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Hidden Gems: Meet Maria Jose Natera of Lovelia Floral

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Jose Natera.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Well, it all started when I graduated from Industrial Design in Germany. Back then, I was working doing renders for an interior design company while designing blown glass pieces as a hobby. I come from a family that has their own business, and I always knew that I wanted to have my own too! So I decided to quit and follow my dream of designing blown glass pieces, mainly flower vases. One day a wedding planner that I knew asked me to design some vases for centerpieces for a big wedding she was working on. It was a big opportunity for me, so I just took it! Little did I know that she was going to ask me later to design the flowers too. In my eagerness to grow my little business I accepted the challenge … but something I didn’t expect happened while I was working with the flowers, I fell in love with them! I realized designing and arranging them was the most fun part, and that was the starting point of my floral journey!

After that wedding, other brides and event designers started to ask me about floral designs and glassware, and I was so happy to be able to work with them and help them turn their visions into the reality of their perfect wedding! That’s the amazing thing about working on weddings – it’s so much more than a design project, it’s designing a moment for a lifetime!

I started to go to courses for floral and event design, and I just fell in love with the idea of creating a whole new unique wedding for each of my couples! After growing my business some, I decided to travel to the U.S. to study floral design, and when I got back to Mexico I officially opened my floral business with my mom. Together, we started to grow the business to the point where we were not just doing floral design but also wedding planning and catering.

This chapter in my career showed me even more that my true passion was in flowers, and since I wanted to have new experiences and grow more, I decided to move and rebuild my business here in L.A.

This was in 2017 … after moving here officially, I started working with other floral designers to get acquainted with American brides, and I even started working as a bridal stylist selling gowns, which is how I met some of my first couples for my newly reestablished floral design practice. Now, five years later, I’ve met so many beautiful people and have been so lucky to be a part of creating so many incredible days!

Oh yeah, and one other important thing … within a month of moving to L.A. I met the love of my life, and I just knew I’d found the place to be to follow my dreams and to build my business, now with a partner! My husband has been such a huge inspiration and support for me. I’ve always considered myself to be a true romantic, and just being able to be surrounded by beautiful flowers, lovely couples, and an amazing husband is my fuel to work every day on my dream!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Of course, it hasn’t always been easy 🙂 Anytime you open a business you never have everything figured out, and so you just learn everyday. But I have to say, LOVELIA FLORAL has been the most challenging business I have ever had by far!

Even though now L.A. is my home, when I first started LOVELIA FLORAL I was in a new country, speaking a language I had so far only used in school, with no friends or family and very little idea of the local market! I had experience designing for modern-minimal German brides and very traditional Spanish and Mexican brides, and now I found myself in Los Angeles, which is a real melting pot for wedding trends!

I remember in my first months, I was sweating just to pick up the phone and take an order in English, haha! I didn’t have a clue on how to start a business in Los Angeles, and I had to start from zero. And that is why I started to work selling gowns because it was the best way to learn directly from my customers, the brides! Just by listening to them in the fitting room, asking them about their styles and their wedding process, and getting to know them, I was able to gain confidence in myself and start building a network.

Normally when you start a business, you first offer your service to your friends and family, but here I was completely alone! Not to mention that I was working seven days a week 12 hours a day in 3 different jobs just to support myself and my new business. So tiredness was also a constant companion!

The first two years were the hardest because I had to learn everything, but after that it really started coming together! Building Lovelia has been so gratifying because it lets me prove to myself everyday that if you really want something to work, you just have to work harder, surround yourself with good people, and learn from every experience!

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Lovelia Floral?
I see each wedding as a whole new design project that reflects the couple’s personality and style. I make sure to be more than just a florist creating beautiful floral arrangements – I like to connect with my couples, and I want them to feel comfortable and excited about their wedding and the whole planning process. Trust me, I know how stressful and overwhelming it can be sometimes!

The first part of my design process is a phone call or meeting with the couple, which I like to call “LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT”. In this part, I like to get to know their personality and understand their vision so that we can all see if we are the perfect match for each other! This is key for me because I really give a lot of love and energy into designing the florals for their most important day!

After this first meeting, I create different design proposals with pictures and hand-drawn sketches for them to choose from so that they can see different options for translating their vision into a design. I’m in constant communication with the couples, answering questions and doing whatever I can to make it fun and exciting. I don’t want them to feel that they just paid the deposit and I forgot about them! All the design project is based on them and how I can help them to bring their vision to reality! In the end, this is their wedding and most special moment … Yes, I am the designer, but I’m here to create the atmosphere that they have been dreaming of.

What sets me apart is the way I create such unique, detailed, and visual proposals for my couples, showcasing their personality and style within their budget. I love doing this part, and I strive to give all my couples the absolute best service! Each couple means a lot to me, and a lot of the time they become friends! I even miss working with them after their wedding.

Lovelia Floral’s brand is all about giving love! Love to each sketch that I make for them, love in every meeting we have, every presentation that I make, every email I send. Sometimes my brides just call me to share other details or frustrations about their wedding planning because I have been in this industry long enough to understand that it can be tough. If I can do something else to help even besides the flowers, I’ll do as much as I can!

Sometimes couples reach to me to get packages, but that’s simply not me. A wedding is so personal that it is important to understand what a couple wants and the budget they feel comfortable to work with. The point is to create something amazing without them feeling stress!

At Lovelia Floral, we’re proud to design everything you want, from the smallest boutonniere to the largest ceiling hanging installations!

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
I definitely think the wedding industry is only going to get busier and busier! I can already see that everything from big 300 guest weddings to very intimate elopements are starting to come back. Already, I’m seeing that small weddings are becoming very popular, which is great for me because they give so much emphasis on getting every detail of the day perfect!

So far in 2022, I’m having more weddings than ever because of all the weddings that were canceled over the last two years. I’m even starting to book 2023 weddings already!

And I have to say that the wedding industry is very steady, and flowers too! There’s always an important event coming up in everyones’ lives, and there are so many reasons to give flowers. And even though the last two years were very tough, I never stopped working because all throughout the pandemic couples have gotten married!

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

@dnawyliephotography @kjhellisphoto @eddiereidfilms @foolishlyrushingin @victoriamphoto

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