By Alesandra Dubin Posted April 29, 2009, 12:00 PM EDT
Clover Chadwick is the owner and principle designer at Dandelion Ranch, a floral design firm that opened a new studio and storefront in October. With a name like Clover, you might say working with foliage comes naturally: After stints as a restaurant manager at spots such as Nick & Stef’s and the French Laundry in Napa, she eventually moved on to do flowers for eateries including Campanile, Grace, Mozza, and Lucques. That was the start of what is now Dandelion Ranch, which has a full-time team of six employees.
Chadwick calls her style “natural, organic, balanced, with lots of movement.” Her philosophy emphasizes seasonal and sustainable designs. “We start with local growers and we never use anything dyed,” she says. She also uses an alternative to floral foam that is fully biodegradable and environmentally sound. “We’re trying to figure out different methods for defying gravity that are eco-friendly and safe. Eventually, we want to get away from that altogether and just do natural flowers—not flowers in the shape of animals. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel like those extreme florists, and there’s no floral snobbery going on. If the carnation is the prettiest thing at the market these days, then so be it.”
The company has worked on events such as the James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne, an event for the Mandarin Oriental hotel group, and Emmy style lounges. For a L’Oréal lounge related to the SAG awards this year, Dandelion Ranch created balls of chrysanthemums hanging from light fixtures on silver ribbons.
Kari Feinstein, who has hired Chadwick to do the flowers for her Emmy lounges, says, “Her flowers were really beautiful and organic feeling, with a sort of whimsical feel. She was really creative. It wasn’t your typical formal look [but rather had] a very natural, homey, almost hippie feel. [The look] isn’t Hollywood—more Topanga Canyon, but still upscale.”
Dandelion Ranch plans to make its Jefferson Boulevard space available for event rental by the end of the year, as well as offer workshops and classes that would be appropriate for teambuilding activities. As to Chadwick’s other plans going forward? “We want to do more large events—big, fun events with themes that allow us to really just stretch our arms and have fun. And we want to just grow, grow, grow—get a bigger garden and possibly another satellite retail location on the Westside.”