We spent an afternoon with Conlin to discuss her efforts in managing the decisions linked to a floral and styling business, how to make any style memorable, and where she thinks trends in floral or events will take her.
“I like to not be ordinary,” Conlin says, the rim of her turtle shell eye glasses lifting a bit when she smiles after speaking. “I have very creative ideas.”
The ideas all started during her days working in the flower department at Leevers, a grocery chain that once had a presence in Grand Forks. Years later, she helped organize and style her cousin’s wedding and now, just a few years later, she has one of the most thriving and in-demand businesses of its kind in the entire region. She’s styled weddings in the areas you’d expect, North Dakota and Minnesota, but she’s also ran events in Kansas, Arizona, Colorado and others. Recently, she’s been running Blooms + Brews at Rhombus Brewing Co., allowing participants to experiment and pretend to do what Conlin does with the type and quality of floral and greenery most amateurs would never be able to get their hands on. She doesn’t operate under a brick and mortar shop, although someday it’s possible we’ll see a unique events space with the “Brooke,” logo on it. “With any event, it is just so special to be a part of something that is memorable for so many people,” she says. “I’ll never get used to that.”
Belles of Ireland because they are different.
“I like wildflowers. I’d take poppies over roses.”
The texture of assorted greenery is both beautiful and legit for any occasion, she says.
Her creative gene seems to show up the strongest, even though other health issues have presented challenges. For several years, Conlin battled extreme endometriosis that was debilitating to a normal, routine day. The physical and mental struggles linked to the minimally understood, wildly harmful disease actually helped bring out the best in Conlin’s style abilities. During extreme times of pain (Conlin was the first in the state to ever have a high-tech surgery performed to treat her endometriosis) she turned to styling to take her mind off the pressure inside her. The result of all that focus is an undeniable mix of taste, affinity for the different and next-up color choices that has allowed Conlin the luxury to second guess why she spends any time during the week doing anything other than what she loves, and gets paid, to do through Brooke.
Arranging the Arrangement
When it comes to making memorable events with a style that has a once-in-a-lifetime look, Conlin follows a pattern.
// Coffee date with the client for a vision, colors ideas and inspiration ideas (she drinks a lot of coffee)
// Recalibrate the client's vision with hers (typically starts on the car ride home). Clients often
feel restrained by the location, she says. “We can do and get anything here in North
Dakota. Access isn’t an issue.”
// Provide client visuals and general costs. “Most clients don’t know how much things cost
on the high or low end,” she says.
// Finalize the main elements of the event, always starting with the client's dream scenario.
// Place an order for flower stems and greenery two weeks out from event. Flowers come
two to three days in advance. Work at her home studio to arrange bouquets. Spend late
nights stressing over the tiniest details.
// Spend the pre-arranged time making a beautiful vision become a reality. Even if there is a
blizzard, like there was once for an event Conlin was in charge of in Fargo, things always
find a way to get done and look memorable.
Conlin is a bit shy about explaining why or how she believes she can inspire others, but when she does break it down it’s hard not to like her message. Everyone’s reality in life is different, she explains. Some people will understand what you might be going through and others won’t, but either way, we all have the choice to find a path away from that mental trap that works only when we focus on what we don’t have, instead of what we do have or what we could. Conlin has done that and the result is apparent in every event or floral arrangement she is involved with. There is an easily recognizable look to it all, a sense of wonder and positivity to it, sort of like the kind that swells up inside of you when are standing at that crossroads (real or not) and every way you look seems to be a beautiful direction to take.
Trends in Weddings and Events
According to Conlin, greenery is popular, and more people are looking for
greenage over flowers.
People are also moving back to color after a long stint focused on single color pallets used to guide a style.
Conlin believes her style has an urban feel.
// To view the full story, check out the digital issue here
Photos by Nicole Ashley Photography & Manstrom Photography
From Issue 5, 2019