Transcript: The Good Kind of Exhausted — Sara Rose Darling, Ep: 13
Kristen: I'm Kristen Soller, and you're tuning into Kidnapped for Dinner: conversations with creatives about the disorienting moments, fears and failures in the creative process and the very missteps to success.
Tonight, we are welcoming Sara Darling, the founder and curator of Rose Coloured Floral, a floral design studio based in Miami. Developing a keen eye with her background in art history, Sara curates seasonal flora and foliage and paints wild, whimsical colors and compositions in her pieces. Sarah almost single-handedly runs Rose Coloured while also dedicating time to her curatorial and programming positions with organizations such as Miami Dade College's Museum of Art and Design, EXILE Books and local galleries.
Sara, welcome to the show tonight.
Sara: Thanks so much for having me. This is so fun to be here.
Kristen: We actually have a cute little set up here. Sara brought Entenmann's chocolate-covered donuts —
Sara: Flashback to my childhood...
Kristen: ...a little comfort food, and we have some rosé in honor of Rose Coloured —
Sara: ...and it's just my favorite.
Kristen: I have to put out a little disclaimer that I'm suffering from seasonal allergies so if I start to sound like the demogorgan from Stranger Things or some other weird creature at some point, that's why.
Sara: I'm just nasally in general. So this is my natural tone.
Kristen: So Sara, I really love the little glimpses you share on Instagram. One of them is this bit that you said that your numerology number was 6, which the little that I do know about it is that the sixes are caretakers, very maternal. And I wonder if you see a tie-in with your role as a floral designer.
Sara: That's really interesting. I had my numbers done by a colleague at the Museum of Art and Design at MDC and she gave me a very kind of vague rundown, but my understanding of your years is that there's a one through nine, and nine is when things are really starting to cycle over and change and one is kind of the the blossoming of something new.
When I heard that I was in year 6, and this is kind of the year that Rose Coloured turns one and I've really put myself out there in a lot of ways that I haven't in my 34 years of life, so being right in kind of the middle of this nine year cycle, it makes so much sense to find myself here. Although it's new, it's something that I think in the next four years will become, in my brain and my vision, something that will turn over in that four-year time or at the end. So, I'm not quite sure how I see it in terms of caretaking and maternal characteristics, but I did see it as like — Oh, this just makes so much sense. I'm in this kind of pivotal center moment where things can go one way or the other and they're going this way.
I am naturally a maternal person, year 6 or not. I'm my mother's daughter and a caretaker at the heart of everything, but you could look at it as in the last year, or two years, really caring for flowers. When they come into my home or studio and when I'm designing for whether it's like a birthday arrangement or someone's special day, a wedding, you're doing everything you can to keep these beautiful babies in their perfect state. It's telling my team to bring parkas and hats and gloves because it's gonna get really cold, or floral food, switching out the water, all these things. I think it's such a different way of caring for a human.
Kristen: There's a lot of nurturing that kind of goes into that process as much as in the flowers themselves.
Another post, because I follow your Instagram, that I really enjoyed was - you do these mood posts and one of them was a calendar that said '24-hour woman' and I wonder how that kind of title resonates with you.
Sara: Well, in the last year, I carried out two part-time arts administration jobs that could have been full-time in their own right. I was doing both of them simultaneously, one at the beginning of the week and one at the end of the week and then finding time for Rose Coloured in the middle of the day or at night when I was getting home. Any free moment. And it really makes you feel like your brain does not stop especially when you have the passion to grow this thing that you feel like you need to sustain your life and to make you sane in these two other things that you're doing. But because I've always been like this incredibly responsible person and also because I love what I do in all areas, I really wanted to carry these other jobs, other roles with not-for-profit arts institutions, which I'm equally passionate about, so it was just really carving time for everything and knowing that I wasn't present at every moment. I guess really just feeling like my brain was somewhere every second of every minute of every day, and it wasn't always resting in front of Law and Order SVU with rosé and like chocolate donuts, which come on, that's where we always want to be.
Kristen: That's a mini-vacation for yourself.
