Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexis Ireland.
Alexis, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I took my first job in the event industry as a server for a catering company on weekends and during summers in high school. I loved going to venues I wouldn’t naturally get a chance to see, and especially loved watching venues transform as all the design elements came together. In college, I majored in fine arts and pursued internships with floral and event design companies, as well as with the window display team for Anthropologie.
After graduating, I continued freelancing for floral designers in Santa Barbara, as well as on the east coast when I moved to Boston for about a year. I came back to Santa Barbara for a job position teaching art part-time while preparing for a teaching credential program. During that time, I continued designing flowers for friends and acquaintances on the side. However, my direction shifted after becoming pregnant with my daughter when I then decided to pursue the “flower thing” full-time. I credit my surprise pregnancy to my business’ success because without it I wouldn’t have taken the risk to pursue it fully. After making that initial decision, I quickly focused my attention on relationships in the event industry and began learning how to run a business. Friends, family, and fellow vendors continue to encourage and inspire me as a floral designer and business owner. I’m now in my third year of business, booking multiple events per week with a growing team of employees.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Entrepreneurship and motherhood are incredibly difficult, but so rewarding. I’ve found there’s something really empowering about going after what I want for my business that trickles into every area of life. My surprise pregnancy was both a setback and a catalyst: turning down an acceptance and scholarship for a teaching credential program ended up giving me the motivation to pursue a career that allows me to work from home with my daughter. Navigating single and co-parenting continues to present itself as challenging, but I remind myself frequently of the friends and family that support both my daughter and me.
Owning a business is an entirely different challenge than motherhood: I love the freedom to take this business where I want it to go, but at the end of the day, that freedom comes with a lot of responsibility and the pressure to make big decisions – which I’m just now learning how to delegate. With growth comes the added task of hiring employees while making sure we continue to produce a high-standard product. There’s always comparison, too – some of the best advice I received along the way was to “stay in my lane.” I choose to live and work with the mindset that there’s enough work to go around, and that I can learn from other designers instead of comparing myself to them. I’d say to any woman hoping to start a business: 1. Believe that you can do it; and, 2. Learn to ask for help, because you’ll quickly realize you can’t do it alone.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Alexis Ireland Florals – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Alexis Ireland Florals is a boutique floral design company serving Santa Barbara, San Louis Obispo, and Los Angeles counties. My work combines a fine arts background – primarily oil painting and film photography – and a love for the outdoors, with a decade of experience in the events industry to create custom designs for all occasions. Design is informed by both the relaxed sophistication of Southern California and the natural tones and textures of California’s central coastlands by combining garden and tropical elements such as orchids, garden roses, and dahlias sourced from local growers. Unlike a traditional floral shop, I order product specifically for each event, allowing for the use of unique and seasonal blooms and foliage. Some of my favorite events that I’m most proud of include weddings with the flexibility to play with site-specific floral installations (i.e. tree installation with flowers climbing up the trunk), and donor events for organizations that help our community (such as the Music Academy of the West’s Annual Gala).
Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
At the risk of making broad generalizations, I’ve found the design world is primarily male-dominated, not necessarily in numbers, but in recognition. I know a number of incredibly talented female florists and artists, but I often feel frustrated by the level of praise and professional standing that men receive for doing the same work. I believe that more women will succeed when more people recognize event and floral industries as true professions, rather than our hobbies, or reserved for homemakers.
- Custom Wedding & Event design: $3500 +
- Partial Wedding Service: $300+
- Floral Installations: $800+
- Website: https://www.alexisirelandflorals.com/
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alexisirelandflorals/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alexisirelandfloral/
- Other: https://www.pinterest.com/alexisirelandflorals/
Hannah Rose Gray, Christianne Taylor, Josh Newton, Jessie Jean Photography, Olivia Strohm, Mallory Carlson