Today we’d like to introduce you to Akiko Coats.
Hi Akiko, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was born and raised in Japan and moved to the United States in 2005 after marrying my wonderful husband. I am the mother of two beautiful daughters and am currently living in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, where my business has been officially licensed since 2016.
In Japan, I was first introduced to the art of flower arrangement through an Ikebana class that I took in college. Many years later after moving to the US, I rediscovered my passion for flower arrangement. I enrolled in the floral design business program at Ashworth College and not only received my diploma but graduated with honors.
I initially started fulfilling orders for floral bouquets and arrangements for my friends’ birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions, and later have expanded to larger events such as weddings, baby showers, graduations, birthday parties, and memorials. In 2017 and 2018, I participated in The Big Fake Wedding bridal show in Los Angeles where only a few hand-selected vendors perform their services. My work has been featured in various wedding magazines and blogs such as Hooray and White Magazine. In 2020, I was also selected to be listed on Zola’s website as a preferred vendor.
I am a home-based business as I believe in developing a personal relationship with each of my customers, so I can provide the highest-quality floral arrangements that fit within my customer’s budget.
It is my sincere pleasure serving nice people and I am grateful for all of the support that our incredible customers have shown me over the years. My personal dream is to create beautiful wedding flowers for my two daughters on their special day. I am looking forward to meeting future clients and working with them.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
In 2010, we had our first baby. I was working as a freelance translator while taking care of my baby at home. When I had our second child, I tried working during the night while the babies were asleep, but I couldn’t keep up with the tight deadlines and the volume of work that I had to manage. Our financial situation was very tight and I tried to find a job that I could manage to take care of our two children at home. Then I have decided to pursue my passion of flower arrangements, which I can enjoy while raising our children. Before my clients’ wedding or event dates, I still would work at night while tirelessly making flower arrangements, but now I completely enjoyed what I was doing.
The timing of ordering and then managing fresh flowers toward weddings and events are always challenging. The availability and what’s in stock of certain flowers varies depending on the season. I pre-order and secure the specific type and color of roses and other flowers from the wholesale market and always pick them up personally to make sure if they are the right colors and in good condition. If pre-ordered flowers don’t look as expected, I would shop at other wholesale markets just to find the right ones.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I get inspiration from understanding what my customers want and their vision and transform that inspiration into my flower arrangements. All of my flower arrangements are original and individually custom-made based on my inspiration from speaking with the customer.
My specialty is delicate color coordination of flower arrangements. I implement color schemes to enhance beauty of flowers with applying tint, shade and highlight just like painting art. All the hue colors of flowers have different tones and shades. For example, “white flowers” can be in different shades of blush pink, cream, lime green or snow white. Flower arrangements are created with an intention of conveying the energy of love, passion, appreciation, or comfort with different tones of colors. Hand-picking flowers while visualizing how the colors work together is my strength to create a work of art. When I arrange flowers, I handle every single flower as if I have a conversation with it. Then I can instinctively arrange flowers in proper alignment and natural flow.
The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
The flower industry has been deeply impacted by the pandemic since last year. Roses are mainly imported from Ecuador and Colombia in South America. Last year, there were times that the wholesale flower markets were not receiving any roses from those countries and as of today the supply of flowers hasn’t fully recovered yet.
Besides, we are currently experiencing unprecedented shortages of roses due to extreme weather and climate such as drought and flooding around the world, and it is really challenging to get the specific colors and breeds of roses as before. I’m getting flowers from 3 different major wholesalers to secure necessary flowers and greenery for the wedding and events.
Though the current time is really challenging, it is my greatest wish to support my community through my work whether it’s to celebrate life’s most happiest events or bring comfort to life’s most devastating events.
- Email: akikosfloraldesign.@gmail.com
- Website: http://www.akikosfloraldesign.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/akikofloraldesign/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/akikofloraldesign/
- Other: https://www.zola.com/wedding-vendors/wedding-florists/akiko-s-floral-design
LXN_photography, Autumn Rose Photography, Kaitlan Tseng Photography