic, textural and nontraditional. We love combining multiple types of uncommon foliages into our designs to give it lots of volume and texture. We often use unusual or repurposed vessels for our designs, like silver teapots, milk glass compotes and antique sewing machine drawers. We also love collecting vintage Ohio pottery, especially McCoy. (We *might* have a collection problem!)
How do you create your style and where do you draw your inspiration?
We try to use seasonal material for all of our designs and always try to buy from other Ohio flower farms if we don’t have enough of our own flowers or the right colors, etc. We love the community that is being built around local, seasonal flowers.
What are the trends, flowers & colors that are unique to your region?
Lush, organic garden-inspired bouquets: Brides are moving away from “roundy moundy” tight European designs and looking for big, lush, textural, foraged bouquet shapes that are wider, and less round (a trend we love!). Vintage, rustic and country-chic themes are still pretty popular in this region.
Color & flower trends: The last few years have been dominated by blush and champagne hues. Last year, there were more deep wine and marsala color palettes mixed in the blush. The clients we’ve met with so far that are planning 2017 weddings are leaning toward lots of cool grays–whether it is blush and gray or navy and gray or purple and gray. Gray is the new green for accent flowers and foliage. We grow and use lots of Dusty Miller ‘New Look’ (the wide leaf variety) which is great in bouquets–sounds like we’ll be using it a lot next year!
Last year we received quite a few requests for seeded eucalyptus and succulents incorporated into bouquets. In general, however, we have found that brides in our area are less concerned about flower types and more concerned about flower colors. This works well for us, since we grow a lot of flower most average consumers can’t identify anyway. We are able to incorporate lots of unusual seasonal blooms within the couple’s color palette and make really unique bouquets that are unlike anything they’ve ever seen.
Are you a retail shop, studio/warehouse or home based?
Our design studio is located on the farm where we grow our flowers.
Do you offer any services in addition to floral designs?
We also offer “Flower Parties” at the farm where we provide buckets of fresh cut flowers, vases and a brief tutorial on floral design to groups of 4-8. The guests make their own bouquets to take home. Everyone loves them!
What tool in your toolbox can’t you live without?
This is totally unglamorous, but we’d have to say our fabric scissors, or “ribbon” scissors, as we call them. We’re usually fighting over the best pair when it comes to doing the ribbon finishes on bridal bouquets and boutonnieres. Any other scissor just won’t do, as it will just fray the fabric and frustrate us!
What’s your favorite flower?
Susan: I have so many! But I’m a serious sucker for peonies.
Kay: My favorite flower is narcissus. Our farm is located in an area that was settled by Welsh immigrants, whose national flower is the daffodil. I have thousands of daffodils planted all over the farm. It is not uncommon to have ladies from the local Welsh church call to ask if they can come to see at all the daffodils in the spring.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BuckeyeBlooms