August 5, 2019
One of our favorite things about bringing a wedding together is the opportunity to build strong relationships with our creative partners; and this week, our Partner Spotlight is on Fresh by Brandon. The owner of Fresh by Brandon, Brandon Griewank, puts so much heart into his work that we can’t resist working with him any chance we get!
Brandon’s love of floral design started back in his home town in Indiana as an after-school job in high school. One of the things that stood out most for him was how the floral designers he helped could take a vague order and create an arrangement that could bring tears of joy to the recipient. He was fortunate to work under floral designers who dedicated their spare time to help Brandon nurture his talents and passion on his own design aesthetic. You would think that is where Fresh by Brandon first got it’s start, but you’d be surprised at the turn of events that launched Brandon’s company to where it is today. We got some one-on-one time with Brandon and he gave us some insight about his passion project turned full time business! Read on below for the details in his own words
1. The Back Story
“Fresh by Brandon came to be sort of by accident. I truly never thought I could make a career of floral design. You see, even though I was introduced to floral design as an after-school job, when I escaped Indiana after graduation and moved to New York city, life kind of took me down other paths. I eventually found myself working for Macy’s, at the largest store in the world, with the visual merchandising team. I loved being creative and working with a team of some of the best artists in the field, but the best part for me was the Annual Flower Show. Once a year Macy’s hosts a flower show, with fresh flowers taking over the store. This was my first time seeing works by the true leaders in the floral industry, and I began to once again dream of working with flowers full time.
Over the year’s life took me in many different directions, and I followed my other passions for LGBTQ activism, health education and wellness, and HIV/AIDS advocacy, but continued to work with flowers whenever possible. A wedding here or there for various friends, birthdays and such, but the idea of working with florals full time no longer seemed feasible. A few years after relocating to Orange County my older brother, Scott, lost his 3-year battle with cancer. During one of our last conversations Scott asked me to promise him that once he was gone, I would make time to do something just for myself. I, of course, promised but had no idea what that might look like.
Not long after his passing, I stumbled upon a postcard for floral design classes at the community college (shout out to Gail Call at Golden West College!). I never knew a college program existed for floristry! I walked into the class with zero expectations. I was fulfilling a promise to my brother and hoping that the flowers brought me even a tiny spark of joy during a very rough time. What I found instead, was that the magic of the flowers was still there, just as strong as when I was 16 sweeping floors in Indiana, and just as strong as when I saw the works of the best florists in the world at Macy’s.
When the Creative Director at Taco Bell’s in-house agency saw my work and commissioned me to create new custom pieces on a regular basis, dipping my toe into the world of floral arts turned more into a dive off the deep end! Once I opened myself up, the orders started coming. Before I knew it, my art was a side-hustle, and soon enough that side hustle became a career. And thus, Fresh by Brandon was born!”
2. What Makes Fresh by Brandon Different
“I truly think a lot of my success is based on the fact that I run my business from my heart. I don’t try to remove my feelings from my work. It is personal to me and to my clients. I create each piece from a place of gratitude and love and try to only take jobs that resonate with me in some way.
I love doing weddings, but only take on couples that I feel a spark with. Every project I take is because I truly think I am a great fit for the job and that my contribution will be a great service to the client AND to my soul. I don’t have to take a job that doesn’t make me feel excited! And working this way also helps me limit the number of weddings I take on each year, so I have the time to fully commit my creativity to a project from start to finish.
People come to me when they are looking for something unique or special. I’ve created a name for myself by keeping it interesting, inspiring and even a little weird! I like to FEEL something when I look at art – passion, romance, intrigue, and mystery!
Each piece I create begins with the question, “What emotions do we want to evoke in the recipient?”
I like to make floral art that takes me on a journey, that makes you want to shrink and explore among the blooms. I am most proud of the fact that many of my clients come from referrals. I am proud that my work, my art, inspires people enough to keep recommending me to their friends. I love that! It’s the best feeling in the world!”3. Sustainable Practices
“Sustainability in our industry is a huge thing that is being focused on now more than ever, and I’m so happy about it! I am always looking at the industry standards and my business practices to evaluate ways to make Fresh by Brandon greener. For one thing, we are lucky to be in Southern California where we can get great locally sourced flowers all the time. Working with local product means less shipping, less paper, plastic packing materials, etc. I also only use floral foams if they are absolutely crucial in achieving the design – which goes back to education and being sure you have the techniques as a designer to know how to create the way florists did before plastics and foams existed. Eliminating plastic containers that will be used once and never again is another big issue for me. I truly believe in sharing hard goods (vases, candle sticks, etc.) and renting from other florists. Why should I buy all brand-new vases for an event when the florist down the street is storing 20 of them? I would rather put my money into the pocket of another florist and rent from them. It makes sense for me, costs less for my couples, and means less production and shipping costs and pollutions in obtaining new items.”
4. The Motivation Behind the Magic
“Wow, I’m not going to lie, staying motivated can be tough. We all have days where we just want to get through it but phoning it in isn’t really an option when your clients are expecting you to honor the major events in their lives – weddings, birthdays, memorials – through the power of flowers and your creativity. Most of the time my love for what I do, and my clients is enough to keep me going. But when I do experience a creative block I rely on my education and experience. Being trained in my craft and having years of experience designing, painting, and being artistic means, I have a strong eye for what works and I know if I fall back on all I’ve been taught about line, shape, color and the placement of those things then I can take those initial first steps. Once I start designing, I’m able to find my creative flow. But in terms of staying motivated to do this job every day, it’s the clients for sure. I have the best clients in the world.”
5. Brandon Griewank – Outside of the Design Room
“I have many passions that are very separate from flowers. I am a public speaker and educator on LGBTQ+ issues, HIV/AIDS education and advocacy and inclusive sex education. I’m passionate about equality. This year I was able to do a couple of speaking gigs and still grow Fresh by Brandon, so I think that’s what my future looks like- more HIV/AIDS education and advocacy and LGBTQ+ education along with the flowers. I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking I could only be successful if I focus all my attention on one passion. In truth, honoring all of who I am and what I care about, and making time for that, makes me a better florist and artist for my clients.”
We’d like to thank Brandon for taking the time to give us a little insight into Fresh by Brandon. If you can’t tell, we can’t recommend his team enough so if you’d like to see more of his work or inquire about securing Fresh by Brandon for one of your events head over to FreshbyBrandon.com!