Florist Friday: A Chat With Sierra Steifman of Poppies & Posies
Sierra Steifman is the creative mind behind the beloved Poppies & Posies, a design firm revered for their unique ability to style flowers to mimic the way they grow in gardens. Since they opened their New England and New York outposts in 2007, Poppies & Posies has made a name for itself as an all-in-one studio that does set and prop styling as well as impressive installation work. They also run one of the most beautiful floral blogs we’ve seen in a long time, and are some of the most in-demand wedding florists in New York City (which says a lot).
Poppies & Posies approaches each concept with top-to-bottom acuity, turning out consistently-fantastic arrangements and intriguing spaces regardless of the occasion. We love the lush, English look that so often defines their bouquets, which are ripe with cascading vines and fresh, full flowers. Poppies & Posies helped pioneer a more natural, undone style in the world of floral design, veering towards individualized design and a focus on the organic creation of a bouquet. Garden Collage sat down with founder and owner Sierra Steifman to ask her a few questions in between weddings.
GC: How did you get into flowers? Did you grow up gardening?
I really became interested in flowers about eight years ago when my previous business partner and I launched Poppies & Posies. Originally we were going to be wedding planners and offer floral design as a service, but we both quickly fell in love with the design side of the business and kicked the planning portion to the curb.
I spent the first eight years of my life living in Louisiana. My parents were total hippies and we lived down a mile-long dirt road. At the time they were living off the land as much as possible, so we had a big vegetable garden. I was pretty young so I don’t remember gardening much at the time, but I think it had a lasting effect on me. I hope that one day soon I’ll have a garden again.
GC: Did you have a gateway flower? For example, a flower you completely fell in love with that led to a larger love of flowers, or a flower that you tend to zoom in on whenever it’s in season?
It’s pretty easy to fall head over heels for flowers when you’re working with them weekly. Once we started frequenting the flower markets here in NYC I became obsessed pretty quickly. To this day my favorite flowers are hellebores. I can’t seem to control myself when they’re in season, and often I wind up overspending on them for clients. Luckily for my bank account, they’re only in season for a short time during the early Spring months.
GC: How do you keep your creative drive going?
Just shopping the flower market each week inspires me. It is always changing, and new things are always popping up, which makes it a really inspiring place to spend time. There always comes a time in our busy season where I feel burnt out and need a pick-me-up. Typically, a strong cocktail and a day off remedies that.
GC: What does a typical, say, Tuesday look like for you?
Tuesdays are our days to get organized for the week, so nothing too exciting. By Wednesday we’re picking up flowers for the weekend’s events. These are always early mornings at the market, but well worth it. It’s usually a fun day because our studio is filled with fresh flowers again and it gets you excited to work on the upcoming projects.
GC: What are some of your favorite local spots?
I live in Greenpoint [Brooklyn]. The area is changing so rapidly I can’t keep up with all of the new trendy spots. They say most New Yorkers typically don’t venture much further than a 10 block radius, which is very true for me. Between Park Luncheonette, Five Leaves, and Crema, we’ve got all of our bases covered. If we have the time, we get more adventurous and try new places or hit up a spot in Williamsburg.
GC: Do you have a favorite garden?
I love all of the little neighborhood gardens in NYC. It’s such a nice concept and some of them have really beautiful flowers growing in them. The one here in Greenpoint near McCarren Park is especially pretty in the Spring.
GC: How do you dress for summer weather? How does your summer style differ from your winter style?
I’m a jean shorts, white shirt, and flip-flops type of girl. I think my style would belong more in Southern California during the summer. It’s pretty low maintenance and I don’t spend too much time fussing over what I’m wearing as long as I am comfortable.
During the winter months, its all about warmth and comfort for me again. I have my go-to pair of jeans and some warm, tall boots. My husband has forbidden me from buying another scarf ever again, so I guess it’s safe to say I like to accessorize with a big scarf in the winter and I have many to choose from.
GC: How would you describe your style? How has it evolved over time?
Again, my style is laid-back and simple. I think over time I’ve stopped trying to keep up with the trends in NYC or force myself into an uncomfortable pair of heels. Instead I’ve embraced what makes me feel comfortable and stuck to the basics.
GC: What are your other floral design influences?
I’m influenced greatly by color. I love looking at color combos you might find in fashion, around the city, or in a book and then transferring that palette into a floral arrangement.
GC: If you could travel to any one destination, floral wise, where would you go?
Hands down Japan. Their flowers are bonkers!
GC: How does social media affect your business? How do you interact with it?
Social media has become such a huge part of our business and the industry in general. We try our best to always stay authentic and share what we’re working on each week. The best part about social media is how it has connected us with people all over the world.
GC: Last but not least, what’s your coffee order?
Iced cappuccino in the summer and hot Americano in the winter.