Embellishment, with an “e”, is exactly what Embellishmint Floral + Event Design Studio (with an”i”) does, with flowers, of course.
Our special wedding vendor being showcased this month is Embellishmint Floral + Event Design Studio. This amazingly creative studio not only offers clients stunning floral arrangements, but even event design consultation! So, let’s here about Dawn Stone’s company and how she came to be where she is today: an iconic figure in the San Diego wedding industry!
>Embellishmint is so successful in San Diego; how did you start this business?
I never intended to become a florist, per se. I was actually going to school at the Design Institute for Interior Design. But then a major life event happened (my son got into an accident) and I had to quit to take care of him.
While I was taking care of him, and also around that same time, I was working part-time with a wedding coordinator, helping her on the day of an event.
Then, around Christmas, a florist friend of mine needed help for a Christmas party she was doing, so I signed up.
>Did you know anything about flowers?
No, not really. I had to learn all the flower rules. I had no experience! The internet is a magical thing, so in addition to my own research, I partnered up with florists I knew in the business, and I also took classes with a local, renown florist.
>So when did Embellishmint come into existence?
Well, I started Embellishmint when I was working with the coordinator. I was still helping her out as I began this journey into floral design. I figured that since I was helping embellish certain things for her brides, I could do the same with the floral and more. The two just came together! I also had a good friend of mine, Julie, and she and I started the business together originally. She, unfortunately, has since moved to Hawaii, but we still are very close.
>Where did you start? Did you have a space?
We didn’t have a space set in stone, but rather we bounced around. Currently, the business is in National City, and we’ve been here for the past two years, but before that we operated from a space in Coronado, which we were in for over three years.
With regard to the business itself, we built it through word-of-mouth. We continued to work with the coordinator, and we just put ourselves out there. Many people gave us a chance, and it worked out!
>How long ago was that?
7 years. We did it part-time that first year, but it has grown exponentially since! Our space now in National City is great because we needed more space, so now our studio location is perfect and spacious.
>You now offer floral design for all types of events; did you start out that way?
Initially, we advertised our business for weddings. It took a lot of networking and a few magazine ads. That proved successful. But, when the economy tanked a few years ago, we shifted our focus to corporate. We adapted to the financial times. Many of the venues we were working with for weddings were also hosting major corporate meetings and events, and we were fortunate to expand and move with the times.
>So, what sets Embellishmint apart from other floral designers/florists?
Well, we are not retail. We really only focus on event floral, whether that is for a wedding or a meeting. Embellishmint will only do one event/wedding day, because our #1 focus is the customer. We have a slightly different focus than other floral experts and that is my design background. I offer clients event styling services, and I can work hand-in-hand with a couple’s coordinator.
Any good planner is an architect, and a good florist is also a craftsman/designer. The balance of the two is fine, and I am able to work with and appreciate others’ abilities. That is what I think makes Embellishmint so unique.
Nowadays, budgets for weddings and events are constrained, and I think the defining feature of a good designer is working within the constraints of budget. As a floral and event designer, I can make anything and any budget work; I can make it look like a million bucks without costing even close to that!
My focus: I don’t care about knowing the names of flowers and being an encyclopedia, I care, instead, about the beauty of things and different pieces together. To me, that’s the most important.
>Does Embellishmint have a business tagline?
Nothing formal. My work is unique, and my design background helps influence this uniqueness. When I was in design school, we worked with textures and colors, and now I get to use this knowledge base and apply it in a different context.
The best thing for any business is for you (the owner) to stop and get a hobby, this way the mind doesn’t get stagnant. My hobby is design, for lucky for me, my work and my hobby are intertwined.
>Talk more about your hobby…how are you combining that with Embellishmint’s work and your own growth as a person?
I am interested in going back to instructing. I believe that education is first. For example, when I first meet with a bride, couple, whoever, the first meeting is about teaching them the process.
I would like to start offering more classes, making them open to the public and to couples. I want to look at trends and then teach about how to create looks based on that trend. Maybe make it an evening event involving wine and food, in addition to the helpful information! For example, fantasy, going green, and DIY are really hot now, and people are trying to expand on everyday life, so I want to make accessories and then teach people how to do it as well! It would not be a DIY class for the crafty bride, per se, but an environment to teach them a few things so they then see the value in my business and me.
>What’s next for you and Embellishmint?
I want to work with others vendors, network, learn from them, and pick up on their talents. I would like to add the LA area/corporate LA to my list of areas served, and I would like to restructure the business slightly, and actually do fewer events, but really optimizing the ones we do participate in. It’s the work smarter, not harder mantra. Through a lot of trial and error, I am involved in a constant evaluation of how my business can evolve/change the right way. It’s about quality, not quantity.
>What does being a member of Weddings of Distinction mean to you?
There are so many associations out there today for wedding professionals, and often they can feel stale. But, one say I was at the Prado for an open house and Weddings of Distinction was there and everyone in the group was smiling and proud. I knew I wanted to be a part of it. The referral system is great, and being a part of really quality professionals who are genuinely trying to help one another is so refreshing.
I find myself really excited about the meeting, and you can tell everyone wants to be there. No fake-ness. We trust one another and help one another out. With so much competition out there for wedding professionals, it is refreshing to be among like-minded experts. It is not a drudgery being present. After I found WOD, I stopped going to other association meetings. I really like the direction WOD is going.
>What is an interesting factoid about you that people may not know?
I have an extensive succulent garden, and I rent out these pieces, in various vessels, for an event! I love succulents, so this is another way for me to combine a passion and business.
Yea, a business or event may want certain pieces, so I rent them to them, deliver them, set them up, and then pick them up after the event is done. The great thing about succulents is they last forever, and they’re gorgeous! This is mostly for my corporate and business side of the business, not for a bride or wedding. Its more of a wholesale business.
>Any advice you would give those planning a wedding?
Don’t do it! Elope in Vegas. No, just kidding, sort of. Well, couples need to really think about what the day is about. Get your priorities in order. Know your budget; be firm. Don’t lose wight about what the day is actually about.
Also, and most important, be truthful to a good, quality professional. A trusted vendor is one you can have faith in to get the day exactly right. Hire good people and your eliminate one stress!