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A little about what's happening in our big flower world...

Farm to Vase Floral Design & Foraging Workshop | Soul Food Farm Vacaville, CA

I've had the pleasure of making so many friends and colleagues on this flower adventure, but this one little pistol really stands out. The first time I met Alexis, owner and "la granjera" of Soul Food Farm, I knew the two of us could get into something fun, possibly dangerous, but definitely exciting. That same day, she told me "girl, you've got something big." I'll never forget her words. She was the first person to say and actually mean this in a positive light. (I had a boss who once told me "you know, you walk in the room and take up all the space." This was definitely not meant as a compliment, nor taken as one). But Alexis's words filled my head and warmed my heart. And though I'm pretty sure I turned five shades of red, then stark white, and as I shook it off, it was the start to one sweet adventure.

Alexis and I have worked together on various occasions from photo shoots, to events, to dreaming up plans for a flower farm. This last year Alexis has started planting a crop of flowers for cutting. She’s had much success with her gorgeous lavender fields, olive orchards, and hundreds of chickens, naturally there has to be another project in order. After all, I’m pretty sure the lady never stops moving much less sleeps. So there we started. Alexis grows the flowers, I get to help cut them down (I know makes me seem like a real dream killer huh?)

Alexis, Owner of Soul Food Farm

This fall after many talks and dreams about a little flower farm, workshops, field trips, and true hands-on learning environment, we caved. We decided to host our first Farm to Vase: Floral Design and Foraging Workshop. We wanted to share with others the magic of the farm and give everyone a chance to learn, create, and of course get a little dirty.

The morning of the workshop was gently warm with a thin looming fog in the air. Our months of 90 plus degree weather was finally cooling into chilly nights and dew-filled mornings. The farm looked glorious in its royal greens and gold. Tiny pumpkins lined the fields alongside the last tomatoes of the year. We could hear a hint of chickens in the distance but mostly it was just peacefully quiet. And we were giddy with excitement.

Rebecca, Adam, & Kim (The Pollen Mill Team)

Our workshop participants arrived to the farm with welcoming smiles and aprons ready for the day ahead. After a brief introduction, we toured the farm with fields of ripe fall vegetables: chilis, eggplant, squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, grasses, olive branches, and various cold weather blooms. I gave instruction on cutting, foraging, plant species, and of course a stop in to visit Wanda, the sweetest farm goat. Then participants were then set free to forage the farm for their design materials.

©CrystalLynnPhotography-107.jpg

We gathered after foraging for instruction on how to make a garden style floral arrangement. Participants matched their foraged items with other selections of California-grown fall blooms we provided. What they created was phenomenal! I couldn’t believe my eyes! Every time I looked up, a new and totally different design emerged from the workshop participants. I kept telling them they were hired. And truthfully, they were really fantastic.

The workshop came to a close over a shared meal in the calm of the olive orchard. Delectable eats prepared by Alexis, her husband Eric, and my husband Adam featuring local farm vegetables, delectable cheeses from another farm just up the road, homemade pasta dressed with pesto, Soul Food Farm eggs with aioli and olive oil, Acme bread, and Pink Lady Rose from a woman vintner in the nearby valley. Rebecca, our workshop assistant, dressed the table with mixed matched china, hand sewn napkins, and silver for an understated but elegant table setting. It was the perfect end to a delightfully fun-filled day. Over lunch we shared stories and laughs. So many ladies from all walks of life coming together to share one special day on the farm; creating, exploring, laughing, telling stories, feeding our bellies and souls. It was truly remarkable.

Alexis and I are eager for our next workshop in April 2016. The spring blooms will be at their peek and ready for snipping. We can’t wait to share in this experience with you so stay tuned and sign up early. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (@thepollenmill @soulfoodfarm) to stay up to date on our announcements.

A huge thanks to our Farm to Vase Team: Crystal Lynn Photography for the truly beautiful photos, Rebecca for thinking of all the things I need before I even know I need them, Eric for mastering the kitchen and helping to make the most delicious truly farm-to-table meal, and Adam for running around, do anything, and helping everyone. We couldn’t have done it without out you. You are so appreciated.             XX~ Kim & Alexis

Living & Loving Local, A Lavender Wedding | St. Helena, California

When Lindsey contacted me about designing flowers for her and Rico's wedding celebration, to say I was excited would be an understatement. Lindsey is the owner of a wonderful farm-to-table restaurant in town, Backdoor Bistro. Naturally, we have become a pretty big fans of Chef Lindsey, her restaurant, staff, and delectable dishes (the wine isn't too shabby either of course). As Lindsey and I were both starting our new businesses around the same time, we had a few opportunities to work with one another and support local, woman-owned, small businesses. I consider Lindsey a friend, wonderful colleague, and simply a genuinely kind person. 

