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  • Writer's pictureWELL ROUNDED

Well at Home: Blooming Thoughts w/ Abby Olson

As a curious girly, I've made my way into the floral industry via the cutest flower shop in DC, She Loves Me. While I don't design, because that's hella intimidating, I spend three days a week supporting an incredible team of women busting their ass off to deliver whimsical and uniquely cool floral designs to their beloved customers.

Abby, the lead florist, can whip out an arrangement in under 5 minutes with no sweat, stumble, or complication - as if it were a well rehearsed dance. Having previously worked at a plant shop, it was natural to find myself working at a flower shop. By comparing the two, I find that I am drawn to the sentiment these live items bring to us. The intention behind picking the "right one" though they practically look the same.

I love to bring home fresh flowers or plants because it really adds life into your space. I feel that treating yourself to nice flowers resonates with my vision behind Well Rounded. It's our basic instinct to seek out ways to build and make cozy our nests. In a multi-verse, I would own a floral shop/plant shop/homewares shop but first we gotta learn how to take care of flowers: Enter Abby.

Being relatively new to the industry, Abby seems delivers the most effortlessly cool arrangements. As she prepped the arrangement of my dreams, Abby shares her tips on how to nurture your flowers and how to nurture your creative side.

What are some tips on how to make fresh-cut flowers last longer?

Something I never use for keeping my flowers fresh are flower food packets. There is definitely nothing wrong with them however I have found simple is best when maintaining the longevity of flowers. You want to make sure you are processing your flowers well when you first get them. This means, taking off any leaves that don’t serve a purpose and giving all stems an angled fresh cut at the bottom of the stem. As soon as flowers are processed, I immediately place them in buckets or vases filled with fresh, cold water. In order to keep them at their best, I will give their stems a fresh cut each morning and refill the vessel with fresh, cold water! Placing them in the fridge at the end of the night also works wonders!!

Do you have a favorite flower?

It’s so hard for me to decide on a fav flower!! I think this definitely ebbs and flows. I always love a ranunculus, they are so versatile and come in many colors and shapes. I tend to gravitate towards florals that have a lot of movement like, butterfly ranunculus, cosmos, foxglove, spirea, orlaya, sweet peas, and fritillaries (to name a few). 

What about a season? and what makes it your favorite?

Each season brings such beautiful and unique florals and foliage. I think I lean towards spring!! One because it’s so exciting after a bleak winter to see the first signs of flowers, two because spring produces some of the most lush flower types, which makes designing fun, especially for weddings! I also love late summer textures! 

Where do you typically draw inspiration from when designing?

I draw a lot of inspiration for design from how deeply I feel. Everything I come in contact with affects me in such a way and I try and channel that through design. I have always been drawn to historical architectural, fashion, Playing with colors, tones, textures and how they mesh together also inspires my creativity.

How did you start your career in floral design?

After I graduated college, I was in need of a creative outlet. I am incredibly grateful for my education and see it as an invaluable tool that has shaped my life. However, I did feel quite discouraged by the education system and my experience post graduation. I decided to do some research on creative fields I could potentially look into (with no experience). I found and became obsessed with the idea of floral design as a career. The fact that I could pursue an art as my job lit something in me. I applied to a local florist, began working for her and learned what it took to truly work with flowers. I didn’t start designing until maybe 6 months to a year after I started working. I do believe someone can become a designer without going to a floral specific school.

However, I think it is essential to seek education in other ways, closely watching how florists design, mimicking, and practicing. I spent a lot of time researching different designers, watching videos of color theory, mechanics, stylistic choices, etc. Floral design takes continual practice and learning and I think it is incredibly helpful to work for a designer as you are getting started. I have truly fallen in love with this art and am just excited to see where it will take me in life. 

Working alongside Abby has been rewarding and eye-opening. The floral industry is tough and can be very stressful - but it's the customer reaction, I suspect, that propels her creativity, and drives her to go further. We joke at the shop because I often ask the customer “What do you think?!" as I hand deliver their arrangement, resulting in all of us collectively holding our breath awaiting a response.

Obviously, the arrangement is a hit, I mean who would complain about a bunch of flowers? But it's at that moment, where the confirmation of her talent lies, the joy and admiration - the initial reaction. I do not suspect she needs this validation, and I should probably stop asking that question. But at the end of the day, I want to genuinely spread my joy over the hard work it takes be a creative in this industry.

It was no brainer that I asked She Loves Me if they could create a flower arrangement for my first pop up in DC. I wanted to make the right impression in my new home, and man did they deliver. Holley, the owner of She Loves Me, sourced the most beautiful flowers - the brightest Anthuriums, the fluffiest Amaranthus and the most sculptural Bells of Ireland. Abby constructed a stunning arrangement - exactly what I had envisioned. It was the perfect way I would hope to make a first impression in DC.

If you are looking for fresh and seriously cool in-season flowers, I invite you to check out this local flower shop. It's made up of a team of incredible women with creative juices flowing all day long, and if I ask you what you think of the flowers, I hope you say, "I love them."

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