Mornings with Mayesh: Black Flora

Mornings with Mayesh: Black Flora

Teresa J. Speight, the author of Bloom Imprint’s new book, Black Flora, along with 3 of the featured designers - Kiara Hancock, Isha Foss, and Gina Lett Shrewsberry - joined me this week for our latest episode! We discussed Black Flora which showcases the excellence and contributions of Black flower farmers and floral designers throughout the country.

Teri writes in her introduction, “Younger generations of Black plant-lovers are seeking inspiring examples of successful floral artists and entrepreneurs. When they see their potential -- through representation of people who look like them in farming and floristry -- the possibilities of the future enable their dreams.”

Be sure to grab your copy of Black Flora here.

Below is the podcast, video replay, and show notes:








Black Flora book

  • Guest introduction:
    • Teresa J. Speight
      • Teri is a mother, grandmother, steward of our land, garden writer, and a history lover devoted to her community. Teresa is the Urban Gardening Chair and the liaison to the National Butterfly Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden for National Garden Clubs Inc. She is the founder and president of the Jabali Amani Garden Collective, a garden club for African American women in gardening and growing a stronger community. It is the first-ever online Federated Garden Club.

        Her blog and podcast Cottage in the Court offers curated garden experiences for small groups and one-on-one garden coaching, specializing in earth-friendly practices.

    • Kiara Hancock
      • Kiara Hancock is the owner of K. Hancock Events, founded in 2014. She believes modern and romantic designs can coexist in harmony and she brings weddings to life in ways making them resonate joy. "The act of delivering positive memories of a joyful occasion or moment is worth its weight in gold," she says.

        Kiara established K. Hancock Events as a full-service wedding planning, design, and coordination studio. Naturally charismatic, she was a breakout personality on the second season of "Full Bloom" on HBO Max, which aired in 2021. 

    • Isha Foss
      • Isha Foss and her team at Isha Foss Design provide full-service event design, including the flowers. A love of fine furnishings and tasteful interiors influences Isha's approach to stylish floral and events, reflecting their clients' personalities and stories in settings just right for them.

    • Gina Lett Shrewsberry
      • Gina Lett Shrewsberry is the owner of Inspirations by Gina, a Black-owned floral and event design boutique that creates a couture floral experience to tantalize the eyes and transform the soul. Loving color, Gina and her team draw inspiration from ethnic fabrics and find accents from local and global artisans. When they design an event, it's always distinctive, expressing each client's personality and desires. Inspirations by Gina is the only Black florist on San Francisco City Hall's preferred vendor list.



Black Flora: Teresa J Speight

  • We are here today to talk about your new book, Black Flora. Can you tell us more about the book and what inspired its creation?

          • Black Flora's pages are filled with more than 90 vivid photographs illustrating the talent and artistry of Black floral designers and creative directors coast to coast. There are stories and images from cutting gardens and flower farms, rural acreage to urban lots.  Each profile explores family legacy and professional influences, as women and men of varied backgrounds and generations share the journey that led to careers in wedding and event design, botanical art, horticultural therapy, cut flower farming, entrepreneurship and activism.


  • The book cover is stunning - I love the bright colors against the black background. Can you share more about the cover - the who, what, why’s, etc?

  • We have 3 of the 25 featured Black floral personalities here with us today. How did you select who would be included?

  • How does it feel to have a book that you can call your own and that highlights your hard work along with so many other talented African Americans?

  • And before we move on, do you want to share with us about your podcast?



  • You have been in the spotlight before as a part of HBO Max’s “Full Bloom”, but being a part of Black Flora is different since it focuses on black floral talent. How does it feel to be a part of this book?

  • In the book, you talk about your piece that you designed called “Breakout” for Full Bloom. Can you tell us more about that?

  • I was on your website and saw the information about “GOOD by K. Hancock”. I love this idea and was hoping that before we move on you share with us what GOOD is and why you have incorporated it into your business strategy?

Black Flora: Kiara Hancock



  • How does it feel to finally say “world, here I am”?

  • Can you tell us about your journey that has brought you to this moment? I read in Black Flora that you started in IT?

  • I also read about your internship program. Can you share with us more about the program and why you started it?

Black Flora: Isha Foss



  • What does it mean to you to have this spotlight in Black Flora?

  • Like many floral designers, you have had an interesting journey to this point in your life. Can you share a bit more about your flower story?

  • In the book, you talk about African Americans having fear or hesitation to attach their likeness to their business. When did you decide to not hide? And are you seeing this changing?


Black Flora: Gina Lett Shrewsberry





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