I first had the privilege of meeting Ivie while on a photoshoot. Our location for the day was a farm in upstate New York, about a 2 hour drive from the city. When we arrived, she had buckets upon buckets of gorgeous flowers in every shape and color. What struck me about her was not only her talent, but her amazing personality as well. That day was a really long one. Not only did we have a call time of 6am but we did not get back home until probably closer to 9pm, but the entire time she had a smile on her face and an idea to share. Over the years I have worked with Ivie on several other projects. The most recent one was for the website. So when I wanted to do a monthly spotlight on super talented creatives that have their own businesses, Ivie was the first person I wanted to feature.
Was floral design something you always wanted to do?
As I started to consider what I wanted to do as a career, I was really interested in international relations. But New York has a way of opening up your mind to a world of possibilities, so when I moved here, things just changed. I was really attracted to finding something that I knew would make me happy – I’ve always loved nature, I was looking for something to keep me busy, and I decided to just work in a flower shop. It really started out as simple as that.
How did you get your start?
My first job in the industry was at a neighborhood flower shop in Astoria. I went from processing flowers to becoming a junior designer than wedding consultant. Eventually, I became the manager of the entire store before moving on to managing other floral shops and event companies in Manhattan.
What are some of the challenges you faced early in your career?
Learning patience. There is so much I had to learn! The fundamentals of floristry, the nuances of design, managing and delegating to a team, and dealing with a wide range of situations – both planned and unplanned.
When did the idea of starting up your own business come to you?
I think I always had the urge to be my own boss, to dictate my own destiny. As I gained experience in the industry, that urge starts to become something much more tangible. For example, wanting my own company so I can really drive and fulfill a particular aesthetic vision.
What are some of the challenges you face daily with running your own business?
When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re everything from the president and CEO to the janitor. You make all the big decisions, you’re the first to arrive, last to leave and even then you never really leave in a sense.
What are some tips you would give to someone wanting to start up a floral design business?
It’s important to learn and respect the basic fundamentals of the industry. For example, knowing when certain flowers should be bought and how they should be processed in preparation for an event. Another tip: Know your niche. Make sure that your aesthetic and your target market reconcile with each other.
What are some of your favorite projects you’ve worked on?
It was quite an honor to be the event designer for the Tony Awards Gala in 2015. It was a huge production, a big vision, and I’m so proud at what we were able to accomplish. I’ve also worked as the primary set designer for renowned fashion photographer Lindsay Adler, working on ad campaigns for Canon, Sigma, Flixel and others.
Is there a difference on working on weddings versus other events such as the Tony’s?
I’d say there are more similarities than differences. Each event’s design starts with a story, from the story comes the colors and the textures. Then we think about what accents and details best complete that story. If I had to pick a difference, it’s how we build those stories with the clients. Weddings are personalized – the story is a reflection of the couple. Corporate events are about branding – we have to make sure that the story matches the client’s strategic vision.
When starting a project how do you work with your clients to give them what they want?
I’ve had clients that knew exactly what they wanted. And they picked me as their floral designer because they knew that my aesthetic was right for their vision. Other clients are less sure about what they want, and they look to me to help them figure that out. So I try to do that in a way that is not overwhelming, by trying to get know them, asking questions – this helps me arrive at a design that translates their vision.
When working on projects do you find that certain floral trends will arise? If so how do you work with those trends but still personalize each project?
Clients will pick up design trends from various sources – magazines and, of course, social media. Some of those trends may work with a particular event – they might need a bit of tweaking – but others might not. If something isn’t going to look good, I’ll be very honest about that and I’ve found that clients actually respect me more for it.
What are some of your favorite flowers to work with?
Depends on the season, every season has its own beauty. In the spring, I love peonies and ranunculus. In the fall, I like earthier tones and textures: cabbage roses, berries, and foliage.
What floral trends do you see, that people should keep an eye out for?
I think we’ll continue to see the evolution of the efforts to combine elegance with organic elements. A sort of elevated bohemian look. You might see very high-end flowers arranged less in a structured way, and instead in a more natural garden feel. The elevation would come from the volume of flowers used in the arrangements: full, robust and opulent.
What are some easy go to arrangements people can do for their homes?
White and green arrangements provide simple elegance. You can use whatever flowers are in season, and you can use whatever vessel you have handy.
What are some floral hacks that people can use at home?
Three quick tips. First, change the water daily. Second, snip the stems at an angle every other day. Last, don’t put the flowers in direct sunlight. – keep them somewhere cool yet still bright.
If you had one tip on how to live a more stylish life what would it be?
Balance… Take the time to take care of yourself. I’m trying every day to take that advice!
Thank you so much to Ivie for collaborating on this post. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and are getting ready for the New Year.
The Everyday Editor
All photos courtesy: Ivie Joy Flowers