How did you get started in floral design? What are your roots within floristry?
19 years ago, my mother got me a job at a local florist as something to fill my time. This florist was a powerhouse and I was quickly thrust into a world of menu-based, mass production floristry. This taught me to see the end-result of a design first: where I wanted to place my stems, the value of insertions, etc.
A year or so went by and I moved to a smaller flower shop that built designs from the ground up. No two were alike. This allowed me to learn the aesthetics of flower design and how to make my own creative decisions.
When was (your business) born and why did you choose to start your own business?
I got tired of working at shops that seemed to disregard golden opportunities to push the floral envelope. They seemed to care more about maintaining the day to day $25 orders than how to evolve into a better shop. I hated being boxed into a wire order picture and a menu.
I craved the freedom to explore various methods of design
while finding ways to bring awareness about my industry and its art to the community.
People weren’t going to stop buying picture-perfect images unless they had a reason to.
My business was born from the idea that no one was going to create my happiness, I had to make my own. I began freelancing in 2008 and I haven’t looked back.
Please tell us about your clientele. What type of clients do you attract?
I consider most of my clients to be kindred spirits. We think a lot alike, we respond to things in a similar manner, the connection is there. They want unique, they want good, reliable technique. I tend to build real friendships from clients because of this.
What are your thoughts on floral education and have you attended any workshops? If not, do you plan on attending any in 2015?
Floral education is MANDATORY! There is so much to see, so much to learn! I wish I could make a living just going from workshop to workshop. I spend a lot of my own time doing research and exploration on floral design and getting inspired. For me, it’s the ONLY way to stay fresh and maintain interest in this industry.
I have attended many workshops over the years. Various conventions, design classes, and scholarships really help perpetuate the education and in doing so, help to bring new ideas and concepts to the community. Attending workshops and helping others find the value in attending workshops is absolutely necessary.
What is your favorite part of being a designer?
I love the idea of taking a limited, finite object and using it for creative self expression. I love that other human beings pay me to use my skill, to use my creative self expression, to help them express their own feelings. That is an amazing power to have.
What is one piece of advice you’ve been given and how do you apply it to floristry?
There are two pieces of advice that I find myself using time and time again:
1) Go with your gut. Whenever I find myself stuck or in a predicament, I always look to what my gut says, it’s almost always right. This is just age-old advice I’ve carried my whole life.
2) Let the flower speak to you. You might try and try to make a stem do what you want but the stem will do what it wants. So you have to concede to the stem and let it do what it wants.
Hitomi said something of this flavor during a workshop and it had always stuck with me. If I’m trying to work a stem into a design and I just fight with it, her sentiments come into my mind and I either let the stem do its own thing or replace it altogether. Works like a charm.
Lastly, what is the biggest problem you’ve run into in floral design and how did you solve it?
The #1 problem in floral design – from myself, from a client, from another florist – is give-a-damn (zeal). We get so bored with monotony, with obligations, with personal failures, that we lose sight of perpetuating the flame of passion and creativity within us. We lose sight of where we wanted to be, where we’d thought we’d be and we just give up or give in and let circumstances take control.
I see a lot of fire on the floral boards, fire at order gatherers, at wire services, at each other but we need to remember that we are still in control over our happiness and sometimes that just takes a little give-a-damn.
With so much to do and so little time, Alison plans on launching her new web site next summer so be on the look out. Thank you so much Alison for partaking in this interview as I feel so many have a lot to say and I want them to be heard.