Kebbie is married with one daughter and owns a wedding and events floral business called Kebbie Hollingsworth Floral in Pensacola, FL. Kebbie won third place in the uBloomer Flower Design Contest with her “Floral Lamp Centerpiece” project. Here is my exclusive interview with her.
How did you get your start in floral design?
I started out as a delivery driver for a local florist, then I moved my way up to working in the shop as a designer. Now, I own my own wedding and special events business called Kebbie Hollingsworth Floral.
What do you do to stay up with the current trends in design and mechanics?
I read and study books and magazines A LOT! I also attend design classes. I have been taught by some of the best in the business including Phil Rulloda and J. Schwanke.
I see that you have earned the prestigious AIFD title. Tell me a bit about that.
Well, I earned my AIFD certification in 2002. The process to become certified took place in 2 phases. First, I had to submit a picture portfolio of my best designs. For that, I chose 5 tropical wedding design pictures. In the second phase of the program, I had to create 5 floral pieces in 4 hours. The catch was that you had to use the flowers and supplies that the AIFD committee provided and you had to come up with your own designs.
Wow, that sounds intimidating!
I was doing fine until I ran into a little snag. I had decided to make a sympathy wreath out of the grapevine the committee had given me. But when I picked up the “grapevine” to start working, to my dismay it turned out to be just a bundle of sticks! I had to think fast to re-work my design. I thought it was the weakest of the 5 designs I made, but it ended up scoring the highest marks!
Let’s talk a little about the project that won you third place in the uBloomer Flower Design Contest. How did you come up the Floral Lamp Centerpiece?
I made 15 of them for a wedding I did back in May. The reception took place poolside towards evening and the venue needed some lighting. The floral lamps served as both beautiful table centerpieces and ambient lighting.
Were you surprised that the floral lamp project was so popular with uBloomers?
Tell me more about the mechanics of your design.
Well, with 15 floral floral lamps to make, I wanted to try and cut down on costs by not using the “frogs” (which are expensive) to hold the Cymbidium Orchids in place. Unfortunately, the orchids started floating in the water filled cylinders. So, I came up with the idea to wrap wire around the orchid stem, and, lo and behold, the weight of the wire held the orchids in place! It was a cheap and easy solution to using floral frogs.
What is your favorite design to make?
I love creating a wedding bouquet that makes the bride cry (in a good way) when she sees it! I want to make something that is exactly what she was envisioning or even better.
If money was no object, what style wedding would you love to do?
Well, I’ve already done my “dream” wedding, just on a smaller scale. I pave’d a sweetheart table top with hot pink and orange flowers (plus a touch of lime green) over black linens. I would love to do this on a larger scale, decorating more tables pave’ style with orchids and crystals hanging from the ceiling over the tables.
Who or what inspires you?
For each wedding that I do, I am inspired by the brides vision and personality. I want the flowers and decor to reflect her style. I really enjoy working with brides who have a “funky” vibe. I always draw inspiration from J and his passion for flowers. I am also influenced by 2 other great designers; Matt Wood from San Francisco and Ron Mulray, a wonderful designer whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with personally.
Are there any Florists websites that you consider the “ideal?”
Square Root and Wiggy Flowers
What is your favorite flower?
Orange Star of Bethlehem. It is an unusual flower that is simple, has great lines, and lasts forever! I love how it starts out kind of plain looking, but then it turns into something very beautiful.
What is your favorite JTV webisode?
The one where J is visiting a lavender farm in Hawaii. The episode is very “him.” I admire the way J interacts with people (it was filmed with a live audience) and how they respond to him.
Besides your business, how else are you involved in the floral industry?
I teach floral design classes and seminars. I am also a consultant for floral related businesses. I am on the Flora Craft advisory board and I’m getting ready to do work with Amy’s Orchids.
Tell me something unusual/amusing about yourself that you think uBloomers would like to know.
I have spent tens of thousands of dollars doing every type of craft known to man. You name it, I’ve done it! Boy, was my husband ever-so-happy when I started actually EARNING money from my crafts!