As a woman, it’s only natural to be attracted to anything pretty. And flowers are the prettiest thing I could think on top of my head that can make me feel special when I receive it as well as happy when just looking at them when they bloom. In today’s post, you’ll meet Lovely Bastian. She’s the owner and floral designer behind May Floral, which launched in 2014. She offers flowers for weddings, events and deliveries with an emphasis on nature-inspired designs.
Read on more about her and a bit more about how she enjoy her career 🙂
What’s your background?
I grew up in Chicago, in the Edgewater and Rogers Park neighborhoods. Later, my family moved to the suburbs. Then I moved back to city as an adult. Now, along with my husband Joe and pug Manny, I call Evanston home. Despite the winters, I love the Chicago area and can’t imagine living anywhere else. It’s vibrant, diverse and inspiring. More importantly, I have lots of family and friends here. Having loved ones nearby make life easier and fuller.
Tell us about your education background.
I attended DePaul University where I majored in something very practical–accounting! After graduation, I worked in finance and accounting and learned about running a business. In 2013, I left that career to go into business for myself doing flowers. As for learning floral design, I took classes at FlowerSchool New York, and I have also attended floral design workshops in Chicago, California and Toronto. It’s been a tremendous joy learning about flowers.
I enjoy working every step of the way with my clients and put a lot of thought and care into creating florals that are unique and reflective of their vision.
How did you start your business/what you do for living?
So many florists say “I always wanted to be a florist” or “I’ve been arranging flowers since childhood.” Not me though. As mentioned, floristry is a second career for me. I made the switch because I badly wanted to have my own small business and be more creative. I’ve always loved flowers and their beauty, colors, aroma, textures and shapes. I researched floral design classes and learned about FlowerSchool New York. I went there for a week to take their intensive series of design classes for beginners. Besides design, you learn a bit about the business side of flowers–pricing, sourcing, marketing, etc. I loved it beyond words and it absolutely changed my life. So I decided to follow my passion and leave my finance career. I continued to take design classes and worked for a flower shop for a few months. After that, I was ready to officially launch on my own. I wrote a business plan, hired an attorney for the legal stuff and a graphic designer to help with logo and business card design, made a website and the rest is history.
What inspired you as a creative women?
Everything! I love to travel the world and visit museums, go on hikes, people-watch and try new cuisine. For me, new experiences spark creativity. I also obsessively pore over books, magazines, blogs, Instagram and Pinterest. And of course, flowers! Visiting the Chicago Botanic Garden or just looking at someone’s garden is inspiring. The seasons also inspire me. Seasonally appropriate flowers are mainstays in my design aesthetic.
What was your first job ever? Any funny or memorable story?
In high school, I worked at a Subway at the local mall. No funny or memorable stories, but I did learn a lot about customer service and working in a team environment.
Walk us through your day as a floral designer.
My favorite thing about doing flowers is that the day to day responsibilities vary. I also get to make my own schedule which I love. Some days, I’m in front of the computer all day drafting proposals, making spreadsheets, writing emails and preparing flower orders. Other days, I’m meeting with clients and other wedding vendors and visiting venues. My favorite days are when I’m visiting the flower wholesaler in the morning and then I’m in the studio processing flowers I’ve just purchased, designing with them and setting up a wedding. My least favorite day is when you could find me cleaning buckets and vases and reorganizing my workspace after a wedding or an event.
What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
I’m still early in my floral career but a highlight so far has been attending workshops held by floral designers whose work I’ve admired from afar, like Ariella Chezar and Kate Holt from Flowerwild. At these workshops, I also got to connect with wonderful designers from around the globe who love flowers just as much as I do. I learned lots from them too and I’m grateful for the honor of meeting them.
Where or what do you think you will be/do in the next 5 years?
I would love for May Floral to continue to grow into an established and reputable business that I am proud of–one that is respected by my clients, employees and peers.
Share a quote/advice that you’d like to tell the 25 year-old you
Don’t sweat the small stuff! At that age, it seemed like any little thing that didn’t go as planned means the end of the world. I would tell her that everything will work out at the end.