We have quite a treat for everyone today! An interview with Holly Heider Chapple, florist extraordinaire and, incidentally, one of my fellow WeddingAces. Holly, I hope you're ready for some tough questions -- here we go!
How did you get started in the wedding business? I have a inherited love of flowers. Truly! My parents have owned garden centers all of my life, and I started helping them when I was a child. I married at the age of 21, and the property we purchased was loaded with Lilacs, Peonies, Hydrangea and countless other yummy blossoms. People began asking me to design for weddings, so I started my business. I wanted a home based business so that I could be home with my children. It is 22 years later and we are still in the same house, enjoying the same gardens, and we just had our seventh child.
What do you do when you are not working? I am ashamed to admit that I work seven days a week. My business requires constant care, and the rest of my time is for family. I volunteer in the community on several boards, and volunteer in a juvenile detention center when my schedule permits.
How would you describe your approach to weddings? I approach everything in my life whole heartedly -- I give, and I give. I love my brides and I want them squealing with delight when they see their flowers. I make certain that I listen to my brides and I decipher exactly what they are looking for. If they do not know what they want, it is my job to help them figure it out.
What inspires you in your work? Firstly it is making my clients happy. My blog, The Full Bouquet, has been inspiring a lot of new creations and relationships. In the past, I didn't play with my leftover flowers, but now I am creating things because the blog gives me a way to share them. It is causing me to constantly search for new ideas. I have done several bouquets for photo shoots lately and every blossom was literally off of my property. The blog is also creating a desire in me to be a photographer and a writer, and making me think about making a piece just for the challenge.
What do you find the most rewarding about your job? I love seeing the bridal bouquet come together -- sometimes it just feels like magic. When it is just right, there is a lot of screaming and whooping it up. It is also amazing to me that my business continues to grow and grow. I have been designing for 17 years, the work just keeps taking me to new places.
What's the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business? We can do anything. Seriously!
What do you think sets your company apart from other florists? Although we have become a fairly large business and handle many weddings a year, I remain the primary contact. This ensures that the bride gets exactly what she wants and leaves so much less room for error. In terms of practicality, it may mean a bride might need to wait a little longer for a phone call back, but nothing about her wishes and wants will get lost in the translation. This allows me to develop a true relationship with my brides. I feel what my brides wants as I create a design, it is magic. I simply care beyond any explanation.
What do you love about weddings? I love my brides, I love working in incredible spaces. I love creating the desired look a family is going for. I love putting the last blossom in place and knowing it is just perfect. I love when my bride first lays eyes on her bouquet.
What do you hate about weddings? I hate breaking down the event. After working for four days straight I am usually too tired to stay up until the wee hours of the morning to pick up rentals. I also hate the fact that the end of the event is often the end of my relationship with the family.
What is the coolest thing you've ever seen at a wedding? One time we did arrangements so large we had to use my parents' 6 horse trailer to get the flowers to the event. They were so large I thought they might take down the tables. The client had a true circus tent, and the arrangements were so tall you could barely see the top of the design. It was incredible!
What's the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding? Pick vendors that will truly listen to you. If a vendor is blowing off your wishes in a consultation, you can bet they will continue that behavior throughout the process. From the cake baker to wedding planner, you will want to choose vendors who make you feel as if your wishes are not only heard but honored.
Who is your favorite artist or band? Right now, I love Blind Pilot and Colbie Caillat.
What is the worst song of all time? "Rock Lobster" by the B-52's.
Open mic, final thoughts: I just wanted to thank Evan for asking me to share about what I so very much love. I hope everyone planning a wedding has the day of their dreams. Remember -- it is about the marriage and the life that you will share. Keep that as the priority, and everything else will be fun.
[EVAN] Thanks, Holly! Some great advice there, and you're welcome -- it's obvious that you're passionate about your clients and your work, and that is a fabulous combination in this business!