Back in Colorado when I was creating floral arrangements as Love Letters Floral Design, I ran my floral design business from home. My vases, my floral supplies, and my floral cooler were all kept in the garage, which worked out really well for my business at that time. Our house was big enough for my inventory and I was in a great location between the floral wholesalers, Denver, and the mountains. I held client consultations at coffee shops, which afforded more convenience to my clients, but I did all of the design work in my garage, which was convenient for me, where it was okay to make a mess and where it allowed me to work late into the evenings if needed. My home office was a more orderly space where I could respond to emails, update my website, and create floral proposals. Despite some challenges, overall it was a great set-up for being a Wedding Florist.
With the move to Washington I had to re-assess how my floral design business was going to operate, as we were downsizing considerably. All of my floral design supplies were definitely not going to fit into our new Washington home. The garage was already full of both of our garage possessions and the things we normally kept in the basement (there are no basements in Washington). So, in October of 2018 while all of my floral supplies were still in Colorado, I took a chance and reached out to a Commercial Realtor to see what kinds of spaces were available east of Seattle and what could potentially work as a small floral design studio.
While I knew I would be starting over from a beginning point with my business, mentally I was ready to take the next step. I had envisioned my own studio for many years, even before my husband got the job offer here in Washington. Shortly before we decided to relocate, I had started the process of looking for studio space in Colorado. My business had grown to a consistently steady point and I was ready for something different. I always had in my head an image of a warm and welcoming space where I could hold client consultations, and every fiber of my being wanted that image to come to fruition. While coffee shops worked great for many years, the challenges of having to arrive early to find a good table, lugging a box of vases in tow, and having the added challenge of sometimes being in very noisy environments, were starting to wear on me. I had always dreamed of a space with a big consultation table where my clients and I could get lost in the joyfulness of conceptual design without the coffee shop distractions. It was the very first studio space that I looked here in Washington which ended up being the perfect spot for Holly Yee Floral Architecture. It truly was meant to be. Getting the key in late November of 2018 was almost surreal.
The Studio Transformation Part 1 – A Timeline
October 2017 – The First Look of the Studio
The building that my studio is housed in is a grey, nondescript singe story structure. Aesthetically, the complex has minimal character. When I first took a tour of the space the inside was also fairly neutral, but I could see potential right away. That’s the magic of a vivid and colorful imagination! I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but I knew that if I gave the space my own TLC, that I could create the atmosphere I wanted. Warm, colorful, friendly, artistic, and inviting.
November 2108: Initial Spacial Plannings and a Freshen Up
Shortly after receiving the keys the studio received a paint freshen up. I chose a clean white for the front consultation/office area and a buttercream yellow for the back warehouse area. The only ‘window’ in the space is the glass panel of the front door, so I wanted the studio to seem as bright and cheerful as possible.
I then began laying out the plan for the furniture in the office/consultation room to make sure I could configure everything properly. I used tape to mark of the spaces for my desk, filing cabinets, and the big consultation table I have always imagined, which would go right smack dab in the middle. After-all, talking, brainstorming, and collaborating are some of the most important elements of running a wedding and event floral design business.
Early January 2019 – Movers Arrive with Floral Inventory!
Right after the New Year a crew with New World Van Lines arrived with all of my floral inventory. There were four people unloading everything and it took about three hours. Boxes and boxes kept coming off of the truck and filling up the back warehouse. It was hard to believe that I had that much stuff! As a Florist, though, you accumulate a lot of pieces – arches, vases, candles, ribbons, etc.
Mid-January 2019: Mom Helps Unpack
My mom truly is the greatest mother one could wish for. She was very excited about the studio and was concerned that I would not be able to unpack and get it up and running in a reasonable amount of time. So, she booked a ticket and left her home in Hawai’i for three weeks to help me get set up. Let me tell you, she is a hard worker and she can fold paper like no one’s business!
We got through the first row of boxes so we had to celebrate with a picture!
We got through the second row of boxes so we paused for another photo! (You can see mom is tired of opening boxes.)
We’re almost done with the third row of boxes!
We’re on the last row of boxes!
And we just got to the final box!!!
Now on to assembling shelves and organizing all the floral supplies.
We took a trip to IKEA (it was the first time there for both of us). And we gave the office a few paint touch-ups.
The studio is starting to take shape.
Since it was mom’s last day in Washington and given that we had gone through almost 90 boxes of supplies filled with things and paper, we were almost loopy by the end and decided to take one silly photo. The last night of mom’s trip also ended with the most spectacular sunset.
It has been about six months since I have had this studio. The process of shaping it into that warm and inviting space that I have always envisioned in my head has been interesting, exciting, and arduous at times. They always say that things always take longer than you think they will. And this studio transformation process has been a journey that I am still on. But the space is shaping up beautifully and I absolutely love going to the studio to work or to meet clients. It is becoming a space that is peaceful, pretty, and inspiring. I am excited for the big reveal of the inside of the studio in part 2! Stay tuned!