Episode 161 THE NEXT LEVEL: RACHEL BIRTHISTLE Discusses KIANA UNDERWOOD/TULIPINA: Setting Fear Aside to Embrace Ambition and Find That Spark of Creative Genius

In this episode of The Next Level, Andy Kushner and guest co-host, Rachel Birthistle, discuss last week’s interview with Kiana Underwood. Rachel is the CEO and owner of The Lake Como Wedding Planner and happens to be in Italy overlooking beautiful Lake Como during this interview.

Welcome to another episode of The Next Level. Today, Andy is joined by co-host Rachel Birthistle to discuss his amazing interview with Kiana Underwood of Tulipina. Kiana is a true artist and couture floral designer for luxury weddings and events. Rachel is the perfect guest for this episode because she has worked with Kiana and loves her creativity. We have a great interview in which we discuss parallels in our own lives with Kiana’s and the need for pushing past the fear and letting true artistry shine. We also discuss clients, pricing, and what it really means to be a couture floral designer.

Show Highlights:

  • [02:48] Rachel says that Kiana is quite remarkable to see at work and the fear element isn’t visible at all.
  • [05:04] Rachel shares how Kiana’s story resonated with her because of Rachel’s move to Italy from Irelan.
  • [07:21] Andy and Rachel discuss the motivational factor of art and not seeing it as risk, and instead, just doing it.
  • [08:18] Rachel thinks it’s so refreshing to see color in weddings the way that Kiana is doing it.
  • [09:37] Andy loves how Kiana talks about pricing, and how she is charging for the artistry, and her customers are people who are willing to pay for couture floral design.
  • [10:31] Rachel and Andy talk about how it’s important to educate clients about value and what they are actually buying.
  • [11:17] Rachel loves how Kiana’s favorite clients are the ones who appreciate her work and not just her brand. Calling Kiana a couture floral designer sums it up perfectly.
  • [12:00] Wedding planners’ need to persuade people about the value of great artists and vendors (Andy likes to refer to them as “creative partners”).. It only enhances the event.
  • [13:32] Having Kiana do the floral design for an event gives Rachel peace of mind about the final outcome. Her artistry elevates everything to another level.

LINKS:

The Wedding Biz Website

The Wedding Biz Instagram

The Wedding Biz Facebook

Tulipina Kiana Underwood

Tulipina

Tulipina on Pinterest

Tulipina Facebook Page

Tulipina on Instagram

Workshops and Webinars

Tulipina Workshops

Color Me Floral

Tulipina Prints

Tulipina Blog

This Week’s Guest Co-Host

Rachel Birthistle

The Lake Como Wedding Planner

The Lake Como Wedding Planner on Instagram

LINKS & RESOURCES:

Kiana Underwood/tulipina: Setting Fear Aside to Embrace Ambition and Find That Spark of Creative Genius

SPONSOR LINKS

Kushner Entertainment www.kushnerentertainment.com

Episode 160 KIANA UNDERWOOD/TULIPINA: Setting Fear Aside to Embrace Ambition and Find That Spark of Creative Genius

Floral artist Kiana Underwood is the celebrated owner of Tulipina an internationally renowned floral design studio that creates bespoke experiences for luxury weddings throughout the world. She has been named one of the top wedding floral designers in the US and is the most followed floral designer on Instagram. She is the author of Color Me Floral and the host of sold-out international workshops. She has also been featured in many magazines, and her work is always in demand.

Kiana and I talk about the importance of bravery and pushing past fear to create what you desire. Her life and her work is an example of how she has pushed passed this fear to create the art and life that she wants. She shares her story of moving to the US and how freeing her new school experience was. We get to learn how flowers were always part of her life and culture, but it took bravery, tenacity, and out-of-the box thinking to make floral art her business and life’s work.

