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Meet Naomi McCullough of Beautiful Savage Flowers in Irvine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Naomi McCullough.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
It’s 1998 and I have graduated from college with an AA degree in Fashion Merchandising. So, what do I do now? I have no idea and am feeling lost. What I do know is that I need a job, immediately. But what everyone failed to tell me, is that just because I have an education and a degree, doesn’t mean I will automatically be hired. What you need is this really annoying thing called “experience” and noone wants to give you a job without it.

So here I am, jobless and no experience and this is when I stumbled upon the job that would eventually change my life. But for the moment, I have no idea that walking into The Flower Dome to answer the HELP WANTED sign in the window will result in me discovering my true passion – flowers. Here I am introduced to the joys of cleaning flowers, carrying heavy buckets of water, working in a very cold fridge and pumping out FTD and Teleflora arrangements all while working for minimum wage. I loved every second of it. I was fortunate enough to have a manager who saw my potential and took the time to teach me a few basics and tricks of the trade.

Unfortunately, I did not truly understand the gift that had been given to me and decided to follow my education and pursue my fashion career in the corporate world. Fast forward almost 20 years and 5 major fashion companies later and here is where you will find me finally being able to begin the life that I left behind in that tiny little flower shop. I am a florist and I own my own flower business, specializing in weddings and special events. I waited a very long time to live this dream and I am grateful for the journey that brought me to this place…at long last.

Has it been a smooth road?
There have definitely been struggles along the way. Starting your own business is a process and while it’s different for everyone, the one thing I know to always be true is that it’s never easy. You make a lot of sacrifices, especially in the beginning, and a lot of mistakes. But making those mistakes are all part of the growing process.

As an artist, you always struggle with whether or not your work is “good enough”. I learned early on to stop torturing myself by comparing myself to every other florist on Instagram and Pinterest. The more work I did, the more confident I became. Aside from this, I would say my biggest struggle was to push and force myself out of my comfort zone and to try something new – there is always the fear of failure, but when you succeed, it feels amazing. This was true in both my design work and in the other half of my business which is networking and meeting new people.

When you are as shy as I am, you feel incredibly socially awkward and walking into a room full of industry people to network and socialize gave me the worst anxiety.

It was terrifying! But fortunately, I had a very good friend who started her business the same time I did and we would team up and tackle those events together. Have a networking PIC, it makes all the difference!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Beautiful Savage Flowers – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
In the world of flowers, I am known as an Event Florist. This means I don’t have a brick and mortar retail shop that the public can walk into at any time and order flowers and I don’t keep flowers on hand at all times. If you are coming to see me, then you are coming to my Design Studio and most likely have an appointment. All of my flowers are special order and brought in specifically for your event.

Weddings are what myself and my team do the most of. What we specialize in is bringing each of our brides’ floral vision to life. This is what sets us apart from other florists – we make it a priority to learn and understand each bride floral vision for her day. Once we have a better understanding of what she is looking for, then we are able to guide our brides through the process of choosing flowers and colors that will best fit what she is looking for.

Flowers are usually a very daunting project for a bride. For the most part, the brides that I work with know very little about flowers and so it becomes stressful for them. Trying to figure something out that you know nothing about and don’t understand? Not fun! Our goal is to always make the bride feel comfortable asking us questions and letting her know that it’s OK that she doesn’t know the name of all the flowers that she likes, we will help her figure that all out! We do our very best to relieve the stress from the situation for each of our brides and this is one of things that I am most proud of with my company.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love the history that you see all over Los Angeles. The old buildings, each with their own story and design. There is art everywhere you look and all over downtown LA. You always see something new and it’s inspiring.

Traffic is my least favorite thing about LA! I don’t think that’s very unusual, I think most people feel the same way. If you live in Southern California, then your life revolves around traffic patterns!

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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