Today’s Blog Post is a super special post. Straight from the The French Bouquet and Petite Fleur florist herself, Anne-Marie Foy shares her thoughts about this year’s Catersource Conference and Tradeshow Preston Bailey event (and the inspiration he lends). Not only did she get to walk the show this year in Las Vegas, chat with fellow wedding pros, and find out what’s hot and shaking in the wedding and event design and trend worlds, but she got to attend the event of all events: The Live Floral Sculpture Demo and Q&A with the one and only Preston Bailey.
Preston Bailey’s a big deal in a lot of circles, and he’s definitely all that for The French Bouquet. Preston Bailey has that magical touch with flowers and design–a true inspiration. And he’s warm, welcoming, kind, and very helpful and supportive of fellow florists and designers; encouraging us to dream big and create brilliant designs!
So without further ado, here’s today’s Blog Post from Anne-Marie Foy of The French Bouquet.
Preston Bailey’s book, Design for Entertaining, was the first book I bought when I started my wedding flower business, The French Bouquet, nine years ago. I love his books; they have a life, a function, a soul. That first book was my companion. It was my guide and my motivation because one day I was going to do events like his. Even if I had never made a bridal bouquet in my life, and even though I was starting a floral business from complete scratch, working out of a sunroom and with no money, had no brand, and I was completely unknown in the industry, I knew that this was what I wanted to do. Preston Bailey inspired and that was that. Of course there was the whole mother-minding aspect where I was asked, “What? Florist? But you don’t have a shop.” And then, “You have a Masters in Russian for God’s sake. Floristry?” But it all came down to one big word: Dream. Every time I opened up one of Preston’s books (I quickly started to acquire all of his books…and then some) I was inspired and encouraged to keep dreaming. And, eventually, make those dreams come true!
My good friend, Arin, who until recently owned an event design firm called Zinke Design, used to come to me with her fabulous events. It would always start the same: “Well, I have an idea….” I’d listen, always ready to jump in with step one and take it from there.
Step One: “Let’s ask the master! Let’s go back to the roots.” Ultimately, “What would Preston do?” His expertise and designs were always our starting point. With all of his books spread across the table, sketches, ideas and swatches flying left and right, within a couple of hours a concept was born. We had a plan –a design– and some very big smiles on our faces. We had designed something fabulous on paper and couldn’t wait to put it all into action. We’d designed something that would, quite simply (and rather fabulously), leave use giggling for the rest of the day.
I really love and cherish those moments; they’re a very precious part of my life as an artist and as a wedding professional. Having that creative inspiration, that drive, that ability to just hammer out your ideas and turn them into something real…having a passion and getting to share it and make it become something just as beautiful and passionate for someone else–for their beautiful wedding– is why I do what I do. I try to be a wedding business servant on a daily basis, working with brides and designers to create the most spectacular and personal floral designs.
I recently attended Preston Bailey’s worksop at the Catersource event and those 2 hours were unbelievably amazing! Those 2 hours were packed with more hands-on information and demos than you could imagine. The Q&A session was amazing. Not only did I learn so very much about floral sculptures but even simple tricks-of-the-trade that I haven’t used or thought of before. They’re all going to be very helpful as I take my business and designs further.
And Preston, the brilliant business man that he is, has gotten me thinking about redesigning my marketing, my customer service, and my overall business and sales approaches. After 2 of the most informative hours of my life I texted my husband, “I just touched God!” haha Preston’s demo and Q&A was definitely a highlight of my career!
Afterwards I just kept feeling like something new will happen…a new phase with my business…with my designs…it’s kind of hard to explain (maybe a bit euphoric), but I’m feeling very good about it. Just like when I sit down to design, with all of Preston’s books surrounding me, ideas racing and spirits high, I left his event that day empowered, inspired, and excited. And giggling a bit, too.
Preston, thank you for sharing your wisdom and for being such a creative force and encouragement in this business. It was a pleasure to meet you and to learn from the master himself!