This post is part of a series of interviews with Lady Boss hostesses.
Amy Young of Wild Stems (formerly known as Leaves of Grass Floral Design) is hosting our February Lady Boss event at her Fishtown studio in Philadelphia, PA — and we can't wait! Creativity (and flowers) drip from Amy's fingertips. She's known for her over-the-top floral installations — transforming the inside to feel like the outside. Check out some images from her portfolio below and get to know this lady!
LET'S GET TO KNOW THIS LADY:
Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Right now, banana avocado smoothies... I'm pregnant!
Q: Guilty pleasure?
A: Jumping on the bed, singing old eighties songs into a hairbrush. Also, making up adorable sounding guilty pleasures.
Q: What are you listening to lately?
A: Wildly eclectic Spotify playlists when I'm writing proposals, and The Bully Pulpit on audiobook when I'm commuting to and from Philly and Lancaster.
Q: Who are you crushing on?
A: My husband... seriously! He joined the flower business as a partner a couple months ago, and it's been incredible. So he's my crush. Him... and Gael Garcia Bernal...
Q: Current mantra?
A: Keep On Going Don't Stop Keep On Going Don't Stop Keep On Going Don't Stop....
WHAT MAKES HER A BOSS:
Q: What do you do?
A: I run a floral and event design business called Wild Stems! Mostly, we peddle weddings, attracting the kind of couple who actually LIKES to listen to me ramble rapturousIy about how lucky they are, because baby pears and japanese anemones and clematis vine are in season for their wedding. Definitely no domes of pink roses coming out of our studio! I also like to drive around endlessly, foraging for weeds, vines and branches, so I can hang them all over pristine wedding venues (no, that was not a beetle on your bread plate... you're imagining things). I take long walks in the woods and consider what I might be able to make a centerpiece out of. My team is very happy that I've recently moved on from my "large moss-covered rocks as candle holders" phase. Again, NO, that was NOT a beetle on your bread plate!
Q: Tell us about a project you recently wrapped
A: We did a pretty cool installation this fall, where we suspended huge radiator covers above the room, and filled them with piles of lights, tangled up with locally grown amarathus, olive branches and hydrangea. But in winter, our projects are pretty boring (website upgrades, bookkeeping, proposal writing). Tedious, but important — it sets us up for a successful year! I do have a very ambitious idea for a floral and ice chandelier I'd like to try before winter is over, but we'll see if we get to it...
Q: What makes you go to work each day?
A: Oh man, so many things:
- Well, first of all, running your own business forces you to confront and conquer all of your faults and weaknesses and fears. Took me awhile to realize this, then it took me a while longer the realize this was a GOOD thing.
- Keeping the creative engine going is also a huge motivator. Always pushing for new ideas, always dreaming.
- My clients! I get to meet them at this important moment in their lives, and they can be so vulnerable when they're sharing their dreams. I take their trust very, very seriously.
- Definitely providing for my family. We have our hearts set on a dream farm, and I want to get there sooner rather than later!
- I get to spend thousands of dollars on flowers every month! I mean, come on!! I have a blow up mattress in the Philly studio, because I'll sometimes spend the night there when I have an early start the next day (we live in Lancaster). I set the mattress up near the shelves filled with flowers, and push more buckets of flowers around it. It's like sleeping in a secret garden! It reminds me of when I was a kid, and I used to cut armloads of lilacs from this tree on our street, spread them on my pillow, and sleep burrowed in their scent. So yeah, I always keep it in the front of my mind that I have a dream job, and THAT keeps me very motivated.
- Working with and supporting local farms and nurseries is a big motivator. The relationships I have with my farmers are incredibly important to me. They are amazing people!
Q: Tell us about a dream project or client.
A: As much as I like working with the everyman, I'm always having to scale back ideas to suit budgets. Which is totally fine! But wouldn't it be amazing to have a sky's-the-limit client one day? Have a meeting where I can say things like, "I can absolutely make two hundred floral capes for a fleet of white horses to wear, and I'd love to build you an enchanted grotto, behind a glass palace filled with wildflower waterfalls. Just give me two weeks. It would be even better if this client was not some tyrannical oligarch or other such undesirable glutton of excess. Could the client be, like, a bunch of make a wish foundation kids with a generous and respectable benefactor, like the Duchess of Cambridge?
Q: What made you decide to host a Lady Boss?
A: Running a small business can feel lonely and isolating sometimes. I would go crazy if I didn't have a community to connect with. I'm looking to be inspired by all the bad ass ladies out there! I can't wait to host them in my studio. And maybe get them a little tipsy. Like I said, I'm pregnant, so I need to live vicariously where I can!