Chandin Geihsler and her family

JUNE 2012 NEWSLETTER: In the Spotlight…Featured uBloomer, Chandin Geihsler

Wedding Show design by Featured uBloomer Chandin Geihsler

Chandin Geihsler and her family

Chandin Geihsler is the owner and lead designer of Studio 3, a wedding & events floral design business in Seattle, WA.  She has been married to her husband, Brian, for 2 years and is mom to their adorable 16 month old daughter, Zoe.

 

 

 

You got your love of flowers as a young girl helping your mom in the garden.  It wasn’t “love at first sight” but you grew to love flowers gradually.  Talk about some of your most cherished memories working with your mom in the flower gardens and some of the things she taught you about flowers.

My mom was in the garden almost every day it seemed.  We joke that she has 2 green thumbs.  I will always cherish when we got to plant wildflowers along the side of our house.  I was used to planting potted flowers, so using seeds was a magical experience.  I think I was around 7 when we planted the wild flowers, I started to pick the seeds out and place them one by one next to each other.  My mom said that wild flowers need to be just that: wild!  She grabbed a handful of seeds and threw them up in the air and they scattered around the bed.  She taught me that flowers, like people, need to be themselves, and not to force them anywhere they wouldn’t naturally be.

You were 15 and at a farmer’s market when you were “introduced” to cut flowers…a fragrant bouquet of sweet peas.  After that, you were hooked.   You loved being surrounded by flowers and responded emotionally…describe how you felt when you were/are around flowers. 

I feel much happier when around flowers!  They remind me that even on a crummy, gloomy day, there’s still a lot of beauty in the world and things to be thankful for.  There’s a popular quote from Benjamin Franklin: “Beer is proof that God loves you and wants you to be happy.” I’d argue that “flowers are proof that God loves you and wants you to be happy.”  I’ll take the beer too, of course.  And dark chocolate.

What did you do to nurture your budding passion for cut flowers?

I tried to have cut flowers around.  I’d get some cuttings from the garden and put them next to my bed.  When I was out and about I’d stop at flower shops and look at and smell all the flowers.

Pink and Green urn design by Chandin Geihsler

You are artistically inclined and had wanted to pursue a degree in art…but it didn’t make sense financially.  So, instead, you went another route and ended up doing book work for a contractor…which made you want to poke your eyes out!  Talk a little about this time in your life.

I tried to go against the grain of who I was and force myself into a career that wasn’t for me.  It was a nightmare!  For me and my coworkers!  This is when I started my floral design business on the side and it allowed me to have a creative outlet, which helped my wellbeing quite a bit.  When I got married my husband encouraged me to pursue floral design full time.  He saw the joy it brought me and loved to hear me get excited about flowers.  I’ll never look back!

About 3 years ago your mom got remarried and, because of your natural skills with color and design, she wanted you to do her flowers.  Talk about what designs you created for your mom…and how that one “flower job” resulted in others asking you to design their wedding flowers as well.

My mom wanted white callas and red roses, so, that’s what I did!  I didn’t know how to do anything, but some videos online helped tremendously! I did a few bouquets and alter pieces.  A couple at the wedding loved them and asked my mom who did her flowers.  They approached me about doing the flowers for their wedding and I happily agreed since I had so much fun with my moms.  Their wedding was huge: a large arch piece, 6 bouquets, bouts, and 25 centerpieces.  I was in over my head!  I discovered ubloom at this point which helped me handle the immense amount of work ahead of me.  I learned a lot, and that I really needed to get more formal floral design education and experience.  That isn’t to say the flowers looked bad — I ended up getting another job from that wedding as well.  But the process and headache I experienced was enough to convince me I needed to know more!  I have learned and grown a ton since then!

Wedding Flowers by Chandin Geihsler

How did you go from doing a couple of weddings…to…starting your own weddings/events business Studio 3 Floral Design?

I kept being referred and loved every minute of it.  It got to the point that I was meeting and talking with people all the time. So, with the encouragement of my husband, we decided that it would be a good move for our family.  Being a studio florist allowed me to stay home with my daughter, do what I love, and make money!

Starting a new business is an exciting but scary prospect.  What fears did you have in starting your new floral biz and how did you overcome those feelings?

Honestly I was afraid of what people would think.  I had no formal floral training, a background in admin and accounting, and I was jumping into something completely different.  I felt inadequate and didn’t want people to think less of me, particularly other professional florists.  I had to realize that other people’s thoughts of who I was and what I was doing had no bearing on who I was and what my abilities were.  If people saw my work and wanted to hire me (which they did) then that was enough. There are always going to be judgmental and less-than-encouraging voices in all aspects of life.  It’s just a matter of knowing what to do with them.

