We met with Summer from Summer Robbins Flowers for this Member Spotlight. Read on to find out about how Summer started her boutique floral design studio here in Central Oregon and what she thinks will be trending for wedding flowers in 2016.
1) How did you get into working with flowers?
I have always been in love with flowers and whenever I would receive flowers from a friend for a special occasion, it was my most favorite thing. I used to buy flowers for myself every week when I was a fashion designer, just to brighten my desk at work and give me peace from the stresses of every day.
Nearly 6 years ago, my husband and I got engaged and decided to DIY everything. Instagram wasn’t around and Pinterest was in its infancy, so for inspiration, I stalked floral designers’ blogs. Flowers became my inspiration for the entire event. The color palette, decor, invitations, and favors were all inspired by the flowers that I wanted to use. Unpacking boxes and boxes of gorgeously fragrant blooms that we had ordered from a wholesaler the morning before the wedding was intoxicating. I still have photos of that day that I look back on and realize that’s really when my flower journey began.
It took a while before pursuing floral design as an occupation actually became a reality for me. I had a successful career that paid well and we decided to have children right away after we were married. I felt a deep responsibility to provide for my family and give them the best life they could possibly have. Having our two little boys put everything into perspective for me. Life started to move at the speed of light. I worked a lot and was out of the house up to 12 hours a day, so I was literally missing out on my boys’ childhood. It was very difficult for me and I knew I needed a change.
I started to take floral design classes after work and completely fell in love. My whole body just hummed with happiness while I worked with flowers and I knew immediately that I wanted to pursue flowers as my next career path. With my husband’s blessing, within a matter of months I had quit my job and thrown myself whole heartedly into learning technique from some of the best designers in the country. I felt that I had spent 4 years at design school to become a fashion designer, so devoting 1 year to learning the art of floral design was reasonable. I took literally ever class I could possibly take within that year from every floral designer who offered a class in New York. I read every book on floral design and the floral industry I could. I apprenticed with some of the most respected floral designers in the city and soaked up as much as I possibly could, with the ultimate goal of having my own business.
So now here I am, doing just that, and in beautiful Bend to boot. Life is good. 🙂
2) Where do you get your inspiration?
I get inspiration from everywhere… Books, magazines, music, photography, art, Instagram, fashion, my family, my mentors, and of course my friends. My biggest inspiration is each of my individual clients, because they are all SO different. Each person has a different vision and it’s always my challenge and goal to exceed their expectations and my own. That’s what keeps me inspired.
3) If there was one thing you couldn’t do without, what would it be?
I can’t do without color. It is my favorite thing in the whole wide world. I love playing with it, creating it, and mixing it up.
4) Who is your ideal client?
Well, that’s pretty simple. My ideal client is someone who trusts me to do my job and appreciates the work that I do for them.
5) Do you work with any local growers?
I do work with a few local growers and I want to work with more. I’m still new to town, but I made sure to find local flower farms even before I moved here that I could develop relationships with. I’m very passionate about supporting locally and domestically grown flowers. 85% of this country’s flowers are grown in other countries, most of which don’t have the same type of regulations on pesticides that we do in this country to protect flower workers, the environment, and consumers. The farms I work with here in Central Oregon grow beautiful floral varieties that are hearty and have a good vase life. I’ve been really impressed with what the local floral farms have to offer and am really happy to have their partnerships for next year’s wedding season.
6) What is your favorite type of flower to work with?
I never thought I’d say this, but roses are my favorite flowers to work with. Before I started working with flowers, I wasn’t really into roses, but then I learned about all of the different varieties, and they just stole my heart. Roses ship well, they have a long vase life, and most are reasonably priced, so they are a good investment.
7) What do you see trending for 2016?
I feel that couples are infusing a lot of personal details into their weddings for 2016. There’s no rule book anymore and the more unique the better. Color also seems to be a trend for 2016. Color palettes are becoming more and more diverse and beautiful. Organic and garden-inspired floral arrangements continue to trend, but I think most couples tend to the classic, rather than the more wild editorial versions that are featured on Instagram, blogs, and magazines. Also, the bouquet tossing tradition seems to be going by the wayside. Most brides are choosing to keep their bouquets as a souvenir instead of tossing them. Some opt for a toss bouquet, but others are deciding that they’d rather not single out their single friends by carrying on the tradition.
8) Anything else we should know about you?
Hmm… I’m not so good at asking myself questions. So, I’ll say no. :)