ND: Who are you and what do you do?
Hi! My name is Katie, and I am the owner of Sweet Annie Floral Design, living in West Newbury with my sweet little family. I am married to an amazing guy, Erik who is by far, Sweet Annie’s biggest cheerleader. We have two children, Quinn and Miller who I spend lots of time with in between arranging flowers, writing proposals, and meeting with clients. I like to refer to Sweet Annie as a “boutique floral design business”, because I want my clients to feel that they got something very customized and special by working with me. I work mostly on weddings, which is a big deal for people. I feel so privileged to play a role in such a huge milestone of peoples’ lives, that I work really hard to make sure my clients know how important I see my job.
ND: What was the road that led you to opening your own floral design company?
It was an interesting and unexpected one! I have always had a creative side, but like so many people, I think I sort of silenced that when thinking about what kind of career would lead to success and financial stability, so I followed my other strength, which was science. After working in the medical field for years, I started to feel unfulfilled with my work and downright unhappy, especially after having my daughter. After having Quinn, I started to play with flowers, which soon led me to dreaming about designing a life where I could be creative and spend more time with my family. The first wedding I did was for a family member, then a friend of a friend, and from there, it just went! Sweet Annie grew so organically, that I have always felt just so right about it. Aside from my family, it’s the best decision I have made. Creating a business that people really come to value and love is such a powerful thing – I highly recommend it to anyone who dreams about it!
ND: I think at one point or another many of us have imagined owning a floral business. There is some romance in the notion of being surrounded by beautiful peonies all day long. Tell us what a typical day is like, and the balancing act between running your own business and being a mother?
I know what you mean, I can almost visualize a scene from a movie involving a girl dancing around buckets of blooms! I wish it were that romantic, the truth is, it’s a lot of hard work. Since most of my days are different, there is not anything too typical about my job, but I can take you through a wedding weekend to give you an idea. Wedding prep starts bright and early on Wednesday mornings, when I head to the Boston Flower Exchange to pick the flowers I have ordered. We then spend a good portion of the day processing the flowers, which means shipping them of their bottom leaves, trimming and settling them into water. Typically, I start designing on Thursday afternoon and night and spend all day Friday doing the same. On Saturday morning, I am putting the final touches on things and getting everything packed up for delivery. We then deliver and set up all the flowers needed throughout the wedding.
On more “normal days”, I am juggling the kids while sneaking in some desk work whenever I can, mostly when they are sleeping. It’s definitely a juggling act, and although I try really hard to achieve “balance”, the fact of the matter is it’s really hard. Running a business and being a mom to young kids are actually kind of similar in that they both require A LOT of work! Some days, though, the stars align and I am able to play with my kids a lot, get a decent amount of work done and even squeeze in a workout. Those days are magic and leave me feeling like I can conquer the world.
ND: Where do you pull inspiration for your designs?
My style is garden-inspired, so I really love for my arrangements and bouquets to look as though I created them from an amazing, lush garden. My favorite flowers are fluffy blooms, and I love pairing them with natural elements, like varying greenery and even herbs, such as mint and sage. Once I meet the couple, I like to get to know as much as I can about them and the aesthetic they are hoping to cerate on their wedding day. From there, I hope to create something that signifies their look, and have it come together perfectly with the rest of their décor.
ND: A lot of your work is related to weddings, but I’m assuming people who aren’t getting married seek out your services as well. Can you share with us some of your favorite jobs that may be out the realm of bridal bouquets and table center pieces?
I LOVE parties, and working on them can be rather refreshing amidst a busy wedding season. I am always more than happy to create some arrangements for a party, shower or any other kind of celebration. I am also a huge lover of putting together kids’ parties, working around a theme and coming up with the details to support that is something I adore working on. Celebrating milestones is fun and important. I get so excited for my own kids’ parties, and I would love to do more of this work for people who would like to do the same but don’t have the time or who feel the don’t have the creativity to do so.
ND: When we aren’t in the depth of winter, do you have places locally that you like to purchase your flowers?
Buying local is definitely something I feel passionate about. I find the flowers to be a better quality, have a longer vase life, and by doing so, I am supporting a small business. This past wedding season, I started buying all my dahlias at Tendercrop Farm, and it was such a huge asset to my business. The flower farmer who works there was so great. He would let me pick out which specific stems I wanted, and would cut them on the day of my pick up. That is such an amazing service, and the dahlias were absolutely gorgeous.
ND: Last year I picked up Valentine’s Day flowers for my husband at your pop-up shop in Downtown Newburyport. Do you have any other fun events like this coming up?
Yes! I am doing two Valentine’s Day pop-ups this year. The first is going to be at Gus & Ruby Letterpress in Portsmouth, NH on Saturday, February 13th. Their shop is so darling, and I am really excited to collaborate with Sam and Whitney, the owners and creative minds behind the business. The second is going to be on Valentine’s Day at Atomic Café in Newburyport again. I loved working with these guys last year, and the location was great. So many people stopped by and were pleasantly surprised to find out they could surprise their Valentine with a latte AND some flowers!
Recently, I have also started to offer some floral design workshops, which is a really fun way for people to stretch their creative minds. I offer 1:1 workshops for people looking to expand their floral knowledge as well as group workshops, which can be organized and held at a private studio space or in their home. Think wine, snacks, and flowers!
ND: On our blog we like to support and identify great local places. So can you tell us your favorite place:
Get a cup of coffee: Atomic Coffee is definitely my go-to!
Explore outdoors: We are a beach family for sure. Our favorite spots are Jenness, Seabrook, and Sandy Point. Sandy Point is the best for family walks and exploring. Last summer, I took my daughter there for a Mommy/Daughter Day, and it was one of the best beach days I have ever had. It’s a magical spot. We also love for taking our dog for walks along the Merrimac River, right near our house and through Indian Hill. I feel like we haven’t even scratched the surface of all the amazing places this area has to offer for exploring, and that’s a pretty awesome feeling.
Drivable daytrip, and what you would do when you get there: We love Portsmouth! It’s such a cute and family friendly town. We will go often, with the kids and dog in tow to window shop, have a bite at the brewery, and always to Annabelle’s for an ice cream.
ND: Our last and favorite question, What are you grateful for?
Oh, so many things. First and foremost, my famiy, I feel so incredibly blessed to have so much life and love under one roof. They are the most important people in my life, and being the best version of myself for their sake is always my number one goal. I also feel like I have the best friends a girl could ask for, always so supportive and fun, just how girlfriends should be. Aside from all the wonderful people in my life, I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to fulfill my dreams by owning and running Sweet Annie. It’s something I didn’t even realize I ever wanted to do with my life, and now that I am doing it, I cannot imagine my life without it. Creating your own destiny, realizing you have the power to create your own happiness, is a powerful and truly incredible life experience. It’s hard work for sure, but I would not have it any other way. The icing on the cake is living in such a beautiful and supportive community, full of people who want to cheer you on. It’s all just pretty special.