As a budding fashion designer in San Francisco, Bess Wyrick had her own clothing line and made wedding gowns. A few of her bridal clients took note of her creative prowess and started asking for additional services beyond gowns, like hand-sewn linens and, later, flower arrangements. “I said of course I could do it—I’m crafty enough,” Wyrick says. “After I did two weddings, I wanted to stop doing dresses and just do flowers.”
Although she didn’t have much experience, she trained at event firms Stanlee R. Gatti Designs and Kathleen Deery Design. “I applied as a freelancer and they assumed I was professionally trained,” she says. “I worked with some of the best event designers and learned by watching.”
In 2008, Wyrick moved to New York to study textile design at Parsons the New School for Design, and continued doing flowers on the side. As her client base grew, she decided to go full-time and, in June 2009, opened Celadon and Celery, an event and floral design firm named for one of her favorite colors and the edible elements in her work. “I’m a nature, color, and texture junkie,” she says. “I like modern lines but have a huge appreciation for Old World treasures such as antiques, jewelry, and my grandmother’s Christian Dior suits.”
Since launching, she has provided weekly arrangements for cocktail lounge Apotheke, as well as decor for corporate events including a press preview for L’Oreal. While she works primarily in New York, Wyrick is open to taking on events back in California. Celadon and Celery also offers a roster of floral design classes led by Wyrick’s partner, Ivie Joy Augustin. Topics range from seasonal blooms to “floral eco-couture,” in which students create centerpieces with flowers and organic materials such as moss, branches, and bark.
Sustainability is important to Wyrick. She composts, grows many of her own plants in her Chelsea studio, sources flowers from local growers or certified organic suppliers, and scavenges for materials to repurpose. For an eco-themed event at Rouge Tomate in September 2009, Wyrick made a vertical succulent garden out of old playground matting found at a construction site in Union Square. “It was the main attraction for the whole event. We loved her and the team so much that we hired them to do our weekly flowers,” says Chris Crocco, Rouge Tomate’s director of event services. “She is very dedicated to the green movement. Her staff even comes with their own biodegradable trash bags when they come to do flowers.”