We recently caught up with the beautiful Jessica Farrell who is making quite the name for herself in the floral industry with her new company Royal Bee Flower Co. We spoke to her about what drove her to this booming business and how she turned her personal heartaches into fulfilling her soul with work that makes her happy. Here is what she had to share:
AB: Hi Jessica, tell us about how you first got into the bouquet/floral business?
JF: I have always been drawn to all sorts of arts and crafts. I just like putting things together in a beautiful and creative way. I’m also a perfectionist, so most things I do that are artful, are aesthetically pleasing. I have high standards, and expensive taste. My first experience in floral design outside of putting flowers from the garden in a vase, or “fixing” grocery store bouquets, would’ve been 15 years ago.
When I stepped into the LA flower market, I was blown away and totally smitten. It was Christmas time, my favorite time of year and I couldn’t believe how cheap a boat load of flowers were! Or at least red roses and Christmas greens. I spent every Christmas for a few years making arrangements for friends and family as gifts. I then found that I wanted to do more than designing just red roses and coniferous foliage.
I decided to do large arrangements throughout the house for my grandmas 80th birthday party, following that, my best friend got married, then pregnant (baby shower) and I was to do the flowers for those as well -that’s when my talent really came through. A guest at the baby shower mentioned that my designs were superior to those of her friend who studied under a famous florist haha! that was a sweet compliment. I really got creative with flowers, and being that it was spring and early summer there was such a huge variety to choose from!
Unfortunately shortly thereafter, my brother passed away, then my father, then my best friend. I spent all of that time in grief pouring myself into planning and making their memorials extra amazing. I designed more and harder than ever before. I got lost in the flowers and they were my Therapist through this impossible time. They gave me something positive and beautiful to create and do, during a time when it’s hard to find beauty in the world. Even in your darkest moments, you can look at a magical flower and see the beauty that the universe creates. I also felt a strong connection to my loved ones through designing.
I feel this mostly when I let go of my critical side and designed freely, as a meditation. I sometimes ask for help from them when I’m feeling stuck, and frequently push though that wall, not remembering how it all happened. It wasn’t until I was 36, that I was given the idea to start a floral business. I never wanted a flower shop, so although everyone said I should have one, it was off the table. I didn’t know floral event “studios” existed, until a friend offered me a job creating floral for a fundraiser. I came up with the whole plan in a matter of hours -and had a business within minutes -and that was it, I was off and running!
AB: Was it hard to get started? What do you remember the most about your first job?
JF: This business is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I haven’t raised kids yet, I’ll guess it’s pretty close to that. I even got a full ride to USC as a working adult out of community college and graduated with honors summa cum laude, and that wasn’t even this hard. Not even close. The odd thing is that it also feels like the most natural thing to do. I never wanted my own business, as I saw my mom and grandma struggle with their businesses; yes I’m a third generation, female entrepreneur. But I’m also a total leader and a somewhat lack luster follower. I was destined for business ownership, I just didn’t know it. Small business ownership is a job that takes over just about every waking moment. Especially if your driven to succeed and it’s more than a glorified hobby.
This is my passion, and I feel blessed to have found it. I was literally made for every aspect of wedding and event floral design. From speaking with brides about their dream, and deciphering their non-florist talk and pulling these ideas out of their heads -to shopping for flowers -the high stress of getting it all done in an impossible amount of time -before the flowers die, but right when they are perfectly open too! I’ve always been a procrastinator, but it turns out in floral, the whole thing has to be last minute. I’m always at my best under pressure, I’m exhausted all of the time, but filled with so much happiness too. It is so weird when you struggle your whole life fighting everything because waking up to do something that doesn’t spark joy hurts your soul. Then finally finding that thing. It’s miraculous, and you’ll do anything for it! At least I do.
AB: What does working with flowers and brides, mean to you?
JF: It means I get to do what I do best in the whole world every day! It means I get to make people really happy on their most special day, which in turn fills me up with love, excitement and lets be honest, definitely strokes my ego. I get so much joy out of a brides happy tears when she sees her bouquet! All of this means that I finally found my holy grail
AB: What is your most in demand type of bouquet and why?
JF: I create what my client wants, and it seems as though they are attracted to more than just my style, because my brides request all sorts of styles of bouquets. But if I had to pick, I would say the loose and unrefined garden inspired bouquet is my favorite and most popular.
AB: What is one of your favorite jobs to work on so far?
JF: I love every wedding for different reasons. I have the BEST clients and it’s so hard to choose just one. But again if I had to pick, I would choose Pro golfer, Michelle Wie’s wedding. We did a couple of really beautiful installations for it, that were really fun. I love installations because they are somewhat unknown and must be created in a short amount of time, so lots of pressure. Again, I’m a crazy person who loves the pressure and stress of a time crunch, it’s exhilarating!
AB: What do you have coming up soon and what is the most in demand style this wedding season?
JF: I have a bunch of weddings of all different shapes and styles. But installations are quite trendy. I’m lucky that my brides come to me with tons of color and interesting ideas, I only take weddings that excite me!
AB: If you could pick your dream bouquet job or person you would most like to work with who would that be and why?
JF: Hmmm… this is hard. I would love to create a lush and intimate wedding in an old Spanish or Italian villa. I love super over the top, lush yet intimate weddings -over the massive 300+ guest weddings. I like to make new things at every turn, not be stuck making the same centerpiece 30 times. So for me, intimate is more fun than large scale. But I do love creating an ethereal environment with flowers, transforming a space into a whole new world! I would love to work with Jose Villa, we both share a love for beautiful things and mini dachshunds -and Mindy Rice designs. I love her classic but unique style.
AB: Lastly, what would be your best piece of advice for others wanting to start their own business? Especially being a woman, as things can be difficult, sometimes:
JF: I think it’s important to recognize a fire inside of your self. It’s a very hard path and if you want it to fall in your lap you’ll end up disappointed -as that won’t happen. Be prepared to work harder than you ever have and then even harder than that, if you want to succeed. Remember that only you have the skills and talent that you have, don’t let competition get you down. There is plenty to go around and a friendly and happy outlook on you business and competition will always bring you good juju. Other people in your field will be super important to your success -it’s best to befriend them. Also, there are a load of bad days and hard days and days when you want to quit. That’s normal. But we don’t, because this is what keeps our fires lit!
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