Tell me a story :)

Thank you to those of you who told me a story!

Here’s Tina’s story:
Almost 3 years ago – the Canadian economy CRRRASSSHHHEDDD – Not good for my husbands Contracting business – NO WORK! Ouch
Me: Gave birth to my second child 🙂
Family: Our dearest and only family/friend suddenly past away = No money + No security + Sadness = Frustrating
Me: Planted my first organic flower garden to brighten my spirits (at the time – stay at home Mommy of 2)
Something hit hard and fast when my first bloom opened in my flower field – it was like walking through a candy store as a kid – soooo special
Me: Read books – learned basic skills
Posted an Ad on Used Victoria : received my first calls for wedding design
Wanted to tell my story : started a blog – telling anyone who was going through the same hard times as we were – that there are doors for opportunity waiting to be opened – I jumped through my door and here I am today – YEAAAAAA

Still loving it!

Bouquet designed by Tina of Platinum Floral Designs. Photography by Nichole Taylor Photography both of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Here’s Katie’s story:
My name is Katie Bennett and I live in beautiful sunny and mountainous Montana. I grew up with a love of the outdoors and gardening, but my green thumb is broken! So who would have thought I would have become a floral designer! I remember the first time I saw a florists hands and thought to myself “why would you do that to yourself”. Long lasting green stains, cut and scrapes, …but she loved to do it! In 2008 I took at job as a merchandising and display manager at a large sporting goods store and only after being hired did they mention I would be expected to create silk floral for the women’s areas…yikes! I phoned my friend and asked for some tips and taught myself how to design. Out of that design I grew a passion for florals and eventually it progressed into real flowers. That first wedding with real florals had me hooked! I knew I could not design with silks anymore and I sold or gave most of them away. I took the plunge, applied for a business liscence and starting marketing myself as a designer. I relied heavily on referrals (and still do) and friends or aquaintences that would allow me to showcase my talent. Over the last 4 years I have learned some amazing lessons and not always the best ones. I have learned to never cut myself short and believe in my skills as a designer. I have learned to accept constructive critism, and this alone has propelled my business in a direction I never knew possible. I was told to restructure my logo and fonts, create a website, keep up on blog posting and rebrand my business with updated pricing. And it worked! This year I was able to take my garage business and expand it into our new home. I have a large work space and custom cooler along with a totally hip office that screams “Mac’s Floral”. It’s my style and I was able to design it myself. I feel confident bringing my clients to the workspace for consults, and I am proud of the space I have created for floral design! I hope this is inspiration to others as they venture into the career of their dreams. I love when people ask me “if you could do anything for a career, what would it be?” and I am able to answer “I do exaclty what I love and I can’t imagine doing anything else”.

Floral Design by Katie of Mac’s Floral. Photography by Tracy Moore Photographers, both of Billings, Montana.

Here’s Paula’s story:
I just have to have flowers in my life! The problem is, I didn’t realize it until just recently. I have always provided the florals for functions with friends and family and thought of it as just a beloved hobby. I had been working at a local hospital in the O.R. as an Instrument Technician when that all changed. One of my co-workers passed her instrument certification exam ( CRCST ) after failing it the first time. I showed my support by presenting her with the most fragrant of bouquets. The congratulatory flowers included deep lavender hydrangeas from my garden and snowy white lilac buds falling over the fence from my neighbors yard. My potted orchid contributed a fresh vibrant lime green cattleya bloom and I added a couple of concador lilies I had on hand. Oh, and hosta leaves to accent the color of the orchid and show a little greenery. I felt like this was occasion enough to part with a cherished vintage barnwood box as a vessel for my masterpiece. To my surprise I noticed a lone bunch of lily of the valley at the market on my way to work. Back in the car the other posys were happy to make room and they fell together creating a design all their own. Immediately after leaving the flowers at the Surgery Desk it happened…inquiry after inquiry from the nurses wanting to know who my florist was? I was shocked to know I could pass off my amateur attempt at floristry as the real thing. It wasn’t until the charge nurse said “Paula…you really missed your calling”. It hit me like a ton of bricks…could I make a career of this ???… So that is what I’m doing… Embarking on a new career late in the game. Who knew ??? I would love the help of Alicia’s BEAUTIFUL book and all the inspiration it has to offer as I play catch up!

I loved all of your stories, thank you for sharing who you are and how you got here with me and all the Flirty Fleurs readers! You will all be receiving a copy of Bella Bouquets book!

Fabulous Florist :: Michelle VandenBosch

Your name: Michelle VandenBosch
Your Business name: Michelle VandenBosch
Your Location: Ottawa Ontario Canada

How did you start your business?
I have been in the floral industry for 25 years working for other flower shops. It was time for me to create the business I wanted for myself.

How many years have you been in business?
This is my third year.

What is your design aesthetic?
I believe that paying attention to your floral material will show you how your flowers should be used. Maybe it is the curve of the stem of the orchid, the lazy leaf on a tulip or the face of the rose….notice the form of your material and allow them to speak to you.

