Meet Caroline Lahti, founder of Florabrook – a NYC based floral and plant design company providing custom designs for a botanical experience.
Caroline took over our IGTV to show you how to create the bouquet of your dreams using only greens from your garden. Or your grandma’s garden, we won’t tell. Watch the tutorial below.
Photo: Courtesy of Caroline
Caroline Talks Inspiration and Adaptation
WC: How have the last few months changed the way you think about running your business?
C: Everything has changed for us. Pre–March we had multiple weekly accounts where we would switch out flowers for businesses on a regular basis. We also had constant events. I lived in downtown Manhattan and was waking up at 5 am most days in order to get everything done. When that ended (very abruptly), I decided to create a collection of dried flower bouquets to sell on my website, really just for fun while “things passed” (which I and most thought would be a week or two). Almost 6 months later, my business has completely shifted to an online dried flower shipping business (with the occasional small event here and there). It has really opened my eyes to a different avenue I can take. Before, we were only able to serve NYC locally, and now we’re able to send bouquets nationwide. It’s truly a whole new world. I have moved an hour outside the city and have a house and a car (coming from one bedroom apt this is crazy), something I never thought was possible. If and when regular business comes back, I now pretty much have a whole other business on top of it!
WC: What are your top tips for healthy & thriving plants? Asking for a friend…
C: 1) Plants need drainage holes. Most decorative pots that are sold have no hole in the bottom. This means, when you water the plant, the water collects at the bottom and soil gets bacteria causing the roots to rot. This smells bad and ultimately kills the plant. To get around this, I leave plants in the plastic pot they come in, drop them into a nice decorative pot and cover the top with moss so it looks planted. This way, you’re still able to dump water out after watering.
2) You can water plants the perfect amount, but the humidity in the room also matters. You can't keep a cactus in a moist bathroom because the environment they like is very dry. Same that you can’t leave a fern next to your hot heater, it will dry right up because they live in very humid areas. If you’re unsure which your plant likes, Google it! Then move it accordingly.
WC: Inspiration can be fickle- what feeds yours?
C: I’d say rest feeds me. I’m one of the lucky ones who is completely passionate about what they do. My work is probably my favourite thing to do in this world, but there are times when I’m so overwhelmed whether it be with many orders to fill, or lots of events in a day. All I want is to fall on my face and it becomes stressful, not fun. Taking time to myself–even if it’s seeing a friend for 2 hours, taking a drive, having someone else cover me for a day–makes me miss it and allows me to clear my mind, so when I’m back I’m back.
Nature itself speaks to me as well. I’ll see a beautiful sunset with pink and blue with tan, or a field of sage green with yellow and beige dead flowers, and I’m like–that colour scheme is perfect–then I’ll make a bouquet reflecting it. Maybe that sounds overly artsy, but it’s true.
WC: What importance does having a female team mean to you?
C: Being surrounded by females during the work day is certainly empowering. We really are a team and always supporting one another even just something going on personally. I miss seeing them everyday, I feel like I lost my therapists.
WC: The eternalness of a dried bouquet is quite poetic, how does this notion resonate with you?
C: It’s funny, a lot of cards people write to attach with our dried flowers say something like “my love will last forever, just like these flowers”. I think part of what makes fresh flowers so special is the fact that they’re fleeting and only look perfect for a short snippet of time. With dried flowers, giving them to someone is special in a different sense. It freezes that moment in time. I’ve even done dried wedding bouquets, and I’m like –wow what a concept, that you’re able to keep your wedding bouquet forever–hold it, look at it, keep it next to your bed, how special is that?
WC: What have you been thinking about lately?
C: I bought a 3 family house and moved less than a week ago. I have no furniture and there’s a lot of renovating to do. It’s such a chaotic time and mainly I’m stressed at all times, but I’m trying to enjoy this time period and appreciate the excitement behind it. The shift from city apartment life (for the last 7 years) to suburban home life is so different and I’m constantly comparing them. I don’t think one is better than the other, they are just just very different. I try to focus on the positives of the new normal, and not dwell on what I miss from old life. So much to look forward to!