On this particular week, her interview was with Emily Calhoun of Floriography Flowers in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This conversation was about how Emily's business has evolved in the last few years. Being a Slowflowers florist, Emily faces challenges with access to locally grown flowers in the middle of a desert which is vastly different than here in the Pacific Northwest. Though we may be several states away, I felt some very common ground with her.
Emily said, "Most of our brides are aesthetic driven first and philosophy second." This statement really struck me. It's a perfect description of how I feel most consumers purchase flowers. It's absolutely true. Consumers, myself included purchase on looks, feel, touch, smell, taste and beyond. It's like walking through a vintage flea market. You pass many items for sale, but when something catches your attention you are drawn to it. You may not know it's full story in that moment, but you know you like it.
Every item for sale has a story, whether it be a flower or a paper and pencil. Sadly, some of those stories don't have the most beautiful of beginnings. When and if you learn about the story you make a decision as to how to proceed. For some the story might not be a priority. You like it. You want it. You buy. However, some might discover the item's story has deep intention and purpose. Maybe that item was grown by the hands of a local family just trying to stay afloat or a recipe passed down from generation to generation. All of a sudden that item means so much more and becomes much more valuable. It's these stories that touch the heart and that's what drives me.
As a business owner, I think a lot about what drives consumers to purchase flowers. I absolutely want my florals to be aesthetically attractive, but I also want the philosophy of those flowers to be just as important. Many florals available to consumers are aesthetically pleasing, but the philosophy behind the flowers might shock a person. Part of my mission as a business owner and as a Slowflowers Member is to educate and promote the American floral industry wholeheartedly and with absolute intention and purpose.
I really applaud fellow local and sustainable florists and flower farmers who are digging in their heals and holding on to all the leverage they've got. This business is tough but also one of the most rewarding jobs I could imagine. Seeing the smiles, hearing the ohhhss and ahhhs, receiving thank you emails and voicemail messages is what it's all about. Envisioning a collaboration and seeing it unfold before your eyes to be captured and shared amongst some serious creative talent is so rewarding. Meeting new flower farmers and watching their farms blossom is so incredible. Learning why people send flowers to loved ones is so special. The relationships developed from across the country and the knowledge being shared is truly wonderful. This is what drives me. This is what keeps me going. It's the knowing that there's still more to work to do. There are still more consumers to share my work and mission with, and this is what drives me every single day.
To close, I want to share a recent collaboration with a few lovely ladies I am blessed to work with. Flowers stretch far beyond weddings and events. Flowers touch our everyday lives. Here's how a simple idea of a picnic for two can be super gorgeous (aesthetic, first) and support local businesses (philosophy, second).
Meet Dawn Parsons of Party Til Dawn Events who designed this picnic for two. Dawn's fun personality brought rustic charm by mixing natural textures with soft fall tones right down to the cinnamon stick in the Moscow mule and rosemary sprig on the ham and cheese baguette.
This is Lil' Buddy. Every single time I visit Dani's flower farm, he is there. He's one tough kitty, but couldn't resist an opportunity to get close to that ham and cheese sandwich. Here, he was slowly making his way to the top of that wood crate to get a closer look... or taste.
It was such a delight to work with Dawn. She's super fun and easy going. No doubt she knows how to throw a party. Can't wait to work with you again, Dawn!
This beautiful soul is usually behind-the-scenes, but this is exactly how Dani Graham spends time in the flower fields. She's often in flip flops, has her hair up, and ready to get dirty! Ha! I feel extremely fortunate to work so closely with this woman.