By now you probably know that our 2018 Mayesh Design Star is Kaylee Young of Flourish by Kay, so we thought now was a good time to get to know Kaylee a little bit better and learn about the designer behind the flowers!
We hope you enjoy spending a few minutes with Kaylee below, and can't wait to share next year's workshop tour dates with you all in the very near future!
First of all, congratulations! We are beyond excited to have you board as our next Design Star... it’s going to be a fun year! For everyone dying to know more about you, can you just give us a little background on yourself, and how you ended up in this crazy wonderful world of flowers we find ourselves in?
When I was 18 years old, I took a career aptitude test in college to help me determine which career was right for me, and the top career that was considered for me was 'Florist.' I'd literally never thought about flowers before, but I was intrigued by the idea so I signed up for a beginner floral design course at night. That's when I decided I liked flowers and I really wanted to learn floral design. After that I bombarded the flower shop by my house, dropping off resumes every 6 months or so until they finally hired me! Took about 2 years, but I wore them down haha! After working in shops for 3 years, I moved over to the event floral side of things and started my own business, Flourish. It's been a crazy ride but I just love what I do so much now. I can't imagine living a life where I'm not designing and styling and creating beauty. I feel so fortunate that I get to do this for my career.
Can you talk about your style & design philosophy?
My design philosophy is all about creation & curation. I'd say beautiful floral design is made up of 50% the curation of the flowers and materials, and 50% creating the design with good technique. Being very intentional about my inspiration and ideas, and thoughtfully preparing my flower order has helped me to refine my design skills so much and produce the best results I possibly can.
I also believe being a good floral artist is a balance of striving for perfection and just 'winging it'. I had to learn to trust myself. But once I did, that's when I started creating all my best work.
My style is a mix of maximal and minimal design (is that a thing?) There isn't necessarily one type of design I really love. I just love when everything looks pieced together perfectly, when the design feels like it makes its surroundings come to life, and the colors and product chosen compliment each other nicely. My goal is to come up with a feeling for each arrangement that I make and to make it match the scene that it will fit into perfectly. I like to challenge myself to use new types of flowers, or add more flowers, or less. Sometimes the design ends up totally different than what I thought it would in the beginning. But as long as I get the feeling of the arrangement right, I feel good.
Cliché question, but I love hearing the unique answers people have! So… where do you draw your inspiration from?
Most of my inspiration stems from something small. Whether it be a single bloom, or a striking color, a feeling I get when I look at a photograph, or an outfit on the runway. My inspiration usually starts as something small, and then I build around it with more ideas. I love going into the city for inspiration. I like to people watch and feel the energy there. It makes me feel inspired and like anything is possible. I also like to watch other artists work on things and read about their stories. I literally know nothing about making clothing, but whenever I watch the show "Project Runway" I always walk away thinking,"Yes! If they can make clothes out of stuff from the hardware store I can do anything!"
Another thing that I think is really important, is admitting when I feel worn out or uninspired and just throwing on some sweatpants and binge-watching The Office with a pint of Ben & Jerry's. By learning to take breaks and turning down some jobs when I feel burnt out helps me to feel inspired and to feel energized when I want and need to be.
We are all about educating and being a resource for our customers, both new and old. What are your thoughts on education within the industry, and why do you think it’s important?
I think floral education is so important! It can be difficult to attain all of the knowledge that is out there about flowers. There are so many flower types and techniques and there is no one particular way to do anything or even learn anything. I think one of the best ways I've learned is by watching other florists (all with different styles and techniques) design and work and taking my favorite ideas from each person to come up with my own technique and style. I love that Mayesh strives to be a resource, too. It's been amazing shopping with a rep who can suggest things I've never heard of and send me pictures, or I can look through their flower library online. It's helped me to learn so many new flower types and new things being able to ask my Mayesh rep any questions I might have.
What are you most excited for next year as the Mayesh Design Star?
I am so excited to collaborate with Mayesh to deliver some amazing workshops! It is going to be SO MUCH FUN! I'm excited to meet everyone and learn about them and what makes them feel inspired, and create some beautiful things together.
Okay, this can be totally unrelated to flowers! What is a random or fun fact about you, to get to know the person behind the design?
A fun fact about me is that I HAVE to have my diet coke & gummy candy before I start arranging flowers. It's like a ritual now. I go to the store and get my drink and my treats, blast some music, and I'm ready! That's how I start out designing every time.
Photo by Brian Whitt Photography
Photo by Lauren Balingit
For more of Kaylee's work, make sure to check out her Instagram!