Vendor Highlight | Lilia Flower Boutique
So obviously I am going to take the opportunity to post more photos from my own wedding and call out a vendor that I trust to create stunning floral for my clients and entrusted with my own wedding and would do it again in a heartbeat.Lilia Flower Boutique is run by the fearless, creative, talented, and incredible Liz Mattingly. She works her little booty off to produce floral pieces for countless weddings throughout the year, open a new storefront, care for a handful of pups, grow a team, produce floral workshops and travel the world. I am in constant awe of her, and you should be too 😉
Read about her incredible journey below!
Give us a little background on who Liz Mattingly is and how the love for flowers came to be?
When I was in college at the UMN, I vividly remember watching this video on “flow” with regards to working. This man who flips burgers was being interviewed about how he remains so happy at work. His response, “I just get in the flow, I love my job, it might seem simple to you, flippin’ burgers but I just put on my headphones, listen to my favorite music and it all just comes together and time kind of disappears”. I had experienced this feeling before, my whole life, being with animals, caring for them, walking them, hiking, whatever, I’m all about the animals, from snakes to horses, I even have been known to have an affinity for some bugs. If I could I’d have a pet raccoon and a squirrel, squirrels are really bad ass. Of course, when I was little and people would ask me, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” you can probably guess that my answer was “Veterinarian”. Well, that whole idea kind of got tossed after I was asked by my professor to stick my arm literally into a cows stomach through a permanent PVC pipe hole in the side of a cows abdomen. The whole is closed similar to how your gas tank inlet cap is screwed on. This cow is real and you can find it at the UMN Saint Paul campus. I realized, I wasn’t going to find my flow poking, prodding, and stitching animals. SO I settled on adopting a plethora of cats and dogs and looked elsewhere for my work flow. I set out to find my flow; to find that activity that took me there.
Working at the student organic farm and in the UMN’s greenhouses is where I began to feel it for the first time in a working capacity. I had a list of duties to complete and i’d want to stay there for the whole day. I could toil for hours planting seeds, watering, messing about just staring in awe at the beauty and ingenuity of plant life. After graduating I applied for jobs that were plant related. I was hired by a flower Shop in Minneapolis that specialized in MN Indigenous plants and had a garden center. I helped people choose the best plant options for rain gardens or low maintenance prairie type gardens. I loved it! After a few months, my boss asked me to help her with the floral side of things. I was less interested in this but as I began learning the types of flowers, the ways to display them and all the bits and bobs florists keep tucked away in their brains, it all came together for me. When I was arranging flowers, putzing about in the shop, time went away and I had found my flow. Having my own ideas and opinions is what really inspired me to start LILIA. I didn’t want to follow rules about how flowers are supposed to be arranged.
Give us a little history on your company LILIA.
I started LILIA toward the end of 2011, I really didn’t plan much. I’m a leaper when I’m sure about things. I sold my car, replaced it with a cheaper one and took the money to put down my first months rent for LILIA’s original location in Wayzata. When you start a business like this, needless to say, its slow going sometimes. It was for me. I was working nights waiting tables to pay for my personal expenses while LILIA was managing to pay for itself but not much else. It went on like this for about two and half years. The business made enough to pay for itself and a little bit here and there for me. It was a one woman show for the most part with one very part-time employee. It seems daunting thinking about the first couple years, but when you're passionate and loving what you’re doing it doesn’t always feel like work. I like to think thats how I managed. In my third year, I was essentially forced to move locations, but not in a bad way.
The land where the building I was renting sold and they had plans to tear everything down and build condos. Best thing that ever happened for LILIA. I wasn’t ready to make a huge commitment on a large expensive location so in a sense I downsized with regard to location prestige. I moved to a small studio space in Long Lake MN. At this point I had finally become profitable enough to quit working a second job. My rent was cheaper in Long Lake and I was financially free to advertise and reinvest in my company. Another two and half years in Long Lake and LILIA was becoming pretty well know for providing the most interesting and pretty flowers in the lake Minnetonka area. I began to really focus my energy on wedding and event work during this time as well, and we started booking more and more weddings. We were attracting brides that wanted natural, locally grown and trending styles, like oversized ceremony backdrops, hanging installations, and less common floral choices. I’ve always had potted plants and a small garden that I’ve cut this a that from for weddings and things but I started a for real production garden in 2016 and began producing dinner plate dahlias, foliage and a variety of other interesting flowers to have that edge in the industry. Having access to ultra fresh locally grown novelty flowers will make your work really stand out. Also, around this same time it dawned on me that, LILIA had severely outgrown a three door cooler and 500 square feet. This is when I started looking for a space where I could continue my wedding production but also have retail. After a year of searching I found out current location. It's perfect!
How would you describe the LILIA design style?
I don’t know about anyone else but doing the same thing over and over can get a little boring when you’re working in an artistic capacity. Of course brands sell and I’d probably do myself and my business a favor if I stuck to some kind of pattern. The thing is, I’ve always really struggled with defining my style or my companies style. In a way that NON-DEFINED style is our style. I’ve always thought, “how will you come up the next most amazing thing if you duplicate the same style over and over?”
Left to my own devices, I’m drawn to edges, asymmetry, interesting shapes, texture, movement, and contrast. I love including botanical objects that most people have never seen before. I try and include at least one of these surprises in everything I create. With this being said, I also love soft palettes, gentle and fluffy flowers. I try to be dynamic and versatile. My goal is to try and create something that is reflective of my client, the occasion and location where the flowers will be displayed. I want to be accessible to many different peoples preferences. I like to think we’re capable of just about everything.
