THE EVOLUTION OF A CREATIVE BUSINESS

I was utterly new to the world of formal entrepreneurship when I first started my floral design business back in 2011. At first I was primarily focused on figuring out all the legalities with running a business. While the business name was important, I initially didn’t give it that much thought. I actually came up with my first business name relatively easily and quickly. It was a name that I thought was perfect: Designs Abloom.

After spending about six months formally as Designs Abloom (registering with the Secretary of State, getting set up with the Colorado Department of Revenue, printing business cards, etc.) I started having doubts about my chosen name. My mom would get confused and sometimes refer to my business as “Flowers Abloom”. I reasoned that if my own mother couldn’t remember the name of my business then how could I expect anyone else, who wouldn’t care half as much, to remember correctly? I decided that Designs Abloom, the name I had once thought was great, was actually so vanilla (vanilla – not bad, but nothing special or unique). To me, the most successful businesses had a company name that was either witty, cool, or sophisticated…or all three, and especially memorable. Hence, naming a business something silly or lame or vanilla was a precursor to utter failure. Naming my floral design business, therefore, was not something to be taken lightly.

What followed was two years of re-naming agony. For the first multiple weeks I brainstormed all the possible floral design names I could come up with. I had decided that using my name would be best (after-all, there was another Florist in town who had started her business a few years back and was more successful than me. And that Florist had named her business after herself). So I came up with a list of potential business names:

Holly Ann Floral
Holly Ann Floral Design
Holly Ann Flowers
Holly Kerr Floral
Holly Kerr Floral Design
Holly Kerr Flowers
Holly Floral Design
Holly’s Floral Celebrations
Holly Ann Floral Unfold
Holly Flourish
Holly’s Floral Radiance
Holly Flowers Designed
Holly Ann Designs Abloom
Holly Kerr Designs Abloom

All of my friends were included in the voting of these business names, which involved several rounds of emails: Pick your top three names. Which of these top three names do you like the best? Are you sure this name seems good?

 

While this was going on I happened to stumble upon another Florist whose business name involved a color + name of a flower, which I really liked. And another, though smaller, round of possible business names was generated:

Green Feather Floral Design
Silver Locket Floral Design
Crimson Locket Floral Design

After lots of indecision I briefly decided on Polka Dot Blossoms for my new business name, the idea coming from one of my brides who wanted polka dot ribbon for her bouquet wrap. I thought the polka dots were kind of cute. And my plan was to wear a polka dotted scarf to every floral consultation. Who could forget a Florist in polka dots?? Now that was memorable.

Not too long afterwards I then came to the conclusion that the best part of a wedding was the bouquet toss, and so I registered my business as Toss Floral Design. That name lasted for more than a year before I was informed of all the not-so-pleasant meanings of the word “toss”. A new business was needed.

In early 2013 I was sitting in my car on my lunch break fretting about what the heck I was going to call my floral design business. I literally felt like I was back at square one with any ambitions to build a successful floral design business. How was I going to do anything if I couldn’t even decide on a business name?? In typical Holly fashion I was looking online to other Florists for inspiration when a testimonials page caught my attention. The page was titled, “Love Letters.” In that moment my business became Love Letters Floral Design and stayed that way until the end of 2018.

One would think after all the time, attention, investment, and effort, that name Love Letters Floral Design would be forever. But with the move to Washington and having to start my business over, I decided to re-brand and settled on Holly Yee Floral Architecture. You can read more about this decision in a previous BLOG POST and learn the BACK STORY of why I chose the term “architecture”.

All the name changes and the aesthetic design changes that my business has gone through is *almost* amusing. This business journey has been quite the long and winding ride, you could say! I have learned that while the business name does carry some weight, ultimately, it’s just a small amount of weight. What’s more important is your craft, your customer service, your relationships, and your mindset. Take it from me – don’t let the agony of choosing a business name hold you back for too long. On the other hand, maybe it’s the slow and winding road that you need to take to get you to the place where you really need to be. You can be your own judge on that one.

FLORAL INSPIRATION AT AXIS PIONEER SQUARE

The other week I had coffee with a lovely Wedding Planner and Event Manager, Melissa. Melissa owns Bright Side Events, but also manages events at AXIS Pioneer Square. She took me on a tour of AXIS after finishing our coffee and I immediately could see why so many love this Seattle event venue. AXIS Pioneer Square is located in the historic Globe Building of Pioneer Square, which was built in 1890 for the Globe Navigation Company, a shipbuilding operation.

