A Chat with Boutierre Girls’ Emily Michele Smith
Before Emily Michele Smith became a florist, she would bake cakes with floral designs just for fun. It didn’t take long for the Australian-based florist to realize it was actually the flowers that interested her, and not the cakes. For the last three years, she’s been running her bespoke floral studio, Boutierre Girls, in Sydney’s Northern Suburbs to great success.
Smith focuses on flower arrangements for weddings and recently created a series of floral-based photographs set in an enchanted forest for White Magazine, an Australian-based wedding magazine whose dreamy #aesthetics continue to inspire us. Motivated by our enchantment over her lush designs, GC spoke with Smith about her initial foray into floristry, florist fashion, her favorite roses, and more.
GC: How did you get into flowers? Did you grow up gardening?
ES: My Mum is a very gifted gardener as was my best friend’s mum and next door neighbor. I have grown up surrounded by beautiful gardens and lot of flowers! I started off making wedding cakes on the side as a hobby while I was at university. My cakes were popular because I would cover them top to bottom in fresh flowers. Eventually I decided that I really loved flowers, not so much the baking, so I briefly went to the university TAFE and left to take up Boutierre Girls full time.
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?
ES: Roses! Mum always had beautiful roses called Double Delight. They smell incredible. I always use a ton of roses in all my work.
GC: How do you keep your creative drive going?
ES: I find it really hard sometimes and often feel like I have hit a wall. It’s really important to keep up with fashion and interior trends to keep everything fresh and on trend. Colors and styles come in and out of fashion very quickly so I always try and keep very up to date.
GC: What does a typical, say, Tuesday, look like for you?
ES: Tuesday is my day off. But I generally spend Tuesdays powering through emails for a good 12 hours. Mondays are spent cleaning everything top to bottom from the weekend’s events.
GC: What are some of your favorite local spots?
ES: I love going to Cremorne Point and sitting on a rock right on the water in front of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and reading a book. I love going down to Balmoral and jumping off the wharf. I also love getting away to the Blue Mountains a couple of times a year for bush walks and beautiful gardens. I love anywhere near the water or harbor in Sydney.
GC: Do you have a favorite garden?
ES: My favorite garden growing up belonged to my next door neighbor, Janey Phipps. She is a full-time gardener and kept the boarding house gardens looking amazing all year round, which is an incredibly difficult thing to do. There were always so many butterflies and lady bugs. It was the best. There was also a big tadpole pond. I felt like I was in Peter Rabbit’s garden.
GC: How do you dress for summer weather? How does your summer style differ from your winter style?
ES: I really love fashion. I would have loved to get into design if I wasn’t a florist. I find it really challenging to dress in florist attire and still feel like I look nice. In summer I’ll be in denim shorts or jeans and a plain black or white tee. I always splurge on nice earrings, bomber jackets, and boots to try and dress up my outfits so I don’t feel like such a grub covered in leaves and water!
In winter, I wear huge coats. I get very, very cold. I have a huge Isabelle Marant coat that I wear every day. It’s freezing at 3 am in winter and even in a huge coat, I get cold. I always take a hot water bottle in my van with me to the market!
GC: How would you describe your style? How has it evolved over time?
ES: I feel like my style changes all the time! I love to keep things looking as natural as possible. Bringing the garden indoors is what I aim for.
GC: What are your other floral design influences?
ES: The current season. I always love to use colors that compliment the season.
GC: If you could travel to any one destination, floral-wise, where would you go?
ES: I would absolutely love to go to Japan around April for blossom season with my best friend Reuben (also a florist from Canada). It looks incredible — definitely on my bucket list.
GC: How does social media affect your business? How do you interact with it?
ES: Social media is the shopfront for my business. I get all of my exposure and business through it along with word of mouth. I spend a lot of time on making sure my feed looks beautiful as a whole. I also love being able to follow all of my fellow florist friends and their work. It’s a small industry and it’s really great being able to encourage each other through Instagram.
GC: What’s your daily coffee order?
ES: A strong soy flat white.