It was such a joy to join Holly Chapple and Hitomi Gilliam for a workshop in Vancouver. I've wanted to learn from Holly for years. She's a mother of 7 and has built her business while raising them. As a mother of 2, I know that this is quite a feat! Holly and I actually spoke on the phone 5 or 6 years ago and she helped me through a difficult spot. She's in Virginia and I'm out in Seattle. It was amazing to talk with someone so seasoned and she gave it to me straight. Since then I've been trying to meet her in person but the timing never worked out. Finally, she came to our neck of the woods AND she was going to be teaching with another one of my favorite inspirational designers: Hitomi!
It was an incredible 2 days learning new techniques and learning how to grow my business, be profitable and competitive. Hitomi is such an inspiring designer. I think every florist always wants to use more flowers. More flowers = more beautiful. Every. time. Less is more rings true in so many aspects of life, but when it comes to a floral arrangement...it's just not true. More is more. Lush, big, scrumptious, flowing = more stems. What makes Hitomi is such a skilled and inspiring designer is that she knows how to take fewer flowers and create a striking, eye catching, gorgeous design. This is a whole new level of skill! I can't even begin to tell you how hard that is. She is a true innovator and uses each flower thoughtfully and with care. She's starting a flower school in Vancouver and I am going to try and take as many courses as I can!
Day 1, 7:30am. - Meeting at the Park & Ride! I was thankful to ride up to Vancouver and spend the weekend with other florist friends. I'm a member (and new officer!) in the Greater Seattle Floral Association (or GSFA). We are a group of Seattle florists who meet monthly to discuss anything and everything. I went up with Anne of Floressence, Christiane of Flora Nova, Gina of From the Ground Up Floral and Courtney from Designs by Courtney. It was a great group of women who are passionate about this industry!
We made great time and crossed the border at 10 or so. We stopped for lunch at Cactus Cafe and oh my goodness, it was delicious! We split a bottle of Rose to get the weekend started! We were so excited to start designing with Holly and so some shopping in a new market we arrived an hour early! After we learned a bit about each instructor wee learned a brand new technique which will change the way I (and I think many in the industry) will do elevated designs. I work really hard to not use toxic floral foam whenever possible. The stuff is known to cause health problems and takes hundreds of years to decompose. As florists, we work exclusively with nature, why would we demand so much from it and then turn around and poison it? Using locally sourced, salmon safe flowers and foam free designs is super important to me - I'm always striving to be more eco friendly so I was very excited to learn a new mechanic to make that easier!!
Here we are with all of our finished designs!
After the design course we sat in and asked questions during the facebook live with Holly and Hitomi. It was fun being a fly on the wall and Holly even gave me a little shoutout! I was unnamed, but whatever. She knew, I knew, so I'm rolling with it!
By 7pm we were all SO hungry! We went to the most delicious Greek Restaurant and had a great time talking flowers, business, about the workshop and our families. Back at the Airbnb the conversation continued with more wine. :)
The next morning we hit the ground running. We left our flowers for our gracious hosts, hit starbucks and were back at the wholesale house to learn more mechanics and talk business. This wasn't a hands on day and I think we were all feeling a fidgety! We didn't become florists because we're really good at sitting at a desk for long periods of time :). But the information was oh. so. good. It was great to hear that I'm spot on in some areas of my business and I was inspired to improve in other areas. I felt recharged and ready to rock!
We were back on the road by 4 and crossed the boarder to have dinner in Bellingham. It was a little nostalgic being at my alma matter 💕