AXIS Pioneer Square opened for events in 2013 and the 10,000 square foot facility can host up to 550 people when using both the Main Space and the Corner Gallery. They do a variety of events including wedding ceremonies and receptions, corporate events, and parties. Inside the walls are a beautiful exposed brick and the floors are hardwood. 18 foot built in brick arches stand prominently in the center of the building, adjoining two large open areas.

Inspired by the wall of world globes at AXIS Pioneer Square and the fact that the venue lives in the historic Globe Building, I thought it would be neat to create a backdrop that looked like a map of the world. This world map design would be fun as a photo wall for a corporate/community/social event.  The continents would be created out of reindeer moss, the different colors of moss corresponding to the different geographical features within the various continents. Fairy light would be embedded in the moss to mimic cities at night.  Both light blue and dark blue delphinium would swirl around the continents representing the vast, moving ocean. It would be spectacular!

floral backdrop at AXIS Pioneer Square Seattle

I was also inspired to bring to life another idea I had for a floral backdrop at AXIS Pioneer Square, this one perhaps more fitting for a wedding ceremony. Occidental Square, a public park, sits just outside of AXIS and is lines with tall trees, ornate street lights, and potted flowers. It’s a gorgeous setting that I wanted to essentially bring inside. To create this I would build two trees, birch poles for the trunks and birch branches for the tree branches. Silver dollar eucalyptus would be used for the leaves and (of course!) strands of fairy lights would wind their way up both trees. Centered inside both trees would be two English style street lamps with globe lights. A large floral basket would hang from each street lamp and would include smilax, nandina, Beatrice garden roses, Cardin Mill old English roses from Grace Rose Farm, yellow spray roses, and snowberry.

wedding reception at AXIS Pioneer Square Seattle

AXIS Pioneer Square is a clean design slate (and a gorgeous one for that matter) and there is so much potential for unparalleled transformation of the space. Are you holding an event at AXIS Pioneer Square? I would love to help you make it a historic, monumental occasion!

FLORAL INSPIRATION AT REIN FIRE RANCH

Last week I attended a wedding professionals networking event at Rein Fire Ranch. Just as I had my favorite venues in Colorado, I knew that Rein Fire Ranch (RFR) was going to be one of my favorites in Washington. RFR is a 45 acre former horse facility. Outside there are gardens, a pavilion, and a fire pit. And a 4,000 square foot newly renovated barn is a lovely setting for a reception dinner. The positive energy that can be sensed at RFR is heavily attributed by the owners, Rich and George, who are warm and welcoming. You can feel how much love and thought they have poured into their venue. RFR is beautiful, expansive, and so, so peaceful.

We were hoping for good weather at our networking event so we could take full advantage of all the outdoor areas at RFR. Dark clouds loomed over us as we made our way to the ranch and during set-up a full on thunderstorm ensued. Coming from Colorado where there are crazy, intense thunderstorms, I found it quite comforting. I have always been drawn to the sky and will spend time just watching the cloud formations. And I love rain and thunderstorms. A good shower is always soothing and energizing simultaneously. For a moment I felt like I was back home.

Since rain is considered good luck on a wedding day, as it signifies that your marriage will last (the knot that becomes wet is extremely hard to untie), I thought it would be fabulous to create a ceremony backdrop that looks like a rain shower. How wonderfully grand would that be?!?! For the rain I envisioned a curtain of satin ribbon strands interspersed with hanging white and blue delphinium. The clouds would be constructed mostly with puffy balls of hydrangea – white hydrangea, light blue hydrangea, and dark blue hydrangea. There would also be cotton pods and dusty miller, with a touch of quicksand roses and peach stock, which would mimic the warm glow created by the sun. The sun, which would definitely be a must, would be created from crem de la crem roses, yellow spray roses, light yellow stock, and dancing lady orchids. How utterly magnificent would it be to get married in front of a floral rain shower???

blue, white and yellow ceremony flowers at Rein Fire Ranch

 

I also was inspired to sketch out a design for the entrance to the reception barn. The entrance to such a beautiful space needed something just as magical to greet guests. Originally, I was thinking I would create a sunset design, as glorious sunsets generally follow rain showers. But looking at the architectural structure of the building, an image of two trees flanking either side of the entrance popped into my head. These trees would be created from long branches of curly willow for the trunk and for the tree branches. For the leaves I would use willow eucalyptus or perhaps even silver dollar eucalyptus. And warm white fairy lights on these trees would add an illuminated, magical feeling. Any time I can incorporate fairy lights into a design is always delightful!

barn with floral trees at the entrance

 

I cannot wait to create designs for a wedding or event at Rein Fire Ranch sometime in the future. I would absolutely love to make a rain shower backdrop for your wedding ceremony. Bestowing good luck and wishes for a long married life together is something that can even be conjured through thoughtful, intentional floral design. Let it rain!

