For years now, one of the hottest things to come out of Waco, Texas has been designing Fixer Upper husband and wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines. One Sherman High grad, who is part of one of hottest trends in Austin, Texas, recently lent her artistry to the winter edition of the Gaines’ quarterly magazine, Magnolia Journal.
Sherman native Emily Reid, owner of Gypsy Floral and Events, said she was thrilled to learn she would be featured in the magazine.
“My family and I have watched Fixer Upper for years and I literally jumped out of my chair when I read the email from their team requesting the design,” Reid said. But it wasn’t a glamorous project.
“Because of the lead time necessary for magazine production, we actually shot the house in late August. There was no electricity, no water and definitely no air conditioning,” she said. “We were tasked with creating a winter wonderland in an abandoned home in the dead of summer — and we loved every minute of it. We had very limited ‘wintergreen’ cyprus and juniper, so we had to make do with what we had. The main goal of the shoot was to elicit the feeling and aesthetic that something fresh and organic was growing out of the walls of this crumbling castle in Waco — an idea that really captivated my design heart.”
Reid also had the opportunity to meet with Joanna Gaines.
“She was even lovelier in person. I made her a flower arrangement to take home after the shoot and she said she loved it and couldn’t wait to paint it when she got home.”
A 2002 graduate of Sherman High School and a 2006 graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Reid received her MA in Art History at Leiden University in the Netherlands on a scholarship from the North Texas Rotary Club. But she got her love of working with flowers closer to home.
“The person I credit most for my love of art and floral design is my mom, Sara, who always did arrangements at home in our kitchen for our church, beautiful centerpieces for family gatherings and showers for friends,” Reid said in an email. “She made it look so easy and fun.”
But Reid doesn’t just credit her mom. She also talked about working with Special Occasions Flowers and with owner, Shannon Scoggins, and lead designer, Melody Combs.
“Both (are) wonderful, strong, hard-working women who I will always credit for hiring me and teaching me flowers 101,” Reid said.
But those aren’t the only locals whose influences led Reid to one day open her own flower and event planning business.
“Growing up in Grayson County, I had so many incredible mentors and a community of people that have encouraged me all my life,” she said. “From my church family to all the incredible educators I had from elementary school through my senior year at SHS. I have felt a sort of gentle push and support to be brave, to travel the world and to create my own path.”
That path has taken her around the globe and eventually right back home to Texas, where in 2011 she opened Gypsy Floral, creating “unique wedding experiences for couples in Austin and around the world.” According to Reid, “gypsy” is a moniker that represents who the team is: passionate, free-spirited and artful individuals who love drawing beauty and design from nature. Their design aesthetic ranges from romantic and ethereal, to English garden whimsy, to straight up Austin funk.
Reid said the shop is “a consultation space and a design studio where we work for four days leading up to a wedding. We also specialize in designing large floral installations for conferences, festivals and events and have traveled the country to design for Lollapalooza Music Festival, Austin City Limits, Nashville Food and Wine and serve many corporate clients including Live Nation, Mercedes-Benz, Bumble, Snapchat and Facebook. With SXSW Festival in our hometown, we participate in tons of cool activations, bringing in forests of plants for a one-day event, and setting up our signature ‘flower bar,’ where we bring a mobile flower shop to an event and design on-site flower crowns and wrapped bouquets.”
The work, she said, is exhilarating and thrilling, but it isn’t as glamorous as some might think.
“I have to say it’s not easy; it’s a lot of hard work. The first question I ask a job candidate is ‘can you carry a 15 gallon bucket of flowers and water across a football field?’ This is basically what we do every weekend,” Reid said. “We get to bring magic to a new space and develop the vision of our clients for months prior to the event to create the perfect day. It’s extremely physically demanding in that we’re often on 20 foot ladders hanging greenery and flowers from a ceiling or decorating an arbor with zip ties between our teeth. Being an event floral designer is no joke! You usually have three hours on a client’s wedding day to make their dreams come true and we go to great lengths as a team to make sure everything is seamless, beautiful and fun. It’s always our goal to be the most joyful aspect of a client’s wedding.”
But all of the hard work is worth it, she said, when the client sees the finished product.
“One of the brightest parts of my week is meeting with a new client, getting to know their personal tastes and vision and getting them hyped up about everything we can offer to bring that vision to life,” Reid said. “It’s hard to say what I love most about my job because there are so many things! It’s really challenging, every day is new.”
Reid said she is delighted to have been able to combine her love of flowers with her passion for art and thirst for travel over the years. She has traveled to Spain, France and Holland, discovering signature flowers in each country and finding influences that she still uses in her work today.
“I took a trip to Bali for a month a few years back and fell in love with marigolds and orchids, and when I got back I realized I was using more and more of them in my designs,” Reid said. “If time allows, I also will research another florist in the country I’m visiting and offer to help at their studio for the day. I love experiencing how other shops operate and talk all things flowers with people around the globe. Flower people are flower people.”
She has assisted in weddings around the world including Bordeaux, France; Rabat, Morocco; Reykjavik, Iceland; and Riga, Latvia, but said her love of flowers started before her travels began.
“As a little girl I remember my grandmother, Margaret, had a wax tote bag from Holland that hung on the inside of her bedroom door. It had all of these amazing tulip varietals painted on it with their names scripted below,” she said. “I think this piqued my interest to explore botany and eventually fall in love with tulips, the Dutch flower trade, and the interworkings of the international flower market.”
In addition to her family, Reid credits the internships she had early in her career for helping her find her footing and strike out on her own.
“I was fortunate enough to have an internship at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at OU, which is still one of my favorite museums in the world. I also interned at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. Here I learned the inner-workings of museums and kept going back to the love of the art itself,” Reid said. “I may not be a painter or sculptor, but I’d like to think I’m an artist in my own way, as I use color theory, composition and design elements to create ephemeral pieces using a live palette (of flowers).”
Reid said she knows she could have taken a job at a museum and been happy doing that, “but I always knew I had a passion for entrepreneurship and paving my own path. Creating a business isn’t easy, but at least it’s my own. Had I not had a wide variety of experiences to glean from, I’m not sure I would have arrived at creating Gypsy Floral and Events.”