Lindsey and Rico were married late in May on Rico's family vineyard, Stony Hill Vineyard in St. Helena, CA. They wanted a classic, romantic, fresh, aesthetic that resembled French country chic. Lavender filled the venue from potted topiaries on the dining tables, to the gorgeous dried lavender wreaths that hung on the vineyard doors, freshly cut stems for bridesmaid bouquets, and flower girl baskets filled with dried lavender grains for tossing down the aisle. Silver dollar eucalyptus garland accented the head tables along with tiny sprigs of lavender at each place setting. What was even more special? All the lavender we used in our designs was grown locally, right here in Vacaville. Dried lavender sprigs and wreaths were provided by our dear friend Denise of Girl on the Hill. A lovely lavender farmer and vineyard owner perched a top of Mount Vaca. We also cut several varieties of fresh lavender from the fields of Soul Food Farm on Pleasant's Valley Road owned by another dear pal and colleague, Alexis. Alexis is a truly amazing and hard working farmer raising chickens, grow lavender, and olive trees amongst many other exciting side projects. In addition, we tied in fresh herbs such as rosemary and sage cut right from my home garden. Need less to say, we were elated to be able to source the freshest, most fragrant products right here in our hometown. Not many other floral designers have that luxury outside of Northern California.

Then came the bridal bouquet...Lindsey's bouquet was one of our favorite yet! She wanted a real statement piece that incorporated all California grown blossoms in white, ivory, and lavender with accents of silver hues and green. She wanted something wild, fun, and whimsical but also refined and classic. Fluffy peonies, garden roses, Queen Anne's lace, lisianthus, ranunculas, stock, nigella, dusty miller, and seeded eucalyptus all danced together in this bouquet that fit Lindsey's personality just perfect.

What came together for this celebration, was just magical. Take a look for yourself...

Thank you to Lindsey & Rico for including us in your special day! It was an honor to design for you two! And another huge applause and thank you to Jaimi Lynn Photography for the beautiful images. We LOVE them! Local food, wine, flowers, vendors...This wedding truly featured what Living & Loving Local is all about!

Venue: Stony Hill Vineyard | Photography: Jaimi Lynn Photography | Day of Wedding Coordination: Fearon May Events | Floral Design: The Pollen Mill

 

 

Being an Island.

“Feel your emotions, Live true your passions, Keep still your mind.”― Geoffrey M. Gluckman

This week I was able to spend a few hours with some of my dearest lady friends. Strangely, these are people I've only known for the last year or two since starting The Pollen Mill. Each of them own a small business as well. All completely different fields of work, but self-employed none the less, and all have been in business for much, much longer than I.

Over wine we talked shop (taxes, payments, paperwork, and all the crap), life (kids, friends, husbands, girlfriends/boyfriends, sickness, travel, parents, death), and moving forward (with our businesses, with people we love, with plans), and just that urge to take the next step & keep going.

One of the hardest parts about working alone is feeling like you are an island. Don't get me wrong, standing in my studio in elastic waist pants and smelling glorious flowers isn't really something to complain about... But, that feeling of being alone so often that you forget how to have an adult conversation, it's just the weirdest thing. Sometimes it feels like I can take on the world without a question. While other times I feel like the world just has it out for me. You know, it's just kind of how it goes; feast & famine all at the same time. One thing stands out from my visits with theses ladies... true passion, a kind of passion that words don't really explain. The kind of passion where you wake up at any hour to do the silliest tasks like make that one little edit to a photo, search and pull the tiniest of weeds, or just checking in on a client to make sure they are feeling ok. Meanwhile, forgetting to eat meals, working so much you have to call your mom and say "Yes, I'm still alive." Those things that make us real people, fighting our own fights, with relationships of all levels. True passion and in exchange, real customer service. It's not something you can put a price on.

