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Rising Stars: Meet Sophie Islip

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sophie Islip.

Hi Sophie, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I never thought I would be a florist. I did not set out to be one. I had many jobs before setting up my company. A lover of traveling- I traveled worldwide and lived in many countries. I trained as a ski instructor and worked in New Zealand and Utah, working in resorts (as they have alternative seasons).

In 2013 I settled in Park City and decided to call it my permanent home. The way I got into flowers is a curious one. I had a dream that I worked with flowers. It seemed very real to me, and upon waking up – I decided to train as a florist in London (where I’m originally from).

I attended McQueens Flower School in 2018 and loved every minute of the course. I’ve always been creative and loved how creative you could be with the flowers. When I returned to Utah from flower school, I decided to set up my company ‘Florette’ immediately.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My company grew slowly initially, and I had a lot to learn. I decided to seek out mentors and freelanced with florists I admired, like Bows & Arrows and Sarah Winward. These experiences gave me some excellent training and the confidence to grow my own business.

There were a few things that didn’t work out in the beginning. I initially wanted to sell weekly bouquets to clients in Park City, but I found out there wasn’t a demand for these. I then realized I preferred doing wedding flowers and focused all my efforts on this. I immediately found traction and started booking weddings. It was going well……. and then Covid hit.

I only had one wedding during Covid- as the virus canceled most events. 2020 was scary for me as I wasn’t sure if we would ever have weddings again. So I pivoted and decided to expand my offerings to Christmas decorating over December, keeping us afloat.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Florette specializes in custom weddings with a creative edge. I love to make weddings magical and very different from other florists by using big, oversize fairytale arches with lots of romantic, textual flowers. When I was younger, I attended theatre school and loved producing plays.

I think my love of drama shows in my work, as I love to show the couple’s story through flowers and create a piece of art for their wedding. We are also known for our big installs and thinking outside-of-the-box creations. I am very proud that we produce large installations that you don’t often see.

I’ve also started to style photo shoots as an extension of my creative work. I have styled and produced shoots for the jewelry company Baranof Jewelers and I hope to expand this part of my work in the next year. I like to come up with the whole concept and then I bring a team together to bring the vision to life. I’m hoping to develop this side of my business to run alongside my flowers.

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out.
Getting work experience helped me expand my skills and gave me the confidence to implement bigger things in my business. You also constantly learn new things with mentors. Don’t let anyone hinder your dreams. Remember to be your own champion and believe in yourself.

You can’t do everything – so learn to delegate things you can’t do well early on. Also, start forming a fun and enthusiastic team and recognizing their talents. A team will help you grow and scale as you can’t do everything in your business yourself. Also, foster a culture of autonomy in your team- no one likes a micromanager!

Also, always follow your creativity and intuition. This is where your best work lies. If a project doesn’t excite you – don’t do it. It’s tough to be choosy when you first start out, but you will quickly realize they are generally not worth your time.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Ashlee Brooke, Kate Osborne, Patrick Schirf, James and Schulze

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