Kristen: Did you find that there was any overlap in what you were doing with Rose Coloured and maybe your other arts positions, or did you find yourself kind of switching mindsets or approaches with each job.
Sara: I think in ways yes, there's overlap. I started like my very first job in life at a Marriott Hotel in the banquets department and I was working any event under the sun that would fit within my high school schedule. It was mainly weddings and class reunions and corporate meetings, whatever, anything. And it's really only been in the past couple years that I sought out positions, professional, hobby, otherwise in events. It's where I know that I'm supposed to be so a lot of my arts administration jobs or roles revolve around events: events with performances, events with workshops and demonstrations.
Exile Books is something that I'm incredibly passionate about. I've been there for three years and I'm the Operations Manager so I kind of work on nitty details of producing and that could be an intern every day, or it could be an event with the Perez Art Museum or our Miami Zine Fair that happens every year. So in that way producing someone's special day — whether it's flowers or wedding coordinating and flowers, whatever — it's all about being super organized and detailed and these are things that I love to do and that I feel best at. So I like putting myself in environments where I can do those things. But in a lot of ways especially working for the museum, it brought me back to my original degrees in art history which always will be and has been for a long time a passion of mine, particularly contemporary performance art, again going back to kind of events and stages and production but there was something about that position that took me to a place that I don't often get to and that is just kind of being overwhelmed with new artists and new types of art and touches a place in me that I think only that can but fulfills all those other things that satisfy me creatively.
Kristen: Right, I've known you for I want to say a few years —
Sara: Yeah, basically since I got to Miami we've known each other
Kristen: Yes, and I've always known you to be juggling all these different kinds of projects, and I've always admired that about you, and I always also wondered, "How does she do it?" And like you said, it seems that you get this energy from the coordination, the events and obviously the art aspect, and I feel like that's one of the most important things if you're going to do multiple projects is to have that energy, and if what you're doing isn't giving you that energy despite being exhausted in other ways then maybe it's not the right field. But it sounds like you're where you want to be.
Sara: I was exhausted, but er am exhausted, but it's the good kind and when I do feel like I can't go any further, I've got a great team of cheerleaders and a really supportive partner at home that just like refocuses me and kind of brings me back to life.
Kristen: Yeah, I will I always like to think whatever you're doing should help you sleep well at night, and you know you shouldn't be kept up thinking like, "I could be over there, I could be doing this," and —
Sara: — that's me!
Kristen: Always, right?
Sara: —what does that mean? Yeah, I think to your point that I totally agree when you feel fully satisfied, there is this overwhelming sense of peace.
But I think that I've been plagued. It's not necessarily perfectionism — it is — but it's more like when when I talk to artists — and I'm not sure that I fall into that category with the capital 'A' — but they're never satisfied, right, and that's what keeps them going. I feel while these things bring me great satisfaction, and I have over the last couple of years really pinpointed what my strengths are and where I'm happiest, I think that it's just an evolution.
It's sad to a point that I don't know if I can fully take it in and enjoy it and find that Zen moment but I think it's also what's going to drive me forward.
Kristen: Right. That's a great point. I mean creative energy isn't fixed like it's something that in one way or other is going to find its way, lodge itself somewhere.
Sara: Yeah, it's true, and it comes with everything. I mean, sometimes you have to check yourself — where I want to change the website every day, and I'm just like, "No, the 29th of every month. That's the day dedicated to the website, and you can't touch it until then no matter how much you want to because there's other things that should be higher on the priority list or what not. It's just this need to to want to be better or to be the best that I can be and like you said," single-handedly " that it's just not possible. So the next step is not being the only set of hands, which is exciting.
Kristen: Because you want the project to become almost bigger than yourself and to be able to share that with other people makes it that much more meaningful too.
I guess I want to retract a little bit about what I said about "going to bed satisfied." I think it's more that you always have that drive and when you wake up you feel excited to get back to it and sleep is just kind of like a brief pause on that, a little renewal hopefully.
So when you're talkin about your passion for art what initially drew you to study art and become involved in the arts community? I know you have your Master's in Art History.