You've heard me tout over and over again about strong, successful women who have my back. They're real. They inspire, they teach, they support, they bounce ideas back to me. Real, no bullshit, friends who when they say "you're doing such an good job," I actually believe them. Because they know what it's like to be an island. They know how much bills, taxes and paychecks come and go. But more than anything, they hug you after a glass of wine and say "thank you, I needed this."
So, I guess my entire post today is a quick thank you to those people who are full of passion, share their passion, and keep this little machine going. You are appreciated.

PS- I feel I should come clean... 76% of the plants in my yard are dead, like crispy and brown. I can claim that it's because we are in a drought and I'm conserving water. But in real life, it's simply because of neglect. So don't feel bad. Even the floral designer's yard looks like royal shit. And I can't lie, it's pretty embarrassing.

The (Floral) Red Zone

There is this NFL channel the husband watches called The Red Zone. Basically the channel bounces back and forth showing all the important highlights from each game. It actually drives me crazy! As soon as I get into one game, it switches to another and I can never keep up (and here I've digressed once again). Anyway, here is a little (Floral) Red Zone highlight action for what the Pollen Mill has been up to.

We provided the floral designs for this beautiful photo shoot at Vizcaya Sacramento. Photo courtesy of Liz Zimbleman Photography. Aren't these two dreamy?

And one more close-up. Gah! Photo courtesy of Liz Zimbleman Photography.

These centerpieces were created for the wonderful ladies at Backdoor Bistro to celebrate their monthly Winemaker's Dinner. We LOVE Backdoor Bistro and are so excited to watch their delicious restaurant grow into a hometown staple.

And then there was this bright backyard arch...

And this one for a wedding at The French Laundry Culinary Garden.

And this bouquet with the beautiful Brooke for a fall photo shoot with Crystal Lynn Photography, Danielle Lucas Hair, and Brooke Anderson modeling. Photo courtesy of Crystal Lynn Photography.

And Brooke with another fall bouquet. Photo courtesy of Crystal Lynn Photography.

And these dahlias for someone special.

And then these designs for a 60th Wedding Anniversary celebration at the Westin Verasa Napa. Photo courtesy of Crystal Lynn Photography.

And these dining table centerpieces for a wedding reception at Ad Hoc in Yountville that the bees couldn't even stay away from.

Oh, Jen's blue and lavender bridal bouquet was not to be forgotten.

We celebrated the grand opening of Sweet Pea's with a pop-up floral shop.

And our designs made the cover of California Meetings & Events Magazine at Soul Food Farm with styling and Photography by Amber Johnston at My Sweetness Stylized Photography.

And plenty of pretty fall flowers went out for delivery.

And that time when Crystal Lynn Photography & The Pollen Mill joined forces to start their new design adventure Foraging Light. Follow us on Instagram @foraginglight to see what we have coming up. Hint Hint: enjoy our flowers every month through all of 2015. :)

And then there was this welcoming design for the Flourish Health Summit.

This custom terrarium in a vintage glass cage.

And we designed this entryway piece for Bouchon Bistro out of the back of the Prius. #moblieflorist

The Keane's Baby Shower buffet design. Photo Courtesy of Alison Pfaff

Then we took our hand in event planning & coordination, decor & staging, and full floral design for this one-of-a-kind event which included Olympic Games! Delicious catering by The Organic Countertop and furniture/tabletop rentals from Wine Country Rentals. Photo Courtesy of Alison Pfaff

And the temperature decided to drop below 80 degrees for the first time in months. So we made some more moody blooms.

And then it FINALLY rained the day we made this fluffy bridal bouquet.

Last but definitely not least, our boys nailed down a dynasty with one more World Series Win!

Is your head spinning yet? Information overload!

We are so blessed to work with so many great vendors, venues, and restaurants especially our local buddies right here in the 707.

We have much more coming up through the holidays. Keep your eyes peeled for our Thanksgiving Centerpiece Workshop and Winter Wreaths. We are booking up quickly for weddings & events in 2015. Please contact us ASAP to schedule your consult. As always, thank you for your continued support. Love Locally!

Goal Digger

We've been hitting the ground running, filling our fire with forks, and jumping off cliffs hoping for nets. It's the only way to take the world by the horns...Right? Maybe?

