Kennedy in Conversation with...Abby Daigle of STEMS Floral Design

Kennedy in Conversation with...Abby Daigle of STEMS Floral Design

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For our in-depth monthly series on all things Austin and events-related, we recently sat down with Abby Daigle, the owner and visual designer of STEMS Floral Design & Production, to talk about floral fantasies, tabletop decor tips, and making a holiday gathering as cozy and beautiful as possible.

KENNEDY CREATIVE EVENTS: How did you find your way to the floral industry? What gave you your start?

ABBY DAIGLE, STEM FLORAL DESIGN & PRODUCTIONS: I grew up in the events industr. My mother owns the Barr Mansion, which is also where we lived – so I grew up with events happening around me all the time when I was young.  I have been obsessed with events and design my entire life as a result. My mother was also a florist – so I learned everything from her and then branched out on my own in 2004.

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KENNEDY: When shopping for floral, what you would suggest people look out for?

DAIGLE: I would just say, think outside the box – always look for fresh, healthy flowers. Look beyond the lilies, gerbera daisies, nd roses you might typically see. Buy some berries, buy some branches, get inspired by anything – as long as it speaks to you. There is more out there than alstroemeria, I promise!

KENNEDY: Are there stores in the Austin area that you think are must-gos?

DAIGLE: Absolutely! Austin Flower Company should be your go-to flower shop when looking for your DIY arrangements. They have quality product, and unique and interesting types of flowers and foliages that you definitely can’t find anywhere else. Trader Joe’s and Central Market are pretty good too, but you cannot beat the selection at Austin Flower Co. Pro tip: Go on Wednesdays or Thursdays when the product comes in, otherwise you’ll be left with the scraps all us florists leave behind.

KENNEDY: When creating arrangements on a budget, what are go-to florals or fillers?

DAIGLE: Interesting foliages are always my go-to “filler.” There are so many unique varieties that can become the base of your arrangement. I clip from my yard all the time – rosemary, oak leaves, sage, magnolia, photinia, nandina… you name it. Once you have a nice greenery base, interesting blooms can be popped in and you won’t need as many since the foliages give your arrangement it’s fullness.

Unexpected yard clippings can take on another life when arranged with a couple stems of high-end flowers like peonies or dahlias. I love this new wave of greenery-heavy, garden whimsical aesthetic. With this look you can splurge on the peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, lilacs, dahlias etc. because you only need a few stems to create a beautiful arrangement.

KENNEDY: What are some of the best and, ahem… not-really-the-best… floral trends you’ve seen over the years? 

DAIGLE: We absolutely are in love with the current floral trend of asymmetrical and architectural designs (we’re kind of obsessed with this look actually). We love that with this style, it’s not a cookie cutter design. Each composition is just slightly different than the other because we let the foliage and flowers tell the story. This trend goes hand-in-hand with our love of seasonal foliag – you can get such great shapes working with greenery or branches. Trends come and go, and sometimes they come back. We work in a subjective industry, so it’s hard to say one trend is better than another. Let’s just say I hope the asymmetrical designs stick around longer than the mason jars trend did.

KENNEDY: What’s your favorite native plant here in central Texas? Why?

DAIGLE: Ooh, that’s tough because I’m a flower-lover and picking just one is really hard. Also, my favorite is always changing. But for now, let’s go wit privet (which will have horticulturists rolling their eyes because it’s an invasive specie). But, then, I don’t feel bad clipping all the privet I want because it grows so well here! And the foliage has amazing color and shape, the berries are a fun pop of blue, and it also blossoms throughout the year. So, it’s just an ever-evolving fun plant to cut from.

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KENNEDY: Without giving away any industry secrets, of course, what’s your top tip for nailing a DIY centerpiece? 

DAIGLE: Start off with choosing a color palette. I like to have a least two colors that compliment each other (i.e. ivory and blush) and sometimes like to add in a bolder color that is a nice contrast to the complimentary colors (i.e. burgundy). I always start with a nice greenery-base that will outline your arrangement, and don’t try and make it symmetrical. Then I start with the focal flowers – these are the big-headed flowers like peonies, garden roses, proteas, and so on.

