Do what you love, and success will follow. That’s a summary of Jeanne Graham’s approach to floral design. It’s one that has brought her tremendous satisfaction. Owner of Blue Sage, she has thirteen years experience, and looks forward to many more.
When asked how she chose floral design as a career, she replied, “I took a job in a flower shop. It was love at first sight. I also began working out of my home.”
For others considering the field as a career move, Jeanne has helpful advice. She said, “My suggestion to someone who wants to design, get a job in a shop processing flowers, learn the different types available, what their seasons are and start playing with the scraps. Hands-on experience really is the only way.”
You may wonder why Jeanne didn’t recommend taking classes in floral design. This is something she learned the hard way. The reason is that it could very well kill any inituitive or natural creative urges you may have with flowers. Jeanne said, “I took some classes at a local school but soon realized that I was not interested in the "wire service" designs they were teaching...ie. flowers shouldn't touch each other...only odd numbers of flowers should be used...every design should have a base of greenery...etc. Designs should be pleasing to the eye... end of story... I prefer not to follow the rules.”
Explaining why her designs are so unique, Jeanne said, “High quality flowers. Our clients always comment on how gorgeous and perfect the flowers we use are. We tend to use very little greenery in most of our designs.”
So far as her favorite flowers are concerned, Jeanne explained, “I love Dutch flowers, the Dutch really know what they are doing when it comes to quality floral products. Most of the flowers we use are from the Netherlands, although we do get a good quantity of our larger
headed roses from South America, and a few choice blooms from local growers.”
Long hours and devotion are required to run a business, but when you’re doing something you love it hardly seems like work. When asked why floral design was so appealing, Jeanne said, “What I like about floral design...that's easy...the beautiful medium I get to work with. I like the feeling of pride I get every time a client sends a thank you or hugs me at the end of the night and tells me how amazing the flowers were. The sense of accomplishment is so
wonderful, knowing that you help make someone’s wedding day that much more memorable.”
Jeanne specializes in wedding and events, including afternoon teas, birthdays, bar and bat mitzvahs. Though she hopes to do so in the future, she presently does not offer workshops and classes on floral design. She explained, “Hopefully soon, but right now we are way too busy with weddings, books and kids!”
In collaboration with her husband, Geoff, a photographer, Jeanne wrote “The Bride’s Bouquet,” a highly acclaimed book published by Phinium Publications. This book belongs in the library of every floral designer.
Jeanne explained why she did the book, “The reason we (my husband and I) decided to do the book was to fill a void in the floral design section of book stores. There are a lot of books on weddings, but usually only a small section of the book is dedicated to floral designs. My husband, who is a professional photographer, mentioned one day that we should create a book geared for professional designers and wedding consultants. We decided to do a simple pictorial book of nothing but bouquets. After putting it on the market for designers and planners the response from brides-to-be has been overwhelming. “The Bride’s Bouquet” was a labor of love for almost two years.”
Jeanne lives in Baltimore with Geoff and daughter Delaney.
In Jeanne’s case, the road less traveled was the one to follow.