If you asked me six months ago where we would be today, I would have never said here. It's hard to believe it has been six months since officially opening our doors...I mean mind-blowning. I didn't have many expectations for what would happen with this little flower biz. I was just fine with throwing sand into the wind and holding my eyes closed really, really tight. But what happened was nothing like anticipated.

I met so many new faces. Many which immediately became friends, mentors, muses, angel-sweet-magician-helpers who are steering me along this journey to build and establish my little business. They are true motivators who keep me up into the wee hours of night, thinking, planning, glowing with excitement. It seems impossible that one, simple conversation can have such an impact on life...but it can. You bet your booty it can! And I've watched it happen over and over.

Last month marked a few photo shoot adventures, weddings, rehearsal dinners, fundraisers, anniversaries, baby showers, and more. And as we come to the end of summer and start of autumn, it's Groundhog's Day. Feeling more and more the same with continued requests for pastel centerpieces made with peonies that are long gone. That's not a complaint, it is a treasure. I see it as still getting to be a teacher of sorts. I teach my clients about the seasonality of flowers and how our dry winter and summer impacts availability as well as cost. Days filled with meeting new people, brainstorming ideas, creating inspiration boards, and designing flowers...shoot, it all makes me smile.

Now six months later, with a collection of forks, nets, and tired toes, we are embarking on exciting new realms and peeking out of those squinted closed eyes to see a glimmer of what is about to happen...

First, we are going to put our green thumb to the test and start planting. I mean, actually planting, like on acreage. We were offered a sweet space to put down some roots and pray that we actually get SOME rain this fall. With plants going into the soil in the next few weeks, we will be watching, waiting, learning, no doubt failing, and trying to figure out how the heck to grow mass quantities of dreamy blooms for our designs. It's going to be a real experience being a Goal Digger. If you'd like to take your hand in planting, feel free to shoot me a message. We are going to need all the help we can get to plant, weed, seed, till.

Second, I have been asked to be the curator of a museum exhibit for next spring. Our exhibit will feature floral and botanical designs in their natural form. I am in the process of pulling together potential exhibitors, so if you know someone who is a local florist or floral designer in Solano County or the surrounding area, please shoot me an email with their contact information. The exhibit will launch next spring with many special activities and events. Please keep your eyes peeled for what happens next.

With that said, I am still trying to take it all in. I told my husband and brother-in law the other day, that sometimes when I talk to people about how work/the business is going, I feel like I am talking about someone else who I happen to know a lot about. Because it really hasn't hit me yet that so much that has happened, is happening, and is about to happen. So, HEEHAW cowgirl! I better get a saddle (and a helmet)!

Oh and one last thing, we have a few more spots left for our DIY Floral Fun Workshop~Flower Crowns on 8.27.14 at Pietro's #1 from 6:00-8:00pm. Please email thepollenmill@gmail.com if you are interested in signing up. Details are under the "Events & Workshops" tab of our website.

As always, thank you for believing in me and my little floral dream. It's people like you who are making it all come true. Love Locally!




Local Women Empower~ Betsy Rogers of Financial Celebrations

Laurie Rosenthal & Betsy Rogers of Financial Celebrations

Local Women Empower~ Betsy Rogers of Financial Celebrations


Betsy and her mother, Laurie, are are business partners for Financial Celebrations, an Independent Broker Business. The purpose of their company is to develop relationships with people seeking to improve their lives by reducing or eliminating financial confusion. Financial Celebrations serves people who seek more harmony and joy in their lives coupled with the responsibility to take action and a willingness to be educated on the necessary steps to financial freedom. They provide guidance with a level of concern, knowledge, understanding, and kindness in such a way that customers feel like they are their only clients. Financial Celebrations is located right here in North Vacaville and just celebrated their 10 year anniversary this past June!

So what does “an independent broker business” mean? Well, they are not linked to any one company so they can offer clients a variety of options for planning their financial future. They take their time getting to know each client. “It is so important for us to also take the time to understand a person’s relationship with money. Experiences they've had in the past, how their money situation is currently, and what they want it to look like in retirement.” They then create a plan and discuss strategies that make sense for each client’s different situation. Betsy & Laurie meet regularly with clients to review account status, make appropriate changes, as well as provide annual updates of their overall financial status and reinvent their plans as necessary.

