What’s better than one floral designer? Two floral designers. What’s better than two floral designers? Two floral designers with hearts of gold and buckets of talent.
Jess and Vanessa are the poster children for successful creative collaborations. Initially meeting on social media, and shortly after meeting in person in Portland, these two became soul sisters. After some conversations and chats about the floral industry they are a part of, Jess and Vanessa decided to team up and put together a workshop. Their workshop, Veil, will be a floral designers retreat full of inspiration, practical learning, and soul-filling conversation.
I know this because I had the pleasure of meeting Jess and Vanessa in Newport beach just a few weeks ago. It was one of those “we’re friends on instagram but we should be friends in real life” moments. I drove up to their quaint Airbnb to photograph their process and portraits. We then took a short road trip to Temecula where I was able to see first hand the hustle and creativity these two showed as they put together incredible wedding arrangements and installations.
Scroll below to view some images of our day together as well as their thoughts on being a floral designer, their visions for the workshop, and where they find their inspiration.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and how your floral design business came to be?
Jess – I am Oak + Ash and my floral design business was brought to life after the birth of my daughter. Her presence in my life encouraged me to pursue my creativity… I want her to grow up knowing that she was what breathed life into this pursuit. Flowers have always been something I’ve connected to, and naturally… the business I fell for.
Vanessa – Tribes N Pines began in Portland, Oregon in 2013 as I was dabbling in hand lettering. Being a florist wasn’t even on my radar until I began planning my wedding. The first time I handled flowers was when I made a flower crown for my bridal shower. I went online, watched a video on how to do it, and attempted to mimic the tutorial! My second experience was making the flower crown I wore on my wedding day. Soon after this I was being asked by my friends to provide flower crowns and then flower arrangements for their events and weddings. In all these instances I blindly said YES (without knowing what I was doing) and watched videos and read books on how to arrange. Tribes N Pines has been such a journey of saying YES and then figuring out HOW. I slowly began to grow into who I am today. I began believing I could and so I did.
What’s your favorite part of being a floral designer?
Jess – Goodness. My favorite part… that is so hard. I love the challenge that flowers bring. They’re wild. They’re delicate… their beauty is fleeting. There is no one flower perfectly alike. Just like there is no one arrangement that is alike. I guess I would say that my favorite part of being a designer is the uncertainty. I thrive off of creative challenges, and no matter how hard I try to plan, sometimes things just don’t go that way, and nine time out of ten… something beautiful is brought from that.
Vanessa – I love building relationships with my clients and creating with them. Sometimes I plan a wedding for over a year with a bride and we can’t help but become friends! Ideas are tossed back and forth and I’m proud to see the final installment of those ideas come to life on the day of the event. I always feel a sense of finality and achievement on those days. It’s also fun to relive it through photos and relationship afterwards!
How did you two meet and what inspired you to collaborate on the Veil workshop?
Jess- I reached out to Vanessa over Instagram while on a trip to Portland with my family. We instantly connected, and our friendship began. Veil is a product of our desire to seek community in this business, as well as meaningful relationships. Veil is essentially our love child. Haha. Combining our knowledge, our experiences and our love for florals to share with the world. We are not claiming to know it all, we fully expect to learn from our students just as we hope they learn from us.
What is your vision for Veil? What do you hope to inspire through it?
Jess- I briefly touched on this in [the previous question]. Our vision for Veil is to come together. Different aesthetics, different experiences, different backgrounds all combining to create community. We all have something to offer each other. We all are on a journey to find our worth in this business. Veil is a space we’re creating and opening up for creativity, conversation and connection. We want to help you grow. We want to ask you hard questions… we want to push you creatively. Those are the expectations we’ve set for ourselves.
What do you love most about collaborations?
Jess – I’m still a bit young in the collaboration arena… but don’t worry, I have things in the works. I believe collaborations are essential. Not just for networking, but also to remind us that we are not a one woman show. Coming together and working in a team dynamic stretches communication skills… it opens you up to new ideas and concepts.
Vanessa – Collaborations are essential to having a healthy thriving business! You CAN be a floral designer and never collaborate with another florist or creative BUT to have people to bounce ideas off of and to dream with is so important! Not only for growth but for affirmation. If I didn’t have a dialogue with other like-minded people I would have given up a long time ago on this business. It is HARD and there’s mistakes that we’ll make along the way (as we are imperfect humans) and we WILL need some help. When I started reaching out to others (which was terrifying because I was shy) it changed everything for me. I came out of my shell and into a confidence I’d never had before. I am where I am today because of community and collaboration!
What’s been inspiring you lately?
Jess – Lately, my inspiration has come from the change of seasons. It’s a pretty generic answer, but I’m always jotting down tons of ideas as spring hits. The trees bearing blooms, the sweet smell in the air… it’s sensory overload. I’m currently dreaming up an install completely out of Spirea, I’m not sure when it will come to life but thanks to spring it will happen some day.
Vanessa – So many different things! My friends who are creating lovely work spaces, art, and homes. Other florists who manage to design shapes that break through the boundaries I have in my mind. The colors of Portland. The colors that scare me. Clothes. Those handmade perfect linen clothes that I want but can’t afford. Bridges. Buildings. Windows. Always coffee.
I try and take in all the good beautiful inspirational things, light a candle, listen to music, and let the design flow. For me, I have to get in the right headspace to arrange flowers. (That’s why I don’t arrange at home because my cat drives me crazy. He’s actually a panther living in a little cat body.)