Sophie Felts of Blossom and Vine

Kelly Perry - 00:02 - Listening to the Team Flower podcast where we talk about flowers and the people who've dedicated their lives to sharing them with the world. Hi, my name is Kelly and today we're talking with Sophie Felts of Blossom and Vine floral design, so she lives on a tree farm with her husband and four children in the Washington DC area. In this episode we're discussing philosophy, branding, booking clients, and how to accomplish the desires of budget brides. Sophie, sharing how she embraces her clients and how she makes their hopes and dreams come true. We're also talking about how to easily start cut flower garden, which blooms are our favorites. If you're receiving clients who don't necessarily match your brand, and if you're looking for some stapled, go to event flowers. You'll enjoy listening. It's Sophie and I bounce ideas off each other. It's all right here on the Team Flower podcast. This podcast is brought to you by Team Flower and online support community dedicated to educating, connecting and empowering flower lovers worldwide. We provide online classes in person events and free weekly resources designed to support you in your journey with flowers. Whether you're a professional florists, flower farmer, simply love flowers there. Space for you here, come join the party at 

Kelly Perry - 01:10 - All right everybody, we'll, we've got Sophie here today fromBlossom and Vine floral design and um, we're going to talk about flower selection and working with our clients and just that whole kind of onboarding process through the design process and who knows, we might talk about a couple other things in there, um, wherever, wherever the conversation leads. So anyway, welcome Sophie. We're so glad that you're here. 

Sophie Felts - 01:35 - Thank you Kelly. I'm so glad to be here. 

Kelly Perry - 01:39 - Yeah, absolutely. Well, tell us a little bit about your business model, this seasoned. What types of needs in the market do you meet with your business? Just to give us all a little bit of context about the types of clients that you serve in the service, the products and services that you offer. 

Sophie Felts - 01:56 - Okay. Well we are located in the DC area for what kind of were actually out on a tree farm in Maryland. So we work with a lot of DC Baltimore brides, Annapolis. We're kind of situated right in the middle of a bunch of big cities. So, um, we ended up doing a lot of reading. Um, we're in a barn studio and I had Erica works with me full time and we have a couple of part time girls and we just, you know, we work mostly wedding flowers, some other big events we love to do big installs, especially with branches from the tree farm, which it felt like kind of as our special thing. Yeah. So yeah. 

Kelly Perry - 02:42 - Really. That's so cool. What do you have out of the tree farm? Is it something that you like inherited or something that, you know, like is it something that's in the family that you happened to, you know, happened to find, or how did the tree farm make its way to you? That is a special thing to have. 

Sophie Felts - 02:58 - Yeah. Good question. Um, my dad started mowing lawns when he was 16 and he kind of has grown a landscape and nursery business, which now, um, my siblings and I are kind of all involved within some sort of fashion. But so after I got married and started having kids, we moved back to the farm and you know, that's a barn right there, smack in the middle of it. So we're pretty lucky. 

Kelly Perry - 03:25 - Oh, that's awesome. I Bet Your Dad's really happy that you're using it to. My Dad has a little orchard, but it's really, really a long distance from here. So maybe once annually. Oh, that's so fun. You have like apples and pears and stuff. 

Sophie Felts - 03:40 - No, it's mostly ornamental trees, so it's not really, I wish   had apples and pears.

Kelly Perry - 03:48 -  That's what my dad, he's got like all of the little, all the fruiting, all the fruiting trees. But that's so fun. Really cool. I think it's interesting how, um, if we actually, if we really like look around us and we pay attention to what our unique situation is, how we can find ourselves in some of these really beautiful situations. Just things that we already have that maybe a little bit hidden or maybe that we haven't thought about before. And just kind of neat how those things come full circle. Like we always have what we need for the moment. And um, yeah, I love that story. So fun. Okay, well tell us a little bit more about your process for once you, um, once you book a client and you're going through your design process with them, what does that, what does that look like for you? When are you picking out the flowers with them and how are you presenting that? And I'm showing them the different options that are available to them. 

