Fashion career turned floral designer, Lisa Smith is taking the world by storm and bringing her flowers with her. Combined with a true passion, a love of flowers and an eye for color she is reminding us that design can transcend from just fabrics and buttons into flowers and arrangements. Being based in Los Angeles, close to the Flower District, it is inevitable that she finds daily inspiration to curate something unique and special for each client. We sat down with Lisa to talk about her work life and how her work of art started to bloom when she opened up her flower shop, Instyle Flowers.
To see more of Lisa’s work click the link below:
When did you discover your love of flowers and what led you to have a career in floral design?
I guess it started back in college while majoring in fashion design. I have always had a passion for color, textures and shape. I had a career in fashion design for over 15 years, Designing and manufacturing women’s contemporary dresses and separates, selling to high-end boutiques and department stores, Fred Segal, Barney’s, Blooming Dales and Nordstrom. The fashion business was extremely demanding, my husband and I were trying to start a family, So I thought it would be best to try to create a home-based business. I was familiar with the Flower Mart as it is right next to the garment district. I always played around with flowers in my garment days so it was a natural transition, something I could ease into. Once I immersed myself, it became a true passion and there was no turning back, like the garment industry I wanted to be on the cutting edge and always be Instyle!
As a woman do you find it more difficult to be an entrepreneur? Are there specific advantages, disadvantages to being a woman business owner?
No, I look at it as we are all on the same level playing field…as an owner, I feel I need to know my strengths and be smart enough to hire for my weaknesses.
For women entrepreneurs, if you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Pursue your passion with all your heart, and don’t take no for an answer.
It must be exciting working with flowers! What does your typical day look like?
My day starts at 5 AM. Typically I will drop my boys off at the beach so they can catch a surf before school and then I head off to the Flower Mart. I like to spend a lot of time at the flower Mart it’s where my creative juices start to flow… LA has one of the largest wholesale flower Marts in the country. It’s really easy to be creative with so many beautiful choices… from local growers to imports from around the world. I handpick all my flowers. Typically I’ll head back to my studio, break down the flowers cut and hydrate. Then the fun begins, it’s creation time. Throughout the rest of my day, I balance between customer service and design. I really enjoy talking to each one of my customers and make a special effort to create a relationship and an understanding of what my client’s needs are.
Tell us what are some great flower combinations to put around the house for Summer?
Summer months can be tricky because of the heat. For my weekly clients, I like using longer lasting flowers that I know will withstand the heat, such as orchids like Mokaras and or cymbidiums, roses, Lilly’s, sunflowers and interesting greens like the monstera leaves.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to flower combinations. What are some of your favorite combinations?
My all-time favorite is peonies in any shade of pink, I love mixing with beautiful novelty tulips, pink Floyd Roses that is a beautiful shade of hot pink and free spirit roses that are a beautiful shade of peachy, pink orange with a pop of green like the snowball viburnum.
Succulents are on trend for the Summer. What are some tips and tricks for taking care of them?
Succulents are typically an outdoor plant. When using indoors be careful not to overwater and make sure to give them a little sunshine outdoors every couple of weeks. Right now I’m really into combining a cluster of odd numbers of differently textured succulents in shades of green with undertones of silver and deep dark purple hues in organic cement vessels.
Everyone rose has its thorns what are some of the challenges when it comes to working with flowers?
Actually, some varieties of roses don’t come with thorns… you have to know your flowers but always be prepared when working on special events or weddings you can run into custom holds or bad weather. Always make sure to have a backup plan with a substitute flower.