Flowers by Chandin Geihsler of Studio 3 Designs

How did you come up with the name Studio 3 Floral Design?

I came up with the name for a few different reasons.  I wanted something that represented my style and sent the right message to the consumer.  I wanted ‘studio’ to be in the name, since I was a studio florist and didn’t want to confuse people who were looking for a storefront.  The name also sounds more like a boutique florist with custom creations, which is what I do.  The 3 comes from a few places as well; I really enjoy designs with no more than 3 different flowers or 3 different colors.  Having an odd number of flowers always looks better to my eye than even, and I often place flowers in a triangular fashion.  I also believe in a God that is 3 persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  I have 3 people (for now!) in my family.  3 was my soccer number. The number just kept coming up.  So I became Studio 3!

Your friends and family have been a wonderful support base.  However, you did have a few ‘naysayers’ who tried to discourage you from starting your business.  How did you deal with the well meaning but negative “advice” from acquaintances? 

I had a hard time at first.  I wanted to dismiss their comments, say they were negative and discouraging and move on. But I couldn’t let it go, so I looked into what they were saying and took a hard look at myself.  Criticism can either cripple you or it can be a coach, I did my best to turn it into a coach.  Anything that they would criticize I’d look at as objectively as I could, and sometimes they’d have a point.  Even though it was discouraging, some of my better business decisions have come from criticism.  But some people were just plain mean.  I simply ignored the mean people!

 

Bridal Bouquet by Featured uBloom Chandin Geihsler

What were some of the most important pieces of advice or encouragement you received?

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was from my 7th grade art teacher. He said that “anything worth doing is worth doing right” and I’ve used that mentality in my design.  Every time I’m tempted to cut corners because I’m tired or whatever reason, I hear his voice in my head and simply HAVE to do it right.

I have some tried and true friends that will remind me that what I do is great and to keep going.  But seeing the faces and hearing the comments from people who have seen my work has been tremendously encouraging.  I recently was asked to design an arrangement for a booth at the Seattle Wedding Show.  It’s a huge show, all the big names were there, and I received SO many compliments when I brought it in.  From some of the best vendors in the business!

Describe your floral design style.

I would describe my style as “modern-lush with personality.”  I try to not only make beautiful arrangements, but give them a mood or personality as well.  If I’m creating an arrangement for someone, I try to make it represent their personal style well.

Wedding Bouquets by Chandin Geihsler of Studio 3 Designs

What is your favorite flower and why?

Oh man, just one?  I feel like it changes from week to week!  I’m so torn, but I’m going to say the Green and white lady’s slipper orchid.  A few of them in a sea of white sweet peas and I’m on cloud nine!

Color is something you love exploring as an artist….what are your favorite floral color palettes to work with?

Another super tough question! Orange and pink is my most recent favorite, but the tried and true bright green and white color palatte is my longtime favorite.  It’s soothing & elegant, yet can have some spunk as well.

Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?

I live in Seattle (which I am convinced is the most beautiful city in America!) and am often inspired by the landscape.  Most of the time I’ll be at the flower market and see an unusual flower or a beautiful color and I just need to show it off!  Containers inspire me a lot too!  I’ll be out and about and see an amazing pot or vase and envision an arrangement for it.  If I’m lucky, it’s for sale and I can take it home and complete my vision.  If it’s not, then I get to go hunt for something similar.  I absolutely love unique containers!

Peony Bouquet by Chandin Geihsler

Who are some of your favorite designers and floral educators?

Another hard one!  Although they are all very different from each other, I love Preston Bailey, Francoise Weeks, Karen Tran, and Ariella Chezar.  And J is a very good educator!  I have ALWAYS understood what he’s talking about, he’s very clear which is very, very helpful!  I have been dying to take one of Francoise Weeks’ classes, particularly the floral couture class where you learn to make botanical shoes and head pieces.  She might give J a run for his money

If you could work with and learn from ANYONE in the floral industry…who would it be and why?

I’d probably want to learn from Preston Bailey, mostly because I want to know the mechanics behind the SUPER large-scale designs he does.  Or Karen Tran, her bridal bouquets are beyond perfect and always so elegant!

What flowers do find hardest to work with?

I have the hardest time with line flowers like Delphinium, their linear aspect with such small blooms is difficult to work into mixed designs without looking off.  I prefer them in monobotanical designs or with curly willow.