Sophie Felts - 04:46 - So first our first step in the process, um, and I guess I'm backing it up a little bit even kind of before we do it, that client, but we obviously have, I can share, a lot of people do, have them fill out a questionnaire, but one of the questions that we ask is what about design are you drawn to? And so that kind of starts me to understand who this generally grill it to the bride is and why she's drawn to us. What about us? We like, you know, and we get such an array of answers to that sometimes. Sometimes people will be like, Oh, we love the branch arrangements and that you're located on the farm. And that, and that makes perfect sense because that's what we do, but sometimes they say something like, um, I don't know that you can do all styled. And we like, that's really tailored look. And I'm like, oh, I don't really know how you got that? But, um, that's just cool too because, you know, I really do think that my job is to do what she loved. And so in that stage I'm really just trying to understand what it is that she loves. So then we'll set up a phone call after the questionnaire, like it's going to be a good fit and you caught me with the hopes and dreams, phone call and you know, we'll, we'll, we'll know what her budget is, but we don't spend a lot of me talking about it. We'll just see, okay, budget side when you really dreaming about. And then we'll look at pictures. You know, obviously I'm contrast. Um, and from there we do a mood board and that kind of when we're doing lead where we train, use photos of flowers that are going to be in season that we really liked and that we think are beautiful. But we're driven kind of by what our understanding is of what she likes. Does that mean? 

Kelly Perry - 06:42 - It does. Yeah. It's really good. Really good information. 

Sophie Felts - 06:47 - Um, so yeah. Then we'll kind of present that to her and, and come up with a vision for the whole thing together. 

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Kelly Perry - 07:52 - whenever you are, I'm working with a client where the hopes and dreams call is above and beyond what, you know, the budget is feasibility wise. What's your kind of process for just narrowing down what in presenting, like what you feel like is the most important thing? Like how do you talk with clients about. I'm kind of honing their focus in creating focal points inside their event. Is that a part of the approach or process for you? 

Sophie Felts - 08:23 - Yeah. Um, obviously that's a really kind of awkward conversation to have at, you know, if you just thinking of it off the top of your head when people have the expectation of a lot more than what their budget is going to be able to cover it. So we'll just kind of sit down with them. Yeah. And it and kind of talk through, okay, here's what these different things are gonna cost because of course after the hopes and dreams, phone call and we'll tell them, okay, so our next step is to take your budget and your hopes and dreams and do the best that we can do to, you know, we're not gonna be able to get all of these things that we're going to do the best that we can to still be evident. Nail the look and feel that you're going for. But in a way that's going to also, you'll be comfortable with budget life. So. Yeah, 

Kelly Perry - 09:15 - no, no. Yeah, you're good. I was just gonna say that um, a lot of times I don't, I don't know about you guys and all the, all the people listening, but sometimes the, just like the diversity of all of the different items. Like for a ceremony, like if you're gonna do you know, a really big Nice Arbor. But then it's like, oh, but do we need the Io marks? And Oh, but do we need the little arrangements at the back? And you know, different things like that where it's like there is just because it's something that is seen so often, there's this idea that it's like, oh, I have to have that piece. Like that's just like a thing that you know, that people do, like I need to have that or whatever. And I think it's interesting like the process of just sort of unraveling maybe some of those ideas that like you have to do it a certain way. 

Kelly Perry - 10:02 - And it's interesting because I feel like other parts of weddings are so like, I'm not rebellious but like, oh, break in tradition here, whatever. But when it comes to like putting something on the ends of the aisles sometimes, um, it can be like, oh wait, like do I need that? And Oh wait, what about the thing on the back of my chair? And Oh wait, what about the, you know, all of these different pieces. So on our side over here, one of the things that I really try to emphasize, like sort of in this same vein of like timing is just let's figure out what the big focal points of the day are, like what will give you the most impact and be the most memorable. Like what are the things that would really, at the end of the day ended up being really valuable to you because there is always that when you're planning an event like that Michael's run, that happens like three days before something, you know what I mean, where it's like, oh wait, all of these things. 

