Our next CHOF Pop-Up Shop is at Gate City Brewing in Roswell, Georgia on Sunday November 21, 2021. Meet us there!
Two things have always been a part of life at Colonial House of Flowers.
The first: plants. Growing up in south Georgia, pretty much in the country-side and along the coast, I feel most inspired when driving off the beaten path or hiking among tree-covered trails with family and my dog.
I have always been inspired by nature because it inspires creativity. I find plants healing and grounding. They remind me of my grandma who kept a back yard flower garden, my dad who worked in forestry and my mom who grows plants indoors effortlessly.
The second: creativity. There is a theme of creativity that's run strong since the inception of Colonial House of Flowers in 1968. Through shop changes the ribbon of creativity still treads through the new CHOF style of this cheerful little Atlanta-based pop-up plant and decor shop
I have chosen to focus on community booths and festivals because I want to inspire creativity in other people while helping them bring more beauty into their lives. I moved to Atlanta so that our family can have access to the resources for dyslexia. I love the city and want to be a part of the community here. I believe bringing flowers and plants into your home makes a vibrant space that you want to live happily in, and I love the people I meet over flowers.
When I was younger, I just wanted to make floral arrangements. Everyone was into it in our shop but I was a little more-so and a little more of a perfectionist. As I have grown, I took floral workshops and visited a lot of botanical industry leaders and taught myself that way.
At some point a flower shop fell into my husband and I's lap. I accepted the challenge of revitalizing the establishment where I began selling my own arrangements, hosting workshops and learning more.
When you’re creating decor using things inspired by the garden, it allows you to step away from problems in this world. Just sit down, make something and forget the stress. When I felt challenged by systems that didn't understand the challenges and strengths living with dyslexia poses for my family bringing the outside “in” provided an escape. Three years ago, I began adding things to our online shop that can be shipped to others to help them do the same thing. (Photo by Nicole Clarey)
In 2017, I was chosen to lead a nationwide tour of flower workshops as the Mayesh Design Star. At the same time, I taught plant workshops in Pottery Barn stores. This series took me from L.A. to Portland to Houston and everywhere in between. People kept asking me for help. I was so passionate that people thought I worked at both of those places.
In 2020, we retired the brick and mortar part of the the shop to move to Atlanta to follow our dream of being close to resources to celebrate my families dyslexic strengths. When I went away to Atlanta, people were still messaging me about doing workshops, pop ups or buying CHOF inspired decor like wreaths and vases, lighting and even furniture. When my family was settled and people continued to ask regularly, I started selling items online and did my first workshop.
She encouraged me and gave me confidence to branch out and to do it despite the fact I was so far from where I have always called home and despite the insecurity of the pandemic. Melissa, is one of those people that is bright and encouraging.
What is Colonial House of Flowers?
I do plant and flower styling and freelance design, pop-ups, online shipping and teach workshops. The pop-ups are my most fun events. I do them at places like the Makers Market at Gate City Brewing, RUMC Christmas Gift & Craft Show and the Dunwoody Spaulding Garden Club - A Garden Faire. It's kind of like put together your own plant decor. It's really fun.
I want to inspire people to be creative and bring more joy into their lives through flowers and plants. I like to tell people "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" so they can relax and create things. I really love teaching, workshops and pop-ups. People may have never made anything in their life, and they take my workshop and are so happy they made it themselves.
I really do anything flower-ly and creative though. This past summer, I was hired by Posie Fields and was able to help design bouquets for the Alpharetta Farmer's Market with flowers from her farm. Erin is new to the industry. I felt like I could share what I know from my experience and she could teach me tons of things and introduce me to life in north Georgia.
There's something I really want to do in the future. I love learning about dyslexia, anything to do with it fascinates me. And I am passionate about animals. I would love to figure out a way to blend the three or use the business to make larger donations to places like Made by Dyslexia, The Dyslexia Resource and Atlanta Humane Society to help with the wonderful work they do. That's something that would be awesome-- creating and giving to something I love so much.
Do I hope to get back to traveling someday?
Yes, I want to! Everywhere I go nature inspires me. When I visited Ecuador, I went to see the roses. I ended up falling in love with the local fauna, practices and people at Rosaprima. I used things I foraged in my arrangements along with the roses from the farm.
When I was in China, I came back with new ideas about old things like poke berries, roses and hydrangea. I always look to be inspired by traveling.
What else inspires me to create?
My family. When I make something it makes me feel connected to my mom and sister, and my dad and grandma who I was grew-up close to. I feel connected to my children, friends, my pets, and myself. I think I inspire them too because they also wonder how do I do it! It's really nice, honestly.
What are the plans and goals for Colonial House of Flowers in Atlanta?
I am investing in a website and opening up my calendar... sort of like a web store comes to life because I really want to meet people and be a part of my new community. I found the coincidence of moving with the social restrictions of a pandemic stifling especially in an an industry that is behind the scenes. I've decided not to re-open the traditional bricks-and-mortar store because of post-covid culture, being flexible and meeting new people all around Atlanta is really exciting to me.
I’m hoping that more people visit colonialhouse.net and meet us at pop-ups. We are able to carry a lot more things like chairs, lighting, and pet decor as well. I’m also hoping to connect with more people to create things and share the profits. I am able to collaborate with other businesses and groups in the community.
More about Colonial House of Flowers marketplace events aka Pop-Up:
We collaborate with different local artists and businesses and stores and groups around Atlanta in different neighborhoods and areas, like Roswell. Once [a business or group] is onboard, I essentially set up a sidewalk marketplace, or booth.
My next event is Gate City Brewing's Makers Market in downtown Roswell on Sunday, November 21. I am looking froward to it!