Ok, so I am Emily (over there in the blue) and I own and operate Wood Violet. I am a farmer florist and small business owner who calls Milwaukee home. With an education in biological conservation and a background in both floral design and landscaping, I decided to start a flower farm in 2008. I borrowed a little land from my grandparents at their farm in East Troy and I don't think that any of us knew what we were in for. When I began Stems Cut Flowers my intention was for it to be a flower farm selling to florists and at farmer's markets, maybe an occasional wedding. Well that occasional wedding turned into a nearly every weekend occurrence and it soon became evident that I was running two separate businesses. It eventually seemed like a good idea to officially make it two separate businesses and in 2015 I launched a floral design studio in Milwaukee and named it Wood Violet. Being that the wood violet is Wisconsin's state flower it seemed an appropriate name for a business that is focused on using locally grown blooms.

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and what about Stems Cut Flowers....

I still own and operate Stems but it's more of a part-time thing these days. I love growing flowers, and I love designing with the flowers that I grow. I wish I could grow all of my flowers but there are not enough hours in the day. Believe me, I tried.

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And here is the team.  Mostly friends and family, sometimes my husband but he doesn't usually get paid. I know that people say it's a mistake but I don't know where I would be without these guys.

From left to right:

Jenna: Does lots of delivery and set up on wedding days. Chances are pretty good that if you don't see me, you will see her. We do Art in Bloom together every year, sometimes our instrgram posts come from her, and she shows up after work to help me finish bridesmaid bouquets.

Anastasia: This girl is in charge of the boutonniere department. Oh boy, does she ever make some cute bouts! . She is getting her graduate degree in do-goodery so she is eventually going to phase herself out. But she is my second cousin in law, once removed so I know you will see her around on big wedding weekends for may years to come.

Emily: You already know who I am.

Emma: I am not even sure where to start with this one. She keeps me company, reminds me to eat lunch, makes corsages, ties up garlands, sticks around until the work is done. It's pretty great having a girl like this on your side. She is also skilled in the art of setting out centerpieces and lighting candles.

Jen: She is the reason the shop stays organized. She cleans up and puts things away (the right way) every week. She if also pretty great at packing up all of the flowers for delivery. Every week we are like "how did she get all of this in here?!" She is also about to graduate and move on to the real world. But she is my sister in law so I know she won't abandon me.

flower sourcing

We like to keep it green around here. So what does that mean? We use tons of locally grown flowers every year. There are quite a few professional flower farms in Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Some are smaller than an acre and some are 10 acres or more. Some are certified organic and some grow with sustainability in mind, using conventional methods on a limited basis. On any given week I might buy flowers from 2-10 different farms to fulfill my orders. We will supplement these lovely Wisconsin grown products with flowers and foliage from other parts of the country, usually the west coast or Florida. Sometimes Canada. Most of the flowers sold in this country come from overseas and the vast majority are from South America (even in the summer!!). Why is this a problem? Aside from the carbon footprint associated with the shipping (yeah, I know California is far away too) there are some serious environmental and human rights issues with many of the flower farms in that part of the world. They're not all bad but I would rather support US farmers and the local economy.

supplies we use

We try our darnedest to use products that are better for the environment. Anything from glass vases made in Ohio to natural silk ribbon that is hand-dyed in Washington. But most of those fancier containers are made over seas so we reuse them as many times as possible. It saves you money and it keeps stuff out of the landfill. One thing that we will never-ever use is that green flower foam. That stuff is not biodegradable and it contains formaldehyde. Gross!

compost

Compost. We compost all of our floral scraps and waste. You would be surprised by how much garbage a flower shop can generate. We throw it all in the compost. If we clean up your event at the end of the night, we will carefully sort through and make sure we compost what we can. It takes a little longer but I sleep better at night.