At Kimberfire we specialize in diamonds and diamond jewelry which means we are often the first stop in one’s journey toward the altar. Having the opportunity to create our clients’ engagement rings and wedding bands is a very special job, and it’s exciting to see people go from planning a proposal to planning a wedding. There are so many different businesses who work within the wedding industry, and we created this ongoing blog series to highlight Toronto-based wedding insiders who can help make your dream wedding a reality.
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting with Becky DeOliveira, the owner of popular Toronto flower studio, Blush and Bloom. I discovered Blush and Bloom on Instagram, where I became one of the 33K+ followers who couldn’t get enough of the stunning floral bouquets and arrangements that have elevated floral design to an artform. Blush and Bloom’s work has been featured in the magazines Wedding Bells and Today’s Bride, the blog Style me Pretty, and of course, in plenty of weddings! I sat down with Becky to learn more about her story.
Becky, please tell us a bit about yourself and your company Blush and Bloom.
From the moment I first held a flower I knew I would be a florist. I grew up surrounded by nature and my mother is an avid gardener, who always encouraged me to to go weed the garden or make a posie out of wildflowers. My mom was conditioning a florist in the making from aged 5 years old! From my years of watering annuals at a greenhouse, to delivering flowers, managing shops, and teaching classes this has always been who I am. Flowers are what I know.
The B&B mantra is to design, style and perfect every element of each event to reflect our clients’ personal style and aesthetic, and pair it naturally with our luscious garden style florals.
How many years has Blush and Bloom been in business?
Blush and Bloom will be 6 years young this summer, but I have been in the flower world for 18 years!
How did your education and/or previous job experience prepare you for running your own business?
Thankfully working for other people, and always holding management positions prepared me (only partially!) for the responsibilities of being a business owner. I think knowing the industry, especially in the world of perishable product is very, very crucial to not going broke! I don’t have a business background, or any formal entrepreneurial education, so the industry experience is all I have to credit the choices I’ve made so far. What worked for other businesses may not work for me, and I was lucky to see that when I was an employee and alter my business plan and approach. This being said, I always ask for opinions from other small business owners and keep a close network of female business colleagues at arm’s reach for advice.
What kinds of services do you offer?
We have a range of services including tabletop décor and florals, ceremony archways, ceiling installations, personal flowers and design recommendations to help our clients have an overall cohesive and flowing look. The price points and minimum spend vary depending on the season.
How would you describe the Blush and Bloom style, and where do you get your inspiration from?
B&B’s look is garden style florals with a fresh, and edgy twist.
I draw inspiration from other makers, designers, florists, fashion, textiles and patterns, landscapes and colour palettes!
What advice would you give to a couple who is looking for a floral designer for their wedding day?
Trust the professionals and interview several companies. Have a loose concept and 3 images of the feel (but not replication) of what you’re thinking for your event. Be open! You may not be able to get the exact product (or pricing!) that your budget allows for. Ask for suggestions from the pros, it’s our job to get creative!
In 2016 you started a sister business to Blush and Bloom, please tell us a bit about Bloom School.
Bloom School is a dream I have had for over 10 years. My hands-on experience comes from working under several designers, taking courses and volunteering. I never felt the programs I had invested in were up to date, it was only about technique and the end result was never a representation of what my personal style was. I always felt like someone young and fresh had to overhaul the education programs of the large “floral design schools” in Canada in order to better the new generation of budding designers. Bloom School amalgamates modern day floral design with desirable blooms to practise on, with a focus on how to design for photographing your work. We then advise on how to use that content to brand yourself and sell your style to your clients.
What are some continuing and new trends for wedding florals?
I think experimenting with colour is always a trend and a modern approach to weddings. The balance between wanting to be timeless but not all white can be a challenge, but also unique at the same time. Lush blooms paired with gestural dancing flowers with playful stems are always a favorite in our studio.
Do you have a favourite flower?
Can you ever choose a favorite child?! I have so many. The delicate stem of a scabiosa or a ranunculus, or the fullness of a fading peony… all so magical, it’s impossible to choose just one.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Managing expectations and planning logistics. So much of what we do is planning and orchestrating… not just playing with flowers!
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Looking at a room completely perfect after a 10-hour installation day with my hard-working team, after the clients see it and beam with happiness. That feeling is the most amazing reward of all time.
Have you ever had a floral disaster the day of a wedding or event, and if so how did you handle the situation?
After this long, no one could have a perfect record! Of course we’ve had accidents, miscommunications or day-of changes that weren’t anticipated. It comes with the gig! Luckily, we try to plan for the worst and always be prepared. Weather is usually a big aspect of how things can go south fast, so knowing rain plans and having weights for outdoor ceremonies are always, always a necessity to be able to roll with the punches!
Your social media pages are filled with stunning photography of your creations – how important is social media to running your business?
Very! I don’t have a strategy per say, but as the years go by the one thing I can say is that quality of photo/content is important. I like to have good lighting for photos and a clear idea of the shot before I go for it. I don’t spend all day curating photos and over designing our pieces, however, we do take 15 minutes a day to grab the best light and capture the “in the moment” designs we are creating for our clients. No grainy photos with bad light do any flower arrangement justice!
What sets Blush and Bloom apart from the competition?
I’ve had others tell me that it’s my ability to keep it real with our clients, planners and my staff. I put that foot forward in social media and don’t often filter myself. I think this gives the followers (and clients) the opportunity to get on the level of whatever is on my mind. I also tend to keep a balance of playful realness and show people that I can be pretty breezy and do not take myself so seriously. I like to have fun but be straightforward, and that is how I like people to approach me.
That aside, from a design perspective we are always pushing the envelope and setting new goals for this brand. I don’t like “copying” one client’s wedding and just “mass producing” because it’s what we know. We like a challenge!
Having been a part of so many weddings, what advice can you give to couples on how to get the most out of their big day?
Try to let the professionals handle the day of. That’s what you paid them for! Enjoy the day, it goes by so fast, and to spend it agonizing over details or trying to control every element is exhausting and impossible. It’s easy to get caught up in perfection and forget the main reason why you’re there in the first place, which is to get married to the love of your life, with everyone who loves you there to witness.
Thank you so much for taking time to share your company and insights with us.
Thank you, it was my pleasure!
Sara is the Jewelry Production and Social Media Coordinator at Kimberfire – a brilliant way to buy engagement rings, fine jewelry and loose diamonds in Toronto. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from York University and a Diploma in Jewellery Arts from George Brown College. She is skilled in jewellery design using CAD software, as well as traditional goldsmith techniques. When she is not immersing herself in all things jewellery, Sara is a dog mom to Barley, her beagle mix rescue dog who loves a good tummy rub.