Sara: I don't know if I have a clear answer for that. I went in to undergrad thinking I was going to study graphic design, and this was a really long time ago. I don't know if I even knew what that meant. I just knew that I was very visual and I liked to arrange magazine cutouts on my wall and collage the covers of journals and I went through bottles and bottles of mod podge, or whatever.
So I really thought that visually I like to put things together and take them apart. But I chose a really small liberal college that didn't offer graphic design. It became apparent to me in my first year that if I wanted to make that happen, I was gonna need to travel two hours each way to Ball State University and Indiana, where I went to college, and I didn't want that to be part of my experience. I didn't want to have to commute because I didn't choose to go to Ball State.
I chose to be at Earlham, where I went, and so one of my basic courses that I took my freshman year was Art History 101. And we had to write a research paper on an artist that we were really inspired by and I came across Hannah Hoch, who was this German collage artist. It really fit with my piecing together and everything and she was one of very few females in this kind of German movement, and I thought how badass that was.
The kind of waves of inspiration and artists that I was being introduced to or came across just in my studies was just really inspiring and the way I felt researching them was kind of the way I felt when I first started playing with flowers. There's just something about it that makes you keep wanting to do it over and over again. So I don't know if that quite answers your question, but I think it's been the same with any artist that I've really thrown everything into — Cindy Sherman, in grad school was Tino Sehgal, who will be here in April through the Museum of Art and Design.
Kristen: We can kind of see this appreciation for people who are using their hands and curating these experiences, or these visual experiences, and that's what you do with your flowers. Do you want to elaborate a little bit on your approach to your floral design?
Sara: I think that first and foremost, when I think about it the words that come to mind are: modern, organic brides. Those are my clients, that's who I want. That kind of comes out of this aesthetic of being loose and organic almost as you've found them growing in nature and wild to that point. So I find myself kind of against the grain with many other floral designers in the area who design these very structured kind of arrangements or pieces that lack any movement —
Kristen: — are symmetrical...
Sara: Yeah, symmetrical is definitely —
Kristen: — manicured...
Sara: These are great words, but for me it really comes in creating movement and texture and something else that I kind of use as a guideline is color, and so it's color, its texture, its movement. I don't know I'm still just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to playing with flower varieties and colors and changing up the color wheel.
I have like an ever-growing to do listen one of the things on them is as ordering one of those Pantone, you know, flip guys. I guess I could make my own by going to Home Depot or something, but I want the official one —
Kristen: — paper swatch books, too. Looks like candy.
Sara: I know, it's exactly like that. Actually, I was describing why I like old school Taylor Swift the other day as candy for my ears, so I'm going to say that the Pantone is candy for my eyes. I think once that happens, I mean, I'm gonna run wild with it, but color is - I mean, even in the last few weddings I've done, I've really tried to switch it up and create these really beautiful unexpected palettes, and I want to continue to do that.
Kristen: What's the process like in creating those arrangements? I mean, you meet with your client, and they have a certain vision, but how does that work with your own creative vision and approach, and when you think of colors and textures, at what point does that come to you? Is that when you're at the vendor or do you have this mood board, a collage that you start with?
Sara: So the client and I, we typically have three different meetings and the first one is really about getting to know each other. I'm passionate about flowers, but I'm most passionate about people and getting to work so closely with my client and getting to know their love story and their style and how they live their lives, what they do, what kind of music they listen to, where they shop.
I had a potential meeting today and we got to talkin about henna, and then she started talking about her trip to Abu Dhabi and how she had this beautiful henna and I was like, whoa, we just talked for three hours. But we got to know each other and you have this kind of instant bond, and you know that those are your people, right, those are the people that they trust you, they're going to let you make suggestions about flower types and color palette that might not have been something they would be envisioning.
But for the most part they're bringing something to the table. Pinterest is a great thing, so we talked about that, but we also talked about, you know, one of the other points of inspiration for me is their venue, and why they chose it, and what makes it special to them. I mean, they're choosing to celebrate this really special moment in their life and in this space, and why that calls to them and then we have a couple other meetings that kind of hone in on the design. I either take everything that we talked about in that get-to-know-you meeting and bring it back to them and in the frame of a proposal and there's a visual aspect and then there's also a color palette and potential flowers.
