It’s hard to imagine that Brocade Designs has now existed for two years. Our official anniversary was on August 2, and I’m so thankful to have seen so many beautiful brides on their wonderful wedding days since the day I started Brocade back in 2008. I thought it might be a good time to share a little about how we got here today, why we do what we do, and our philosophy behind our business. A lot of times we get caught up in the day-to-day, the weddings, the details, the blog posts about everything but who we are and what we stand for, and I think it’s high time that we remedy that little error in content. If you don’t want to know all of the above, I promise we are going to have an absolutely stunning wedding to blog about at the close of the week, so come back then to check out all the yummy photos.
Brocade bloomed (haha, nice word choice there, huh?) out of my passion for flowers and all things beautiful. As a kid, I was always fascinated with what made our world and surroundings more beautiful, and I come from a long line of creative, innovative people that influenced and nurtured this skill. Creativity was always something that came naturally to me, at times perhaps a tad too naturally, because I can embody quite a few of those “creative” stereotypes– a bit on the dreamer instead of realist side, but hey– I gladly claim that trait and many others attributed to my creativity with pride.
In conjunction with my love for pretty things, I have always been just a little bit obsessed with weddings, and I can’t really pinpoint the origin of this particular obsession. There’s no moment that illustrates when weddings became just, well… a part of me… but they did somehow. As a little girl, the main subplot of my Barbie doll and Cabbage Patch daydreams involved fancy weddings. I’ve always been a crier over proposals (on tv, in real life, in books, whatever), I even get a little misty eyed over that Folger’s Commercial. You know, the one with the daughter and her dad having coffee after she got engaged the night before…Anyway, I digress. I love weddings. Always have, always will. They are as much a part of me as my love for animals and the first perfectly crisp day of fall.
So, naturally I suppose you’d assume I’d jump right into a career in weddings and flowers, right? Wrong. I went to college. I hopscotched along a ton of “in college” jobs, all the while keeping alive my love for weddings. After college, I went to grad school for a Master’s Degree in English. While obtaining that degree, I helped my friends get married, designing programs, invitations, floral arrangements. It was fun, but I still didn’t see that I could do what I loved as a job. I worked on my teaching, I contributed to, co-wrote, and edited some books in my field of study (Pop Culture), and I chased after all of my passions with equal parts of joy and excitement.
One of the books I was a co-author of
Now, don’t get me wrong– I love English. I loved getting my Master’s Degree, and I love teaching college English. But when I came to the crossroads of deciding whether or not to pursue a PhD or strike it out on a different path, I chose the different path– I decided that I really wanted to give being in business for myself a shot. So I taught, I worked for Middle Tennessee State University, and I started to form my business. I studied Floral Design, got an associates degree in the subject, checked out a million books and videos. I brushed up on my floral knowledge, and I practiced, practiced, practiced. When I started to see my dreams taking shape into reality– in December of 2007, I decided to kick off the new year with the hopes of cultivating a new career in design.
The first two and half years of being in business for myself has been amazing. I have learned so much, come so far, and I am thankful to EVERYONE that has played any part– large or small, in the cultivation of my career. I still teach, I still write, and I still love English and am proud of what I accomplished in getting my degrees. Education– be it in my classroom or to a potential bride– is a super important thing to me. I don’t think that I can ever take out the “teacher” in myself, and I think my brides notice that. That’s one element of my service philosophy: I approach everything with the heart of a teacher, I want for you, the bride, to know why I make the recommendations that I do, and if I don’t know the answer then I take the time to look it up and educate myself. Education is a lifelong journey– I’ll be learning how to be a better floral designer, better business owner, and better innovator until long past the day I put down the clippers or hand tie my last bouquet. In my opinion, a life without learning is pretty boring.
I think that my passion for perfection– one I extend into each part of my business– stems from being a lifelong learner. I spent over 20 years in school, so I’m a bit of a perpetual student always looking for an “A”. Go big or go home, nothing less than the best– that’s the philosophy I operate by in my work and life. I like to put my best foot forward, always, and I think that desire is reflected in the work I do in design. It’s important to me that your day is an absolute vision, that it’s what you closed your eyes and hoped for. The joy of execution– from taking a design plan and making it into a reality– is one of the best feelings in the world to me.
So, that ALL being said, I hope this post illustrates a little more about me and why I do what I do. Thanks for reading, and thanks for all of your support. It’s the best feeling in the world to do what you love, and I know the only reason I do that is because of the support of this amazing community of Wedding vendors and creative, innovative, wonderful brides. — Hillary