Lola Creative, A Floral Design Studio’s Innovative Business Model (Episode 168)
November 19th, 2014
Today’s awesome podcast guest is Emily Ellen Anderson, a landscape architect and sculptor-turned floral and event designer.
Emily brings a fresh, remarkable, and out-of-the ordinary point of view to the work of her Seattle area-based studio, Lola Creative.
I’ve been on the road for the past two weeks. Speaking about and promoting the Slow Flowers Movement has taken me to Rhode Island, Colorado and New Mexico. In addition to racking up a lot of valuable airline points, I’m so thrilled that in each destination, I’ve connected with America’s flower farmers and the floral designers who value their unique, homegrown blooms, botanicals and foliage.
A huge bouquet of gratitude goes to Julie Christina, Kris Greene and Gail Read of Blithewold Mansion in Bristol, Rhode Island, for inviting me to speak at their fundraising luncheon – and to teach a hands-on floral workshop on the grounds of this illustrious American architectural treasure.
More thanks goes to Slowflowers.com members Polly and Mike Hutchison of Robin Hollow Farm in nearby Saunderstown, Rhode Island, for providing their gorgeous local flowers to augment Blithewold’s cuttings – our students loved your fall mums and more!
Polly and Mike also hosted the Slow Flowers Potluck gathering, which drew member farmers and florists from as far away as Massachusetts and Connecticut, not to mention Rhode Island. I love connecting with each of you via the Web, but nothing compares to good old-fashioned face-to-face human contact, conversation, and camaraderie.
P.S., this was the third Slowflowers.com regional gathering we’ve had, with previous events in Wilmington, Delaware, and Brooklyn, New York. In the coming months, wherever my travels take me, we’ll continue these member-only special events. I believe such gatherings underscore the power of our community, connecting flower farmers with designers, and ultimately, with consumers.
After Rhode Island and 24 hours at home with my awesome family, I made my way to Colorado and New Mexico, where I met up with equally awesome flower farmers and recorded two upcoming podcasts.
From Longmont, Colorado, you’ll soon hear from Chet and Kristy Anderson, veteran food and flower farmers and owners of The Fresh Herb Company. If their names sound familiar, it’s because you read their story in The 50 Mile Bouquet. Hearing their voices as they share the story of their flower-growing journey will add even more insights for listeners (and I thoroughly loved the delicious lunch and farm tour they shared with me).
Then I spent a fab visit with Emily Calhoun of Floriography, an Albuquerque, New Mexico-based, farmer-florist whose story and commitment to American grown will inspire you, too. We spent a morning playing with cool foraged ingredients from her farm – so you’ll soon see some great photos of our purely New Mexico-grown bouquets.
As you know, I never tire of hearing from others who “get” what this Slow Flowers Movement is all about. This week, I’d like to share a note I received from Ellen Hoverkamp, a gifted botanical artist and photographer from Connecticut.
I’ve known Ellen for a few years, ever since her gorgeous plant images graced Natural Companions, a book by Ken Druse, which I wrote about for the Los Angeles Times. It was a total privilege to witness Ellen’s acceptance of the GOLD medal for book photography from the Garden Writers Association in 2013.
Last week, she and her pal Michael Russo, himself a fantastic floral designer, surprised me at the Blithewold events (Ellen has done an artist-in-resident stint there and is a good friend of the public garden).
The two got to hear my Slow Flowers mantra, and we spent some quality time together driving from place to place around Bristol, Rhode Island. Ellen and Michael also participated in the Slow Flowers Design Workshop at Blithewold and created major beauty in their vases.
But little did I know what gifts they were to continue sharing via their own platforms on Facebook, Instagram and other places.
Ellen gave me some insight to the reach of the Slow Flowers Message when she emailed me a few days ago. She wrote:
“Debra, I just want to tell you that your message is changing lives. Well, mine anyway. Some examples: Last Tuesday, I integrated the Slow Flowers message into my presentation. Women were taking notes on your name and your book titles in that suburb of Princeton, NJ.
Wednesday, I spoke to 61 women closer to home, here in Connecticut.
Of course, I had to wait through the minutes of the garden club meeting. The design committee chair announced that the competition for the month of January will be to get creative using grocery store roses. When it was my turn to address the group, I congratulated them for the fine wreath making fundraiser, using mostly trimmings from their own evergreen shrubs (Modeled after the way you encourage the efforts and talents of your audience, bringing them into the “Tribe.”)
Then, I reminded them about where those grocery store roses come from, mentioned your name, Slow Flowers and your books, proceeded to remind them that roses and gerbera daisies are grown right in their town. I showed them the little still-lifes that I made from those roses, pictured on my web site, which led into the slide lecture, then demonstration.
….Thursday, I had a polite altercation with the woman from the floral department at our local Whole Foods about the origin of their “Whole Trade” peonies. I just think you should know about some of the details of the beautiful ripples of consciousness that you are creating through your tireless efforts.”
WOW, thank you. You have no idea how much this means to me, Ellen!
Starting today, I’m instituting the Slow Flowers Hero Award, which I will periodically bestow on members of the Slow Flowers Tribe. Ellen, you will receive a pair of my very favorite floral snips, Made in USA by Florian. I believe in using American-made tools and floral supplies as much as I believe in designing with American-grown flowers.
Okay, onto today’s awesome guest, Emily Ellen Anderson.
A landscape architect and sculptor-turned floral and event designer, Emily brings a fresh, remarkable, and out-of-the ordinary point of view to the work of her Seattle area-based studio, Lola Creative.
As a wedding designer, her attitude is to seek out the personal tidbits of each couple and to give them unique details to make the ceremony unforgettable. As a corporate event designer, Lola Creative reflects the values of each company, surrounding clients with an event experience that expresses their values and brand.
As she writes on her web site: “We are known for quirky, refined, organic, and art-minded arrangements and environments that combine natural and unexpected materials into innovative creations.”
- From galas and fundraising events to event design and concepts; from corporate celebrations and meetings to styling for marketing campaigns and product launches, Emily Ellen Anderson and her team have redefined what being a floral design studio is all about.
- Lola Creative operates out of a light-filled studio in Edmonds, Washington, just north of Seattle. The business serves the entire Northwest region with a team of project managers, graphic designers, floral designers, and artists and craftspeople of many disciplines. “Above all, we are story tellers,” Emily Ellen says..
- Lola Creative promotes sustainable flower growing, organic gardening, and low-impact practices of all kinds. At Lola, we compost our plant waste, reuse materials, and source locally and responsibly. Last year, the business ceased the use of floral foam for its toxicity and non-biodegradability.
- A portion of the studio’s profits benefit the advancement of scientific research, the environment, and childhood education in entrepreneurship, art, and technology.
- Just recently, Emily Ellen Anderson completed the rebranding of her business. I love what she shared with her colleagues and clients: We’re Professional Tinkerers making Bold Events, Temporary Environments, and Kick-Ass Visual Content for Brands and Humans.
Here’s more of Emily Ellen’s recent work, featuring the project she created for Starbucks and Univision:
Listeners like you have downloaded the Slow Flowers Podcast more than 25,000 times. If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.
My personal goal is to put more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. I promise that when you tune in next week, you’ll hear another insightful and educational episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast.
The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at hhcreates.net.