These ladies have an outstanding reputation and gain their clients solely through word-of-mouth referrals and recommendations. They not only run their successful business, but both are mothers of large families. Betsy has three children under the age of 7, I wish someone bottled that kind of energy and focus!

Here’s our little interview with Betsy. Enjoy!

How long have you been in business?
June 5th, 2005 we started with Financial Celebrations. My Mom has been in financial planning since 1996. Prior to that, she and my father owned their own HVAC company for 15 years. In addition, my mom also sold real estate and was a mortgage broker. She is a wealth of information having various positions within the business world. It has been such a blessing learning all that she knows and incorporating that knowledge into our practice. I also worked for a mortgage company for 3 years in college before going into business with my mom.

What are your specialties and/or what type of service do you provide?
Investment strategies while saving for retirement and then while in retirement. We offer 401Ks, profit-sharing, IRAs, college investing, life insurance and family living trusts, as well as estate planning. We really take the time to get to know our clients and help them navigate through the planning process... What are their goals? When do they want to retire? How do they want to retire (hobbies, travel, etc.)? How much do they want in retirement? Are they saving for college or a new home?  We run the numbers and help them track and monitor their investments on a regular basis to reach these goals.

Who is your target client?  
Being that we gain clients by referral, we serve people of all ages, incomes, and net worth. When people are nearing retirement, we help manage how to draw on their investments and build strategies fit for their financial freedom goals. We also find ourselves helping people who have received an inheritance. They know they want to be wise and get a better return than what banks may be offering. We seem to connect the with people who are successful in their business or careers but want outside help with understanding all that is involved in the investing world.  So, we take them through the investment process slowly and methodically, so they can learn as much as they’d like.

Have you earned any recognition or awards for your business?
I have been on the STARS team with Jackson for the last 7+ years and on Fidelity’s Advisor Counsel for the past 5+ years. Personally, it's nice to have these plaques but they are in a box in my garage… not at all why I do what I do. Instead, our office is full of our client’s pictures, newsletters, and flyers of events we offer as our business about our clients not us.

You just celebrated your ten year anniversary of being in business, Congratulations! How has your business grown/changed in the last ten years?
Being that we are not natives of Vacaville or even California for that matter, it was a challenge to start a referral-based business. We’ve received overwhelming support from our clients. Our business just keeps growing. It is a huge compliment and an honor to work with the people God has put in our path.

Getting personal with Betsy…

How did you first become interested in business/finance?
I loved all my business classes in college. My brain relates to numbers very well. In addition, I just love people, so this career is a perfect fit. When I was in college I served an internship working with my Mom. I went with her on appointments and watched her help all kinds of people. I got to see how much they truly appreciated her guidance and counsel. She always mentions the day I turned to her after graduation and said “I think I want to do what you do!”  She calls this “The Dream She Never Dreamt.” She never thought she would be in business with one of her children and that it has been a dream come true.

What do you love most about your job?
Working with our amazing clients. When I say we really get to know our clients, I mean we really get to know our clients!  It's not just numbers, there is so much emotion connected to finances and I have learned a lifetime of lessons from our clients.  I feel so blessed that they share their life stories. Therefore, I can learn to be a better person, professionally and personally, learning from their stories and life circumstances. Just when I think I have heard it all, a client will share a life experience, perspective or paradigm, I have never even considered and it feels life changing.  Everything is confidential but I can then share their theories with others. I love that part of my job.

How have other women in business helped you grow? (personally or as a business)
Being that my industry is male dominant, I laugh when I go to sponsored events and get looks and questions like “whose secretary are you?” It kills me! But, other women always motivate me professionally because I see the way they really care. Not that men don’t, of course they they do. For example, Susan who works in my office has really helped me grow. She is our business manager and we are so fortunate to have her on our team. She is the most diligent, faithful, loyal, prompt, and detail oriented business manager on the planet! I believe you teach people how to treat you and she has taught me so much about expectations and what to tolerate and what not to in a professional and tasteful way. Also our clients who are single women, some widowed, some divorced, some never married, they motivate me to be their guide and partner in figuring out the financial world. I want to be a resource they can trust and approach for solid informative guidance.

What are some dreams or goals you have as an entrepreneur and a business partner?
My goal is to always do what is right, keep learning, and try to be my best for all of my clients. God will take care of the rest. My dream is to always love what I do as much as I do now.

