i was not only lucky enough to be included amongst a group of people much more accomplished than myself, but was also asked to write a piece for the magazine on why i do what i do. this is what i came up with:
After three years as an account executive at a local branding firm, one morning I woke up, typed three letters of resignation, and slyly left them on my bosses' desks while they were out to lunch. I had started to come to terms with the lack of even mere contentedness proffered by the job. My industrial-chic warehouse office, the glowing AmEx with my name evenly engraved across the bottom, and expensive letterpressed business cards all eventually spoke of little more than a facade of power and relevance. But what would I do? My answer brought quizzical and slightly concerned looks from not only my bosses that day but eventually my friends, family, and, as is wont to happen in the garrulous South, their friends and family. I was going to be a florist.
This is how I currently find myself owner of the Austin-based floral design studio, Loretta Flower. Named for my favorite TVZ song, the business has taught me more than I ever learned behind that desk about connecting with people, what a brand is and should be, and how to challenge yourself professionally and creatively every single day. I've done all kinds of work, big and small, and have recently started styling for commercial shoots and writing two columns for Design Sponge, one of the blogs that first inspired me to pursue floral design as a craft.
It is a beautiful job, but by no means is it easy. You are constantly making waste, always cleaning up a mess that is much larger than the finished product, and keeping a watchful eye over your product for anything that might cause it to spoil. Refrigeration and cleanliness are mandatory, and time is of the utmost importance. Your fingers develop blisters, and then calluses, and the skin divides like a river, beginning to wrap egregiously around the bone. You must maintain your tools, as they make or break you. And then, at the end of day, a flower may just decide to wilt on you for reasons totally beyond your control. I've compared myself to a mortician more times than I care to count, doing my best to restore an object that is slowly succumbing to the same organic nature that gave it beauty from the start.
There really is nothing quite like the experiences you get to be witness to, though.You're present at crucial times for people--when they are in love, when they are trying to save a relationship, when they are grieving, and when they are celebrating a new life. What a florist offers fades--it is by definition unlovable--but we also provide a moment of beauty and reassurance in trying times for people. Whether the hard work is worth it is not always easy to know, if the hours of manual labor for so little money and the anxiety that comes with any craft-based business will pay off in the end. But these moments make it not about reparation. For a second you no longer think about what you will receive but, rather, are grateful for what you have been able to give.