Kelly Perry - 10:58 - Um, but I, but, but yeah, it's like, it's really not needed. Like if you have an amazing, you know, Arbor, whatever, whatever that looks, whatever that looks like for that particular client, really you just need like a focal point at the ceremony or you know, things like that. So, um, I find that, I don't know why I'm hung up on aisle markers today, but um, they just take so long to like get on the seats and to get pointed in the right direction and attached. And so they um, yeah, they eat up a lot of time on event day that the team could be investing in something that I feel like is probably a little bit more like impactful or worthwhile. Now if you're not going to have an arbor and you're going to really focus on aisle, that's kind of a different story, but I'm just, if anybody's listening and you feel like, oh there's this huge needs list and not enough budget to go around. 

Kelly Perry - 11:47 - Like my encouragement would do would be to just like you think through creating an arrangement and it like a striking shape and focal point. Like think about your big scale event design the same way. Like what are the big, what are the big moments, what are the secondary moments? Like how do things move? Like where do you, where's the rest? Like all of those different pieces designed for arrangements is, is similar to design for a lot of different things. So anyway, just a little touch on budget and things, but I don't know. Would you agree, Sophie? What do you think? 

Sophie Felts - 12:25 - Yeah, I totally agree and I'm always telling, you know, we'll put down the bribe and think of one thing that you're going to remember forever and that you're still set you aside. Nobody's seen it before. And so when they think back to your reading, they're going to remember this one piece. No one's going to remember that like candle centerpieces are just going to really remember, you know, this piece and we'll put, you know, put a lot to it to make it a real wow factor and something that's special. And then just like you're saying, the aisle markers, they're not going to take anybody's breath away and leave a lasting and pregnant at all. So, you know, but yeah. So we have that conversation all the time. 

Kelly Perry - 13:06 - Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And I love what you're saying too, about receptions and about. I'm like I want to say like 99 point nine, nine percent of the time, like the situation presents itself with let's have one table in the event that's really a focal table are really fantastic design. That would be like hopes and dreams table. Right? And then let's think about like how we can, um, how we can do something that's beautiful and treated and definitely taking care of the rest of your tables, but like let's, let's scale it out. Like lets simplify, lets use just one element of what was on the hopes and dreams table and kind of spread that out into other areas of the event and it's so helpful in maintaining that big picture budget that we need to be able to stay on track. And so it really alleviates a lot of overwhelm on my side with knowing the kind of materials that I'm going to need to purchase. 

Kelly Perry - 14:05 - And then also I feel like it does provide just a little bit of relief on the client side too. Just knowing like, oh okay I don't have to spend twice my budget right now. Like if, if I don't want to write, so it's really good to have options in your, in your arsenal of things that you're offering to clients. One hundred percent. Well, okay. So I don't know about you, but I have a couple of things that almost I'm almost always going for with every floral order that I have, no matter what the color Palette might be or um, you know, just like some staple flowers that are reliable and a good mix with a lot of things. Like one of those things for me is like a white Majolica spray rose. Um, I love how they open. I love how they, you know, show their little white middles, like all those kinds of things at such a staple for a lot of wedding related event work. Is there a staple that you have that you're just like, yeah, that's the one. That's the thing that I put on all the orders. You have any favorites?

Sophie Felts - 15:10 -  I the white everything. Perfect. It felt a lot of faith. It's got that little  garden look if you bought the center when you, the kind of quick sand and the hair. I it to, especially this last year, I feel like it's just the right color of, I dunno, Antique Pink. Yeah. We, I really love the. I'm a project talking basic. The um, well we use the Tibet, the white one on the Playa Blanca. That's another one of my big fat white ones that I love. 

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Kelly Perry - 16:43 - Do you have like a favorite? Goto? If you need to make pedals. 

Sophie Felts - 16:48 - If I need to make pedal, be really honest. They call the wholesaler. They list that cheaper. 

Kelly Perry - 16:55 - Yes. 

Sophie Felts - 16:58 - That you can send me in the right color and then I'll go for that. 

