Vendor introductions and interviews are some of my favorite blogs to post! We have so many amazing creatives and wedding business owners in our area, and I thoroughly enjoy getting to know some of them a little better through these written interviews. We all have our own special story and journey as entrepreneurs. Today, learn a little bit more about Rebekah’s, owner of Sage Tree Design. Rebekah is a local floral and landscape designer who specializes and has a passion for creating custom pieces and designs, all while being as eco-friendly as she possibly can!
1. Tell me about you, how your business started, and how it has grown.
A life studying plants had never been on my radar. In college, I started in Secondary English Education because I LOVED reading and writing. Even though that is still a strong hobby of mine, I quickly fell out of love with the theatrically nature of literature. I wanted to learn some hard-core truths about the natural world!
After a year of college, I stumbled into the campus’s greenhouse (Brigham Young University-Idaho) and became completely enlightened. “This is a major?” I thought. And that’s that. I changed my major to pursue a Bachelor’s of Science degree with an emphasis in Floral Design.
That decision has completely transformed my life and the way I see the world. It was truly God’s hand in my life.
During my college career, I packed in as many plant related classes as I could into a 4-5 year plan. I couldn’t get enough of it. Every elective I had was spent in another Horticulture class. I got my hands dirty, filled my head with hard facts, designed dream spaces, and spent every day in the presence of nature. One of the most pivotable jobs I had was as the Garden Manager over the Rick’s Garden – which is 10 + acres of a botanical oasis. It had themed gardens, countless water features, a huge apple orchard, and wandering paths. Besides what I do now, that is still one of my favorite jobs I’ve ever had. I spent every day directing a crew in taking care of beautiful gardens. This is what later inspired me to pursue a path in landscape design.
Landscape design didn’t fall into my lap right away. It took until the tail-end of my college career to find a passion for it. Once I got my hands on AutoCAD, I quickly felt a spark. I wasn’t great at hand-drawing landscapes – but on the computer? It could do all the art stuff for me! And I could bring my vision to life. I had my first real landscape clients the last semester of school, and I still remember in the middle of my meeting across the table from a client, I thought, “I want to do this the rest of my life.” It was a super powerful feeling.
After graduating, I was on a high from all the things I had just learned and experienced. I didn’t want to lose it. How could I still pursue my passions but stay at home and raise my new baby?
This is where my business idea was born! I’ll be my own boss and work my own hours.
I couldn’t choose between floral and landscape – so why not create an outlet where both can exist in harmony? Landscape design is just floral design but on a grander scale. They worked interchangeably with one another.
The name Sage Tree Design LLC comes from my love of the genus Salvia – one of my favorite plants. Common name is sage. And I knew I had to incorporate trees into my name somehow – trees make me very emotional. I can’t explain how much I love each and every variety of tree.
The first year of business was a little rocky getting my footing, but I still had some amazing clients! I’m so grateful for everyone who put faith in me. Now I’m my second year, and I’ve nearly quadrupled the number of weddings books & my landscape design is still beating strong. I’m extremely grateful. And I started another area of my business – Interior Plant Services!
2. What are two or three ways you work to ensure your business stands out to potential clients looking for florists in our local area?
I really try and stand out through my personability. I try and be real and raw on social media and in person – I try not to put up a fake front. I show people that I’m honest and hard-working. And that I truly care about each client who believes in me and my ability – they are not just a number to me. They are real people with real experiences, and real visions, going through the most meaningful time of life with their significant other.
I also work very hard to have quick response time in my proposal work. It’s very important to me to have strong, reliable communication.
I try and stand out with my style as well. All of the florists in the area do amazing work and I look up to all of them. To be different, I try new things all the time. Not one of my bouquets will look the same. I strive to now be not “cookie cutter”. I like to be different, wild, and try new things.
3. What are some of your most FAQs during an initial consult with a potential client or couple?
“Is that normal? What do other people do?” – Number one question… all the time. And I am here to tell you, it doesn’t matter if other people do it or not – do what you want for your wedding!
A huge question mark is price. “Will my wants fit in my budget?” Only one way to find out! Let’s quote everything that you want and see where that falls within your budget. If it exceeds your spending limit for florals, the best thing to do is have an honest conversation with me because there are likely areas we can chat about ‘want versus need’ and see what adjustments can be made.
“What’s in season during my wedding?” Pro tip: this will help a little with the cost of your florals. Flowers that are in season tend to (but not always) be less expensive than flowers that are not in season and have to be shipped in from much further away.
4. Generally speaking, how much of an overall budget do you recommend allocating for florals specifically?
For an average-sized wedding, a budget of at least $2,000 can be a great starting point. It’s enough to get the basics. Anything less than $2,000 you can expect the flowers to be a minimal impact within the overall wedding design. Allocate your funds to what’s most important to you! Love the idea of arch flowers? Great! Put all your money towards that instead of stretching it to try and fit other things that aren’t as big of importance to your design plan.
If you want a decent to larger amount of flowers for most things throughout the ceremony and reception + personal flowers – plan on a budget of at least $3,500-$4,000+.
5. What is your favorite part of a wedding to design for and why?
So cliché, but I love making the bridal bouquet. A lot of love and time is put into each bridal bouquet.
I also love statement pieces! Where I can make big, bold flower choices. Ask me to do something no one else has ever done before!
6. I know you make it a point to utilize materials in the creation of your designs that are eco-friendly, why is this so important and how do these materials affect the overall freshness of flowers?
I have recently changed some of my practices to be more eco-friendly, yes. One of the goals of my company is to be environmentally conscious, so I’m always looking for ways that can help the earth, and still be just as useful within the floral world. Honestly, the non-eco friendly stuff does work the best, that is why it’s so commonly used. The eco-products do work almost as well and I use eco-friendly floral medium for almost all of my arrangements now, or simply don’t use foam if I can avoid it. I don’t want to effect the freshness of my flowers, so I give and take where I can. With being environmentally conscious, I think it’s more about taking those small steps instead of overwhelming yourself with too much at once.
7. Any additional advice or tips for engaged couples who are just getting started in the wedding planning process?
-If your budget allows, get a wedding coordinator first thing.
-Keep an open mind.
-Most vendors want to be your friend and are honest, hardworking individuals.
-Trust your florist.
-With flowers, you get what you pay for. Don’t always go towards the cheapest proposal.
-And enjoy every moment! You’re only engaged for a short amount of time.
Big thank you to Rebekah for taking the time to respond to all my questions!! If you want to check out more of Rebekah’s work, scroll through her beautiful Instagram feed HERE. And if you want to inquire and get that proposal process started, be sure to fill out her contact form on her website HERE.
Check out some of the other amazing wedding professionals in the area who I have interviewed…