Written By botanica team - March 30 2020
Welcome to our new column, Botanica World, in which we interview our favorite creative women about inspiration, sustainability, business, and social distancing for public health.
The objective of this series is to bring some positive content to the social media space.
Artists and creators have always persevered and thrived even in times of adversity, and we wanted to check in with our community to share experiences- we are all in this together.
Jessica Hamilton, Florist
Fibers and Florals, Los Angeles
Where have you found inspiration in 2020?
In 2020 in my business specifically I have found inspiration from my local growers. Seeing whats growing in our current season is so, so cool. Personally though I’m getting inspiration from my boyfriends/my reading list. He just purchased this Judd book and I am reading healing mushrooms. I feel like I spent 2019 looking outward for inspiration, 2020 is about looking inward and looking towards the past.
What does sustainability mean to you or your business? What systems have you implemented to prioritize sustainability?
Sustainability is at the heart of what f&f does, and how I live my life personally. I trained formally as a designer at Otis College of Art and Design, and freelanced under other florists as I got my degree. Shifting gears and pivoting into floral design was a choice, I didn’t fall into this, and the deliberate choice to only be sustainable is how I’ve run f&f from the beginning.
Our system in implementing/prioritizing sustainability in our florals starts before client contact. I have a strong line of communication with my vendors and farmers on whats growing when, in abundance, and from where. From there we have an ongoing conversation of educating our clients on what we recommend, which varies on the type of event and needs of the client.
Sustainable is the most greenwashed word.. Sustainable to me means sustaining our business & our practices while allowing/achieving growth.
Who are the women in your community that inspire you? Do you have a mentor?
My best friend Claire Miller inspires me. She graduated an accelerated nursing program and just started her job at a big hospital up in Oregon. She showed me that with self discipline, and keeping your goal in mind, anything is possible.
Jenn Sanchez, a fellow florist from Santa Barbara, inspires me in how she approaches floristry with a botanical eye. Her combinations are so inspiring and refreshing.
Kristine Claghorn, friend and vintage seller extraordinaire, inspires me with how she’s constantly striving to live more mindful and sustainable. I love watching her tips & tricks, along with sustainable hacks on her instagram stories.
My mentors are flowers.
What has been your biggest challenge in your career? How did you approach it?
I think educating the client has been a delicate art of achievement, on why certain flowers aren't in season when, or why they are so costly etc. When we work with florals we honor the growth pattern it naturally has, and we try to practice this in the real world too. We are super excited to share our tips and tricks on how to achieve a mood or aesthetic with sustainability in mind.
Society is facing an unprecedented situation with the effects of COVID-19. What have you been doing to stay grounded and mindful during these times? Do you maybe have a recipe or favorite pastime to share while we are all at home?
There is a poem from Shane L. Koyczan that I read when I find myself unbalanced. Its
“I sit before flowers
hoping they will train me in the art
of opening up
I stand on mountain tops believing
that avalanches will teach me to let go
I know nothing
but I am here to learn.”
There's so much to learn from nature, and I am humbled by the lessons I learn by working within the botanical world. I also feel socially we are learning so much from Covid-19. We are extending helping hands to our neighbors, we are creating meaningful social interactions and doing so remotely *mindblowing. Covid-19 in its wrath has allowed me/and hopefully us to remember how important family & friends are, how important it is to be a good neighbor, how important it is to have a strong network of community.
There is an organic micro flower farm in Pasadena that I am purchasing flowers for my dining room table to bring some beauty indoors, something I rarely do for myself.
A recipe I’m excited to try out this week is No-Bake Peanut Butter.
My favorite pastime right now is online pilates, I took a class from @sorelcarradine and she’s offering a free class later this week.
Thanks to Jessica Hamilton of Fibers and Florals for contributing to Botanica World!
If you enjoyed this interview, please consider donating to the following charity that she has selected:
Specific to Highland Park: The Wall Las Memorias Project is a community health and wellness organization dedicated to serving Latino, LGBTQ and other underserved populations through advocacy, education and building the next generation of leadership.