Show Highlights:

  • [00:23] Andy discovers that Kiana and her husband Nate recently moved to a small farm in the Hudson Valley area.
  • [01:23] Kiana explains how the beauty of nature makes up for being so far away from the city.
  • [01:40] Kiana shares how her grandfather had a beautiful garden, and her mother always had fresh cut flowers in the house.
  • [04:01] She was searching for something, and her husband suggested that flower arranging could be a business and an outlet for her.
  • [05:48] Kiana shares some personal history about how she left Iran in the 1990s and came to the US when she was a sophomore in high school.
  • [06:50] Her school experience in the US was amazing. She was struggling in Iran, but when she came here she realized that teachers cared about her, and it helped her flourish.
  • [08:29] She loved experiencing cultural diversity and being accepted which gave her strength and self-confidence.
  • [09:33] There are so many amazing florists in San Francisco and Kiana was somewhat new to the industry. It was a little bit scary.
  • [12:20] Kiana shares how important it is to push past the fear and take a chance. Whether it’s coming to the US, moving across the country to a farm, or starting a fledgling floral arrangement business.
  • [12:56] Challenge number one was navigating the San Francisco flower markets. It took a while for Kiana to be known before people were helpful.
  • [14:08] It took two or three years of putting her work with Tulipina on Instagram and the Internet before her work started getting the respect it deserved.
  • [15:32] During these experimental years, she had to learn the names of the flowers as she was exploring and finding her own style.
  • [16:14] She also got the cold shoulder from the industry once she started being well-known on social media.
  • [16:53] Each week, she would go to the flower market and explore and see what she could create, because that is what gave her happiness.
  • [17:25] Kiana would make arrangements and put them online and interest slowly began to grow.
  • [18:29] Kiana used amazing photography to promote herself for free on Instagram.
  • [19:23] She also made daring design decisions with color and flower types.
  • [21:19] Kiana creates what looks good, she thinks of her work as a painting.
  • [22:35] She is moved by music in a way that could make her cry. This drives her creativity.
  • [24:24] She brings art to events. She doesn’t want to be a mass production florist.
  • [25:03] Because the art is so individual she only takes on a limited number of weddings a year.
  • [25:37] Kiana shares her process.
  • [26:44] Kiana shares the story of one of her favorite brides who also loved color, had a budget and was willing to step outside of the box and do something special.
  • [28:48] Kiana shares one of the craziest wedding experiences she had where there was a generational design clash between the bride and the mother of the bride.
  • [34:43] Kiana wants to conduct two or three amazing workshops a year. Her first one this year was in Rome, and it sold out. She wants to mostly concentrate on her destination weddings.
  • [36:29] Kiana shares another experience where she pushed past her fear and had her first international workshop in Russia.
  • [40:19] Kiana’s husband has started working with the business full-time which has really helped balance business and family time.
  • [42:26] Currently they are into their five-year plan of building out their property in New York. Kiana is also going to continue to work on amazing events.

This episode is sponsored by Kushner Entertainment www.kushnerentertainment.com.

LINKS & RESOURCES

The Wedding Biz

The Wedding Biz

The Wedding Biz on Instagram

The Wedding Biz on Facebook

Tulipina Kiana Underwood

Tulipina

Tulipina on Pinterest

Tulipina Facebook Page

Tulipina on Instagram

Workshops and Webinars

Tulipina Workshops

Color Me Floral

Tulipina Prints

Tulipina Blog

Episode 69 THE NEXT LEVEL: Mark Held: A Lifetime Of Floral Innovation

Considering the incredible success Mark Held has had by focusing on doing one thing – flowers – and doing them better than anyone else, it’s no surprise that Andy and Melissa are able to extract many strategies from Mark’s interview.

Join Andy and Melissa as they delve further into the following topics:

  • Continually innovating is necessary for the success of a business.
  • Spending time understanding your client and what they want is always time well-spent.
  • The power of knowing your market and your demographic.
  • The importance of re-inventing yourself with every event – especially when you use the same venues multiple times.
  • Anticipate how your craft will affect the final outcome of the event.
  • The only criteria for judging flowers is – are they beautiful?
  • Your only limitation is yourself.

Episodes Mentioned:

Kristin Banta

Check out Mark’s full interview here.

Episode 68 Mark Held: A Lifetime Of Floral Innovation

Mark Held didn’t originally see himself as a florist. His first arrangement– a project assigned to him at summer camp as a young boy– turned out to be poison ivy. But after a successful dance and theater career as a young adult, Mark wanted to continue his creative expression. His partner, Richard David, had just the outlet: a flower shop he was opening up. And he convinced Mark to join him for a bit. At the time, Mark thought it would be a temporary arrangement.

