Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexis Avalos.
Hi Alexis, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I moved from my hometown in Tucson, AZ to Orange County in order to help my sister and brother-in-law with their firstborn. I grew up spending lots of time and many summers in OC/LA with my cousins, having California always be a second home. I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with my grandparents who had the most lush garden! Thats where my love of nature truly grew. My grandmother grew everything and really taught me how meditative flowers, plants and vegetable growing can me. During my first couple of months in California I was working for a soap company and loved the connection between flowers and apothecary. From there I met a florist who was looking for someone to help her out with a couple of weddings and I quickly jumped to the opportunity. I had zero experience with design, color theory, and freelance but I learned along the way and had great teachers to help me. She was so patient and truly believed in my vision and more so me. I am lucky to still keep in contact with her today and reach out when I have questions, she’s an amazing mentor. From there I started doing pop-ups, markets, and events. I showed up everywhere and then took that to doing floral subscriptions for individuals, shops and restaurants around Los Angeles. During one of my weekly deliveries a Set Designer for HBO saw me drop off my flowers and later that day reached out to me to see if I would be interested in working on film sets. I was so ecstatic and that’s what helped launch me to start being a florist for film sets. I am so fortunate to have great support from the community as well as my friends. I was still working my day job, I had long days and short nights but always found a way to sneak in routine and grounding. To me, going to the flower mart at 5:30am is the best feeling, you get to watch LA wake up. A lot of my career has been a lot of showing up and I think that’s the best thing, that and celebrating every success even the little ones.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It’s been a road of continued growth. A lot of growing, a lot of crying and a lot of laughs too. I am really lucky to have the belief of my family, partner, friends and community. But it’s been far from simple. In the beginning and still sometimes to this day there is always some sort of doubt that enters my mind. Should I go back to a 9-5 get a 401k and benefits for safety and comfort like a lot of people I know? Or keep pushing both my body and mind to do and pursue something I truly believe in. Like all parents at times it can be difficult to get them to understand that this is not a hobby, this is a career and truly a blessing that I have this skill and need to keep showing up and seeking it out. I am really grateful for the florists and creatives who have walked ahead of me and who are willing to share their stories and things learned along the way. I think as a society it is so ingrained in humans to graduate, get a career in something you might not be passionate about and stick it out because it’s safe. But I kept talking, asking, and staying curious and now I know that I can create a 401k for myself, I can give myself benefits, and I can learn how to value myself and my craft. There have been countless what if moments, countless “oh, shoot” moments as well as “heck yeah” moments. When starting something for yourself there are always going to be challenges and resistances, but sometimes we have to silence that little voice in the back of our mind and keep pushing, keep believing, and most of all keep showing up. And I’ve learned quickly to just stop wearing mascara and always carry around a journal! There’s a duality to everything, the good the bad but support goes a long way and I am lucky to have it to keep me going.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a florist and ceramist. My passion lies within soil health, hence my name! I believe that if we invest in our soils, go back to our roots, that is truly where your can produce unique and beautiful flowers. I want to be able to work with all elements of the Earth, terra firma, being grounded and working with pottery allows me to not only stay connected but to design all forms of vases. My long term goal is to be able to have a small shop in my community and allow everyone access to beautiful arrangements that have come from local surrounding farms. Having flowers as a way of love, healing and communicating. I would love to teach workshops, and in all be a safe space for all walks of life.
So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why?
What matters to me the most is my nephews, and having them watch me follow my passion. I want them to know that they can pursue their dreams and know that our family will always be their cheerleaders. I am really thankful for my family, friends and partner, without them my mind would be lost. Time is another thing I truly value most. Whether it’s going on a small day trip with my partner, taking a break to FaceTime my best friend, calling my sisters in the middle of my deliveries, I want to make sure I soak up every last minute and leave the day full. To me, time is the one thing we have that we can choose what we want to do with it and who we want to bring along. If there was anything that the pandemic taught me it is that the moments of quality time can sometimes be few and far between but be actively present, putting the phone down and looking up to me is truly what matters. I want to make sure I always give back what comes to me, I give back to the land that helps make my flowers and pottery, I give back to my community who supports me, and ultimately I am there for all the events that happen in my siblings’ lives. Gotta stop and smell the flowers!
- Website: https://www.talksoiltome.com/
- Instagram: @_TalkSoilToMe
First photo: Katie Burkholder. All other photos are taken by me.