Having my own business often leads me to the meeting of other small business owners. I enjoy featuring some of these women on the blog, and giving you some variety.
Mani Boatright of Copper Blossom Design and I have mutual friends. I have seen and admired her work over the years on social media. Many of my friends have kids getting married, and she has arranged the flowers at several of their weddings. Because weddings have been on my mind, I’ve paid really close attention. Steering away from fall trends temporarily, I thought this would be a great way to wrap up my posts on weddings. Sometimes it’s refreshing to take a break from clothes, and look at other forms of beautiful style. Here is my interview with Mani.
S by K: How and when was Copper Blossom Design born?
Mani: I started working in the floral industry in college at Rhythm & Blooms in Eugene. Over the past 25 years as my family moved with my husband’s job, I was able to easily find employment in flower shops. After working in the marketing and retail display industries for many years, I was asked to help a good friend with her daughter’s wedding. That was 5 years ago and my floral business has slowly grown since then.
S by K: How did you learn and perfect your craft beyond the retail shops?
Mani: I received the generous training of floral designers in shops over the years and have attended several creative workshops held by designers I admire. Mostly it’s years of experience, trial and error, and trusting the beautiful natural materials that I am so lucky to work with!
S by K: Tell me a little how your business has evolved over the years. I recall seeing holiday arrangements a number of years ago. Is that how you started?
Mani: When I started Copper Blossom Design I was working 2 other jobs and taking any floral business I could get. I was so lucky to have a network of businesses and individuals who supported my dreams. I did weekly corporate and home deliveries, holiday orders and everyday floral deliveries. Every year I adjust my business model and refine what works best for my life and for my clients. I am now focusing on local and destination weddings, large and small event floral, holiday orders, and some home styling and decorating.
S by K: Are weddings your primary event?
Mani: Yes, over the past 2 years I have focused on weddings and other events and phased out my everyday business. The wedding industry is growing and today’s bride is stylish and knowledgeable about what she wants her day to feel like. The popularity of social sites like Pinterest and Instagram have given my clients a way to express themselves on their special day and I love being a part of making their vision a reality.
S by K: I’m sure summer is your busiest time. It seems in our area fall is a popular time for weddings now. Do you have a favorite season or colors you enjoy working with?
Mani: I am always excited to use bright colors and when spring flowers start blooming after a long winter it is so lovely. The season definitely influences wedding floral, not only what is available locally but the color of the arrangements in seasonal light, what feels authentic on a warm fall evening might seem out of place in the cool of early spring. We are so lucky here to have access to the Portland Flower Market, which has large wholesale distributors and local growers in one building. Most flowers are available year round because we ship product from all over the world, but I use locally grown and sustainable product as much as possible, I even forage sometimes, cutting branches and vines in the woods.
S by K: When sitting down with a client to get ideas of what they want, do you brainstorm mainly with photos or do you sometimes make up a smaller arrangement to get the feel of what they want?
Mani: I rarely do a mock up or promise specific blooms, I am able to deliver a more artistic and unique style by promising a vision rather than a recipe. I choose the freshest most amazing flowers available the week of the event in addition to ordering unique blooms to create their dream wedding. We look at pictures and talk about their venue, dress, and style so that I have a clear image of what they want. I always present my client with a mood board that includes a color palette, but try not to stick to a strict color combination. Using a range of tones to complement their wedding colors adds depth and luxury to their floral design.
S by K: Tell me a little bit about the prep time —how much can be done in advance?
Mani: Not much! I try to always have hard goods and rentals prepped in advance but we are using vases, candle holders, and set up equipment week to week. Flowers are perishable so the majority of design work is done the day before the wedding or even that morning for the most delicate blooms and for flowers without a water source like boutonnieres, corsages, and floral crowns.
S b K: What is your biggest challenge on the day of the event?
Mani: Timing! I am always up at the crack of dawn to check the details and ensure the perfect condition of the wedding floral. For an event I want each bloom to be at it’s most open and beautiful but they also have to last the entire day, sometimes in extreme conditions. My crew and I spend several hours loading flowers and accessories, and sometimes large constructions, and travelling to venues across Oregon and Washington. Then we have a limited amount of time for set up, this is the first year I hired several freelancers to help with design and set up on large weddings.
Here are a few photos to show the variety of wedding decor and Mani’s creativity.
Thanks for sharing with us Mani! The website linked above will also give you more ideas of her work, but here are a few favorites. It was hard for me to choose. I loved them all. I’m sure you will agree–simply gorgeous, each very unique tailored to the bride’s style, colors and venue!
If you are local, and have an event, keep Copper Blossom Design in mind. Be sure and follow her on Instagram