What design style or techniques would you love to learn more about?

I’m always looking to learn!  I’d love to know more about large scale designs.  I’m always nervous that a gust of wind will come up and knock down a chuppuh or large centerpiece.  I also want to learn about using negative space, Ikebana design for example.

Iris Bouquets by Featured uBloomer Chandin Geihsler

What are some of your favorite “accessories” to add to your designs? (wire, crystals, beads, butterflies, etc.) 

I mostly accessorize containers or bouquet handles and let the flowers stand alone.  I’ve been tinkering with wire but haven’t quite mastered the look I’m going for.  I’ve been loving appliques though!  I like to add them to the handles of bouquets or attach them to ribbon wrapped around a vase.  They add so much class and glamour!

Do you have a “signature” bouquet or style?

Not really.  I’m not yet quite certain I want one to be honest!  I’m still mulling it over.  I certainly have my personal aesthetic and style, but I don’t want to get into a designer’s rut and not be able to think outside of the box. I’d rather be known for an ability to create personality/mood with flowers and events, whatever personality/mood the client wants.

Do you still garden and do you grow any of your own flowers to use in your designs?

I’m starting to!  My thumbs aren’t half as green as my moms, but I have some dahlias and Lily of the Valley to plant in my backyard!  I’m looking forward to cutting some and playing with them.

How did you find out about uBloom.com and what is your favorite aspect of uBloom?

I can’t remember how I found out about ubloom, but my favorite aspect is how approachable everything is.  Sometimes the very experienced folks in this industry hoard knowledge and it’s not easy to find people who actually want to teach you.  I think the floral industry is going to survive and develop by people sharing their passion and knowledge!

What music do you like to listen to when designing flowers?

If I’m designing an event I listen to music that matches the mood of the event.  I recently did a formal, elegant wedding and listened to classical music and Frank Sinatra.  It keeps me focused on what I’m trying to communicate with the flowers.  If I’m designing for a dance party I’ll listen to Lady Gaga.  If I’m designing for myself I typically listen to something relaxing, like Iron and Wine or Brooke Waggoner.  If I feel like dancing, it’s typically to my all-time favorite musician, Michael Jackson.

What has been your favorite wedding to design so far?

Does my own count? It was exactly what I wanted, how could it not be my favorite?  I’m going to gush a bit!  I had an acid green, fuchsia and grey color palette and wanted the wedding to be fun and casual.   Brian and I were married on the Seattle Waterfront and had the reception in a Nautical Museum. There was a huge boat coming through the wall!  So fun!  Anyway my bouquet had green and white cymbidium orchids, white freesia, white sweet peas, green hypericum and fern curls.  I was supposed to have Lady’s Slipper orchids, but they didn’t make it from Hawaii.  I was very sad that I didn’t have them, but the cymbidiums were amazing!  Bridesmaids carried green spider mums, hot pink sweet peas, hypericum, and fern curls.  Submerged orchid centerpieces with floating candles were on the tables.  It was very difficult to do my own wedding flowers, even after having many large weddings under my belt!  We had a wonderful time and even had a surprise firework show at the end of the reception!  We lucked out with the fireworks as our wedding fell on the 50th anniversary of a local company who was having a party nearby.

Chandin's Wedding

What has been your most unusual floral request?

I had a bride request a bouquet that could be split into two smaller bouquets that she could give her mom and mother-in-law to keep.  They were going to preserve them and wanted them to be round.  Making a round bouquet with two small round bouquets was certainly a challenge!  It all worked out and the bride was happy! Mission accomplished!

When you aren’t designing with flowers…what do you enjoy doing?

I live a full, vibrant but very low key life!  I like to cook, read, and play with my daughter.  I have the best family I could ever ask for!  They get a majority of my time and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you received $500.00 to use for business purposes…what would you buy?

I’d save it for a course at Flower School in New York!   I would LOVE to take their 3 day intensive wedding course.  And then spend a few weeks in NYC!   I would come home with BOXES of amazing appliques and ribbon.

Ok, last question…Name 3 goals you have for yourself/business and where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

My goals:

Get faster!  I like to take my time and make sure everything is perfect, but time is money.  I’d like to produce the same quality work in less time.

My goal isn’t necessarily to get more events, but more of the events I want to do.

Get published!  This is a long term goal, but I’d like to have my work in a magazine or on a major wedding blog.

Where do I see myself in 5 years?

I’d like to have a big cooler and more kids.  Other than that, I’m set!

Chandin's Wedding Fireworks