Real Local Florist: Petal's Edge Floral Design Interview
Petal’s Edge Floral Design was founded in 2004 with Gerry Rogers and Rebecca Henry at the helm. The duo specializes in gorgeous weddings and events created out of their Old Town Alexandria, VA shop. You can shop for gifts for birthdays and other occasions from Petal’s Edge via their Bloompop shop here. Here, Rebecca gives us some insights into the studio’s beginnings, getting started in the industry, and trends to watch in floral design.
Florist Shop Name: Petal’s Edge Floral Design
Owners/Designers: Gerry Rogers and Rebecca Henry
Year Founded: 2004
Bloompop: How did Petal’s Edge come to be?
Rebecca Henry: Gerry founded the company in 2004 after working with another florist while also finishing her doctorate in education. She found it frustrating that with her being the lowest on the totem pole at that floral studio that she never got to make bouquets, so she decided to start her own company and now she gets to make all the bouquets she wants! I joined soon afterward, when we were introduced by a mutual friend. This friend knew that I was looking for a career change, and had always wanted to be a floral designer and put us in touch. Gerry wasn’t looking for an assistant, but instead a partner, and thus the partnership was born.
© K. Thompson Photography
Bpop: How long have you been a floral designer? How did you get started?
RH: I have a degree in horticulture, and I have been doing floral design off and on since college. I left the field to go to graduate school and become a landscape architect, which I did for 4 years. I found that path unfulfilling, and was considering a career change when I met Gerry.
Gerry has a background in art history and education, and had worked in art museums and art non-profits before going back to school, and then founding the company.
Above: Vases and containers arranged by style inside the Petal’s Edge shop.
Bpop: What kind of trends are you seeing in 2014 floral design?
RH: We are starting to see the vintage/rustic trend fall away. Instead brides seem to be choosing more classic, and romantic looks. Modern and clean lined contemporary looks are definitely making a comeback. Also, people seem to be more attracted to bright colors than they have in previous years.
Bpop: What’s the best part about being a florist?
RH: Getting to be creative every day! Being inspired by nature’s palette of color and texture. It’s also really great to be your own boss.
Photo by Sarah Bradshaw
Bpop: What is something about being a florist that might surprise someone from outside the industry?
RH: Many people who are looking to get a job with us come in thinking that it’s going to be fun and creative and pretty all the time, since hey, it’s flowers. In reality, we get dirty (we all have terrible looking nails! No manicures for us!), we sometimes curse and break things, and because we are on deadline every week for a high pressure event (there are no do-overs with a wedding!) it can be stressful at times. It’s not always pretty. We compare it to working in a restaurant kitchen.
Bpop: What would you say to someone thinking about starting a career in floral design?
RH: Most of what you need to know you learn on the job. So while taking some classes will help you get familiar with the medium and be a good jumping off point, it’s best to take a job or an internship that will allow you just to learn and grow as you work. There is also a big part of floral design that is not just about working with flowers, but also about running a business, if you are thinking of starting off on your own.
Above: Petal’s Edge gift designs available via their Bloompop shop page. Photo by Sarah Bradshaw.
Bpop: What are some challenges of being a local florist in 2014?
RH: It’s become a trend for brides to DIY much of their floral decor in their wedding, which is perceived by brides to be a great cost savings, but it’s typically not, once you add up all of the pieces. One difficulty with DIY for weddings, particularly with flowers, is that many brides underestimate the difficulty of dealing with something as perishable and delicate as flowers a few days from their wedding. In particular, delivery logistics can be really complicated (stinky loading docks, cargo vans to carry the arrangements, limited set up windows at venues) and it’s often something that DIY brides don’t consider until it’s too late.
Bpop: Do you have a story to tell of a favorite client you’ve had?
RH: I always like the story of the time a guest brought a small dog to one of our weddings. We had done a placecard display that included a table full of wheatgrass flats (just imagine a table covered in what looks like your front lawn). Apparently, as we heard from the wedding planner, the guest at one point set the dog down on the grass, and the dog decided this was a great place to do it’s business. I was not happy to find this out AFTER I had touched the grass to clean it up at the end of the night.
© Amy Raab Photography
Bpop: Do you have a favorite flower?
RH: Hard to pick - it’s like picking a favorite child. But for Rebecca - stock, lilac and sweet pea. Gerry - orchids, anemone, ranunculus
Bpop: Anything else?
RH: We’re not a shop - we’re an event studio - so our job/company is a bit different from a florist in a shop. The primary difference is that we don’t keep flowers in stock for walk ins or last minute arrangements - everything we order or have in the studio at any given time is designated for arrangements. And like I mentioned above, we are on deadline almost every week. But we also get valentines day off, which we don’t mind so much!
© K. Thompson Photography