Flowers are seasonal and with climates changing and a lot of the flowers we get in Miami come from California on the west coast so you're talking about fires and floods and all of these things make one row season different from the next row season, etc. And so the moment you start to think you're wrapping your head around all of the available varieties and flower types and colors in those flower types, I mean things can change for in, I don't know, a course of a year and kind of throws you all out of whack, so I have a handful of really great reps in Miami and different suppliers, and I share my color palette and my vision with them and knowing that they're pros at what they do. They bring their feedback to me and say, "Hey, this looks really great right now, this one that you wanted doesn't look so great, but this one is kind of similar in size and shape and I can get that color." So it really is a collaborative effort and then of course the actual production of these things.
I have a really, really talented team of ladies and gentlemen that help me bust a move.
Kristen: The Dream Team.
Sara: Yes. I'd like to think so.
Kristen: So I mean I imagine that trust is obviously a big part of that process with your bride. Do you ever feel, or at least in those first clients that you had, did you feel a little trepidation? Maybe in people trusting their floral arrangements with you and making sure it's exactly what they want.
Sara: Yes, trepidation for sure, but I don't think it had to do with the client or their reaction. I think it had everything to do with what was going on in my head and this challenge changes every day or every time I have a new consultation. And this whole building your own business or starting your own business — I had never thought that I would be a business owner, I never thought anything like this and it's really learning to change my own narrative in my head.
So when I was first starting to talk to people, just retract for a minute, it took me, I don't know, a really long time, like maybe a year — a really long time to be able to say, "Hi. My name is Sara." "What do you do?" "I'm a floral designer."
That simple phrase of calling myself, what I believe to be or what I was doing, it was like I felt like I was lying for a long time and this is something that women are more susceptible to then men. So I consciously and very intentionally make myself say that like when I'm meeting someone new or at a networking event or something and it's become more and more natural, but that's me. Because for so long I was, "I'm Sara. I am an Arts Administrator or Project Manager, curator," or whatever it be.
Kristen: Why do you think it was scarier to say "Floral Designer" as opposed to "Art Administrator" or "Project Manager?"
Sara: It comes down to in terms of — I don't want to say female thought processes, but it is. But for me, it was more about being technically trained, like I have degrees that say I studied art history, you know —
Kristen: — those are what qualify you as a professional.
Sara: ...in my brain, and I'm sure I'm not the only one out there, I know, I've talked to plenty of women about this feeling where men could have never sold a car and wake up one day and introduce themselves as a car salesman and fully believe it like 100 percent.
So I think that story, that narrative played in my head in those first initial meetings, and it was really hard to ignore but I've relaxed and I feel more in my element now. I don't want to say practice makes perfect because it's not perfect, but you learn to talk about yourself in a way that is appealing and that's exciting and you learn to describe your brand in ways, I don't want to use the word "sell," but it really sells who you are and that is definitely not something they teach you in school.
Kristen: I see why you hesitate to say "sell" though, because it sounds a little, you know, not genuine.
Sara: Right and that's the complete opposite of the truth, but it really does take practice to know those phrases, or the ones that sound the truest and most representative. Not the truest like in factual sense, but the truest in like what your insides are feeling and like it is to a point is very much sales-y. And so, you don't want to feel that way. I don't want to feel that way. I want this to be like, "We are friends and I'm gonna make your day beautiful."
The trust comes. I luckily build this relationship with my clients in a very particular way that doesn't allow that to be an issue, which I feel very fortunate for but that's just an outpouring of who I am.
Kristen: I also feel like there's a difference between salesmanship and just kind of owning and having a sense of pride in what you do because you enjoy it and love it, and then people buy into that. You know, passion is infectious, and when people can sense that it's genuine then they buy into that, into your experience, into your world.
Imposter syndrome is so real and January, I had artist Jen Clay on the show and she almost backed out of the show because she was questioning whether she was going to continue her art career. I remember when we met up to talk about the show, not to call you out, but because I appreciated your honesty in you asking me if I was reaching out to you because I had nobody else, and I know that feeling. I also feel that as well that I don't tell people that I have a radio show because I'm like, "Oh hi, I'm Kidnapped for Dinner," and then I talk about pizza that I had last night or something and just change the subject. It does come with practice and I just want to say I feel the same way.