Next, I would add the smaller, complimentary flowers that will add texture and depth to your arrangement. Let your favorite smaller, delicate flowers stick out a little, this will give your arrangement some fun and whimsy. Don’t be afraid to play with texture and height, move stems around, and to take a step back and look at it while you’re making it. Flowers 101 – have fun!

KENNEDY: Are there any floral or floral-inspired Instagram accounts, etc. that you love scrolling through for inspiration? Anyone we ought to start following so we can enjoy their eye candy, too? 

DAIGLE: Oh man, I follow so many – where to start….

If you love weddings, I would suggest @SinclairandMoore – they ave wonderful stories that take you behind the scenes at their events. They have a romantic design style that I personally am really drawn to as well.

If you love gardening, I would look into @floretflower – she has an amazing flower farm and takes beautiful photos of her product, in addition to sharing growing tips (I buy her seeds!).

For local availability you can follow @austinflowerco to see what they are excited about in their cooler.

Also, @studiomondine has a really fun, asymmetrical style if you want to get inspired by that floral trend. And OF COURSE you should follow @stemsofatx for your favorite floral inspiration.

KENNEDY: Without giving away any industry secrets, of course, what’s your top tip for nailing a DIY centerpiece? 

DAIGLE: Start off with choosing a color palette. I like to have a least two colors that compliment each other (i.e. ivory and blush) and sometimes like to add in a bolder color that is a nice contrast to the complimentary colors (i.e. burgundy). I always start with a nice greenery-base that will outline your arrangement, and don’t try and make it symmetrical. Then I start with the focal flowers – these are the big-headed flowers like peonies, garden roses, proteas, and so on.

Next, I would add the smaller, complimentary flowers that will add texture and depth to your arrangement. Let your favorite smaller, delicate flowers stick out a little, this will give your arrangement some fun and whimsy. Don’t be afraid to play with texture and height, move stems around, and to take a step back and look at it while you’re making it. Flowers 101 – have fun!

KENNEDY: Are there any floral or floral-inspired Instagram accounts, etc. that you love scrolling through for inspiration? Anyone we ought to start following so we can enjoy their eye candy, too? 

DAIGLE: Oh man, I follow so many – where to start….

If you love weddings, I would suggest @SinclairandMoore – they ave wonderful stories that take you behind the scenes at their events. They have a romantic design style that I personally am really drawn to as well.

If you love gardening, I would look into @floretflower – she has an amazing flower farm and takes beautiful photos of her product, in addition to sharing growing tips (I buy her seeds!).

For local availability you can follow @austinflowerco to see what they are excited about in their cooler.

Also, @studiomondine has a really fun, asymmetrical style if you want to get inspired by that floral trend. And OF COURSE you should follow @stemsofatx for your favorite floral inspiration.

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KENNEDY: Describe your perfect floral fantasy — let’s say it’s a party celebrating a milestone in your life, and you want the decor to reflect your personality and tastes to a tee. What does it look like, and why? 

DAIGLE: My ideal party look has definitely evolved through the years – but right now I’m all about the organically-shaped esigns with easonal foliages and soft blooms in mauve, burgundy, ivory and green… natural beeswax taper candles… natural linen tablecloths in a neutral so the flowers really stand out, with some sort of atypical chairs (because life’s too short for boring parties)…. an overhead floral installation that makes a statement… lots of candles, ambient lighting, and pin spots so, again, the florals pop…. a fully-set table with unique chargers, organic-shaped black plates (black is kind of my thing), copper flatware, printed menus, natural linen napkins folded in an interesting way…. NO family-style service for this girl because I need all the space on the table for the flowers of course… all taking place in a venue with lots of natural light and full of unique charm.

Phew, is that too much?  That’s my decor jam right now.  

KENNEDY: Nope, that’s not too much at all. (wink)

To make your next event stand head and shoulders above the rest, put the Kennedy team on the case. With incredible local partners like Abby on our side, there’s nothing we can’t do. 

 

Photos by Kennedy Creative Events and STEMS Floral

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