Blythe Whittaker’s lifelong passion for design and creativity has led her to starting her own business, Flora + Feather. Blythe creates one-of-a-kind headpieces and flower crowns and captures them in vibrant photographs. You may be familiar with her photography or have seen her modeling or designing sets with her husband, Justin Whittaker, who is also a photographer. JULIE writer Cheyanne Mandeville had the opportunity to interview her to find out more about Flora + Feather.
“Imagination and creativity have shaped my life and I am constantly inspired by the little things in life. Music, movies, and fashion play a huge role in my inspiration as well. Ever since I was little, I have always had a love for fashion. I remember always looking through Harper’s or Vogue with my big sister. She has been my fashion mentor.” —Blythe Whittaker
Cheyanne: Tell me a little bit about Flora + Feather.
Blythe: Flora + Feather is what I like to refer to as a tiny business since I am very new to this area of work. I specialize in handmade custom flower crowns, head pieces like tiaras, and animal horns. My favorite part of my business is doing commission work for clients. A client will come to me with an idea or concept and we will work together creating something especially and uniquely for them. Being unique is extremely important to me because I feel like everyone is beautiful and unique in their own way and I want that to show through. Flower crowns are a huge trend in the music festival and concert scene, or even a fun night out. You often see every bride or bridesmaids rocking one in weddings and even at proms. Photoshoots are the primary market for me currently but I would love to expand.
Cheyanne: How did you get started?
Blythe: I chose this line of work because I love being creative. I have such a newly found love of photography and all aspects of it. My husband is a photographer and we have immersed ourselves in the photography world. Vera Imago Photography owner Dori Hackleman has been such a great friend and mentor. She has been a guide in helping our photography business get started. Besides making crowns, I also help out behind the scenes on photoshoots, set design, and assist with anything the photographers or the client/model needs. Seeing my imagination come to life on a shoot is a surreal feeling and I enjoy it so much. With Flora + Feather, I wanted to share a little of my creativity with the public and of course with potential clients.
Cheyanne: What background skills do you have that have been necessary in starting Flora + Feather?
Blythe: From elementary to high school, I have been competing in art shows. I was very involved in Art Club in high school and then I was a studio arts major in college. To this day, I keep very involved in the art world and I always try to learn new techniques and tools to further enhance my creativity. I take as much good advice as I can get and I am always open to suggestions and help. I listen to what the people who have been in the business have to say. Almost everyone is very kind and willing to help.
Cheyanne: I know you also have a passion for photography. How has that helped you along the way?
Blythe: Photography has taught me a lot of patience and discipline which helps when I am starting a new business. Spending some time in front of the camera is great for my pose coaching. It’s hard to know what poses work in photos without doing them for yourself. My husband, Justin, is the main photographer in our relationship and I do all of the marketing and behind the scenes work. I am very fortunate to have someone with whom I can share my passion for the arts. We have our own separate areas of the business, but they benefit each other and we can grow together. It’s great having that kind of support and understanding. Another plus is having great photos of my flower crowns and head pieces that my husband takes.
Cheyanne: What are your favorite ways to market your brand?
Blythe: Social media is key. Facebook is the way to go for marketing a brand. I already have friends and acquaintances on my friends list. It is very easy to gain a new reach of potential clients as well. I am personally a fan of Instagram. Using IG is another way to sell my products. People from all over the world are very active on it and I love the fast-paced feedback I can receive.
Cheyanne: What is the biggest obstacle you face as a new business owner?
Blythe: Patience is probably my biggest obstacle at the moment. It’s hard for me to put my products out there and hope for the best. Just like a garden, a new business needs time to develop, love to keep it going, and dedication. I’m still new to all of this, but, I’m taking baby steps and learning as much as I can in the process.
Cheyanne: What do you see for the future of your business?
Blythe: Eventually I would love to start an Etsy page as well as a collaborative website that would showcase Justin’s photography as well as my products. All I can do is be positive and patient. Our photography aspect is growing quickly which also opens a lot of doors for Flora + Feather. I would love to have a booth at a major music festival where I can sell my festie crowns and also work on large scale set designs and props for photographers on photo shoots.
For more information on Flora + Feather visit her on Instagram @flora.and.feather or on Facebook at Flora + Feather
To see more of Justin’s photography visit Instagram @whittstagram_
For more Vera Imago After Dark visit Facebook and Instagram @vera_imago_photography