This weeks vendor spotlight will give you a cuteness overdose! who doesn't like amazing florals and bunnies?. Well Mandy's life is surrounded by it and I was so charm to visit Mandy grace designs studio and realize what happens behind scenes. It was quite tracking see her in full working mode and how she just pulled out the most magnificent creation in a matter of minutes, She also owns a hand -dyed exquisite silk ribbons to decorate all kind of styling details for weddings and more. We got the magnificent idea of creating a ribbon party with her beloved pet bunnies because why not?. Enjoy
+ Tell us a little about yourself and your background. What brought you to Hawaii?
I moved to Maui on a whim. In fact, it was suppose to be only for 6 months. I had just graduated from college, broken off an engagement and needed the Ocean. I met my partner only a month into my stay and well as they say,the rest is history. I believe in my heart I was always meant to be in Hawaii. Shortly after making the decision of living here permanently and starting my business, my parents mailed me 3 framed drawings that I drawn when I was in Kindergarten. The drawings were about “Me Moving to Hawaii” and they hang in my office to remind me of the journey.
+What inspired you to become a floral artist?
I worked part time at a flower shop in Durango, Colorado as some extra cash while in college. When I started I never had the any intention of working with flowers it was just a “job.” I had studied Fashion Marketing at an art school then went on to study Psychology where my focus was on child development. I wish I had some poetic love story to offer about flowers, but the truth is, one day we were simply just short handed in the shop. I was the answer the phone, write orders, wash buckets kind of gal. On this day a order for a dozen roses came in and being as they were short handed I was thrown in. I made the arrangement and as I showed my boss we both locked eyes and smiled, it was as if she knew what was about to happen next. From that day on I was one of the designers. I now see in many of my designers just what she saw that day. Designing with flowers is not a easy medium, elements are are working against you,which just may be my favorite part. I could talk all day about color theory, installations, choosing textures and blooms, I nerd out on all things floral related. Wanna chat more about flowers? Let’s grab a beer and hang.
+ What do you love about the islands? What are your favorite things to do here?
I really appreciate living in a warm, tropical place year round where my kids can run and play and be wild and free outside in nature. Maui is a special spot to raise a family. The emphasis is less on material consumption and more on simplicity and community. I love that we celebrate birthday parties at the beach with less "stuff" and venture to the farmer's market on the weekends to support our local farmers. My favorite things to do on Maui (when I'm not creating floral arrangements) are adventures in Hana with my kiddos, pau hana beers with friends after a long day playing with flowers, watching my son surf and skate, trying out a new restaurant, backyard pool days with my family and collaborating with fellow industry friends on fundraising events and community gatherings.
+What is the best part of your job?
I love the tactile aspect of floral design: the colors, the textures, the seasonality of flowers, the physical harvesting of local blooms. That challenge of composing arrangements in the moment, fueled by instinct is very creatively satisfying. It's cool to take someone's ideas of what they want their event to be and help them grow that vision. I love when all of our hard work is almost wrapped and we're installing an event on the day-of and the scene comes together so seamlessly and wonderfully. It's all about creative collaborations and dreaming together and making shit happen.
+Do you cry at weddings? Any touching moments that stand out?
Because I'm so behind the scenes on the wedding day, I'm hardly on site to witness the best part! But I will say that at a recent wedding at Olowalu Plantation House, a bride ran over to me when I was doing some finishing touches on her table arrangements and she gave me the biggest hug and with tears in her eyes told me that her expectations were met and beyond. I was teary-eyed for sure. My client interaction is for sure a huge driving force us.
+What is your biggest advice for people who wish to pursue their dream and career?
I've always been a big believer in pursuing your passions and working for yourself. The freedom and value that comes from running your own business is pretty hard to beat. My advice is old school. Work hard, be honest and transparent with communication. I've learned a lot working in this industry over the years and what has carried me through is my integrity with other vendors and clients. Be true to your vision and you'll go far.