We had the good fortune of connecting with Amber Taylor and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Amber, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?

Did you know millions of fresh flowers across the globe are thrown away each week because they’re “too old” or “not perfect enough” to sell? When I worked with fresh flowers, I HATED cleaning the cooler each week because of the dozens of flowers we had to throw away! They still looked great but their shelf life had already been spent and we couldn’t use them anymore. It broke my heart to see so many beautiful flowers just get tossed out and I couldn’t even imagine the waste, both monetarily as well as ecologically.

Finding sola wood flowers was a game changer for me. They last for years, are completely handmade, and are extremely versatile! They’re made from sola wood, one the lightest woods in the world. It comes from the shola pith plant which grows as a type of reed in the marshes of West Bengal and Eastern India. Artisans shave the reeds down into sheets and then form them into various flower shapes. The craft is centuries old and is deeply rooted in their local culture.

Sola wood flowers can be dyed virtually ANY color and come in so many different styles. What’s even neater is because they’re organic, sola wood flowers have a carbon footprint that’s significantly lower than both fresh and faux flowers! They can travel by boat rather than air, and they don’t need any preservation other than a dry climate and some airflow. The best part is, that they still look life-like and are a wonderful, sustainable substitute for fresh flowers.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

I learned how to floral design when I was 15 and have worked in and out of the fresh floral industry since. When I started having kids, I quit my full-time job so I could stay home with my babies. I value the time I have with my three young kids (all boys!) but I also strive to stay sharp and relevant. Starting Wood Flower Barn gave me the opportunity to stay home with my kids while still utilizing my talents and abilities (and providing a great, sustainable flower option to consumers).

I create arrangements for gifts, décor, sympathy pieces, and weddings! I love that each piece I create is so unique and can be used as a keepsake to those who receive it. Many of the special moments in our lives include flowers, so why not use a type of flower that will last forever?

If you would have asked me 10 years ago, I never would have expected that I’d have my own little business with three tiny humans at home. Despite the long hours and stressful nights, it has been incredible. I have learned so much more about myself and it has allowed me to stay home and raise my boys while teaching them the importance of dedication and creativity. If anything, this little business of mine has been a journey into getting to know what I want for myself and for my family, while bringing pretty, sustainable flowers to my community.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

So I’m currently living in Salt Lake City, Utah, but I was raised in Johnstown, Colorado! I had the best childhood, I’m sure anyone would understand why knowing I was raised in such a fantastic state. So, I’ll answer this as a kid from Colorado, and then I’ll answer as an adult from Utah (in case any Coloradoans venture across their western state border for a bit).

As a kid I LOVED hiking and visiting the mountains! There are thousands of great hikes, so we’d pick a few and head up. Lake Granby, Red Feather Lakes, Crater Lake, and Estes Park were some of my favorite places to visit. I’d make sure that we camp next to the lake and then canoe our hearts out, maybe even cliff jump off some rocks for the full experience. My parents also owned a hot air balloon, so if the season was right, I’d hunt down a balloon rally and drag my friends out of bed to see the balloons take off first thing in the morning. I remember the cinnamon rolls at Johnson’s Corner, right off the exit to Johnstown on I-25 were HUGE! So that would be a fun stop as well (of course, they’re nothing compared to my sister’s scratch-baked cinnamon rolls from Old Orchard Bakehouse in Durango!). And to this day, no museum I’ve visited has lived up to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I remember being so enthralled with the exhibits! And since we’re in the neighborhood we would hit up the zoo as well.

Now, living in Utah, I have a whole slew of great finds! Cache Valley is one of my favorite places, especially during the Fall. Mid-September brings in the salmon run on the East Fork of the Little Bear River. After watching the fish, getting covered in mud (it’s not a proper salmon run if you don’t get muddy) and paddle boarding on Porcupine Reservoir, we’d go get some Aggie Ice Cream (Aggie Blue Mint is a must). After some time in Logan Canyon mountain biking, we’d make our way south. We’d stop in Park City for some more mountain biking and then explore the plethora of unique boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. Next, we would meander our way through the 5 national parks in the state. Arches is my favorite and would be our first stop. We would finish in my next favorite, Zion. Each park has spectacular views and amazing hikes. If we get to Zion early enough, we would hike Angel’s Landing for the thrill and then finish the trip in St. George. Having gone from the northeasternmost part of the state to the southwesternmost part, we would have to celebrate by getting some stuffed french toast at Bear Paw Café (it’s to die for)!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband! He has been behind me 100% of the time and has never doubted me for a second. Running this business out of my home has given me the freedom to work whenever and however I can, but it also means that certain sections of the house are overrun with my products and supplies (which gets annoying). And like every other entrepreneur, my mental space and most of my time is generally consumed with running this business. My husband has been my sounding board, my confidant, and my cheerleader. Without him, I would have no aspirations of making this thing bigger than it is (especially because a huge part of his support is in caring for our kids so I can work). And as cheesy as it sounds, I can’t not mention my little boys. They’re so enthusiastic about my flowers and it just melts my heart to see them excited about my work.

Website: https://woodflowerbarn.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/woodflowerbarn/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/woodflowerbarn/

Other: I also sell on a platform called West Tenth. It’s an amazing platform designed to help home-based businesses get in front of more people. They promote women’s success as business owners and it’s a great community that supports one another and provides opportunities for growth and development. This link takes you to the app download which will lead you to my shop: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/west-tenth/id1478134804?ls=1&storefrontId=965

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.