Sara: I think too, and this I think goes for both of us, is that when you have other projects that require so much of your time and attention it's hard for people to think of your side passion and job role as more than just a hobby. And sometimes I feel like I'm very sensitive to people's facial expressions and the intonation of their voice. I have this plague that I over-read or analyze every social interaction and then it haunts me four days after.
Kristen: You're very in-tune with people. Your frequency is a little higher than some people's.
Sara: But that also leads you to kind of compensate for that, right, so if you know you're at your job where you might love it, but it pays your bills or whatever and you mention to your coworker or your boss or the mailman, "Oh, I have this like really big floral gig this weekend. I'm so excited," and then there is the opposite of encouragement or excitement from those people, it's a learned behavior right, so you're like, "Ok, now I know I'm not gonna talk to you about these things because it doesn't feel good when I do."
Kristen: There's a sense of guilt almost like, "Oh, I have the space for myself, and I'm doing my own thing —"
Sara: "— so I should keep my mouth shut and keep it to myself." It's the difficult thing about doing all the things it's like you should be where you are and focused on what you're doing and, "don't be excited about that other thing quite yet," you know, but —
Kristen: There can be a line between — I mean, I'm also the type of person that once I commit to a project, I give mind body and soul, so then to kind of turn my attention to another project that's maybe more personal, it's challenging. Also personal projects, it's harder to impose deadlines and discipline because where as in a day job, or a full-time job that you're committed to and devoted to, there's external consequences — like maybe you don't want your your boss to look bad or your business to look bad, whereas if you have your own thing it almost feels like it's that much harder to impose those potential consequences because like "Oh, it's mine. I'll just pick it up on the weekend, or I'll make time for it next year." It's easier to write yourself off I think sometimes than other people's projects.
Sara: No, I totally get that. I think when it comes to Rose Coloured, I do have deadlines, and we set these meetings every so many days, and weddings happen and you have to prepare for them and all that entails in that.
I am learning that I need to protect this baby that I've bloomed, this brand and that means always being the last one to look everything over, and staying up late to triple check every checklist and remake the list for the next day. So I think all I'm trying to say is that it's your own thing and there are certain times and places to put things off because it is your own thing, but I'm also learning that it is my own thing and it has my name on it, and if it has my name on it, I need it to speak true to everything and that's a really cool, inspiring feeling and also can be terrifying too.
I've spent so much of my life working for other people and while being proactive in a number of things, kind of usually acting at someone else's insistence or direction and it's really freeing and empowering to be on the opposite side of that.
I don't know, you're catching me in this kind of year-to-year place where I've spent so much time kind of growing and watering this thing, and we're in a space where it's kind of in-season right now and that's so exciting for me. So I can talk about it ad nauseam in a very positive light.
We I think as a culture talk a lot about how Instagram or any social media are little squares of perfection, but there are so many tears and struggles internally and externally and trying not to grow it, but have perspective so you're still you but being supportive and there for your loved ones who need you and to kind of not have this shield — like mine is my "rose-colored" shield — or just work in general and like last year, I went the whole year without taking a vacation. I went out of town for three days the whole year, and I just knew this year that can't happen because I can't continue to put all of me and 100% of me in without building in that intentional time for me and my family, for my loved ones and these are things that I'm learning as I go.
Kristen: You're nurturing your business and other external things, your other jobs, but you kind of have to remember to nourish yourself so you can put that much more energy back into the company.
Sara: Yeah, and not bog my loved ones down with just grappling at their support and not giving it in return —
Kristen: — and suffocating in housefuls of flowers. There could be worse things...
At what point did you have that realization, "I am going to start Rose Coloured," because you mentioned that you have these other gigs: EXILE Books and at one point MOAD and I think you were also working at a local gallery. What was that deciding factor, that moment where you're like, "You know what, I'm gonna do it damn it."
