My name is Nicole Lourie and I’m a floral designer in Los Angeles, California. Thats how I describe myself anyway. It seems like that description of who I am in the most simplest terms has been a real hurdle. Its a bit of a story but with the launch of my new website and branding, all thanks to Louise of The Autumn Rabbit, I feel like a proper introduction is due.
I grew up in Carroll County, Maryland. More specifically, in the towns of Westminster and Hampstead. I lovingly describe them as corn and cow towns. Now things have changed of course, they’ve become a little more… meh not really. Anyway, I had a nice childhood and spent a lot of time outdoors playing with my sister and doing all the things little girls do including crafts with my grandmother, Mommom.
Now Mommom isn’t exactly the creative freedom type. My jaw practically hit the ground when she didn’t completely hate it when I dyed my hair blue. She’s more like the “do it right” type. But regardless, I painted rocks, made Christmas ornaments, dyed easter eggs, and made press cookies with her year after year. Mommom always really liked flowers too. She liked to arrange them for herself and always told me she liked to group the flowers in odd numbers. This was my very first floral design lesson.
As I got older, I really started to get into fashion. Not so much in a self expressive way but I would always buy magazines and study how the models wore the most ridiculous things and how they were paired. It’s like semi-functional art which I still appreciate to this day. But the thing about fashion is that it isn’t exactly a “reliable” field of work and I was good at science, so life carried on.
I moved to Doylestown, Pennsylvania in 2007 to attend school at Delaware Valley College (it’s now a University, go Aggies!). I absolutely loved college. Not only did I get the chance to get the hell out of dodge but Doylestown was beautiful and not scary for a small town girl such as myself. College for me was an opportunity to not just start over, but to really expand. I did well in school, I worked a few jobs at a time, had fun, life was good.
While in college I took Botany as one of my Biology courses. I think this class secretly changed my life. I found plant anatomy and how they thrive absolutely fascinating, on the DL of course because I’m not trying to be a complete nerd. My professor, Dr. B, would either think what I’m doing with my life now is poetic or completely wasteful, most likely the latter. Anyway, for the first time ever, I looked at plants completely different. I had so many answers now for why things were the way they were in nature and I had a newfound respect for plants.
Although Botany struck a chord, I was on a war path to be in the medical field so I could feel important and help people. After college I landed a job with a weight loss company. I had minimal nutrition education but I learned a good bit on the job and decided it was a path with a broad spectrum of “reliable” jobs. I ended up being accepted into Drexel University for their Human Nutrition Program. This was a 2 year masters program which I entered late so I doubled up on classes to catch up, always in a hurry to grow up. Between class and weekly trips to the Rittenhouse Farmers’ market to buy flowers, somewhere deep in my brain I was having second thoughts about my career path.
After Drexel, I moved to Los Angeles and everything changed. I came here to complete an internship which would prepare me for this absolutely nauseating exam to be come a Registered Dietitian (RD), and to chase love. During this year long internship I learned a few things about myself. I learned I am completely uncomfortable in hospitals and that I value honest and worldly friends because they make me a better person. I learned that I want to be surrounded by people who I aspire to be like and I also like to ask myself “Who the hell are you?” quite often.
Between working incredibly hard and developing a relationship, I slowly but surely started to experience the city. At first I hated it. I missed Philadelphia so much and couldn’t wait to go back. But that was then and this is now…
Fast forward, Its January 2016. Two weeks prior I quit my full time job as an RD and ran off to New Zealand with my husband so I could attend the Soil and Stem Workshop and learn from Nicole Land. It was completely reckless and not fully thought out (YOLO?) which was exactly what I needed at the time. For several months I had been day dreaming about an alternate life where I was a floral designer. In my dream, I was my own boss who got to bring joy to people’s life through the most beautiful means, flowers. Now, at this point in my life I had mostly handled grocery store flowers and taken a few beginner classes on how to make centerpieces. I was definitely not in an ideal spot to show up to a country on the other side of the planet to take a workshop with a LEGIT designer. But if LA has taught me anything, its be cool and fake it ‘till you make it.
When I showed up to the workshop, I had never even made a bouquet, not even an attempt. I was so nervous I would fail, I knew I would look like a complete idiot. But then I got there and started working with the flowers. The other attendees and I began bouncing ideas off each other and there was a giddy excitement mixed with calm. And Just like that, it happened. I swear there was some Lord of the Rings magic going on because with ease I made my first bouquet. Then I made my first corsage, then my first boutonniere, and then my first large scale arrangement. And that was that. I did it, and it didn’t totally suck. From that point on I was madly in love with the idea of creating The Bloemist.
As soon as I was back in Los Angeles I made my Instagram handle and filed for a DBA and honestly, the rest is history. I’ve said “yes” to as much as I possibly can, I’ve failed, I’ve succeeded, I’ve bled (seriously, its an incredibly physical job), I’ve cried, but most importantly I’ve gained an overwhelming sense of happiness, self worth, and sense of self. My parents always told me I have an amazing ability to land on my feet. I don’t think it’s luck, I think its dedication and the willingness to work really, really hard. Things change, I’m a realist. But for the launch of my new website I figured I would just let everyone know I’m here and this is who the hell I am, for the moment anyway.