Meet Rachel Roth, though I fondly refer to her as “Rachel Howard” after she designed my wedding and we’d joke she was channeling Howard Weinstein from everyone’s favorite movie, Father of the Bride.
I remember when I first met Rachel, I just knew she was the right fit for our big day. In fact, I didn’t really want to interview any other designers after meeting her. I felt an instant connection and a curiosity to know more about this spunky, confident, and talented person.
Name: Rachel Roth
Location: Seattle, WA
Current Title: Owner/Design at Butter & Bloom
What’s your story? Where did you grow up, what were major influences in your life?
I grew up in Southern Idaho. Ate tons of potatoes and lived in the boonies. I grew up as a preacher’s kid and had a lot of creative influences. Most Friday nights my parents would have a bluegrass “jam session” with all their musically wonderful friends. I’ve always been a bit of an explorer; my influences range from Grandma Bessie to teachers and friends.
What was your first job and how did you land it?
My very first job was at a magical dual fro-yo and coffee shop. First application, first interview, I guess I just charmed their pants off.
How has your former career as a buyer and community manager played a part in your journey as a business owner?
I am a firm believer that every job, no matter what the content, is an opportunity to learn and acquire new skills. I learned “if there’s time to lean, there’s time to clean” from the coffee shop. I learned grace and patience from being a waitress. I learned the importance of community in the workplace at MAKERS. And as a buyer I learned about budgeting and profit margins. As a buyer I also learned a TON, mostly from working with my boss, about vendor relationships. He was a real influence on my development as a business owner.
Have floral design, baking, weddings, and special events always been interests of yours? When did you decide to pursue these interests as a career?
I learned floral design when I first moved to Seattle 11 years ago. I had no experience but got a job at the Pike Place Flowers. I had the best boss who is still dear to my heart! I seemed to just have a handle on it from the get go and have been in love ever since. Baking is a pretty funny story if you ask my family. I used to want to be so good at it, and I was a hot mess. Too salty, burned, undercooked, it’s a real miracle that I somehow locked it down. My inspiration to start the business came from a friend who had quit her job to open MAKERS (an amazing co-working space downtown Seattle). She then encouraged all her friends to quit their jobs and be a maker. And that was that. I just went for it.
After deciding to launch Butter & Bloom, what were the logistics behind turning your dream into a reality? How did you begin to tackle the scary parts of launching a business? (i.e. branding, PR, marketing, financial backing, etc.)
For a long time I was still working as a buyer part time. My old employer was super supportive and flexible with me on scheduling. I worked around the clock meeting people and doing a lot of favors. The biggest key was networking. I met a few key people like Kelli Bielema at Shindig Events who introduced me to everyone. The wedding industry was very welcoming and the more people I met, the more work I got. It was really that simple. As for branding I just keep doing what I love and doing it as well as I can. That’s our brand. And gold. We LOVE gold.
What were some of the biggest adjustments or struggles that came up when starting a business? How did you overcome them?
The struggle is the best and the worst. Being your own boss. There are so many great things about it, but at the end of the day it’s all on you. It’s a lot of pressure and sometimes the work never stops. I don’t know how many times I’ve been making boutonnieres at 2 am and crying because I was just so tired. On the flipside, it’s a learning process. As the business grew, things got easier in some areas and tougher in others. I think being my own boss is a job that will continue to challenge me every day. But challenges are what keep you learning new things and I don’t want to ever stop doing that.
What tools do you use to continue developing and growing yourself? What inspires you? How do you stay motivated?
I definitely have a bit of a competitive spirit, even when it comes to myself. I always know I can do something a little bit better and I try to always do that. I take inspiration from a million things; blogs, other florists, art, music, the outdoors. There are so many amazing things around us to take in. We just need to set aside a minute to do it.
What advice do you have for others looking to make major career moves such as starting a business or changing career direction?
I would say don’t try to plan it too hard. Make sure you have some financial stability, but there’s so much you can’t plan. You can read a million books about starting a business, but everyone’s story is different. The fun of it is learning as you go.
Don’t try to plan it too hard. Make sure you have some financial stability, but there’s so much you can’t plan. You can read a million books about starting a business, but everyone’s story is different. The fun of it is learning as you go.
Walk us through a typical day as the owner of Butter & Bloom.
There are two types of work days; the actual preparing of the wedding and all the behind the scenes. The first part of the week is emails and paperwork and making a thousand to do lists and doing your best to cross them off. When it comes time for the floral work, we pick up flowers from the wholesaler, process all the flowers, get them in water and then to the checklist. Each wedding has a detailed checklist of items to complete along with a timeline for each day of prep. We work on flowers all day then usually to the kitchen after to bake cakes. It’s a long day, but it’s always worth it.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career thus far?
My favorite moments are always the emails after the wedding. I love hearing from a bride just before her honeymoon that what we did was above and beyond what she could have ever wanted. I cry every time.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Tough question. I keep thinking I will get to the age where I feel more grown up, enough so to give someone advice. I think it would be the same advice I try to keep giving myself, which is to enjoy the moment you’re living in. I tend to look forward and backward and miss things that are right in front of me. I’ll remind my younger self of that again next year.
Enjoy the moment you’re living in. I tend to look forward and backward and miss things that are right in front of me.
Favorite sweet treat? Chocolate or vanilla?
I’m a total kid when it comes to sweets. Nerds. Skittles. Sour stuff. And of course all the cake. Any kind. Any time.
If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
My muse, the one and only, Martha Stewart. I’ve been obsessed with her as long as I can remember and she’s a master of all things. This woman was a model, a doer, a maker, a PRISONER, she’s amazing and I love her.
The Great Gatsby. I read it every year.
Favorite Instagram accounts?
What are some of your favorite things to do in Seattle? Favorite spots?
Favorite way to treat yourself?
Brunch and shopping.
Want more of Rachel? Find her via the links below.
Photos by: Nikki Closser Photography