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"I kept my creative energies busy by providing flowers for family and friends"

From her days on a Maryland farm surrounded by nature to her time spent exploring the world of chemistry, Leslie's path was always intertwined with her love of floral design. The turning point in her journey happened when she designed the flowers for her sister's wedding. She had an "aha" moment, as many florists do, and everything fell into place.

Can you share the story behind the founding of Branch Design Studio? What inspired you to start your own floral business, and how has it evolved over time?
For as long as I can remember, I have loved flowers, design, and art. I grew up on a small farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where we were surrounded by Black Eyed Susans, Zinnias, Lilacs, and Tiger Lillies - to name a few. My parents obviously have a love of flowers too.

Over time, my interest evolved to me participating in our high school prom flower committee. And then, eventually, in my early twenties I started working at a flower shop near my house. I graduated college and went on to work as a chemist with an international pharmaceutical company, but I always found myself gravitating back to flowers.

While working as a chemist, I kept my creative energies busy by providing flowers for family and friends' various weddings and events. In 2011, I single-handedly provided all flowers and design for my sister and brother-in-law's large wedding in Charlotte, NC. The wedding received great press and overwhelming positive remarks. My family encouraged me to devote my career to the creative field I love. And my sister and brother-in-law had such confidence in me that they said "let's do this together." From there, our wonderful Branch Design Studio journey began! I come from a supportive and wonderful family and it makes me so happy to have a successful family business in the creative industry I love.

I still feel the same level of excitement for flowers that I felt playing around our farm on a summer day. I still get excited to see the Mayesh boxes come through the door. And, I may be known for rushing to the boxes and leaving a mess of paper and greenery in my wake

Just like flowers, Branch is always growing and evolving. We originally focused on weddings and events. In 2021, we also opened our wonderful, little retail shop. Now, we not only provide flowers for life's big events, but also for everything in between. We love that we have grown to being there for all of the moments in our customers' lives. We are always evolving with our staff and customers. We offer classes, gifts, and so much more. I am so excited for what we have in store for the future and I can't wait to see the flourishing that Branch will continue to do around the community.

Designing the flowers for your sister's wedding seems like a pivotal moment in your journey. Can you describe the process of creating arrangements for such a significant event, and how it impacted your decision to pursue floral design professionally?
Selfishly, I had secretly hoped that if I did the flowers for my sisters' weddings, I wouldn't have to be in the wedding party or go shopping for dresses. I am not a huge fan of public speaking or standing in front of everyone. But, my plan didn't work out and I had to be a part of the wedding party and provide flowers. I should have known better.

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