If you haven't heard the news yet, we're so excited to announce that Holly Chapple will be joining us in Quito next year for our Mayesh Design Star International Experience! With twenty-five years of experience, Holly is a wealth of knowledge from both a design and business standpoint, and we can't wait to share that knowledge with all of our attendees.
We caught up with Holly to ask her a few questions about herself and her journey in the industry!
Let’s start off simple - tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you got started in the flower industry? (Or maybe that’s not such simple question!)
I am a floral and event designer in Leesburg, Virginia, I am a mom of seven and run my business from home so that I can tend to the things happening in our family and at our house. My parents owned and operated a garden center/produce market all of my life. We grew much of the product we sold. My father taught me how to make garlands, centerpieces, wreaths, and kissing balls so that I could help with the designing during holiday periods. As kids, we spent our summers on the back of a truck selling produce or in the fields growing mums. When I married my husband and I landed on a property full of lilac, viburnum, peony, and hydrangea. Designing was a natural progression for me and it became the way I would support my family.
You have become so much more than a floral designer… can you talk about The Chapel Designers and what inspired you to start this network of floral designers?
This was a result of social media, I had been blogging daily for my blog, The Full Bouquet. This was 9.5 years ago, at the time very few designers were using this forum. Other small businesses began bonding with our studio because we were facing the same issues. Chapel Designers grew organically and out of need. Today this organization brings so much support to its members, its all about a community of like-minded professionals but now we are family!!
Your husband is a big part of your business now too! How is it working so closely together?
This quite frankly is often very hard. Evan is very black and white, the world of design is not. He tries so hard to bring balance and continuity to our team, but as all designers know at any moment an order can come in and we are all of a sudden up to our eyeballs in chaos; obviously, procurement of stems also causes chaos and lack of balance. However, his need for balance and organization makes so much of our company run beautifully. Evan handles the financials and the payroll thank goodness, but explaining to him why I had to source a precious out-of-season stem is not easy. Evan is also very much into growing and building, therefore his role of taking care of the farm is essential. He loves to enhance and advance the property. Since the farm is our greatest investment it really needs a fabulous caretaker.
What is your design philosophy?
I love designs that are loose and airy, that shows a wide range of textures and colors. Full and lush!! For a great example, be sure to check out my Mayesh Pull Challenge!
Photo by Katie Stoops
How about business?
In it to win it. It’s important to me that the business is always moving forward. I know that as long as I am in business I need to keep advancing. I am always thinking of new revenue streams, this is one of my strongest business skills.
You have your hands in a lot of different facets of the industry, but what is the one part about it that brings you the most joy?
The love of flowers and people. It has become very clear to me that I love people as much as I love flowers.
I know choosing just one favorite flower is tough, but can you do it?? And if not, what are your favorite varieties right now?
NO chance, but Lilac will always be special to me as I started selling bouquets of lilac from my garden.
What wisdom would you impart upon any newcomers in the industry, just starting out in a small studio or shop?
This is a career for those that can’t help themselves, for those that are passionate about flowers. This is not a job for someone that thinks flowering is easy or fun. Most people do not realize the amount of physical or manual work involved.
What are you most looking forward to about our time in Quito, Ecuador?
Seeing the flowers and meeting new friends. FLOWERS & PEOPLE
Hope Flower Farm