Not sure about you, but when I have fresh cut flowers in my home, in my studio, or at an event, I feel inspired. Flowers can evoke a feeling of love, happiness, and joy–especially when given to you by that special someone.
I’ve been so eager to share this sweet interview + these amazing photos. Aly’s story, from dream to reality, is an inspiration to aspiring artists, florists, or entrepreneurs. I hope you enjoy her story, and do feel free to peruse her site for more amazing arrangements.
Amber – The Inspiration Den // Aly Morford – The Vines Leaf
Amber: Can you tell our readers the story of The Vine’s Leaf and the Journey it has taken to get where it is today?
Aly: My dream of being an entrepreneur started at a very young age and has never stopped growing. I always knew that I wanted to own some kind of downtown shop and be within the hustle and bustle of the people. When I was in college, I started a college job at a busy flower shop in the heart of San Luis Obispo and fell in love from the very first moment. I kind of created my own perfect curriculum through my college experience and earned my degree at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in Agricultural Business Marketing with a minor in Ornamental Horticulture, while learning everything first hand through the flower shop. Everything about those 4 (ok, maybe 5) years in college molded my career and the path it would take. After I graduated, I decided it was time to head back down to Southern California and start planting my roots. I dove right into the Orange County Wedding Industry with a super busy Newport Beach wedding florist and loved every second of it! I realized how much I DIDN’T know the second that I started. You see, I was working at a flower shop, NOT a wedding florist before…two totally different things! By day I was soaking up every bit of experience that I could and by night, I was writing my business plan for The Vine’s Leaf. Fast forward a year later, I was signing a lease for a beautiful new shop in San Clemente…I was ELATED, my dream was coming true! Hold on, not so fast…Three months into our lease, the economy decided to take a nose dive and was down for the count….beginnings of a very tough year. We tried to ride it out in the retail market, but being brand new and in a very new area there was just no way to make it work. The positive side to all of this was that despite a major lack in retail business, by wedding business was booming! If ever there was a silver lining this was it. We decided to close our doors to the shop and re-establish the business as “The Vine’s Leaf, Custom Blooms” specializing in weddings and events. As hard as it was to say goodbye to the shop that I built my dreams on and put my blood, sweat and tears into (literally ALL three) it was the best move I ever made, personally, financially, and spiritually. I have now fully immersed myself into the wedding industry and can totally focus on growing this business into exactly what I want…it’s invigorating and exciting to watch it blossom. I love working one on one with my Bride’s, building relationships with the many fabulous wedding folks, and having the energy and resources to be fully creative again and most of all, I love the flexibility that it gives me with my family.
Amber: How do you get inspired when creating a new design?
Aly: I can be inspired by SO many things! When I am working with a Bride, I am inspired by her personal style as well as the existing elements of where she is getting married. I blend those two things in my mind and somehow a vision appears. A Bride can be super feminine and soft with an ethereal feel to her, or she can be kind of funky and cool with a unique vibe to her and literally ANYTHING in between! …In my head I relate all of those things to the flowers and design and the look that we can create through them. For me personally, natural beauty inspires me…I love designing with naturally beautiful things and pops of live color. I love textures, I LOVE live plants and orchids everywhere. I love the bright colors of fresh fruit in big bowls, sunlight and fresh air. I am constantly moving things around and re-desinging every corner of my house so that it can feel “Alive”.
Amber: How does The Vine’s Leaf studio inspire your work? Do you have a favorite piece of studio decor?
Aly: My work studio is located in the back of my home, so the closest thing to me while we work is my garden and my family in the front of the house. ..I would say that one of my FAVORITE pieces of “studio decor” is my garden. It is filled with fruit trees, magnolias and olive trees with vegetable and wildflower gardens lining the walk out to the studio. I will often get cuttings from the garden to use in boutonnieres and corsages. I Love it! My other favorite piece of “studio decor” would be my little girl. I love that I get to see her periodically while we work. She loves flowers and I love that I will get to share my art with her as she grows up. She inspires me to be a better person in every sense of the word and that bleeds into every aspect of my life…she is my little living inspiration.
Amber: Do you have a favorite color pallett or flower that you like to work with?
Aly: Right now my favorite color palette is a blend of peaches, pinks and that warm red. I love to work with textured flowers and natural greenery. If you made me pick a favorite flower, I don’t know that I could…I love them all so differently but so equally!!
Amber: How do you describe your work? What sets you apart from other florists?
Aly: I would describe my work as natural, organic and elegant, but also versatile. I am able to adapt style and flowers to wherever it might be that we need them, but still staying within the overall vibe that I possess. I have a true and deep passion for what I do and I think that people can feel that when we meet. I love what I do and love growing in this career and I think that sets me apart. The flowers are always going to be beautiful in themselves, the true art is in learning how to connect with the people who you get to work with.
Amber: Any advice for any artists/florists just starting their company or creative journey’s?
Aly: My advice to others starting their creative journeys would be to be patient…VERY patient. It takes a lot of hard work, time, and effort to build a creative career. Every year is better and different from the last, but know that you will not just arrive to your perfect place right away. You have to be willing to grow and learn at all times, otherwise you become stagnant in your journey and in life. I would also say to try your HARDEST to not compare yourselves to other people’s journeys, which this is still something that I am trying to learn and improve on. Everyone goes through the same ups and downs, just all at different times and maybe in different ways, we are human. Be your true self and build your business on that, everything else will fail or fall flat, simply because it just isn’t you. Be confident in the fact that you know that you have something PHENOMENAL to offer people!! Most importantly, I would advise to strive for balance with work and life. To be something amazing and to keep your creativity flowing, I believe that you have to feel balanced and not burnt out on either end. It will probably take me a long time to perfect that part, but just knowing that it is one of my main goals has helped me immensely in work and at home.