Fast forward a couple decades, and Mark Held is a prominent name in floristry. As a grounded, creative mind, he believes that flowers “breathe life into events” and is always looking forward to the future of his business and clients.

In this episode, Mark shares his perspective on career development, crafting a quality event, and the way he navigates the Hollywood scene as a professional florist.

About Mark Held:

Born in Chicago, Mark Held is the son of a preacher and attended the University of Redlands in California.

Together with Richard David, Mark Held created Mark’s Garden, which is a self-described “part retail flower shop and part creative design studio”. Mark’s team has crafted floral design for the Academy Awards Governors Ball for the past 24 years, plus Television Emmy Awards, Golden Globes Awards, top-level civic events and a long list of celebrity weddings including Fergie and Josh Duhamel, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Heidi Klum, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, and Adam Sandler, among others.

Mark is also the co-author of a book titled, Fabulous Parties: Food and Flowers for Elegant Entertaining.

Show Highlights:

  • How Mark transitioned his career from dance to floristry
  • Why you shouldn’t worry so much about your career path
  • The original concept for Mark’s Garden that caught on and grew the business
  • How Mark views running a business with a romantic partner
  • What experience inspires Mark time and time again
  • A few of Mark’s insights into this year’s upcoming Governors Ball floral design
  • Insight into how Mark’s experience working with large celebrity events
  • Some of Mark’s biggest day-of mishaps and how he managed them
  • How Mark has seen the floral industry evolve since he began his business

 

Links Mentioned in the Show:

Mark’s Garden

Mark’s Garden Instagram – @marksgarden

Mark’s book – Fabulous Parties: Food and Flowers for Fabulous Entertaining

Episode 44 Ian Prosser: Internationally Acclaimed Floral Designer with an Elite Clientele

At 15 years old, Ian Prosser’s love of floral design began when he took an elderly woman in his community to flower-arranging night classes. Through apprenticeships and competitions– and some strong reservations from his family– Ian’s talent grew tremendously, turning him into the youngest person to receive Scotland’s Floral Designer of the Year at just 19 years old.

As a self-proclaimed,  “detail freak” Ian built a successful business for himself in Scotland with his eye for detail and made the transition to the United States 32 years ago, where he re-launched his business with great success in his very first year. Ian’s passion and knowledge of the industry includes work with luxury and celebrity clients alike– even royalty! Learn what you need to know about building an iconic design and decor business in the luxury wedding niche through Ian’s stories, experiences, and advice.

About Ian:

Ian Prosser, originally from Glasgow, Scotland and currently residing in Florida, was the youngest person to receive Scotland’s Floral Designer of the Year. He earned the National Diploma of the Society of Floristry– the highest European honor in floristry.

His willingness to learn his entire career set him up for total success when he was tasked with a project so large and logistically complicated as an “Presidential Inauguration.” – he was able to create systems that made everything run smoothly and his design execution run perfectly.

He currently resides in Florida and owns Botanica International Design and Decor Studio. Through Ian Prosser Productions, he creates stunning, innovative floral design for luxury weddings and events, serving celebrity clients like Queen Elizabeth, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Donna Summer, Kirstie Alley, and others. He’s also done the inaugurations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Show Highlights:

  • Hear how Ian Prosser honed his skills at an early age to become a  professional floral designer
  • The steps Ian took to build a wedding floral design business from scratch
  • His perspective on floral design is so wide-reaching because of his experience from outside the US. He helped bring European floral design influence to the US.
  • Listen to how he opened his own floral shop in the US and within a year was more successful than existing flower shops that had been running for many years.
  • What it’s like to create and design for Queen Elizabeth
  • Anecdotes from working with celebrity clients for weddings and events
  • The process of creating floral arrangements for Presidential inaugurations
  • How to help your clients conceptualize an event based on attire, setting, and weather
  • The tools you can use with clients to find the right design style for them, and how to know when you’re on the right track during a design consultation
  • Ian recounts wedding day disasters and how he resolved them

Links Mentioned in the Show:

Botanica International Design and Decor Studio

Ian Prosser Productions

Social Media:

Instagram: @botanicadesign

Facebook: Botanica International Design Studio

Pinterest: Botanica Design Studio