Kelly Perry - 17:02 - Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean that makes sense. That's perfect advice. You know, you have one that you go to. I should write it down. No, no. Well I just like the really. I just, anything that's like really the big fat pedaled. I'm the big fat pedaled. Roses of course. Just like, like you were saying like bang for buck and like what's um, what's available this week. That's like the cheapest that you have, like extra have to. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. All those things. Oh, so good. Okay. What about um hmm. Trying to think here. W when do, when do your wedding start? I think you probably have more of like a year round kind of market, don't you? We've been doing your thing. We've been going not so here at all. Zero. Um, tell me, tell me about, I don't know, just like your latest wedding or just something that's happened recently. What, what kind of flowers did you use? Did you like how it turned out? What was your favorite part? Just run us through like one of your, one of your latest projects? 

Sophie Felts - 18:08 - Um, well I'm actually really, you know, we've been kind of, I get a little, let's just say I'm really excited for spring when things are going to start to within years 

Kelly Perry - 18:18 - about something that's good at ordering everything in, 

Sophie Felts - 18:23 - but I'm really thrilled that we've got one of our local growers has beautiful selection of tool coming up that Eric has actually driving out to go pick them up today and they almost look like garden Moses. I, yeah, those are excited to get my hands on them to speak and we've got the cherry blossoms coming out. We've got a lot of blooming branches on the farm, so we're really, really excited to just start doing some branches. Yeah. But yeah, this week we've got a really gorgeous that with the tulips and then it's kind of like a brownish purple, yellow color Palette, which I think will be really fun. 

Kelly Perry - 19:05 - That's fun. So are you going to use maybe, are there some of those like La Belle epoch is. I'm not sure if I'm saying that. Yeah, we're actually, you're going to use some of those tips, maybe fag packet. 

Sophie Felts - 19:16 - Yeah. Then we've got a bunch of little, you know, the different camps. Daffodils all popped up. You to kind of add a yellow. Um, yeah. Percipio granted.  Oh, quicksand roses, you know, 

Kelly Perry - 19:34 - a little bit of those. That's so funny. I think one of the easiest things, like if you're listening and you're like, oh, I want to have. Because you have a little cutting garden two at the farm, don't you Sophie or TV somewhere? Yeah, yeah, yes. Um, well you'll have to tell us what you're going, but I was just going to suggest for anybody who's listening, I mean I'm of course a big advocate of like have a little something you can cut even if it's just like a teeny tiny little, you know, window sill kind of garden. Like there's something about just being able to like pick something and put it inside that's like very, I feel like good and helps with creativity lab. But anyway, all that aside, if you're thinking you might want to start growing some flowers but you're just like, oh, the whole seeds starting thing. 

Kelly Perry - 20:19 - It's not as hard as it seems by the way, but if you don't want to kind of get yourself set up for that, do bulbs like just in the fall, like put the bulbs in the ground and in the spring they come up and it's great. You really don't have to do a whole lot for them to happen at all. And um, it's always really fun. I got some really early daffodils this year because I think I really struggled with just like the length of our winter and I'm like, oh, I need color. I need something. Need to be able to walk out side and see something, and so I order just like early, early two lips that started coming up in February or not tulips and daffodils. That started coming up in February and it just really helped me feel like winter was not as hard as I usually feel like it feels good 

Sophie Felts - 21:06 - and when we first a couple years ago, but okay, now we're getting like, okay, I'm going to be a great huge flower grower and he just had this big plan and I bought a bunch of hydrangea bushes. Authentic piney plan a bunch of. Yeah, like you said the bulb. So you know, really fancy clinical death at l and m peonies and then I did a bunch of annuals and then I had twins and going to work anymore. I'm so glad that I've had because even the years that I don't get any annual and I still have tons of Hydrangea, which then in front of that foliage I have the peonies and all of those things and I do nothing to keep them maintained though. I suggest putting in some stuff that like absolutely no maintenance, that when you get too busy, they're still going to keep coming back each year. 

Kelly Perry - 22:03 - I love that. That is such good advice. I mean those like limelight hydrangea, the pink diamonds, like all those different types. There's so many varieties of hydrangea. Some of them bloom on old wood, some of them bloom on new would make sure that you know, the difference so that you know how to take care of the plants. But um, they do, they just, they, they get really big and produce and it's wonderful that you don't have to do a whole lot to them other than, you know, maybe you give them a good proven to. They have a strong base or something. But I mean, that's something you can do in the winter time whenever it's cold in and things have slowed down a little bit. So I love the way that, that sort of ebbs and flows for people who are designing flowers because getting the angels in the ground and started. 

