One of my favorite parts of working with other professionals in the wedding industry is when vendors become friendors (vendors that are now friends)! Today I am VERY excited to introduce you all to Justine Leeper, the creative genius and owner of Floral Designs by Justine! She may be young, but let me tell you, she has already traveled leaps and bounds with her floral design work! I had the pleasure of working with Justine on two photography projects this spring. Each time I saw her work, I was completely blown away! When I described to her what I was looking for, she brought it to life even better than I could have ever imagined! To all of my wedding couples who are still in search of a florist, Justine is the lady for you!
Read on below to learn more about Justine and her amazing floral design business!
What do you enjoy most about being a floral designer?
"I love everything about it, from working with plants and flowers to being creative and able to express myself through my designs. I love to take pieces of nature and making them work together and compliment each other in design. I also love making people smile with beautiful flowers!"
What led you to becoming a floral designer?
"I started floral design while I was a freshman in high school. I had always loved art and design. I went to Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, CT, which is an agriculture high school. Taking the freshman floriculture class was the best thing that ever happened to me! I can remember being introduced to it for the first time and thinking “This is what I want to do!” I have been pursuing my dream career for ten years and I have loved every second of it! I do give a lot of credit to my Agricultural teacher at Nonnewaug, Eric Birkenberger. He believed in me and supported me since day one! Also the pure fact that people told me it would be a hard business to be in made me crave it even more! I love the challenge of nature every day!"
What attracted you to the wedding industry?
"I absolutely love weddings and working with brides. The floral industry has changed drastically. Owning a floral shop today is a lot harder than it was 20 years ago, due to big box stores selling cheap cuts. While working at a few different floral shops my business model arose; focus on weddings, big events and holidays. I also love the thrill of planning, designing and delivering my designs for someone’s special day! There is nothing better than seeing a bride’s smile when you hand her the bridal bouquet."
What is your favorite part of working with brides?
"I think my favorite part about working with brides is that they are all unique! Each one is different from the next, and they all keep my creative juices flowing. I love seeing the wedding process come together as well. Being a bigger part of the wedding day means I get to see planning more!"
What (or who) has inspired your creativity?
"Eric Birkenberger, my high school floriculture teacher, has been a huge supporter of mine since day one. My parents have also been my backbone. From allowing me to set up a huge cooler in our garage, to taking over my father’s man cave, they have both supported me all the way! My mother has also always sparked my creativity by buying vintage containers at tag sales and thrift shops, and reminding me to “make it work” (as Tim Gunn would say) when I am having designer's block! Also, just the pure self-achievement has kept me going; I started my business when I was a senior at UCONN at age 22. I am now only 24, and have so much to look forward to in this industry! I want to continue to grow my business and seeing the beautiful progress in my designs and business is so much more than I could ask for!"
As a floral designer, what is one tip you would give to brides on their wedding day?
"I would say go with someone that, when you left the floral consultation, made you feel excited about your wedding flowers! I know for a lot of brides, the price of their flowers is a huge factor, but as a florist I am here to work side by side with you to figure out the perfect flowers for your big day! I want all my brides to be as excited as I am for their floral designs on their wedding day!"
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