We had the good fortune of connecting with Molly Spitler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Molly, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I had been in the wedding industry as a floral designer for a few years and felt that there was room for more adventure, soul, and environmental responsibility in floral design. I wanted to create a business that focused on those three aspects above all else and put my clients in a position where they felt comfortable to be who they were both as individuals and as a couple.
I started by getting specifically excited about the adventure elopement movement; as a hiking nerd myself I really loved the idea of hiking out in the wilderness to have a really meaningful and beautiful ceremony that focused on the personality of the individuals and the love shared between two people. From there, I wanted to play with more than bouquets and boutonnieres; why couldn’t a couple have an arch out in the wilderness just like a conventional wedding? Could I somehow get flowers out there to make a work of floral art? Through trial and error and lots of help, I have developed designs that are able to be hiked out into the wilderness, are environmentally friendly, and leave no trace.
I also wanted to incorporate more meaning into the designs themselves for my couples. Wedding planning is incredibly overwhelming; I think sometimes couples feel that they have to subscribe to a certain aesthetic or elements of a wedding and lose themselves a bit. A lot of planning begins on Pinterest where trends oversaturate what someone is seeing on their feed. I want my couples to choose colors, flowers, and designs that resonate with them specifically and don’t necessarily follow what is popular in weddings at the moment. I believe everyone has a color or flower that feels like their soul and want to start designing from that place; I ask all my couples what they think that color or flower is and build off of that.
Another cornerstone of Wild Moonflower is the emphasis on sustainability and care for the planet. An issue within the floral design industry is sustainability: floral foam is toxic to people and detrimental to the planet, many single use plastic elements are regularly used, and shipping flowers internationally has a massive carbon footprint and at times supports unfair worker conditions. I do not use floral foam at all and minimize my use of plastic as often as possible by using reusable glass and metal tools for creating arrangements. I design seasonally which means that I use locally grown or foraged flowers and greens that are in season; I focus on the colors and feel of designs more than finding specific flowers that might not be in season at the time. Colorado has so many amazingly talented flower farmers that I love to support and I find local flowers are healthier and more beautiful in the end.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I view Wild Moonflower first and foremost as a form of expression for me and my clients. Flowers can mean so much to someone and I love using them to tell a story or create a feeling. What sets me apart in the floral design community is my focus on the soul connection between person and Earth using flowers. I value that connection within myself and designed my business to create floral art out in nature with massive respect for the health of the planet. I am most excited about the people I will get to meet and create for; my favorite part of my job is connecting with someone over shared love for a plant or flower and creating a piece in which that is reflected. I am also excited for all the cool new techniques that are being played with in this supportive and quirky sector of my industry; adventure floral design is all about being creative and wild.
I got to where I am today by taking chances and being open to learning. I will never know everything there is to know about design, flowers, color theory, or this Earth and I think that is so exciting. I will forever be a student and I think that is a key to my success. This path was not easy; I took a big step to create Wild Moonflower which involved leaving financially supportive jobs, spending large sums of money on workshops and learning, and putting my soul out there in the form of my art for critique. Big steps are always scary; I think that’s how you know you are on the right path. I have always had tremendous support in my corner. I am lucky to have friends who not only listen to my wild dreams but encourage me to pursue them. I overcame any fear I felt by falling back on what I believed in the beginning: everyone deserves beautiful art that represents their soul.
I think the biggest lesson I have learned on this journey is to stay true to your vision and morals. Designing unsustainability is arguably easier and cheaper; it takes longer and more money to not use floral foam or to just say yes when a client wants a flower that’s not in season. It is easier to not have the difficult conversation, both in business and in life. However, by having the hard conversation you stick to your morals and most of the time come out of it happier and more comfortable. I believe sustainably creating beautiful art from flowers that represent the soul of a person is more rewarding for everyone involved (me, my clients, the planet). I guess all this to say, quality over fast money is a big lesson I’ve learned.
What I want the world to know about me and Wild Moonflower is that you are welcome here, you are safe here, you are free here. I want all my clients to feel seen and cared for, not matter what their aesthetic is. There is thought put into every choice I make, from the color palette we create to the farmer that I source flowers from. Choices today are always complicated: is the business that you’re supporting being thoughtful on how they operate in regards to the health of our environment, welfare of other humans, inclusion of everyone? I want my clients to know that this is a thoughtful business that focuses on quality of product and life in every step and is not focused on fast income.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d definitely take them to Pearl Street in Boulder (where I worked and supported my business for many years). I’d first take them for drinks at Jungle, a tiki bar on 10th and Pearl. They have amazing cocktails and really good snacks. For dinner I’d definitely go to Bramble and Hare, a farm-to-table restaurant that has the most creative and tasty dishes. I think another stop would have to be Pizzeria Locale on Pearl; their wood fired pizza is just the best and I always crave the budino. Japango has the best happy hour in my opinion on Pearl; the sushi is fresh and the cocktails are always creative and tasty.
I love South Boulder and have found many trails along the mountain range that are gorgeous. Green Mountain particularly is a favorite, and is such a strenuous hike that we would definitely deserve tacos at T-aco afterwards.
I live in Berthoud right now and Benny’s Tacos are so amazing; they are really authentic Mexico City street tacos that are so fresh. I’d probably take them to City Star Brewery too; the back patio is really nice and they have live music frequently. The beer is great too.
I’d have to do a Fort Collins day which would involve breakfast at the Silver Grill for cinnamon rolls and mimosas. Odell’s Brewery is iconic and a must visit as well; they always have such good food trucks.
I’m a big taco fan so Jefe’s in Longmont would have to be a stop too. Their margaritas and tacos are great.
I’d definitely take a friend hiking a lot while they are here. Poudre Canyon is always a good bet but my favorite hike is Ceran St. Vrain up around Jamestown. This trail is actually where I test drove my first hiking arch for a shoot. There is a river and lots of free camping spots. Great trees too.
COVID permitting, Red Rocks cannot be missed. I’ve never had a bad time there; in fact some of the best times of my life have been listening to music at Red Rocks. It’s beautiful, magical, and so much fun no matter what kind of music you’re listening to.
Lyons is one of my favorite towns and I would absolutely taken them to play in the river and then to Mojo for margaritas and tacos. Such a cute town and nice people.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I specifically want to send a shoutout to Emma VanVranken who is my mentor and friend. Emma is the owner of Emma Lea Floral and is an amazing artist and person. She took me under her wing when all I had was a love and curiosity of flowers with no previous experience. She taught me the importance of quality of flowers, sustainable designing practices, and color theory. She has never wavered in her support of me as a person, artist, and business owner. I would not have started Wild Moonflower without her encouragement and belief.
I want to also thank Nick Zepeda of Nick Zepeda Photography who selflessly took countless photographs of my work, encouraged my crazy shoot ideas, and kept me laughing when things got hard.
Helen Skiba was my introduction to Colorado flower farming; she showed me just what is possible in sustainability and designing seasonally. She is another person who has always supported my wild dreams for Wild Moonflower and gave me tips and lessons on design happily.
I’d also like to mention Katie Davis of Ponderosa and Thyme (Salem, Oregon) and Rachael Ann Lunghi of Siren Floral Co. (San Diego, California) as they have been teachers long my path that I value greatly.
Nick Zepeda Photography Ivy and Gold Photography