What inspires you?
Nature…moss, rocks, branches, a pretty day

What are the trends, flowers & colors that are unique to your region?
I try to stay away from trends. Beautiful flowers and great design is timeless. I prefer to listen to what my clients want and create something beautiful. I am not the Style Police. Not all of my clients desires are my style but as long as I make them happy, I am happy.
Today I was actually picking a truck load of red Ilex berries for Christmas Urns. They grow in the marshes and this has been a great year for this pretty red berry. There is also alot of Winter Foliage around to pick in Canada. Our winters are cold and snowy but all spring, summer and fall we enjoy flowering plants such as lily of the valley, peonies, delphinium, tulips, hydrangea, bittersweet and sunflowers.

Are you a retail shop, studio/warehouse or home based?
I am a home based business. I travel around to my clients and see what there needs are in their environment or on site at the venue where the event is taking place. I bought a cooler 2 years ago which is perfect for weddings and events.

Do you offer any services in addition to floral designs?
I also take care of display and decor for clients. Creating exciting booths for Food Shows is one of my favorite jobs. Working without the restrictions of a retail flower shop has a lot of flexibility and alot of fun!

What does your toolbox look like?
I like my tool box neat with specific items loaded in for the job I am working on.

What tool in your toolbox can’t you live without?
This is going to sound crazy but it is lip balm! I find when I am working on an event, if I have lip balm, then I feel more comfortable and do not feel as thirsty.

What’s your favorite flower?
Every week I love something because of the colour or quality but without fail, my constant favorite is a White Phaleonopsis Orchid Plant. I love the subtle shimmer of the petals and the grace of this elegant plant.

Anything else you’d like to share with Flirty Fleurs followers?
I love my job!!!! I have had some amazing experiences in my career. Standing on the main stage of Parliament Hill for Canada Day when our Queen was visiting as the sun rose for the day. Watching The Prince and Princess of Wales walk into an event that I was a part of. Hearing that Nelson Mandela smiled a huge smile when he saw an arrangement I had made full of proteas. Sending my brides down the aisle still brings me to tears every time. I can not imagine doing anything else for my career that brings me so much joy!

Your contact information:

Fabulous Florist :: Precious Pear

Your name: Janice Wong
Your Business name: Precious Pear Wedding Floral Designs
Your Location: Vancouver BC, Canada

How did you start your business?
Contrary to the artistic background that people would expect of a florist, I have a degree and successful career in Computer Engineering in which I helped design systems for aircrafts and satellites. However I’ve always felt like I was meant to channel my creative energy in another way.
A few years ago, a very good friend of mine lost her spouse to cancer. I went to a flower shop, hand- picked the flowers, and described to the florist the arrangement I wanted in detail, and stayed there to watch while the arrangement was created. The night the flowers were delivered, I received a call from my friend. She told me the moment she received the flowers was the first time she smiled in a really long time. I had a lump in my throat, and I knew right at that moment, I wanted to start a business in floral design.

What is your design aesthetic?
I love designs that are lush and romantic. In general I like massing flowers together to create the modern and full look, but I do appreciate vintage styles as well.

What inspires you?
The brides (and grooms) that I work with inspire me more than anything. I love to get a feel for their personality, listen to their stories, and then challenge myself to create a style that best suits their unique personal style.
I always close my eyes and visualize what my bride would look like with one of my bouquets in their hands, and what floral arrangements should go in the venue to create the picture-perfect wedding.

What are the trends, flowers & colors that are unique to your region?
In BC, we are blessed with a lot of local growers growing flowers such as tulips, hyacinths, anemones, peonies, lilies and orchids. Every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday we have a Dutch style live auction where the growers bring in all these beautiful blooms. We are big fans of colors. Vancouver is a very multicultural city and hence the styles are very diverse. European garden and Japanese Ikebana are both very popular, for example, to reflect Vancouver’s multiculturalism.

Are you a retail shop, studio/warehouse or home based?
I have a home studio for my floral designs. I specialize in weddings and events and I like to design in a more casual and relaxed environment which helps my creativity flow.

Do you offer any services in addition to floral designs?
I only focus on floral designs right now, but I always love to give my brides tips on planning and how to stylize their weddings.

What does your toolbox look like?
My toolbox consists of scissors, pruners, wire cutter, tapes, and a number of knives. I tend to misplace my knives so I always have a few as backups 😉

What tool in your toolbox can’t you live without?
My floral knife. I always like to keep it in my hand when I design.

What’s your favorite flower?
Wow, that is a tough question. I would say it’s a tie between hydrangea and calla lily. They are just so unique and beautiful in their own way. I love the mass of the hydrangea but at the same time the simple long stem of calla lily is just so captivating. They both come in incredible colors. It would be unfair to say I’m partial to one J

Anything else you’d like to share with Flirty Fleurs followers?
It’s so wonderful to have a blog like Flirty Fleurs where we flower lovers can share our stories to inspire each other!

Contact Information:
Janice Wong
Precious Pear Floral Design