After spending the early years of her career working in the sports tourism and entertainment industries, Bronwen Smith launched her company, B Floral, in September 2010. It was an idea that stemmed from Smith’s background in events and serving on charity boards, plus her desire to create a nontraditional flower shop. Instead, B Floral focuses entirely on events (not weddings), from conferences and meetings to corporate dinners and galas.
How does floral design differ when you’re approaching it for conferences as opposed to social events?
We focus on the audience that will be attending the event. With weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc., it’s more of a fun occasion; people want florals to go with the theme of the event. When we deal with conferences and corporate dinners, we typically want to have classic arrangements and tablescapes that aren’t a distraction to the main focus or theme of the event. We also collect any collateral that goes along with the event, from invitations to advertising to sponsors lists so we can get a feel for the mood of the room.
What are some of the latest trends in floral design?
One of the biggest trends is to make florals part of the experience of the event. We’re seeing a lot of flower walls, flower installations, and partial flower walls mixed with mirrors and plants. There’s also a major movement toward making the whole space floral, not just the tables. Hanging installations are big at large-scale events. In terms of colors and patterns, the floral industry follows the fashion industry. For this fall, we’re seeing a lot of rich tones—dark reds and purples—as well as mixed metals like gold, silver and bronzes going together.
Can you share a few tips for sprucing up a space on a limited budget?
Scatter bud vases across the table; do three roses in one bud vase and a single hydrangea in another. You can have a menagerie of different vases to come together to form a tablescape. Greenery is also a big trend right now. Filling in arrangements with extra greenery makes them look more lush and full without adding flowers (or more cost).
What’s one of your most popular designs?
We are well-known for our flower crowns. We can create a station where we bring designers to an event, and people decide which flowers they want to use and can make them on-site. We’ve been experimenting with floral jewelry too: Flower bracelets, hairpieces and rings, made of succulents or fresh florals.
You traveled to more than 100 countries. How do your experiences abroad inspire your floral design?
I’ve been exposed to a lot of different cultures and scenery, and a lot of different flower types. My favorite countries I’ve traveled to are in Asia, for their uniqueness and bright colors. I try to bring back the art and architecture I see into what we do. I love seeing how different cultures value and represent flowers, not just in arrangements but as part of a meal, or in a headdress or as a thank-you.