Your name: Trish Van de Merkt
Your Business name: Grapevine Floral Company
Your Location: Lake in the Hills, IL (Northwest suburb nearish Chicago)
How did you start your business?
I went to American Floral Art School right after I graduated from high school. It was hard to get a job at that time without experience. After working in an office, 3 kids and 16 years later I worked in 2 area flower shops doing their weddings. While working these jobs it always bothered me that I was never supposed to devote enough time to make things perfect for the brides and they basically thought that weddings were a tedious bother. I loved what I did and dislike the rest of the day to day florist routine so I made a plan to open my own event flower design company. During the initial planning while still working at a flower shop and after spending a 12 hour day with no breaks, I called my family to tell them I would be home soon. One of the owners came up behind me and yelled at me that I should do that on my own time. I decided the timing couldn’t be better, I quit 2 weeks later and opened our first studio in a 500 sq ft space!
What is your design aesthetic?
The true beauty of working with flowers is that as designers we can make any type of flower look different depending on the style. A tulip, rose or orchid can be modern, traditional or vintage depending on how you design with it.
I love taking a style and giving it a bit of a twist.
What inspires you?
Nature and my brides personalities. I get great pleasure out of designing a wedding around each bride. Her style and personality say so much about what flowers she loves.
What are the trends, flowers & colors that are unique to your region?
In the Chicago area wedding design can seem to be quite structured at times.
The vintage, soft feel of the west coast and south is starting to filter in and I’m so happy about that!
Brides are willing to be more experimental about their flower combinations but it may take awhile to catch up!
Are you a retail shop, studio/warehouse or home based?
We are in a 4,000 sq ft studio warehouse space. One side is our production space with 2 walk in coolers and the other side is our consultation space, my office, my husbands photography studio and some storage.
Do you offer any services in addition to floral designs?
My husband is a wedding photographer, www.johndartphotography.com and he has a studio in my warehouse space. I would like to get into the styling end of it and have just started investigating the possibilities of that. We’re asked for lighting quite a bit but I think that I’ll leave that to the lighting experts!
What does your toolbox look like?
It kind of looks like a school bus! It’s big, yellow and black so we can spot it no matter where it is in the room. It filled with any tool we may need right down to a tide pen and sewing kit. I’m amazed how often I’ve used those!
What tool in your toolbox can’t you live without?
I cannot life without my knife! I’ve cut ribbon & fabric, pulled splinters, smoothed cake frosting (clean of course), trimmed candle bottoms and so much more.
What’s your favorite flower?
My favorite flower changes on a day by day, week by week and season to season basis. But it probably is the lily of the
valley that grows tall and strong in my yard. My favorite thing to do with it is to put it in my lucky brides bouquet that
happens to get married when it decides to bloom.
Anything else you’d like to share with Flirty Fleurs followers?
My hope and dream is to continue to be in love with my business and what I do, through good and tough times. That it will continue to grow with the continued learning and inspiration I receive from other floral designers who love their business as much as I do.
9114 Virginia Road, Suite 108
Lake in the Hills, IL 60156