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“We are in the business of crafting expressions for our clients and helping them transform moments into memorable occasions.”

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Brian Blasingame’s years of experience in the hospitality industry gave him an inherent understanding of how to successfully execute parties and events and have also enabled him to anticipate my clients’ needs. For several years he owned and operated Bounty, a full service florist by Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. It was there that his love for floral and event design set their deep seeded roots. Today, Brian owns and operates The Rebel Florist and serve as the Director of Visual Design for Butler’s Pantry, St. Louis’ premier catering company.

The Rebel Florist is a floral and event-design company servicing the entire St. Louis metropolitan area, dedicated to setting the highest standards for floral and event design.

MO: What inspired the name The Rebel Florist?

Brian: As The Rebel Florist, our mission is to be better, not just the best. To craft the unexpected, the memorable and the expressive is our Rebel cause.

We chose our name because it characterizes our mission so well. To craft one-of-a-kind designs and to design each wedding or event anew influenced our decision not to be a traditional walk-in retail flower shop. Our Rebel approach enables us to maintain our focus on that goal.

To achieve our aim, everything we create must exceed customary standards of quality and style. With each unique wedding we design and with each spectacular party we plan, all of our work must meet this measure in order to bear our stamp of quality and our very logo—The Rebel Florist signature wax-seal.

MO: In addition to running The Rebel Florist you’ve also been serving as the Director of Visual Design at Butler’s Pantry. Can you expand on how you approach each job differently and how you manage to balance two demanding and different roles?

Brian: In truth, there are more similarities than differences to the functions of a florist and those of a caterer. Both involve servicing clients and exceeding their expectations – not just once, but each and every time.

The key to successfully attending to all of the demands of the two positions is in organization and attention to detail. It is, I find, often less about the artistic skills the jobs require and being creative on demand than the practical demands of the jobs. As one of my favorite Italian designers and visual artists, Bruno Munari, once said, “A designer is a planner with an aesthetic sense.” Planning and preparation are, I believe, the keys to success in this industry.

Furthermore, all of our team members have a strong understanding of the inherent and overlapping demands of floral and event design and those of catering operations. This dual experience enables us to think not just aesthetically but also functionally. Being able to visualize all of the components and logistics of executing an event perfectly is what gives us an advantage over our competitors.

MO: You provided centerpieces and floral arrangements for a private dinner for President Barack Obama in fall 2011. Can you talk a bit about your experience and where you drew your inspiration from? Were there any unique challenges when working on such a high-profile event?

Brian: Not just in the case of the florals that we provided for President Obama’s dinner, but with every client, we believe that the key is to listen to them and their description of what they want to achieve rather than approaching it with preconceived plans. For the president’s dinner, our client did not have a specific visual picture in mind which, in truth, is often the case with many clients.

Our client’s guidance came from the level of formality that they wanted to achieve, not too formal but not informal either, and from the mood they wanted their guests and the President to feel that night, fun and interactive yet still intimate and personal. Aesthetically or visually speaking the only guiding swatch of reference that they shared with us was to reflect the fall season during which the dinner was held.

To successfully translate a client’s sometimes seemingly disparate wishes into something that is visual and tactual is a challenge that we take on almost every day. We achieve that by listening to our clients. Listening is the key. This is what enables us to find the common or connective threads that unify their ideas and inspire us to design a wedding, party or event that is more than just the sum of the parts. Listening to their ideas ensures our work results in achieving that intangible flair that makes each event a memorable one.

MO: With the holiday season fast approaching can you share any trends or tips on how to implement a fresh approach on old traditions?

Brian: A mix of old meets new continues to gain in popularity for our clients during the holidays. For us at The Rebel Florist this doesn’t just refer to mixing materials like pairing keepsake, family heirloom ornaments with a newly found, modernist- style tabletop wire tree form. Pairing the old with the new can also mean cherishing your favorite traditions while starting some new traditions yourself. After all, traditions had a first time once, too.

The holidays are not solely for nostalgia; they are also about looking ahead to the future. As a child I remember looking at my grandparents seated at their table during the holidays surrounded by their offspring and grandchildren. It occurred to me then that what I took for granted, as what had always been, they had established themselves. What were familiar family traditions to me, to them were the traditions they had begun.

For example, have centerpieces for your holiday party that are composed of massed stems of your favorite flower even if they aren’t of the red and green variety. Start an annual cookie-baking get-together for your family. Organize a neighborhood progressive dinner amongst new friends. The key is to stake out your own ground. Establish your own traditions. That ultimately is what makes them yours and what others will remember. Perhaps then, years to come, your new frontier will be a future descendants’ nostalgic treasure.

 

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