You may have noticed that over the past two days we handed our Instagram feed over to the lovely Sarah Watts of Sarah's Garden in Arizona (and if you didn't see that, get yourself on Instagram and follow us!) It was a burst of warmth & color, which was much appreciated for those of us living in freezing winter temperatures! And now, a little bit more about the lovely Sarah:
To start, why don't you tell us a bit about yourself, and how you found yourself in the flower industry.
I am a Nordic gal (Minnesotan Norwegian) living in the Arizona desert with my sweet husband, teenage stepson and 2 little dog fur babies. I was recruited into the flower industry by my best friend’s mom in 1996 (20 years ago) to help manage in her newly purchased flower shop in Minnesota. Her cousin was our lead designer, a 30 year maverick designer and taught us the ropes. My bestie and I then acquired the business and ran it for almost 2 years. What a ride!
I saw that you have studied both art & interior design – I, too, have a background in interior design! Can you elaborate on that, and how it all comes into play as a floral & event designer?
Nice! One of the first useful things I learned in interior design was to use a “keyoff” - an inspiration piece to draw your palette and materials from. It can be anything really. I like to look to the Arizona desert for inspiration to bring the outside environment in the design. When taking art classes, I learned to pay attention to the negative space also and to start light and then layer in if need be. Also, that critique can be very evolutionary and eye opening if you get your ego out of the way.
You have quite a bit of experience with many aspects of planning a wedding. What do you most enjoy about doing weddings (flowers & full event planning) & working with brides?
My heart is fullest when I know that our creations added to the beauty and meaningful experience of a wedding day. We ask LOTS of questions, including what their hobbies are, where they've traveled, how they decorate. We want their wedding to feel very personal and comfortable. I love that my couples trust that we “get” what they want and we always aim to exceed their expectations.
How would you describe your design style?
Deconstructed English Garden. LOL! I think I just made that up! My husband is first generation American from English immigrants and I am so inspired by their customs and decorum. But I’m a bit of a rebel, so I design with deconstruction and like to break the rules a bit. I don’t like to create completely round and structured designs.
What trends do you see happening in flowers right now?
Airy, light, free form. Natural, not too manipulated. Focus on foliage. Each bloom shows it’s beautiful face.
Let's talk tools. Favorite florist tool, and favorite social media app you use in your business? Instagram is obviously a industry favorite, but we'd love to know if you're using anything else!
My ARS pocket shears are totally amazing, they are crazy sharp! For social media, Instagram all the way!!! I love the community and the format. I also use Lobiloo, Honeybook, and Quickbooks to stay organized with orders, client management, and the always fun, bookkeeping, lol!
What is your favorite or most memorable event or shoot you have been apart of?
My friends Brushfire Photography, KDP Events and I did a shoot on top of Mount Lemmon in Tucson on a stormy day and the images came back so ethereal and amazing. I styled the whole shoot, but kept floral minimal by only creating a bridal bouquet. It was inspired by the desert mountain cliffs and was very unique.
What is one piece of advice you'd like to go back and tell yourself during your first year of designing?
To not say “yes” to everything. Building my business, I thought I had to take every inquiry that came my way. No regrets now though, because I feel like I learned so much from key mistakes I made. I didn't even think about developing a solid style and brand until about 2 years in. Now, I attract clients that want my specific style and I make sure that they are just as good as a fit for us than we are for them. After executing over 300 weddings in 5 years, I follow my intuition and if my gut says they may not be our ideal client, I pass graciously. I fully understand we can’t make everyone happy and I want all of my energy to go into blowing the minds of our ideal clients.
See more beautiful designs on Sarah's Instagram!