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Local Highlight | Flower Mill

Sometimes you meet people so talented you feel pretty awesome yourself just by being around them. And that's Lauren, she breathes her passion for floral arrangements. Lauren is the founder and owner of Flower Mill, an environmentally conscious floral design studio specializing in weddings and fresh arrangements, and your modern day girl boss! During our time together, she arranged a beautiful bouquet, and it is pure art witnessing her process. It was such a joy to sit down with her in her downtown studio, and learn more about her business.

So what’s your background and how did Flower Mill begin?

I went to school for interior design, I have a long background of artists in the family. Many artists on both sides, so it felt natural to go into interior design but I didn’t love the careers. I did it a little on the side, but always had other jobs. I felt the need to have a creative outlet, and use my artistic talents on a daily basis. I was second shooting weddings, and fell in love with the wedding industry, so I thought, 'I should be in the wedding industry doing something creative, and something I love.' So I played around taking classes with flowers, to see if I liked it, and I ended up loving it. I did a three month crash course on design. I loved that and took what I learned there, which is very basic, and mixed it with my style and Flower Mill was born. I started off doing flowers part time, but as it got busier I realized how much work it was. Like a full time job. People think it's just a side job for the summer, no it's an around the clock job. I was a bit nervous to start a new company, rather than work for an existing florist. But my style is so different than most, and being in the right place at the right time so many times, keeps confirming this is the right thing me.

You are an environmentally conscious floral design studio, can you share what that looks like in your business and why it’s important to you?

Three things that I think are really important as far as my business being environmentally conscious. As much as I can, I compost my leaves and stems and any fresh waste. There are lots of places you can do that in the area; friends, family, and local farms and community gardens you can bring your waste to. I try to do that as much as I can. I use mostly recycled or up-cycled vessels or vases. So a lot of what I use comes from 2nd hand stores or people will donate them to me. I love to be able to reuse that stuff rather than buying new things, it’s more important to me to use what’s already there. I'm always on the lookout for different or random vases that I can find. Just about anything that has a cylinder type, I will definitely put flowers in it. I also do a lot of foraging of my products. When it comes to the actual flowers, that I get from a designer. But a lot of grasses and weeds, and grapevines, different types of willows. All kinds of stuff I just forage and bring a carload at a time. I once got an entire pussy willow from someone and am still using! I do the best I can. I wish I could grow my own flowers, maybe in my future but not at the moment. My clients become more educated in the process too cause I do offer discounts for bringing or providing their own vessels.

That is so awesome, I love how dedicated you are to keeping your business environmentally conscious. How would you describe your style, and how do you draw inspiration for your designs?

Since a lot of containers I use are second hand, my style is more urban. Urban and eclectic. My bouquets are a boho style. I wish I could tell you I look at Pinterest and find it there. But I truly just walk through the cooler and I look through everything, and I just choose what colors and textures inspire me, and run with it from there. There are floral companies I look up to that inspire me, but I truly believe each has their own original style for arrangement.

What advice would you give to couples regarding floral on their wedding day?

You have to make sure you’re on the same page with your florist. Your flowers are in every photo on your wedding day. So you want to make sure it’s what you want, your entire day will revolve around it. And I also think you need to have a realistic budget. A lot of people think you can get everything you want with a limited budget, but flowers can be expensive. Plus the unique design and days of prep it requires beforehand.

That is such a good point! I never really thought about how much floral play in on a wedding day, and how they are in just about every picture! I love that advice. So besides weddings, what else does Flower Mill offer?

I am currently loving Flower Bars. I'm hired to come in and make arrangements right there on site. They say what they love, and I make it right there. Each arrangement is different, it's like custom cocktails for each person. I love talking about flowers with others! Also hosting workshops for hands-on floral design, and pop-ups. Since I don't have a storefront, pop ups give me the mobility to be all over the place and constantly collaborating. I just advertise where I'll be in the area, and people can pop by to purchase pre-made bouquets. I want people to keep guessing 'where is she going to be next?'

That is so fun! I just love the idea of a flower bar, so unique! And I"m curious, do you have a favorite flower?

That’s always the hardest question. But I think it would have to be a rose. I love the smell, and when they’re fully bloomed they just amaze me. They start as this little ball, and they get so huge! It might be a boring answer, but it’s an honest answer.

I’m really into books on the language of a flower. I read the "Language of Flowers" and re-fell in love with my career after. I didn’t know a book could make me fall in love like it did.

That is a so cool! I never even knew that about flowers.

Yeah, every flower has a certain meaning to it, and a lot actually mean negative things. And you never would’ve thought it, like a peony means anger. Or a thistle means I hate you.

Wow, that's so surprising. But really neat too. Does being aware of the deeper meaning of flowers affect how you put a bouquet together?

I used to think a lot about it, and was worried that if something went wrong it would be because I put a negative flower in. But then I would be left arranging barely any flowers, so now I try not to think too hard about it.

Yeah, I feel like that could be a bit overwhelming. So when you're not thinking about flowers, what do you love to do in your spare time?

My fiancé and I just bough a house, so we're working on that. We love to take our English Bull dog for walks. And we love to go camping and biking.

What’s ahead for the Flower Mill?

Doing more workshops and flower bars and pop ups. And constantly challenging myself by taking on more projects that are a little bit outside of the box. I love to do installments, floral hoops, and I think that’s what people love about me. I can put it all together with my background. I'm also working on a flower camp for those considering starting their own businesses, or wanting to learn more about floral design as a hobby.

And how can people find you to connect, or attend upcoming workshops or events?

On the website, and they can follow along on facebook and instagram.

Lauren, thank you so much for meeting with me, for wonderful conversation,

and sharing more about your awesome business! I wish you all the best <3

makeup of VAMP by AJ

#kyraranephotography #wisconsinweddingphotographer #appletonweddingphotographer #wisconsinflorist #sustainablewedding #ecowedding #flowermill