Who or what inspires you?
My Mom is and will always be my greatest inspiration. I could write a book on her life, motivation, and successes. My mom and dad divorced when I was 12 years old. As a mother of four, she raised us practically on her own while attending college full-time and working a full-time job. Somehow, she never missed one sporting event or school function. I don’t know how she did it. She’s always said she had no choice, but that’s not true. She had a choice, and it was to be the best woman possible for her kids. She cares for people deeply and selflessly. She loves to learn, teach, serve, and help others. I have seen her fight for so long and in the meantime smile, love, and make life happen all along the way. She encouraged me to get my education, be honest, hard working, and be true to myself, my family, and all I come across. She’s pretty amazing.

Thank you Betsy and Laurie for bringing your huge hearts and phenomenal skills to our Vacaville community. We love your inspired and kind approach to what can be a scary topic for many people, finance (just saying the word makes me shiver). Congratulations on ten years of success and true determination. May the next ten be filled with much joy and prosperity!

XO~ The Pollen Mill

Soul Food Farm Photo Shoot | Vacaville, CA

Last weekend we were blessed to take part in a photo shoot at Soul Food Farm on Pleasants Valley Road here in Vacaville. This place, is just, phenomenal. Every time I step foot on this property, I feel like I turn into a child again and want to skip, roll around with bare feet, and talk to the chickens and trees (ok, so maybe not much has changed and I still regularly do all of these things but yeah, it really brings out the hippie spirit).

Alexis, the owner of Soul Food Farm has a beautifully comforting spirit. She is easy to talk to, even easier to love, genuinely caring and very supportive of our little community. Not only is Soul Food Farm a working farm raising chickens, lavender, and olives but it is on the verge of becoming the new "it" venue for events and weddings in the area. With the barn doors about to swing open, Alexis has hired one amazing event planner to take on the feat of helping to plan events on the farm. Amber is working to coordinate events and make your special day as flawless as the farm surroundings. She is talented and kind with a warming smile. Her humble sense of style and simple beauty made for some amazing photographs last weekend. Amber is not only the event coordinator, but a talented photographer as well. Her work can be seen at http://mysweetnessphotography.blogspot.com/

Check out the venue in all its glory, amongst the beauty of the whimsical olive orchard on a particularly bright and sunny evening.

These olive trees scream "come frolic in my branches" about as much as Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree.

These summer flowers were selected in bright but soft hues to compliment the silver in the olive branches and golden grasses.

Peach dahlias, pink rice flower, immature hydrangeas, gomphrena, and blushing bride protea snuggle up and embrace.

Tulips in full bloom stretch out their petals passed a cafe au lait dahlia.

And the mix & match china and crystal, place settings...Ugh, stop it already with the cuteness

Just breathtaking.

Thank you Alexis and Amber (Soul Food Farm & My Sweetness Photography) for asking us to be a part of this beauty. We love working with you and we are excited for our many adventures to come! XO

Q&A

We've had a lot of inquiries lately about the ins-and-outs of our business. So, we figured we would put together a little Q&A session for you.

Question: Where do you get your flowers?  I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. JUST KIDDING! We source our flowers from growers right here in Solano County, some reach further north into Capay Valley and Roseville and as south as Half Moon Bay and Watsonville. We also work with wholesale markets in Davis, Sacramento, and San Francisco. We do grow some of our blooms right here in our home. Mostly greenery and vines but also some specialty accent flowers. My mom grows gorgeous flowers and I try to steal from her garden as often as possible but she's got a pretty tight eye on those gorgeous prize possessions. If you know of anyone with a garden or just some beautiful homegrown flowers in the area, please let them know I am always looking to source local blooms. I will gladly pay top dollar to cut fresh stems from their fields or garden!

Question: Do you use Floral Foam? Why not?  We do not use Floral Foam. Haven't touched the stuff in years. Floral foam is chalked full of chemicals that are known to harm humans, animals, and the environment. Some of these chemicals include: formaldehyde, carbon black, and barium sulfate. Side effects from exposure to these can include: liver and bladder changes/abnormalities, lung damage, skin and eye irritation, muscle incoordination, central nervous system depression, narcosis, reproductive disease and disorders, cancer, and death. Pretty g-r-o-s-s. All of these chemicals are listed as acute and chronic hazardous materials under their Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Floral foam is not biodegradable as it is a plastic and most often must be disposed of just after one use. Instead, we use other materials (for example: moss, vines, chicken wire, flower frogs) and techniques to hold our blooms in place and ensure they are well watered and fed. While some believe floral foam extends the life of the flowers, the best care for prolonging flowers and plants is simply, fresh water. 

