I met a wonderful photographer, Libbie, of Libbie Holmes Photography, at a professional group networking event last December. Afterwards, Libbie and I met up in January over coffee to learn about each others’ businesses and got on the topic of styled shoots. Styled shoots are where vendors collaborate to create mock wedding scenes which they photograph and submit the pictures to publications in hopes of getting featured. Styled shoots allow the vendors full reign in creativity and are a ton of fun to execute. I am so excited to show our Valentine’s Day theme Styled Shoot that Libbie and I recently coordinated, which is featured in COUTUREcolorado: Valentine’s Day Inspired Styled Shoot
An old friend of mine always used to say, “Look through the windshield, not in the rearview mirror,” meaning that one should focus their attention on the future and not concentrate on the past. The promise of what is to come in this new year holds a lot of excitement, anticipation, and hope. I look forward to seeing my business continue to grow and develop, and I am excited by all the beautiful weddings I will be involved with. I know that 2014 is going to be a great year!
While I stay mindful of the windshield/rearview mirror philosophy, I want to share some things from the past three hundred and sixty-five days. 2013 was a pivotal year for Love Letters Floral Design. After a few name changes, the official business name was finally decided upon. Subsequently, a logo and website were designed. A business plan was created. Business cards were then printed and much networking ensued. Through it all I had the honor of being a part of some beautiful weddings and I got to work with some amazing couples. Here is a look back on those special celebrations:
Shannon & Owen: July 5, 2013
While I am always energized after an initial floral consultation with a bride and/or groom, I was especially excited when Shanon and Owen reached out to me this past spring. Shanon and Owen are both very active within the local skydiving community, so it was only fitting to have their wedding reception at the Mile-Hi Skydiving drop zone, inside one of the hangers. I was instantly keen on the vision they had for their wedding, as many years ago I myself had dipped my toes into the sport of skydiving. In college I was part of the University of Wisconsin’s skydiving club, Mad City Skydivers, and completed a total of four jumps – two tandem jumps and two solo jumps. This is something that I am very proud of, and in recounting this time in my life, I always remember how memorable each jump was. Needless to say I was very excited to be a part of this wedding. Shanon and Owen hoped to make their entrance to the wedding reception with a tandem jump, which was possible the greatest idea anyone has ever thought of (in my opinion!). There were clouds in the sky on their big day, but the weather held out just enough, so that Shanon and Owen were indeed able to make their first jump together as husband and wife, as a grand entrance to their reception. The bright and happy sunflower was the focal point of their arrangements, which looked beautiful against the wedding party’s gray attire.
Photographer: Ashton + Leah Photography
Venue: Ceremony – Ryssby Church, Reception – Mile-Hi Skydiving drop zone
Melissa & Phil: August 17, 2013
Designing arrangements for Melissa’s wedding was amazing, not only because she had a gorgeous garden wedding and was super easy to work with, but also because I got to see Amanda and Colin, whose wedding I had been a part of the previous year. Melissa had been a bridesmaid in Amanda’s wedding and now Amanda stood as a bridesmaid in Melissa’s wedding. Melissa and her husband, Phil, decided to get married at Washington Park in Denver, Colorado. This summer wedding fit beautifully within the scenery of the park. Melissa wanted the bouquets to look like they had been “picked right out of a garden.” To achieve this look we used ornamental kale, garden roses, dahilas, scabiosa pods, veronica, spray roses, ranunculus, wax flower, and mint leaves.
Venue: Ceremony – Washington Park Gardens, Reception – Washington Park Boat House
Wendy & Jeremy: September 2, 2013
I was initially contacted by Wendy’s mother, Amy, regarding flowers for her daughter’s wedding. Amy had come across my website and was hoping I could help them. Wendy had her hands full with being a mom, her job, and with planning a wedding. When Wendy and I sat down over coffee to go through possible options, she gravitated towards pictures of bouquets with vibrant colors. Her bridesmaids wore fuchsia, so we created fun and colorful bouquets using green cymbidium orchids, blue aranda orchids, yellow freesia, purple stock, circus roses, and spicy meringue roses.
Photographer: Katie Lee Photography
Venue: Ceremony – St. Thomas More Catholic Church, Reception – The Inn at Hudson Gardens
Allison & Matt: September 20, 2013
I met Allison and Matt at a mutual friend’s birthday dinner. Allison and Matt had gotten engaged and were in the midst of planning their upcoming wedding. Their venue was booked at The Stanley Hotel up in Estes Park. When Allison and I got together to discuss her wedding flowers, I loved her vision of fall-colored bouquets and centerpieces, which would look amazing at this beautiful historical landmark. Unfortunately, Allison and Matt’s wedding was scheduled to take place just after the “100-Year Flood”, which not only devastated so much of our beautiful state, but caused the road into Estes Park to be inaccessible the week of their wedding. Luckily, Allison and Matt were able to change their wedding to the lovely Oxford Hotel in downtown Denver, which was just as classic. The rose, spray rose, calla lily, bear grass, and Israeli ruskus arrangements were stunningly elegant, rich in color, with vibrant reds, yellows, oranges, purples, greens, and a touch of white.