Kelly Perry - 22:48 - That's right when I'm in the middle of writing proposals and, you know, things start speeding up at that point. So it's something you might, like you were saying, like sometimes I don't always get them in the ground and you know, that's okay. I don't have, you know, I don't have to, um, but I've really become a big fan of fan of direct seeding. So, um, the first year that I started growing flowers, of course I like tried to grow way too many things and um, didn't understand the timing and like when, when should this go here, when and when do I flipped the beds and, you know, all that kind of stuff. But now I'm just like, okay, how can I make this as simple and as easy as possible so that it actually fits into, um, you know, the rest, the ebb and flow of the rest of the business and things. And so I, I love direct seeding things like I could just put an assertion right into the ground and then into the summertime I have these beautiful vines spilling out all over the place and it was just very simple. So you, any favorite flowers like that that you're just like, oh, it's the easy one. 

Sophie Felts - 23:49 - Um, I've done a couple of like the Amaranth, amaranth. One year I planted a bunch of that. I don't think, I think I did start the seeds but then I just Kinda, I mean to the stuff that you can like step away from and then all of a sudden you know, it'll match so that the amaranth completely. I didn't do anything to it other than kind of cut it. And then I just let the bedsit and it bloomed back the next year. So much of it. Boy, that was a good thing for my boss. 

Kelly Perry - 24:19 - Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. It's so funny because like there might be a farmer that's listening who's like, oh no, like it's all here and it's not supposed to be here. It's just interesting because like with everything, like we all have different goals, we all have different models and so if we start thinking like, oh well this is the way that we have to do because that's what, you know, that's what the grower person said to do. It might not make sense for somebody who's doing flower arranging all the time, you know what I mean? 

Kelly Perry - 24:46 - Like everybody has different goals and so there's different like flowers to plant that go in that toolbox that make it all work. So I know that I'll never grow ranunculus or anemone. They're way too easy for me to order in and I like cost wise it makes sense to order them in and the bulbs and just the timing of the year, like those things don't make sense for me. Um, so I know that those probably will never be a part of my repertoire, at least not here or now, but other things. Yeah, Mr. she won't see without it, you know. What else do you. What else? 

Sophie Felts - 25:21 - I had really good luck with the little blue. Chinese. Forget me. Not there to grow. Yeah. Yeah. They look beautiful and everything too. Same thing. They do meet in place. I've grown a bunch of that. I just love the little kind of filler things that they just look pretty when you're adding it in. I'll still have to buy in, um, you know, the big focal flowers, but I feel like I let that go to the professional to really know what they're doing and can do deployment and then I can, you know, you've got a good relationship with. There's so many flower farmers now around us, which is, that's awesome. Fighting and throwing. But what else? Um, the match Korea. Have you ever gotten that? It was, didn't know where it is. They're like little white basically it looks just the cannon Neil, but so one variety looks exactly like the. And with yellow centers. Okay. 

Kelly Perry - 26:19 - Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Sophie Felts - 26:22 - Textual. What else does any of this course. So I'm trying to remember, have you ever had 11 a puff? I feel like you would really like that. Yeah. Our, um, our farmer grows love and a puff. Okay. Gorgeous. Okay, good. I'm writing that down. I'm writing, I'm taking notes too. 

Kelly Perry - 26:48 - Thanks Kelly. We're all just here. We're all just standing together. Yeah. And that was good. That was a good hydrangea reminder too. I think, um, one of my clients this year, she's so sweet and just botanically minded. I've never had a client who's come to me and said like, can we use plan so that I can plant them in my garden and then I can remember my wedding each year and I was just like, you are the reason why that is the philosophy. Yeah. You know, it's just like, it was so funny, but this says no one ever just just Margaret. She's so, so sweet. Um, but anyway, we were talking about, you know, the base of her ceremony, Arbor that it would be so fun to do some like big hydrangea plants at the bottom and then um, you know, have him have cut ones of course that are sneaking their way up and sort of blending it all together. So that, those were things that she could add to her garden at home and um, you know, that, that whole piece of things too, which I thought was really fun. So, but yeah, I need to go. I need to go game plan on the hydrangea varieties for her at some point. See what the market's got. The mustard seed market. Yeah. Good deal. Oh, this has been so fun. Thanks for popping on. Is there anything that, anything burning that you want to say before we sign off for today? 

