Meet the 2023 BloomTV Star Florist Contest Sustainability Design Winner Christy Hulsey!

by Details Flowers ● 24 January ● News & Events, Partners
Sustainable Designs were among the winning categories for the 2023 BloomTV Star Florist Contest. Sustainability in floral design holds immense importance in today's world. Beyond their aesthetic beauty, sustainable designs symbolize a commitment to environmental responsibility. Floral designers can reduce their carbon footprint using eco-friendly practices and materials, such as locally sourced and seasonal blooms, reusable containers, and minimal floral foam.
Sustainable floral designs conserve natural resources and support local communities. In a world where sustainability is a pressing global concern, floral designers play a vital role in promoting responsible practices and ensuring that the beauty of nature can be enjoyed by generations to come. We sat down with Christy Husley, The 2023 BloomTV Contest Sustainability Design Winner, to learn more about her journey as a floral designer and share how she created the winning design using sustainable practices. 
How did you get your start in the floral industry?
Flowers found me, not the other way around. In 2012, a 50-year-old flower shop fell into my lap. To keep it alive without much talent, skill, or money, I relied on the only resources I had: internal conviction, a journalism degree (of all things), childhood days sent to the garden by Grandma, luck, and really supportive people. Fortunately for me, storytelling, honesty, authenticity, and grace effortlessly transfer into the magical world of flowers. 
Untitled design (5)-1After telling everybody I am not a florist, I’ve had the honor of doing things that make me think that maybe I am. I’ve been lucky to have the honor of representing Certified American Grown Flower Farms & the USDA in Shanghai, Beijing, and Kunming. I won the Mayesh Design Star competition and worked at the White House, Coastal Living, Southern Living, Quito’s Agriflor, and for celebrities. I’ve also worked on a Rose Bowl float. While In the flower shop, I’ve worked in janitorial, delivery, retail, and events, being a video personality, manager, and educator. I am original, tenacious, loyal, resilient, quiet at times, artistic, and dyslexic. I am based in Atlanta, Georgia—and I love it.
How did you create your piece for the BloomTV Star Florist Contest?
I sought locally collected materials like the Elaeagnus, camellia, honeysuckle, and wisteria vines that grow beautifully prolific in my hometown of Roswell in Atlanta, Georgia. The base is created with 100% foraged juiciness! Untitled design (6)-1
All of nature's stages are, for some reason, beautiful to me. I find that incorporating all the stages (from bud to bloom to dying) gives design work a sense of harmony and balance and a sense of time and place. So, you'll see things like dried limelight hydrangea blooms tucked in to satisfy this peculiarity of mine and display this part of nature's cycle.
Using the property greens and dried botanicals helped me attain my sustainability objectives. As did my intentional choice of flowers from the Rosaprima farm in Ecuador. Most people know that Rosaprima grows the most luxurious rose in the world. Most folks don't know that they are deeply committed to working in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. For instance, according to Cindy Johnson, the head of sustainability at the farm, "Rosaprima has been a Rainforest Alliance-certified farm for over a decade." And that's a tough feat! They also participate in reforestation on their farm. 
I prepped everything by hydrating for days before and spraying down with water on the installation day. I didn't have to use any floral foam or chemicals on site. 
This is all done on-location in Atlanta, Georgia, in the Southeastern United States. It's a region known for fussy, hot, humid weather. This foam-free floral installation is deeply personal to me. It is my billboard to the world using the age-old language of flowers. If you look, I hope you will see my heartfelt message that if I can create sustainably, anyone can!  
What are your thoughts on sustainability? 
In addition to trying to design spectacular events for people and brands professionally, I teach workshops and create installations around the world. I hope to inspire and empower flower lovers with an organic, seasonally focused approach to floral design incorporating logistically sound and naturally meaningful philosophies and practices.
Sustainability is so important to me and my family that it is rooted in everything that I do. In fact, for over a decade, a little-known fact about me is that I have owned an electrical business (redbpower Electrical Company) in addition to a floral business (Colonial House of Flowers). My business partner for both businesses, my husband Brian, has a logistics degree and a shared commitment to conservation that contributes greatly to my zero-waste dreams. 
2-Jan-17-2024-04-58-54-8540-PMIMAGES: Photographed by Julie Paisley  (LEFT) ; Photographed by Katrina Barrow Photography (BOTTOM RIGHT) ; Photographed by Harwell Photography (TOP RIGHT)
When it comes to the floral industry, It may not seem obvious to consider harmful environmental practices. In reality, the carbon footprint is heartbreaking. It disturbs me that most of our flowers are grown in the Global South and then transported all over the globe in refrigerated cargo trucks and planes with a lot of plastic, pesticides, chemicals, and toxic floral foam. 
I am committed to doing my best to source local botanical materials, avoid floral foam unless it is necessary, educate others, and support organizations, charities, and businesses with the same moral obligation. Currently, I am studying the Japanese art of ikebana, which focuses on nature and seasonality. 
Where do you find inspiration when you are creating?

My designs aren’t typical: They’re whimsical compilations of seasonally relevant flowers, fruits, and leafy branches, a bit street and a bit haute, inspired by nature. They reflect the spirit of my grandmother, who loved gardening, the life I live, and my friends and family. 

IMAGES: Photographed by Julie Paisley  (LEFT) ; Photographed by Corbin Gurkin Photography (RIGHT)
I am very inspired by nature and the company I keep. With that in mind, I like to let the sun shine in when I can. I also surround myself with joyful, authentic people and meaningful things that bring me happiness. 

What is a piece of advice you would give to someone interested in pursuing a career in floristry? 

"It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." 

This is true in floral arranging and the path of your career.
We thank Christy so much for chatting with us, and congratulations on her winning category design!
Interested in learning from Christy? She will teach about sustainability and give a live demonstration on February 2, 2024, at the Wiregrass Museum of Art, Art in Bloom, in Dothan, Alabama. Click here to learn more information! 

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