Floral designer Mimi Brown is bursting with inspiration. This former Flower columnist talks about her love of entertaining and floral style
Flower: What inspired you to start your career around flowers, and how did you get your start in the floral industry?
Mimi Brown: It just sort of happened organically. I’ve always loved entertaining. I think it was brought on by watching my grandmother. She entertained a lot and had a beautiful rose garden. Growing up in the South and watching the women at church entertain often was a big part of my life—and a big part of entertaining was always the flowers.
I was actually in law school when I first heard of floral designer Sybil Sylvester, and I wanted to go work for her. I would drive from Tuscaloosa on the weekends to work for her events in Birmingham instead of studying. Sybil soon offered me a job, and I said yes. I worked for her for six years, and that’s when I met Margot Shaw. We would work events together, and I think Sybil and I were some of the first people she told about wanting to start a magazine. Margot and I would talk about the vision as we drove from town to town carting flowers around. The magazine has come so far from then!
You used to have a regular column in Flower called “Mimi’s Mechanics.” What did you love best about having a regular column? And do you have a favorite?
The thing I really loved about it was that it kept me thinking. I was always finding new inspiration and planning for my next column. What I enjoyed even more than finding new ideas was that I got to teach. I think flowers can be intimidating. A lot of people just stick their flowers in water as is, and really all you need are a few steps to make them a little more exciting. The column let me show readers how to do just that.
Out of all of the columns I did, I think the hand-tied bouquet was my favorite. It’s so classic and beautiful, and I think everyone should know how to make them. You can wrap it up in paper and send it to a friend or keep it in your own home—the technique is really valuable.