FLOWER ACCESSORIES TO WEAR IN YOUR HAIR

When I got married back in 2017 I knew that I wanted to wear flowers in my hair. I have always loved the way flowers compliment a lovely hair-do and a radiant smile. Something so small can make a big statement and really draw your attention.

Today I am excited to showcase four different floral accessories that can be worn in your hair, whether you are wearing your hair long and loose, in a formal up-do, or any way in-between. For this photoshoot I partnered with Liz from L Style Bar, who worked her beauty styling magic. Liz is a hair style genius!

Flower Crown

The flower crown is a crowd favorite in the world of weddings and for good reason. The flower crown is beautiful, stately, and regal. It can be bold or delicate. The flower crown was actually one of the first things I ever learned to make using flowers. In Hawaii the flower crown is called a haku. This floral accessory works really well with hair that’s loose or with a half-up / half- down style, but is a classic look, really for any style.

bride wearing greenery crowncolorful flower crowns

Floral Crescent

The floral crescent is my new favorite floral accessory! The floral crescent is a subdued version of the flower crown. While it’s definitely a statement piece, the floral crescent cannot be seen from all sides like the flower crown. I especially like it with up-dos; I think the floral crescent often beautifully follows the natural hairstyle curve. Parallel lines in design always draw my eye.

colorful flowers in a bridal up-docolorful flowers in an up-do

Floral Comb

The floral comb is a soft and sweet touch of cultivated flower beauty without overpowering the hair-do. This works well for an up-do or a half-up / half-down hair style Flowers are adhered to one end of the comb opposite the comb teeth, which can be inserted into your hair-do. This floral accessory work well for anyone who really wants their hair style to be the statement piece. A floral comb is like the simple satin ribbon tied around the perfectly wrapped gift box.

Flower Hair Extension

I came up with the idea for the flower hair extension after being introduced to tinsel hair extensions. I love the feeling on something beautiful in your hair. And if we could add things like tinsel, feathers, and even more hair then why couldn’t we do the same thing with fresh flowers?? What a gorgeous look for an outdoor, boho wedding. The flower hair extension works really well with loose, flowing hair.

orchids in a bride's hair

 

What is your favorite hair accessory?

WEDDING NETWORK SEATTLE

Moving to the Seattle area and having to start my floral design business over from the beginning, I knew one of the first things I wanted to get to know the amazing event and wedding vendors in the area. While I prefer one-on-one coffee meetings where I can take time to listen to each person’s individual story and really understand their business in-depth, I decided that joining a professional networking group would be beneficial. Especially being a Washington newbie.

It was Wedding Network Seattle (WNS) that caught my attention late last year. WNS is a boutique professional networking and educational group. The organization meets once a month at a different venue in the greater Seattle area. At each monthly meeting there is a new team of wedding vendors who all provide their services to create a mock wedding setting (flowers, decor, food, music, desserts, etc.). The meetings usually begin with a cocktail hour and networking followed by general announcements and featured vendor introductions. A guest speaker ends the evening educating members about a specific subject, anything from taxes, to giving an elevated client experience, to being more effective on social media, to reducing the waste at weddings.

Back in April I was the featured Florist and created spring-inspired table centerpieces. I got to use some beautiful local blooms from Seattle Wholesale Grower’s Market, as well as some blooms from my very own yard! And I got to highlight the sketches that I have been doing for clients, which was fun to share.

If you are a Seattle wedding professional looking to expand your network, I hope you consider coming to the next Wedding Network Seattle meeting. You will be treated to great food and fabulous company, as well as you will leave energized and inspired!

colorful floral centerpiecedecorated reception room for weddingwedding floral sketcheswedding vendors talkingwedding vendors talkingSeattle wedding vendorswedding foodwedding network Seattlewedding network Seattle

Vendor Team:

Planning: It’s Your Day Events

Photographer: Courtney Bowlden Photography

Venue: Trinity Tree Farm

Catering: Twelve Baskets Catering

Deejay: Bugsie Productions

Speaker: Bold and Pop

 

Holly Yee

Hello and welcome! Thanks so much for taking time to stop by my part of the internet. I have been working with flowers for a long time and I just love helping people make their celebrations absolutely stunning. It is an honor and a priviledge to be a part of weddings and other special events. 

In addition to floral design my other loves are yoga, coffee, the outdoors, and my husband and all the amazing people in my life. 

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Woodinville, WA 98027

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Email: holly@hollyyee.com

Phone: 425.877.9287