Everyone loves a beautiful bouquet of flowers yet the idea of putting them together yourself is super intimidating. Enter Annie Heath, the ultimate Bay Area DIY Florist. Annie is a self-taught florist that creates beautiful arrangements for events, weddings, and private clients. Yet, the thing that makes Annie so amazing is the bouquet arranging workshops she teaches in the Bay Area. For Annie, it’s important to her to empower others to love flowers as much as she does and become empowered to make arrangements for yourself. Through her instagram and website, she educates her consumer and makes flower arranging approachable.
Before there was Ida Blooms there was Ida Apartment. How does “Ida” play a part in your world and who is she?
A lot of people think “Ida” is a person, but actually, it’s a place! In 2014, I was 24 and had just moved into my first “on my own” apartment. I was finally living alone, without siblings, parents or roommates. It was a cute and tiny little studio apartment with white washed brick walls and a park-side view on Ida Street. Even though I only lived there for a year, I mark my time in that apartment as the true beginning of my adult life.
I learned a lot in those walls: about myself, my strengths, my weaknesses, my relationships, and my capabilities. I started to document it all at Ida Street Blog: from creating a DIY corner bar in my kitchen to grappling with strange feelings on the day my ex got married – that blog was an open journal of my early twenties. I even had a decent following! I think my peers liked knowing they weren’t alone.
Fast forward a few years and I had moved across the country, gotten married, and entered a new season of life. The blog didn’t fit anymore. I had grown up, and so had my audience. I had shifted my creative priorities to flowers, but my end goal was the same. I wanted to connect people.
So, I started hosting flower workshops. After a few months, I needed a website. So, I put the blog to rest and used the UI to launch Ida Blooms. It seemed like less of a transition and more of a “phase two” of my dear Ida Street.
After years of marketing and event experience you’ve created the beautiful brand Ida Blooms. What drew you to flowers and how did you get your start?
I have always loved flowers, but I did not consider a career in floral design until 2017. That’s the year I got married. We were trying to save money on the wedding, so I started looking at wholesale floral options. I ended up hiring a local florist for our bouquets, and DIY-ed the rest (this partial service design is now a tactic I encourage all my brides to consider!) Two days before the wedding, I had never been more stressed. It wasn’t the biggest event I had ever taken on, but it was the most personal, and that comes with a whole new set of challenges. I wasn’t eating or sleeping and was on my way to a big crash. Then my flowers arrived in the mail. And as I sat in the middle of my parents’ living room floor, surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of stems of lavender, eucalyptus, and thistle: they grounded me. I was hooked.
When I got back to San Francisco, I started regularly going to the Flower Mart and taking classes from local florists. After a few months, my friends started asking me to decorate for their parties. Then, a few asked me to design the florals for their weddings. Soon enough, I was a floral designer!
I never went to a fancy floral school, and I’m definitely not done learning, but I love that this is my origin story. I’m living proof that flowers are for everyone and anyone. I truly believe in the power of flowers and my goal is to teach you how to harness that power for your life and relationships.
What are your favorite things about flowers?
Flowers can talk for us. Maybe not physically, okay, definitely not physically! But for years and years, people have used flowers to say things. You know? Things like: “I love you,” or “I’m sorry,” or “Treat yourself.” Flowers are a powerful communication tool.
We can express ourselves so well through flowers. For example, at my workshops and bloom bars, I give students the same set of stems and every SINGLE bouquet comes out looking completely different. Every person has a unique look and feel they bring to class. Some of the bouquets are very structured, some are so wild and loose. Some are little bursts of color, some follow a specific pattern. I think it’s the most amazing thing, and I love seeing my students express their personality through these living, beautiful things.
What are the first steps you recommend for someone looking to get into flowers?
First, don’t be afraid. I know flowers can be intimidating, but they’re pretty hard to mess up. Flowers are literally gorgeous. No matter what you do to them, your arrangement is going to be beautiful. Sure, there are things you can do to make them last longer, or maybe look a little cleaner – but that’s just going to enhance their natural beauty. Don’t be intimidated to try.
Then, take a class (wink, wink!!). You can find classes on YouTube, but I personally benefited so much from in-person workshops with local florists to get the basics down. It will provide a really good starting point for you to spring from.
Do you have favorite flowers or a favorite bouquet you like to build?
It’s difficult to pick a favorite flower because they are all so unique and have so much to offer for different occasions. But for years and years, I’ve been using the power of lavender to center me. Lavender oil can calm anxious people (like me!) Since becoming a flower enthusiast, I’ve also added eucalyptus to my list of favorites. It smells SO GOOD and adds a nice “handpicked” look to arrangements.