Photographer: Tega Photography
Venue: Ceremony & Reception – The Oxford Hotel, Denver, CO
I have wanted to have my own floral design business for as long as I can remember. In high school I fantasized about having a store that was one half floral shop and one half coffee shop (another one of my loves is coffee). That way, I envisioned, I could meet with clients over a nice warm mocha as we poured over pictures of flowers. But life kept moving and a floral business of my own seemed rather unattainable, despite how much I thought about being a florist.
My fourth year in college, I got a job at a local floral shop. I was very excited about the prospect of designing arrangements on a regular basis. Shortly after I started working there, however, I learned that the shop already had designers on staff and that my job duties were going to be all the non-design tasks: taking orders over the phone, helping customers in the store with sales, and cleaning. My desire to design floral arrangements grew even stronger being in an environment full of flowers. Often times, I would find excuses to send arrangements to my friends, just so I could design something. Since I was paying for these arrangements I was then able to design them.
As I was approaching graduation and feeling the social pressure of needing to get a “real career”, but not knowing what to do with my Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, I decided to join the service program, AmeriCorps NCCC. I was in the program for almost two years and had some amazing experiences, including being a part of the clean-up effort after Hurricane Katrina. During my time in AmeriCorps, I also learned that three tab shingle roofing is another one of my loves and something I am actually pretty good at!
My career transitioned into the nonprofit sector with ease, given all the nonprofits I worked with while I was in AmeriCorps. In 2007 I moved to Colorado where I continued planning events and fundraising for various nonprofit organizations. Then people I knew began getting married and my desire to design floral arrangements grew even more stronger. One day when I was at an open house at a venue down in Parker in a search for a venue for an upcoming fundraiser, I met a girl who had her own local floral design business. She did all the design work out of her house. That was an epiphany for me when I realized that I, too, could have my own floral design business despite not being able to afford the expense of a retail shop. I wanted to have a legitimate business and I knew I had to give it a shot even if it meant failing.
In January 2011 I came up with a business name, Design Abloom, purchased a hosting package and the domain name with Network Solutions, and walked down to the Secretary of State and register my business with the State of Colorado. I was official! I had a friend help me with a website and a graphic designer who I had worked with in the nonprofit sector designed a logo for me. And through the amazing power of word of mouth, I started to do floral design for weddings here in Colorado. But I was finding that people couldn’t remember the name of my business and I had was having trouble with updating the web site myself and feeling like I was burdening my friend asking her to make the changes.
I decided I needed a new, memorable name for my business. I brainstormed. And brainstormed some more. And some more after that. I would ask my friends to participate in “which business name do you like best” surveys. Everyone had a different opinion and I never felt like any of them sounded right. So life continued with the floral business on hold.
In February 2012, more than a year after I originally registered my floral design business, I came up with a name that I thought was going to be it – Toss Floral Design. After having written out all the words associated with weddings, “toss” seemed to embody flowers and the fun loving nature of weddings. I thought it was perfect. I re-registered the name with the Secretary of State, and purchased a new domain name. At the same time a good friend of mine needed to design a website for one of her graduate classes, and so I got an amazing new website.
Then, slowly, however, I learned about all the other words associated with the word “toss”, most of which have negative connotations. I had been naive of all the different meanings of the word toss the first 30 years of my life and now all of a sudden that was all I could think about when I said my business name out loud.
Subsequently I went through another period of business name turmoil and I decided to change my business name once again. I also decided I needed a new website, because the wonderful website my friend had designed was all html, which I knew even less about than Word Press, and I wanted to be able to update the site with pictures and content on my own. I was back to square one.
After another couple of months of fretting, I was browsing the web for inspiration, when I saw the words, “love letters”. Finally, I knew what I wanted my business name to be. “Love letters” sounded lovely and sweet, and the thought of receiving a love letter gave me a warm, romantic feeling.
So, after finding a friend to design a new logo and getting some guidance on Word Press, I taught myself basic web design and after several weeks of dedication, my floral design website was complete, name and all. I am so grateful and excited to finally have a floral design virtual storefront where I can showcase my floral design work!
I couldn’t have started this business without the love from all the people who believed in me. Who people who continued to believe in me, even when I kept changing my business name, in my many moments of indecision. To my family, my friends, my boyfriend, and other vendors in the wedding industry. To all the brides and grooms I worked with even when I didn’t have a website up on the internet. Thank you. This blog, this website, this business, this gratitude…is my love letter to you.