Flowers can communicate many different messages. Whether as centerpieces, bouquets or gifts they have the potential to elicit feelings of love, friendship and beauty. Flower Mound senior Rachel Gilliland tries to unlock that potential through her company Bloomology Floral Design.
Although Gilliland majors in finance, she does business in flowers. She said having a mother as an interior designer exposed her to aesthetics and beauty all her life. In high school, she discovered her own love of flowers and began organizing floral designs for friend and family events.
“In high school at Senior Night, they would ask what we wanted to be and I would joke around and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if I said florist?’” Gilliland said. “It’s just been something I’ve enjoyed and a creative outlet.”
After making flower arrangements for four years, last August Gilliland turned her florist joke into the Bloomology business. She doesn’t have a formal workspace. Instead, she works out of her house in Waco, which limits her business options to special orders and events like weddings and ceremonies.
“I don’t have anywhere to keep bulk flowers, so I only do events,” Gilliland said. “It’s still pretty low-key, and that’s OK.”
While Gilliland said specific design elements often depend on the client, each of her arrangements is unique. Her bouquets are a mixture of bright hues and soft textures. Bright reds are offset by more subdued creams and pale pinks. Spiky thistles and bright berries add texture, and sprigs of foliage tie her arrangements together.
Gilliland said one of the things that made flower arranging so attractive is how dynamic and diverse flowers are. There are always new ways to arrange them or new flowers to work with.
“Different flowers have different petals,” Gilliland said. “A gardenia has more of a spongy petal, and a hydrangea is just full and fluffy. There are literally a million different varieties. I don’t think I’ll ever learn all the different flowers.”
Getting the opportunity to design also attracted Gilliland to flower arranging.
“I really like the element of putting things together, the architecture of it,” Gilliland said. “You can have two people with the same recipe of flowers create arrangements that are totally different.”
Gilliland’s floral designs have received more attention than she had anticipated. She worked four events last semester and even caught the attention of Buttoned Bears, a fashion blog by Baylor students. She sold her work at the Buttoned Bears Pop-Up Shop last November.
Pleasanton, Calif., senior Kayla Haykin, who put on the Buttoned event and is a friend of Gilliland, said her work and business ethic are inspiring.
“I don’t know anyone else who’s our age and starting something,” Haykin said. “It’s been fun getting to watch her be creative and get her business off the ground.”
Gilliland said she didn’t see the point in waiting until after college to start her business.
“I figured it would be better to start now and get the ball rolling,” Gilliland said. “It’s a great way to build a portfolio.”
Gilliland hopes to see her business continue to blossom and will keep working for the foreseeable future. She is still unsure, however, whether she will try to make Bloomology a full-time job.
“That’s TBD,” Gilliland said, “But I always want to do this in some form on the side.”
Gilliland has booked a few wedding events for the summer, and she also hopes to do a floral workshop with Buttoned Bears later in the spring.
“She is super great to work with, really inspiring,” Haykin said. “What I appreciate most is she does what she says she is going to do. People can really trust when they come to her that she is going to carry out what they want.”
Gilliland plans to graduate in the spring and will be working with Teach for America in the Dallas area next year.
“That leaves my summers free for flowers,” Gilliland said.