You just moved to a new location on Wayzata, tell us what changes this brings to your company, and can we come visit?
Yes! We finally found our forever home. We’re technically located in Deephaven which is right on the border of Wayzata and Minnetonka. With the move came a partnership with a really cool vintage store in Edina on 44th and Beard called Victory Vintage. They brought in so many cool and unique pieces of furniture, corals, art, books, Vases, pot containers, garden statues, home goods and just a lot of really amazing one-of-a-kind objects. The partnership allows LILIA to remain 100% focused on providing the best flowers to the twin cities and also have additional draw for gift shoppers. We are now operational on a daily basis to walk in customers, So yes, you can definitely stop by, and please do!
What is the most fascinating flower/plant that you’ve worked with?
This is a really hard question for a florist! I get googly-eyed over a lot of different plants and flowers. Some of my absolute favorites are purple fritillaria, such a cool flower! and I adore dahlias and ranunculus as much as any florist, I love love love Hellebores but I’d suppose the cake taker would be a little accent flower called Andromeda or Pieris bud. You have no idea how happy I get when I see its in bloom and available with gorgeous drooping white blooms. It's an absolute treat for a florist.
Tell us about what you plan to grow in your home garden this year?
I am so excited about the 2018 growing season! I’ve added a bunch of perennial bearded Iris bulbs this year. And of course I’ve added some honeycomb varieties of dahlias. The variety names will have to be a surprise. Two summers ago, I planted a few wisteria that should take off this year and I’ll have blooms available in late spring. I also planted the most beautiful antique pink peonies last summer and those should come in with some really amazing huge blooms this spring. The garden is going to an absolute delight this season, and I’ll be sharing whats blooming all summer in my Instagram story!
In your opinion what is the coolest thing you created for an event in 2017?
By Golly Laine! This is tough. I did so many things I’m beyond proud of. We did things I thought I was never capable of doing but if I had to choose just one thing… I would say it was a bridal bouquet I did for an Aria wedding. I know it sounds lame but I really feel like the bride made me step out of my normal patterns of design and think in a way that I normally wouldn’t. The whole event made me focus more on design than flower choice which I’ve never done before. It’s always been design then flower choice is secondary. We ended up creating this stunner bouquet and used Cholla wood instead of ribbon. It was just really clean, modern and dramatic. I loved it!
What tips or advice can you give couples who are working with you on their wedding flowers?
The best thing ever is when a client expresses trust in me. It’s like “a margarita on the beach” for a florist when you know your client trusts you. I would literally move heaven and earth to make you happy on your wedding day so when I know my client knows that, its just the BEST! My only other advice is to think outside of restrictive norms. I’ve found that creating an experience for the guests is so much more than placing a center piece here and there. I get the most feedback from large installations that guests can interact with. Things like false arches, hanging installations, wall floral ect. You don’t have to have to a massive budget always to get these wow-factor pieces created either.
What are your favorite trends or styles when it comes to wedding flowers?
You know I really love the sheer feat of hanging something. The drama that a hanging piece creates just does it for me on so many levels. I also love it because you can spend thousands to have a decent center piece on every table and yes thats beautiful but it’s all the same to the guests and every wedding they’ve ever experienced. But you hang a monster piece and everybody's eyes about shoot out of their heads when they walk in. It’s an experience versus a norm.
I’m also so into locally grown flowers. The quality and beauty of something that was grown with love and picked yesterday is beyond apparent to what you can get commercially. I try and spend as much as possible from my local farmers and its paid off in droves. Many of them create standing orders for me all summer so I have the best product available before other florists and it just feels so good to support another artisan in their passion.
What should brides and grooms have or know before they come meet with you about their wedding?
You don’t need everything but you do need some info. Have prepared 3-10 photos of flowers that you love. Know why you love it. Is it the shape?, texture?, flowers? Also have a general grasp of your reception and ceremony situation. We need to know things like size and accessibility to accurately price things out. And more important than anything, remember that we’re starting from zero. There's a whole journey we’ll travel together from this first consultation to your wedding day. Some of the things might completely change or maybe nothing will at all. The point is that nothing is set in stone when you’re working with us, we love flexibility and being able to adjust as the trends do. Who wants to replicate what was trendy last year just because you booked last year?
What excites you about being a florist?
Oh my god, I was talking about this today, well actually everyday! I love nature, it just really; honest to god never gets old to me. I could stare longingly into every open rose that ever set its path into mine. I just love it!!! Im 100% fascinated by flowers, they literally bring me joy just looking at them. Okay, ramble over, the only thing that stinks about being a florist is the long hours otherwise, pretty much every damn thing excites me!
To Date, what has been the highlight of your career?
I would say the highlight of my career is the fact that I have a career! I can’t believe I did this! Like seriously. This last move, purchasing a huge cooler, signing a 5 year lease, just the fact that i know that i will be here for 5 years, remodeling my new spot to be exactly the way I dreamt it, sharing incredible events with amazing vendors in the industry like you! It’s all kind of overwhelming. I’m super close to a drama tear here. There’s something incredible about pulling on your big girl boots and fearlessly taking on an endeavor that only you can call your own. Just the journey, getting here, right here as I sit at closing time on the couch at LILIA writing this. That’s the highlight of it all.