Sara: Yeah, I was working at an art gallery, and I think I was not even passed my first-year-in-Miami mark and I'd come here straight from grad school and came here with lots of intention on what I wanted to accomplish in the art world or the art scene in Miami and I was starting to realize that that narrative that I wrote for myself might not be the one that plays out and that's a tough realization right —
Kristen: You start to question yourself and your value and what does it mean, what's my purpose —
Sara: — and I was unhappy and knew that I had all of this energy and talent and knowledge to give and I couldn't find the right outlet. And there was a couple of days where I was particularly frustrated, and I didn't have to go into work and the first day, I went to Home Depot and I bought a lot of plants and. I came home and I arranged them and watered them and made sure they had enough sun and I was like, "That was nice." And then the next day, I woke up and I was like, "I'm gonna go get some flowers," and I didn't go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe's or Publix, or whatever. I sought out a floral supplier that catered to not only like wholesales, like buyers, but also the public and I went and I made friends with a rep and I was like, "Yeah, this is me," and I bought some flowers. I gave myself $100, and I bought flowers and then I went to Goodwill and I bought some vases. And I gave myself the whole day to arrange. I think I made like six arrangements and some of them I did and then I tore apart and then I redid just so I could continue to play and I think that like I didn't finish until 8:00 that night, and it felt like two hours had passed. And I knew at the end of that day that I had to do myself the biggest favor and make sure the flowers became a part of my life. I had to do it. I had worked as an assistant for a floral designer when I lived in Chicago, and had felt that Zen moment and then decided to go to grad school, and I left and kind of put myself in this new country, in this new city and really overwhelmed myself with all of this really great art and the love for flowers didn't go away, but actually having my hands on them did until that afternoon.
You know, you got to do yourself a favor sometimes and despite the fact that I really wanted to be this curator and mover and shaker and help raise the bar on the arts in Miami, I had a moment where I was like, "No. This is not...Yeah. That's okay, Sarah, let it go," and obviously I don't regret my art history education. That's a huge passion, will always inform my flower work to the nth degree, but I can now just go to art openings and enjoy them.
Kristen: Well you can't beat that feeling of total fulfillment that it sounds like you had that afternoon when you were arranging flowers, and it sounds like you had the intuition enough to trust yourself to start this business.
Sara: Yeah, I don't know obviously Rose Coloured as it exists now wasn't in my head at that point, but I took a picture of one of the arrangements I did that day and posted it on my personal Instagram account and without even thinking anything, I hashtagged "Rose Coloured practice." Then, as this feeling of needing to create a floral-based project or business inserting itself, I started going over names with my partner, like it had to be the perfect name, and I also wanted it to have a piece of me in it and my middle name is Rose — both of my first and middle names are after very strong maternal grandmothers and great-grandmother's — yeah, it was funny, we went over all of these names, and I went through all these kinds of activities to try to think of names, and I continually found myself driving through like fields of wild things. Now. I know it was probably dried pampas grass the whole time —
Kristen: — good thing that's not your company name, "Dried Pampas." [laughter]
Sara: Maybe we're on to something — I do have a lot of brides come to me, and say, "I want pampas grass."
But it's funny, I found myself going back to that post and looking at that hashtag that I made without even thinking. I have no idea where it came from and it just felt right, like obviously it came from a place that was beyond my conscious thinking. it's kind of cool to revisit that.
Kristen: I like that. Again, it was another kind of intuitive moment that you were able to pick up on. I feel like it's kind of hard to see those moments sometimes when you're just totally focused on it and you want everything to be perfect. Sometimes perfectionism gets in the way. The most obvious things — "Rose Coloured" — was always there almost.
Sara: Yeah, I have a number of friends who are very open about trusting the universe and the laws of attraction and things that I know I need to be better about and read more about it, kind of you know, you've mentioned that I have like a frequency and sometimes it is higher, but it could be higher in certain areas. But, there that was an example that rose-colored Intuition or feeling like I have to make flowers part of my life. That was I guess me throwing something at the universe and trusting it was going to happen even before I had the concept of that trust. That is a thing, so I'm getting better at it.