Sophie Felts - 28:03 - You know, people always kind of ask your client, um, you know, bring that shows you a pinterest board that you really don't like. And I believe, I guess I don't know. Our philosophy is that our job is to basically love our brides and to think about what we love about them. You know, I've got this girl who just said that Gerber daisies are really special to her grandmother and you know, personally I don't like it, but my job is to, you know, take what she loves and make it beautiful though to figure out how to make a heck of a gerber daisies. Beautiful, and that's kind of, to me what keeps it fun and keeps it real. 

Kelly Perry - 28:53 - I love that. Yes. Yes. Metals. I'm putting all the metals. That's so true because it is. I know, I know it can totally be a challenge some time working with clients, but at the end of the day we have to remember that like our brand is how they feel when they're with us. It's not, it's not this image that if it goes out into the universe is going to destroy our business, our attitudes are what, you know, make our business something that that's a make or break for people. So I just, I love that. Like that. That's what it's all about. Absolutely. I'm so glad you shared that. That make. Yeah, it's really encouraging because there has been so much out there about like just like be careful about your brand and don't put anything out there that wouldn't want to repeat. And I understand like I understand that to an extent, but I almost think like just the emphasis is a little bit. 

Kelly Perry - 29:50 - It's a little bit intense. Right? And that's a lot of pressure and at the end of the day it is about making the Gerber daisies work. Like that's the funny thing. And um, I just in my, when you said that immediately, um, one of my favorite designers is John Auger. I'm flora in her femur. He's out of um, the twin cities and he is so good at Gerber daisies. There's, there's like a couple, there was like, I don't know if it was like a shoot or a series of things that he did, but they were just like, I was like, oh my gosh, John, you'd like you to hopefully totally rock that out of the park. Um, so anyway, if you're just really struggling with that protecting perhaps he could provide some, some inspiration for you. But there's actually, there's so many new varieties of those that are, that are coming out that are really quite interesting. 

Kelly Perry - 30:45 - But I don't get my hands on them very often because I'm so far away from like a wholesaler market to, to see him. But every once in a while send me some good blush ones out. But anyway, yeah, Gerber daisies fun. Well, um, keep, keep me posted on how that goes, but um, yeah, if you guys are in the DC area or want to connect, I know you had a workshop for freelancing recently and you host events occasionally for florists in the area. So if you're interested in anything like that, like checkout Sophie's website, um, and of course follow her on instagram so that you can stay in touch and connected and cheer each other along. Like let's all join together and make those connections with each other so that we can. I mean we're headed into, for those of us who are in, you know, some of us are heading out of wedding season because it's summertime and it's way too hot to do weddings where we live and then some of us are just headed right into it right now. So. But I think um, April is probably a time, April, may is probably a time where a lot of us are overlapping. So let's stick together. Um, and let's keep cheering each other on and supporting each other and remembering that we aren't alone. That there's a lot of people out there that are doing this too, just in different places, so let's try to stay connected on social media so that we can cheer each other on. 

Sophie Felts - 30:45 - Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Kelly.

Kelly Perry - 32:20 - as we sign off today, I want to remind you that your work with flowers matters. It's about more than the blues. You're loving the world. You make magic happen. You're creating memories. You're following a dream. Delivering light and grace here at Team Flower were cheering me on one bloom at a time. Thank you for listening to the podcast and until next time, remember that we're so thankful for each bucket that you wash and each bag of garbage that you take out of your studio that makes all this possible. If you're looking for more full education, that screen conversation or inspiration, just visit [inaudible] dot org slash free to see the library of helpful videos and articles for florists, growers, and fire business owners. You'll find helpful tips on everything from creating flower walls to hiring freelancers in much, much more.

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