Question: How did you get your client(s)?  Long legs and low blouses...duh. Yeah, right! Word of mouth and reputation. We have done minimal advertising and believe in building relationships with our clients through our flowers and our customer service. We like to think of our clients as our dearest friends and in effect we have many repeat loyal customers. We always appreciate when our clients write us reviews on Yelp, Wedding Wire, and Facebook. We also love the shout outs on Instagram and Pinterest. Social networking has been extremely beneficial for our business and the feedback is warmly appreciated. We receive calls and orders several times a week that are referrals from online reviews and "likes." So, thank you our sweet fiends and clients for spreading the love!

Question: Can you get any flower even if it isn't grown locally? Any flower that is available during the season we can order from a wholesale market. We encourage all of our clients to purchase flowers grown here in California and if not, at least inside of the U.S. However, if you need a specific flower or plant that is grown only in Ecuador or Argentina, we can get it for you. We limit the amount of orders we take with these requests and at some point we hope that we can function as a business that only uses local flowers. But, yes we can get the tropical flowers for your luau themed event, no problem (smiley face).

Question: Why do flowers cost so much when they just die? Great question! I encourage everyone to take their hand in planting flowers or a garden from seed. It's not as simple as you  think. Plants (especially from seed) need specific care: water, nutrients, sunlight, proper environment for homeostasis, and space. Other factors such as insects, animals and fungi impact a plants ability to survive. Even in greenhouses, there are many facets that make growing plants a tedious job. So, the flowers alone are not cheap, even at wholesale costs and particularly now in a time of drought here in California.

Then you add in the time and process to supply flowers to the customer in the form of an arrangement. This includes time to pick out flowers at the grower or market, bring them to our location, prep and condition each stem, arrange the design, package for delivery, schedule delivery, and finally deliver the flowers. It's quite a system. This doesn't include the time and effort spent on taking orders, writing proposals, editing proposals, stocking materials, sourcing flowers from growers and markets, and all the billing and paperwork poop. I'd say most of our time is spent preparing proposals, sending estimates, providing example and inspiration photos and conducting billing...all the super fun stuff! I can only wish I spent all day long just playing with flowers! All of these steps to provide a floral design to make someone's day a little brighter. It's all worth it! We cringe when we hear people say "no one is going to notice the flowers..." especially at a wedding or special event. They Absolutely Do! 70-80% of all of our business comes from customers who have seen our flowers, loved them, and then booked us for their next event. Flowers make impressions and make events pretty.

Thank you for your constant support and questions! We love to hear from you and tell you about our little business! Keep 'em coming. XO Kim

Orchard Owls For Life

One of my fondest memories as a child was a week spent at 6th grade camp while attending Orchard Elementary School. I will never forget our night hike, wearing Paul Davis' sleek 49ers starter jacket all...week...long, making beaded friendship necklaces, and exploring the tide pools. Even now, I look back on this adventure as one of the most hilarious and memorable experiences. In fact, I loved it so much, I even returned as a 6th grade camp counselor my junior year at Vaca High.

In effort to help build these memories for the 6th graders at Orchard School now, I am offering a special Orchard Owl For Life donation. For each floral design ordered Sunday, March 30th through Friday, April 4th, The Pollen Mill will donate 25% of sales to Orchard Elementary 6th Grade Camp.  With the end of the school year coming quickly and camp fees due this week, the funds are still several thousands of dollars short to get these kiddos out to have the experience of a lifetime.

If you would like to make an additional donation, please make checks payable to Orchard Elementary PTC (mailing address 805 North Orchard Avenue, Vacaville, CA 95688).

Please call 415-710-3358 or email thepollenmill@gmail.com to order your designs today!

Our 6th Grade Camp spread in the Orchard School yearbook. Don't mind my lovely 6th grade penmanship.

Heading off to 6th grade camp with my favorite teacher ever, Mr. Loring Bloom.

OSG For Life.