I have a very smart wise friend who has a magic envelope and every week she puts a new little hope or wish or accomplishment in the magic envelope and gives it a timeline, like it never fails. She's like, "I am playing with the universe and I am winning." Oh, man. I wish I could like, I don't know, I have yet to make my own magic envelope. I'm sure it's just waiting for me to do.
Kristen: It seems like a great way or creative way to embed these certain ideas in your head, whether consciously or not.
You had mentioned earlier that you in the past kind of struggled with owning calling yourself a floral designer or even artist. Would you say now, having kind of been, what is it, about two years in that you can describe yourself that way, or as a creative, based on your approach to florals and your background. Do you feel confident in and saying that?
Sara: I do, I definitely do, but it has to be reinforced I have to continually play with flowers. I have to continually put myself out there, and have feedback from the universe. And maybe the feedback shouldn't be necessary, but it is kind of at this one year, two year point. It's kind of gone through different phases in these last two years, so that's kind of why I separate my head, but it's necessary to feel that.
I think it's natural now to say floral designer, but I think it will always be — or I don't want to say always — but currently, it's way more natural to say visua curator, like with flowers. You know like —
Kristen: I like that your title on your business card says "founder and curator."
Sara: Yeah, I wonder who came up with that? So brilliant... [laughter]
It really pinpoints what I am. I think in a lot of ways I am a floral designer, but not in that like traditionally trained mom and pop floral shop kind of way and that is both a blessing and a curse in so many ways.
I think that in the same vein is why I always shied away from studio art classes in college or any kind of higher education is because that like criticism of like, "Your line isn't straight enough," and you're like, "You asked me to draw straight line, like I used a ruler!" It's not always the best way or the right way and the way I do things might not always be the most efficient or the best way, but I'm learning my own systems and that in a lot of ways is way more valuable to me.
Kristen: Right. There's also a degree of vulnerability when you put yourself out there as a creator because you're putting yourself into it, and if somebody criticizes it it kind of stings a little bit, like I decided that color, this means this to me. It's very personal.
Sara: It is, so when I started putting these flowers out into the public and not just in the comfort of my studio apartment I felt what every artist must feel all the time. Wow this is like my soul in flowers. It's going out and you're looking at it, and I'm not sure that you're telling me the truth. You know, it was a new a completely new feeling to me because I beforehand considered myself creative in lots of different ways, but it was always for me, or like as a gift to my loved ones. It was never for public consumption.
Kristen: You mean kind of crafting things, visualizing things.
Sara: Yeah, well, I also embroider and cross stitch and all of these other things. I always, I liked to keep my hands busy and it was also challenging and visual and crafty. I never created an Etsy shop for my embroidery. I would make like burp cloths for my friends having babies or blankets or aprons for my friends who love to cook. You know just something cute and from me, but never in a way that was like, "Here I am everyone in the world. Look at this."
I also want to make mention that in terms of criticism and other kind of voices that come into play is the community of floral designers and wedding vendors and creatives that I've cultivated in this last year are just invaluable. I think there are a number of different kind of movements that are happening right now all over, but in Miami we have Support Local, or there's also the Rising Tide Society — that's more National, but has a local chapter — but these movements and these groups of people that are really fostering these networks and community building for creatives especially. We help each other, and I'm never not surprised of someone's generosity whether it's knowledge like, "Oh, I've done that a million times. This is how I messed up. Learn from me. I'm telling you now," which is incredible or someone just calling you up and saying, "Hey, like I know you're doing this, but maybe think about doing this. It could be better." And sometimes you're like, "But, no," and sometimes you're like, "Oh, man. Thank you for seeing that."
Kristen: It's not so much a sense of competition because I know in the wedding industry, at least, it's a very saturated market so you're gonna run into other Florida designers, there's tons of event coordinators.
