Sarah Campbell Talks EventsJun 16, 2021
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Sarah Campbell is a renowned wedding expert having launched multiple wedding businesses. Her first business was a thriving event planning firm, and it was from working in this area that she saw a need in the industry for a high-end florist serving Annapolis and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She launched Intrigue Design & Décor, concentrating on weddings and social events up and down the East Coast of the United States. She has become a leader in the industry, with appearances on many of the television and radio networks and featured in magazines, blogs, and newspapers. Recently, she stepped out of her comfort zone and was one of the competitors in the Netflix competition, ‘The Big Flower Fight’, an experience she will never forget as she learned new skills, including how to make ‘Big Bugs’! Her passion is very evident and compelling, which has led her to have another string to her bow, with the formation of Intrigue Teaches, the education sector of her work which has grown rapidly during the pandemic and can now be accessed globally.
The beauty of education in floristry is that competition, per-say, does not have it's place in it. Rather, integration, communication and inspiration are the key factors that make this sector of the industry expand creativity and drive designers into the future. We, designers, are constantly learning. Every form of education must be encouraged as each perspective, each insight and each approach pile up and build creative resources that ultimately trigger diversity and uniqueness in our designs. Which is why it is so exciting to see people like Sarah Campbell join the EMC Go Live Event, along side other amazing people in the industry, ready to share her unique perspective over the future of weddings and events.
How would you describe what you do in the wedding event industry and what sets you apart in your line of work?
I listen to what my brides and grooms want and I concentrate on giving them a day that they will never forget, from surrounding the groom in flowers for the bride to see as she comes through the door of the church; and framing the groom’s first view of his bride with her father; the magical start to their very special day and the initial surprise and delight being echoed in every conceivable way through until the end of the celebrations.
What inspires you? Share with us what are your main sources of inspiration and why they resonate with you.
Colour! I am known for my love and use of colour. It is me! I am also inspired by anything and everything… nature, architecture, shapes, going for a walk and seeing textures and COLOUR. I might be out on a walk and see a form, a branch on a tree… and I must go home and replicate that shape from chicken wire or whatever else I can find, to see that shape come to life.
In your professional experience, when working with different cultures, different people, each with different stories and personalities, how do you keep your creativity from getting lost?
I listen to them and what they want, their ideas, their thoughts, their theme. As I listen to them and start to ask some questions, I begin to picture what they want, the creativity starts to flow, and I know that I can give them what they want to make everything awesome for the very important celebration of their marriage.
How do you connect your ideas and plans to your clients’ expectations? What are the three main things you consciously focus upon when creating and building a relationship with the client?
Firstly, the couple are usually aware of what I can do, as my work is seen on social media, magazines etc., and they will have already come to a decision that they will come to me to get what they want and are aware that it is going to cost them. Most importantly, I listen to them. I find out as much as I can through careful listening. Then we discuss colour, and they again are usually aware that although I will do ‘blushes and neutrals’, I do colour – that is important, and it is one of the things that I am known for. Finally, when the discussion has finished and the planning has started, I make sure that they understand that they can trust me to provide them with everything that they want in the way of floral décor for their day.
In what way have the expectations of your clients changed in recent years, especially in the last year, since the pandemic certainly hit the event industry all over the world?
There have been cancellations and delays, and certainly the weddings have become smaller in numbers, but they still want to have the dream wedding, albeit that it has changed in size. Also, so many couples now want installations and hanging designs, something that was not really requested even ten years ago but is now big business. Also, the flowers have changed and, having been introduced to using whole pots of plants in ‘The Big Flower Fight’, I am now bringing these into my installations, as well as flowers that I would not have considered using before, such as Lilies and Alstroemeria which will last a long time in hanging designs.
photos from the Netflix series ‘The Big Flower Fight’
In the recent history, everybody in the wedding industry had to shift focus and consider new approaches for how events will transform. What aspects did you focus on to adapt your business to all the change?
I have concentrated much more on the teaching and education side, helping florists to boost their businesses and become more creative, with workshops and demonstrations, and talking to all the different areas of media.
Post Covid, how do you anticipate things will change? What are the trends that are emerging regarding the wedding industry in particular? What are the most important lessons you consider to have learned in witnessing the world of wedding events completely recreate itself?
I would never have considered completing wedding consultations online, but this is now the usual way for me. I have produced masses of videos showing a range of set ups, installations and other floral décor for the bride and groom to look through so that they have an idea of what can be done before we meet online. During the pandemic, most people have become used to seeing each other online and are comfortable with it, so this has been a massive change. I am also concentrating very much on producing more teaching videos, including ones on producing large installations which was considered almost impossible to produce but we are working on that now and it will be available as an online course internationally. I have taken the decision not to do any weddings now until 2022 and to concentrate on producing and marketing the teaching internationally.
How does ‘INTEGRATION’ as a creative concept resonate with you and how would you consider it influencing the future of weddings?
An interesting question! The use of online teaching, the opportunity to put ideas in front of the bride and groom online and being able to meet other creatives online at times to suit everyone all around the world shows how integration is taking place, blending the real-life work of the wedding florist with their clients and being able to educate them with videos showing real creativity taking place, possibly happening thousands of miles away.
Sarah's bubbly enthusiasm is catching, and once you see her you instantly get a very clear insight into her passion for the wedding industry and how committed she is to realising the dream of her brides and grooms and showing others in the industry how they can do the same; whilst making it profitable!
She believes in herself, her skills and knowledge, and feels very strongly that her clients understand her worth and are prepared to pay for it. An extraordinary, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and very competent, business creative from whom we will be able to learn so much as she takes her place around the table for the discussion on ‘Expanding Creativity through Small Intimate Events’ during the EMC Go Live Event.
interview by Sara Marie Andrews
photos provided by Sarah Campbell, credits to Clear Sky Images
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Tomas De Bruyne talks creativity
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