One of the greatest joys I’ve had on this flower filled journey is having the opportunity to meet and work with so many fascinating folks along the way. One of those people is Steve Moore, a “flower friend” who is the face of the powerhouse floral and event design firm, Sinclair & Moore, which he co-owns with his wife, Jamie. While based in Seattle, their work takes them across the country and around the world.
During the early days of Floret, I really wanted to start taking on some larger-scale event work. Because I learn best by doing, I reached out to Steve and offered to help with one of his big events in exchange for learning some of the mechanics of the huge floral installations he’s so talented at creating. Without hesitation, Steve graciously invited me along for the setup of a couple massive weddings. Steve was a natural teacher and so generous with sharing knowledge he had amassed over the years of producing some of the finest events in Seattle. He treated me as a colleague, not a competitor, and I learned so much from him in a very short time. It was a beautiful collaboration of ideas, dreams and design. We both agreed it was a win-win, which then turned out to be the start of what would become a great professional relationship.
In the intervening years, I’ve supplied Steve with seasonal flowers from our farm for some of his biggest weddings and workshops. I’ve even custom-grown particular varieties in specific colors for some of Sinclair & Moore’s signature events. Over time, I’ve figured out the types of flowers that will make Steve and his clients swoon. I love surprising him with samples of some of the new varieties that I’m trialing. There’s nothing more rewarding as a grower than seeing what a talented artist does with your lovingly grown blooms. I asked Steve to share a little bit more about himself, his business and a few of his exciting upcoming events.
Erin: Thanks so much for chatting with me today, Steve. I know you rarely sit down—much less sleep now that you have a new baby—so I’m grateful for you taking a few moments to share a little bit about your business and some of the big projects on your horizon.
Tell us a little about how you got started in the industry.
When I was in fifth grade I watched Steve Martin’s Father of the Bride, and I knew instantly what I wanted to do with my life- design beautiful weddings. It felt like a silly dream… but I kept coming back to it. When I graduated from college I felt lost and didn’t know what to do with my life. I kept wondering “what if…?” I knew if I didn’t try to follow my dream I would regret it.
This month just marked 10 years since I took that leap of faith and started our business! I didn’t know what I was doing back then, and there were not many resources available for learning the trade. I learned a lot of things the hard way. I experimented… failed… tried again… and kept working at my craft. I didn’t have overnight success, and it has taken a lot of time and hard work and sacrifice to build the company to where it is today. It’s been a long road, but I wouldn’t change anything.
Erin: You had a massive feature in Martha Stewart Weddings earlier this year. Congrats again on that gorgeous article! How did that story come about and how has that press coverage impacted your work?
Steve: Thank you! It was really exciting to see all of our hard work in 10 printed pages! The Rainbow Wedding! I knew that Martha Stewart Weddings does a color issue every year, so when I started working on a wedding with different shades of the rainbow I took a risk and pitched it to the Martha’s editors. It was an insane amount of hoops to jump through, questions to answer and really proving this would be an exceptional wedding. We were thrilled when we received the news that they would be flying out to cover the wedding in person. It was another dream realized.
The press coverage impacts my work by pushing me to be even better at what I do… to try and top that accomplishment… to dream bigger dreams.
The sister of the bride in the rainbow wedding was married just a couple of weeks ago, and we had the privilege of creating her wedding as well. Martha’s team was there to cover it all. Just wait until you see how drastically different these weddings are from each other when it comes out in the magazine next fall!
Erin: I always love seeing shots of your studio. It looks so dreamy—the gorgeous natural light and the beautiful texture of the crisp white walls. I understand that you recently expanded your studio space–tell me more.
Steve: Thank you! We are really fortunate to have an airy, light filled studio in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. It is the perfect canvas to create within, and the white walls allow for creativity and imagination to run wild. We needed more space to spread out with our workshops, and so when the space next to our current studio became available, we quickly snatched it up. This additional square footage gives more room for teaching, gathering for meals, photoshoots, and a quieter place to have conversation when the bustle is happening in the other room.
Erin: You’re the proud papa of an incredibly sweet—and super stylish– baby boy, Grey. It looks like you and Jamie are savoring every moment of those amazing first few months. Juggling it all on top of a slammed schedule I’m sure has its own challenges. What are your bits of advice for others who are trying to balance new baby with a growing business?
Steve: It’s hard. I’m not going to lie. It has been really challenging this year trying to learn how to balance everything. We are still in the process of learning how to make it all work. Although we are far from figuring it all out, here are a few things we have learned this year.
1. Give yourself grace and realize you can’t accomplish everything in one day.
2. Establish a routine for your baby and for yourself so you know your workable schedule.
3. Be organized with your to do list, so you can be efficient with your time when you do have the ability to work.
4. Prioritize the work that needs to get done. Sometimes you will only have time to accomplish one thing. Get the important and pressing things things done first.
5. Be flexible. Babies need their parents to be adaptable to their ever changing stages of development.
6. Get a good baby carrier. Grey has been worn in baby carriers for many wedding set ups. We love having him be part of our work before the wedding gets started.
7. Find trusty and reliable childcare. This is key.
8. Repeat step number one. Give yourself grace. You don’t have to be perfect.
Erin: I know from experience that you are a natural teacher and have earned accolades from your students on your design classes. The photos of your participants working in your studio are stunning. Tell me more about your workshops and what you have planned for 2016.
Steve: I love hosting workshops, and they have become my favorite part of our business! We teach our attendees the secret to how we build our signature centerpieces, bouquets and tablescapes in addition to unveiling the 35 steps I take when designing an entire event. Additionally we teach business strategy, social media, the importance of choosing your clients, building client relations, how we price our services and we walk though our resource guide which is the accumulation of ten years of searching for the best places to source things.
Although working hands on with flowers is a big part of our workshop, our courses are ultimately about so much more than just making beautiful flower arrangements. I was a kid with a dream who didn’t really know how to get started. My goal is to be the encourager I wished I had. I want people to learn from my mistakes and see what worked and didn’t work. We listen to what their dreams are, and help each person define who they want to be and what they want to do. We teach people how to take those scary first steps. We empower them with the things they need to know. We give them the resources needed to feel confident to pursue their dreams.
This year we are offering several kinds of courses ranging from flower focused courses to overall event design and even a master class where students will get to work on a real wedding for one lucky couple! We will also offer complimentary one-on-one sessions so we can have uninterrupted, intensive focused time with our students. We use this time to come up with tangible steps they can implement into their lives to help get them closer to where they want to be. We want every person to walk away with a plan of action.
Erin: These all sound great, Steve. Your workshops could be a great option for designers eager to get additional training in 2016. I see that you, too, are offering scholarships–five no less!–which is incredibly generous. I’m thrilled to see industry leaders paying it forward and extending opportunities to those that may not have the financial capability to attend these types of events. What else is on the horizon for your business? What exciting things do you have in store for next year?
Steve: We really want to get back to blogging and start creating a lifestyle brand… taking the components of designing a beautiful events and apply them to real life day to day living, home decorating and family celebrations. We believe that anyone can live a life that’s beautiful. We want to help people define what that means for them and teach some tangible ways to go about achieving it. More to come with this in the future… Stay tuned!