n this chaotic, fast-paced world we live in, I oftentimes forget about the beauty that surrounds us every day. But others, like the ladies of Gypsy Floral + Events, have not only embraced nature’s beauty, but have found a way to harness it time and time again into floral works of art.
Gypsy Floral + Events founders Sunni Graham and Emily Reid found their way to floral design in very different ways. Reid, the daughter of a florist, has had her hands in the flower industry since she was old enough to walk.
Graham, on the other hand, hails from Lubbock, Texas, where lush greenery is few and far between — it wasn’t until a botany class in college that she discovered her love for flowers.
Initially, Graham and Reid were each operating their own businesses, but fate (in the form of friends and family) brought the pair together in 2010. As Graham describes it, “It’s hard to find someone that you are compatible with artistically – someone that shares a similar vision and appreciates the same aesthetic.” For the two Texas natives, the compatibility was too much to ignore. They fell in “flower love” and Gypsy Floral + Events became the flourishing boutique that it is today.
“In the way that art as a beautiful painting or sculpture can elicit an emotion from me, flowers do the same thing.”
-Sunni Graham, Co-Founder, GYPSY FLORAL + EVENTS
The duo defines their artistic style as “Luxe Bohemian,” but it’s difficult to capture the true essence of their work in just two words. To me, Gypsy Floral embodies all that is Austin in one perfectly created floral arrangement: it’s lyrical and free, naturally artful, and bursting with energy. Graham and Reid see flowers as more than nature – to them, flowers are nature’s art. “In the way that art as a beautiful painting or sculpture can elicit an emotion from me, flowers do the same thing,” says Graham.
But more than emotion, Gypsy Floral is focused on ensuring that their work tells the right story. That’s a big thing for Graham and Reid. Not only does the duo spend ample time collecting the history from a client in order to bring that story into their flower or event design, they’ll also work tirelessly to push that story a step further, into the blooms themselves. Reid is a firm believer that each flower has its specific space in an arrangement and its own story to tell, and with each arrangement, the pair is trying to make sure that the story is understood.
Much like a painter would consider color palette, composition, and texture when perfecting their craft, so do Emily and Sunni. To them, the story goes further than just flowers. It’s the vase; it’s the greenery; it’s the additional elements like produce or ribbon that enhance the finished piece. “There are so many things that are not flowers, but look beautiful with flowers,” Graham said. “We like to pull all those resources together and try to create something that is even more unique than it would have been just as flowers.”
Graham and Reid pride themselves on thinking through every element of an arrangement or event in order to bring flowers to life in a way that people don’t normally think about. And they want to share that way of thinking, too, through their pop-up shops and educational classes both local and abroad. In the past, Gypsy Floral has hosted a Valentine’s Day pop-up shop at Mockingbird Domestics and taught a floral education class at Nannie Inez. And just this summer, Reid flew all the way to Australia to teach a class on making flower crowns at this year’s Splendour in the Grass festival.
In Graham’s mind, each flower should have its moment to reach out and be special, not just one in a bunch (or a crown). As self-proclaimed flower lovers, the ladies of Gypsy Floral are committed to sharing that moment with as many people as possible… and in just five short years, they’ve done a darn good job of letting each “floral moment” shine.
“The natural beauty of Austin is really inspirational to us. We don’t really work with wildflowers because they don’t always work as well as cut flowers, but the natural color palette you see in the spring when driving down the road is very inspiring; something we often incorporate into a design proposal.”
Tips of the Trade
What are your top three tips for creating professional-looking arrangements?
1.“A footed vessel always helps,even if it’s a spare sugar bowl or candy dish. Something with a bit of a leg allows for more lyricism to the overall design.”
2.“Always use three different kinds of greenery.One large bloom, some filler that is smaller and more compact, and something with movement like tulips or a ranunculus.”
3.“Don’t be afraid to experiment.Even when using a store-bought bouquet, go out into the neighborhood and clip greenery to add to the arrangement.”
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10AM-6PM, Sunday: 12PM – 5PM
Writing by: Rachael Genson – @rmgenson
Photography by: Lauren Ussery & Adrienne Dever
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