Sara: Yeah, it's true. I'm at a position where I believe that we all offer different things and that Miami has one of the hugest bridal markets in the country and where there is always going to be weddings, and there's way more than enough business. Going back to what we talked about earlier, like I have my bride. I know who they are and they're not necessarily going to be anybody else's bride because of other people systems or that they're just not me and we're all like that but it's beyond that. It's this feeling of being there for each other even if it means like, "Oh, man. I'm short a team member this week. Are you free? Do you want to work with me?" And like you're never not learning. I love that because I always want Rose Coloured to be evolving and being the best that it can be and I think that I wouldn't be where I am without the people that are in this community with me and I think, just to finish with that, it's also been super important for me to find people who are at the same point in their business as me but also connecting with people who are at the point where I dreamed to be in four years or three years.
Kristen: They're your mentors.
Sara: Yeah unofficial, but yes, and I sometimes don't have words for it because they push you to be creative they push you to be better, they help. I don't know. It's it's quite a beautiful thing when you have this thing that you're super passionate about and then the people who are within in that and that you are naturally working with — it just is the icing on the cake, you know.
Kristen: That reminds me of this conversation I heard on one of my favorite shows called On Being and one of the guests was Brene Brown who is social researcher, and she talks about belonging and that your sense of belonging is no greater than how much you put yourself out there and be yourself. And so it sounds like starting Rose Coloured and where you are now, you're putting yourself out there as Sara Rose Darling.
Sara: Yeah, it's terrifying [laughter] but also incredible.
Kristen: And you're finding your community so I think that's beautiful. One last question to conclude — how do you envision Rose Coloured growing in this next year?
Sara: Well... There's so many things.
Kristen: What's the biggest thing on your mind right now?
Sara: The biggest thing is bringing someone in to help me with the back of the house, with the behind-the-scenes. I don't want to call it administration because that doesn't sound very fun, and some of it might not be that fun or glamorous, but over this past year I have really leaned into the things that I am happy doing and feel good about and I feel good about being happy because it's satisfying, but there are a number of things that are not my strength and sometimes I will spend five times as much time on those things then necessary because I don't like them and either I procrastinate or it just takes me a long time. That usually is like website updating and social media and number crunching. I really want to be free to do more of the creative side and play with unusual flower type combinations and color combinations, and really when I'm kind of focused on, "Is the Pinterest up-to-date" or um —
Kristen: It takes away from it —
Sara: Yeah, it's sometimes I don't know, and I've been reading and listening to other entrepreneurs and kind of the consensus is your business can't grow unless like you...
Kristen: ...You grow.
Sara: You grow, exactly. Thank you, yeah, and that will free me up to make more connections with my like wish list of wedding planners and bridal shops and photographers so I can connect with these people, and if we haven't worked together already that they know me and we can start to refer each other. I can't have time for those things when I'm bogged down by the day-to-day and I while I have stepped away from one of the part-time things, I'm still very much involved in Exile. So for now, I split Rose Coloured and I really need to get the most out of those three days a week that I have and this is the way to do it. So that's the next thing on the list and then we'll go from there, but I have lots of hopes and dreams, and some are bigger than others, but I've done a really great job at writing them down, and I hear that that's the first step.
Kristen: Put it out there in the universe.
Sara: Yeah, there you can see like I'm such a nerd when it comes to list making —
Kristen: It's kind of like your magic envelope in a way.
Sara: It is, but I think with the magic envelope there really there's this urgency you know if it's like I need to book a wedding this week, or I need to book a wedding this month or three weddings this month and you wake up knowing that it's in the envelope, and you have to make it happen, and it kind of Lights this fire under you um. and I also you know I don't know —
Kristen: There's a sense of urgency —
Sara: All those things...
Kristen: Well, miss Sara. Thank you for being on the show. Where can people find more information about Rose Coloured, reach out to you if they want to help, maybe be those helping hands or maybe a potential bride out there?
Sara: Well, you can find us on Instagram @rosecolouredfloral and "coloured" spelled the British way. So it's c-o-l-o-u-r-e-d and rosecolouredfloral.com and you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and to all my followers who might be tuning in because you saw my promotion of this lovely evening, if you have any questions...DM me. [laughter]
Kristen: On that note, thank you all for tuning in to this episode of Kidnapped for Dinner. Until next time. And we're going to finish these Entenmann's.
Sara: Thanks, Kristen! And the Entenmann's.