ISSUE NO. 1
WHO IS ELLIE?
Ellie Victoria Bobrowski | Owner Designer E.V.B F l o r a
I am supposed to write about myself | this is tricky.
Things have NEVER had clarity, and things have ALWAYS been all over the map. I felt duality my whole life. So at 31, this little sweet Texas girl who got crushed by California and twisted by the city decided to kick back the crazy and lasso the bouquet in a delicate knot and hand it eloquently to the brides without them ever knowing she rode both English and Western.
So here we go:
Business, design, and flowers have been in my blood since beyond my Grandmother’s time. My Great Grandfather was an Italian color photographer in Berlin. An artist. He taught my Grandmother everything from how to use cameras to getting her paints, and down the line creativity ran. My grandmother was known for her gardens and painting flowers. She taught me everything I know about art, and my beginnings in flowers.
Ever since I was little I have worked, created, designed, illustrated, painted, photographed, and revolved around flowers… My grandmother also had a European gift shop that mostly had Christmas décor but home goods too. She had a huge garden outside and at her home, and while she was busy working I was busy making my creations in her back office.
I was born in Humble, TX. When I was 13 I moved to a small town nestled in the Santa Cruz mountains of California called Los Gatos. I ‘grew up’ mostly there, and by 16 I was working in a flower shop. I loved it. It reminded me of my Grandmother, and I learned more about flowers and arranging.
This little sweet Texas girl who got crushed by California and twisted by the city decided to kick back the crazy and lasso the bouquet.
They were there for me when my Grandmother passed away. I needed to be surrounded by flowers. They never let me be a designer though, so I went freelance. It grew, but my car was too small, I was too small, and I was just a kid. At the time I was dealing with bigger issues, like supporting my (almost) fiance of 6 years, who was a recovering addict. It was all too much for me at the time, and starting my own business seemed too selfish.
Soon enough, I got tired of putting him first. I got tired of the small town. I got tired of my lame office job. I got laid off..I took it as a sign: I moved to the big city. The recession hit and everything ate me alive. I became a cocktail bartender, and naturally I was really good at garnishing.
2015 ended with 3 friends passing, 2016 began with another 3 passing. I couldn’t move. 4 Suicides. 1 from cancer. 1 car accident. I couldn’t move. I had just quit the bar world and joined the tech world strictly for their health insurance (if you can’t beat em, join em). I needed to get help.
So then I got on a good road, and I was creatively antsy. I just couldn’t sit on the couch anymore. Eventually things stabilized, and as I watched Farmgirl Flowers blossom, and Ampersand grow out of their cute barn doors, I thought, “Hey, I want to do this. I love doing this.” I wanted something that was mine. I wanted to be selfish for once. This is me. A friend asked me if I was interested in doing her wedding, and that was all I needed. I said yes, I slayed that wedding. Done.
Q. How would you describe your floral style?
I love a big, overflowing, waterfall of an arrangement. Spilling and dripping blooms. I love texture and ferns, organic. I would say my look is a little more rustic and messy, in an elegant way. I like to chose the most ornate vessel, a bit old, a bit worn, but perfectly distressed.. with beautiful classic details that are romantic or reminiscent of the Victorian era. I want wild, high-end blooms spilling out of them. Uncontrolled beauty.
Q. Why plants?
I have a strong connection to plants because they remind me of my Grandmother. Just the silence, the solitude, the knowing they are so still but alive, I don’t know. Plants are just amazing and nature’s perfection.
Q. What is your favorite flower or plant combination?
Fern, ruffled garden roses, pods, peonies, fruit, the list could go on…
Q. If you could describe yourself as a color what color would you be?
Dusty rose. Anything else would be a lie. Soft but not cheery, could be a pastel but not quite, traditional but could keep up with the kids, and goes great with anything dark. Mixes well with most. Nice on its own.
Q. If you were a plant or flower, what would you be?
I think it is safe to say I’d be a rose? I can prick and stab and no one can hold me for long, but hold me right, and I am really velvety soft. Wasn’t this a Bret Michael’s song?
