Yasmine Mei began working with flowers at the age of 18, humbly making arrangements at a flower bucket shop (similar to what you see scattered on the corners of city blocks) just off the PCH in Laguna Beach. Through her dedication and devotion to these precious and perishable gifts of nature, she's honed her craft to create a unique and individual floral style one to herself. Yasmine has an innate ability to allow each flower to have its own moment and breath amongst the arrangement. Her floral pieces are poetic works of art - ethereal, simple, and moving.
Do you remember the first time you were captivated by a flower?
I can’t remember a time I wasn’t captivated by flowers. I’ve loved them for as long as I can remember, though I can’t recall a particular instance.
What draws you to a particular flower?
It really depends on the season, my mood, and what looks good at the market. If I’m taking a walk, sometimes I’ll be struck by the beauty of something I’ve seen a million times before (most recently, bougainvillea). I think any flower can draw my attention, depending on the day.
How do your amazing arrangements come together? Do you have a vision or does it happen organically in the moment?
It all happens organically. If I have a specific order, I’ll stick to that palette or flower choice. However, if a client gives me free reign, I’ll make selections based on the best looking flowers I see. I find that my flower choices often match the outfit I’m wearing that day.
Did you grow up with an appreciation for nature and its beauty or did that come later in life?
I’ve always loved nature and flowers. They are my biggest love, outside of my family and travel.
Buying flowers year-round must have made you more aware of the natural cycles and seasons. Has that awareness brought you a new level of appreciation and wonder in our life?
Yes! I find myself looking forward to season after season because of the multitude of flowers in their absolute prime in their season.
Not too many people get to have a career creating floral magic! How did this all come together?
I’m still pinching myself that it came together. It’s really my dream job. Initially, I worked at a flower shop. Before Instagram, I started getting work through word-of-mouth. Then social media helped get my work to a larger audience, thus more work opportunities. I’m very grateful.
There's an incredible quote from a documentary called The Cruise about a very unique NYC tour guide and philosopher. He says “You can look at the flower and become the flower. But I would love it if I could look at the flower, appreciate the beauty of the flower, and then have the flower appreciate the beauty of me.” Has that ever crossed your mind?
I like this question. That hasn’t crossed my mind, though I love thinking about flowers being completely oblivious to their own beauty, so I doubt they would stop to consider mine.
What inspires you (outside of flowers!) that aid in your constant desire to create?
Solo travel and taking walks in the forest or desert, alone.
What are some of your personal self care rituals?
Going to the farmers’ market every Sunday, unless I’m out of town. It’s important for me to eat well, so I stock up on organic, local produce. I have a costly habit of buying too many ‘Gaviota’ strawberries when they’re in season, but they bring me so much joy. I cherish my market visits.
Do you have any tips for making arrangements at home?
Cut flower stems on a bias (diagonally), so the flower stem has as much surface space to drink up water as possible. Stick to odd numbers with your flower bunching. For example, 3 dahlias, 1 poppy pod, 5 peonies. Try not to mix too many colors in the arrangement - that helps it look harmonious. Have fun! Flower arranging should be fun and relaxing.
How do you honor Mother Earth?
I gave up eating meat 20 years ago (with the exception of the occasional fish, mussels, or oysters), so hopefully that lessens my carbon footprint. I also wear almost only secondhand clothing. One of the many reasons I love Christy Dawn dresses is because they’re made out of fabric that would have otherwise been discarded. I also love that the dresses are made 15 minutes from where I live. We need more environmentally responsible companies.
Follow Yasmine Mei @YasmineMei