Field to Vase Editor Kendra Aronson here! I’m starting a new bimonthly Q & A column on the blog to showcase florists that I highly admire in the field-to-vase movement. To kick things off I sat down with Carla Wingett and Karen Irwin, Co-Owners and Creative Directors of Huckleberry Market in San Luis Obispo, California. Huckleberry Market is a unique trifecta: one part florist, one part modern gift shop, and one part workshop space. First, the floral side of their business offers fresh bouquets, local flower deliveries, and flower memberships to local businesses and residences; they also provide full service floral design for weddings and events. Second, the retail goodies on their shelves are well-curated and highly sought-after: Rifle Paper Co. greeting cards, larger-than-life tillandsias from Grow Nursery, Falcon enamelware serving trays and tumblers, Knot & Bow party packaging and office supplies, minimalistic geometric Little Korboose pillows, small batch granola from Grrrnola and small batch coffee from Handlebar Coffee Roasters…just to name a few! It’s the perfect one-stop shop for adding those fun touches when throwing intimate gatherings, sending little gifts to dear friends, or giving something special to a party hostess. One can even send flowers and retail goodies at the same time with their gift box deliveries! Tip: swap the flowers for plants and you got yourself a great man gift! Genius. Third, Huckleberry Market has become the go-to hub for creative DIY workshops on the Central Coast. In the past they have offered workshops on screen printing and floral design; and coming up in December they are offering workshops on hand lettering, iPhone photography, and cheese plating! Both Carla Wingett and Karen Irwin are an artistic tour de force and I’m so excited to share with you our Q & A interview below! Enjoy!
Q & A with the Editor &
Field to Vase Florist Huckleberry Market
How did you two meet?
We started out working together at a little flower shop in town, and realized we had almost the same exact style and love of all things crafty.
How and when did you start your floral business?
Huckleberry Market started out of our garages, before we had our new shop, after the flower shop we’d been working at together sold. We did weekly deliveries to local businesses and worked on renovating the building we moved into in the summer.
What inspired you two to become florists?
We’re both very into entertaining and making living environments and events special, and for both of us flowers are a very important piece of that. It’s so hard to replace this delicate, living element with anything else.
Where do your source your flowers?
Huckleberry Market sources its flowers from California growers, from all over. We work with a lot of different sources to get as much variety as possible, and we also forage for wild greens as much as possible. We’d much rather cut from our own gardens or friends’ gardens for unique, seasonal greens right here in town than have anything shipped.
What does it mean to you to be part of the field-to-vase movement?
We’re so happy that Field to Vase has taken on this very necessary moment back to locally grown flowers, and we’re honored to be associated with it. We work individually with each customer to educate them on the importance and benefits of using seasonal and local products, but Field to Vase is taking this conversation to a much larger scale, and we’re so grateful for their hard work and vision.
What sets you and your business apart from other local florists?
Huckleberry Market is not only a florist, we hope to provide our customers and brides with everything they might need to entertain or prepare for an event. We also love to work with brides who have decided to do all of the work themselves, we offer floral design training and all of the supplies they need to put their own flowers together.
What is your design philosophy when it comes to arranging flowers?
We love the way plants grow naturally, and so we like to let the flowers fall into the shapes they want, in natural and somewhat wild ways.
How do you describe your flower arranging style?
Our style is a freshly picked from the garden, organic, and simple.
What are your favorite springtime flowers and why?
Our favorite spring flowers are those that remind us of our beautiful California landscape. Lupines, poppies, and sweet peas all have such great natural forms that they look so pretty just on their own.
What is the most exciting or challenging aspect about designing with seasonal flowers?
We love working with seasonal flowers for so many reasons, it just makes more sense environmentally and economically. The best part is that they change, which is so much more fun than working with the same elements all year.