Q. What inspires you?
My Grandmother, carrying on her legacy as an entrepreneur, and my blatant stubbornness to be honest!
Q. Who is your beauty icon?
Once again my Grandmother takes the cake on this one as my first beauty icon, and teacher. She always told me beauty is pain, or pain is beauty.. but I knew what she really meant. You work hard if you want it to look good. Other than that, I am not huge on following specific beauty trends.. I am like her in that way. I have a collection of things I love and hardly stray from.
Q. Fashion icon?
Growing up I LOVED Betsy Johnson. Other than that I dressed like a boy. You could not get me into anything remotely girly until I was maybe 14. Then, it was wild everything. Leopard print everything. Then back to boy clothes. When I was in my early 20s I let loose again when I moved to the city, and vintage exploded all over my wardrobe. I was always in furs, bright colors, monotone black, pastels, animal themes, pink hair, blue hair, painted shapes on my face. My fashion icon I suppose was a Fafinette? Nothing real, really. San Francisco meant not being real at the time. Since those years I have settled, but the furs remain, just a little more ‘London’ we’ll say. I love anything Chanel inspired. Plus vintage. Lots of vintage.
BEAUTY AND THE CITY…
Q. What one beauty product can you not leave home without?
-Red Lipstick. I am not a beauty guru but I know how to get shit done.
-A good chapstick? Does that count?
-And a good hand creme. I am big on keeping my skin hydrated, I wash my hands a lot.
I use Aveda’s Lip Balm, and Josie Maran’s Argan Infinity Intensive Creamy Oil for my hands (might be for your face, not going to lie) NARS Lipstick in Olivia.
Q. What’s in your purse right now?
JM Argan Infinity, Aveda Lip Balm, NARS Lipstick in Olivia, headphones, flower clippers, a knife, my BAGGU wallet (my real purse), some leftover coins from London, my planner, my other planner, notepads, business cards, twine, bits of dead flowers, leaves, naproxen and sunglasses that definitely should be in a case but are not.
Q. What beauty treatment are you the most baffled by?
Spray tans. I get it, but I don’t.
Q. Where do you frequent in the city that people should absolutely know about if they haven’t heard
I love opening people’s eyes to thrift shops. I have converted so many friends, after they pay so much for things at expensive stores recreating the look of old styles. Part of my work is providing vessels for those who don’t want to dig for the treasure at the flea markets or in the mounds, but I could do it for hours. Sometimes it’s fun to see what is at your local thrift!
Q. What’s your all time favorite cocktail … if you had to choose.
This is always a fun one! Everyone thinks mine will be so exciting because I have worked in the bar and cocktail world for so long, but really, I just love whiskey. To be specific, my favorite is Hibiki 12 yr on a big fat ice cube, in a dark quiet bar, somewhere out of a crowd.
Q. Favorite restaurant in the city?
Marlowe for burgers, 1760 for a newer spot (try EVERYTHING on the menu), Liho Liho for steam buns and dessert, and my go to is the Yemen spot on the corner of Larkin & Sutter for neighborhood hole in the wall awesome.
Q. What do you do in your free time?
I love walking with my dog and taking him places. We go to the beach, I write, draw, think. I am very much in my head so quiet/down time is a must for me when I am free.
SHE MEANS BUSINESS…
Q. What are some challenges of starting your own business?
The money part–I just am having a hard time! I am a giver. I want to shower the world with flowers.
Q. What one piece of advice would you give other women who want to start their own business?
Remember the worth of your craft. Your time is important. Your design is important. Do not downplay yourself. You will fail a lot, but use this to fuel the next transaction. Ride it.
Q. What are your plans for the next couple of years?
To hold on to my britches, and open a storefront by 2017.
Q. What is your pricing?
All pricing is competitive with other local florists, and available to check out on the website! Feel free to inquire, I can work with most budgets.
Q. Do you do custom pieces?
Yes! Everything is custom work with E.V.B Flora, nothing is ever pre-made. A full hour sit-down consultation is required before any event or wedding booking, and photos are encouraged so there is a full vision on what is to be expected on both ends.