Finding work, peace, and balance with floral designer, Michelle West

by | Humans

photo credit: Jessi Arnold, Girl Meet Globe

Michelle West travels from her hometown of Zachary, LA to New Orleans every week to work on some of the most beautiful floral creations in the area.

“I’m literally between Zachary, Baton Rouge and New Orleans every week. I try to schedule weeks in advance. I don’t want anything to overlap. I don’t want to take an event in Baton Rouge when I’m scheduled to be in New Orleans that week. That would be hectic. I like to have things planned accordingly.” 

Getting Into The Work

“It kind of just happened. I come from an insurance background. I did insurance for eight years but I have a degree in Biology, Chemistry, Psychology. In my spare time I used to help planners and coordinators do their setup. You know they make the young person lift the heavy things. One particular time I was helping someone who was working with flowers. She had another florist come in to help her and we started talking. I was like, ‘That sounds pretty cool.’ We hit it off and I started doing flowers on the side with her. It just took off.”

photo credit: Jessi Arnold, Girl Meet Globe

Early Influences

“I was with [Fat Cat Flowers] for a year. I signed a contract for a year to help with the whole COVID thing. [The owner] was slammed with weddings. I did that for a year and now I am officially on my own.” 

“It was kind of like a mixture of apprenticeship and contract work. She taught me the ins and outs of the business side of things, especially floristry. I got to do all kinds of things. We worked on movie sets, Netflix series, weddings, everything!”

“My mom’s side is from New Orleans, growing up my grandmother and my great aunties used to work on the Mardi Gras Indian costumes. I’ve always been around a creative influence.” 

Joyful Life Things

“I deliver joy back to myself by going to counseling. Because I do deal with anxiety and depression. I also do yoga. And playing with flowers is therapeutic because it’s just me and music, I’m jamming out most times. Even if I’m freelancing with some friends, it’s a vibe! It’s so laid back, we just have fun and work.” 

“This work gives me peace. Granted, ordering flowers, the admin side of things, delivering the flowers – that gives me anxiety. It’s just like, “Oh My God…are they going to like this?…Is it the right color?…Is this pretty?!” But the majority of it it’s very enjoyable. To complete the process and see whoever’s face at the moment of what I’m delivering for, whether it’s a wedding, bridal shower, any event, if you walk in a room and they are in awe, that’s the moment I love the most.” 

“I meditate a little before and after. I like to take a step back, breathe and compose myself just to make sure I don’t get too anxious. I go to yoga at least three times a week. Nature inspires me. Traveling and seeing the different seasons compared to home. When you travel you get to see what’s blooming at that time in that space.” 

Favorite Project

“As of late, my favorite project has been the Flower Fest. That is one of the first things I’ve done so big on my own, as my own brand. It was very challenging but I can say that gave me the mindset that I can do anything I put my mind to. It gave me self-esteem, confidence. I may have thought it out and said that I could do it but the fact that I actually did it, I can touch it. I feel like that alone says a lot for someone who struggles with certain things. “

“My anxiety is really crazy. At the Flower Fest I had to step back and cry for a little bit and get it together. I had to remind myself, ‘You’re doing this for a cause and for a benefit. Don’t let this overcome you. You overcome it.‘”

Practical Self-Care Advice

“No matter if you are in school, work a 9 to 5 or you’re an entrepreneur, the phone has to be down at a certain time. Because life still continues. You can have a family, you could have a spouse or you could be on your own but you still need to get peace and serenity for yourself. To get wrapped up in the world that we live in working 24/7 or being on social media is taking away from your time with self. That mixed with counseling and doing things you love are strong factors of self-care.”

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