Earth Day in Bloom: Q&A with Brie Walter

Meet Brie’s Honeybees & Flowers

Happy Earth Day! Today, we celebrate Mother Nature’s harmonic relationship with bees and flowers in our exclusive interview with Brie Walter, the founder of Brie’s Honeybees & Flowers. Brie’s creations are chic, eco-friendly and are inspired by “nature and monochromatic themes." But even more so, her awe-inspiring designs from fresh to dried flower bouquets, arrangements and party favors, like her homemade beeswax candles are positive for our environment. Her dried flower arrangements are ideal for water- conscious states, like here in California while her beeswax candles actually help to clean our air, each time they are burned. Come with us inside Brie's design studio to learn her story as an artist and beekeeper, then browse her pieces captured by Justin Lucarelli & BE In Love Photography

You have any amazing story how you got involved in creating Brie’s Honeybees & Flowers.  Please share with us about your journey.

Well, I suppose it started out as a beekeeping venture. My husband heard on NPR about bees needing to be saved because of colony collapse, and how more people should consider getting a couple hives on their rooftops in an effort to help save the bees. I woke up one morning and he said, “We should get a hive for our roof to do our part.” It sounded sort of crazy at first, especially since I’m sort of allergic to bees, but I did some research and we started attending bee meetings here in LA, and then Christmas morning a few years ago a hive showed up in a birdhouse on our driveway. We got a bee mentor to help us disassemble the bird house, cutting all the comb out of the bird-house and transferring all the bees into a proper hive box for us to care for them. We successfully moved the bees into our backyard (not the roof), and it is still our same hive now. They have been a docile bunch and very healthy, and their honey has been great. I’m actually sort of emotionally attached to them at this point because I’ve gotten to know them so well.
The natural next step for me was flowers really. It started as an interest in learning what to grow that is best for their pollen collecting. Bees are drawn to certain colors and certain head shapes that allow them to best land for collection. Because I have always been creative and studied art in school, I couldn’t help but bring flowers into the house, so I decided to go to floral design school and build my business.

What are the positives of having dried flowers at your wedding or event?

Having dried flowers for your wedding or event has a lot of benefits. One way it’s good is that using dried flowers help in being water conscious (especially since California is low on water right now) since they can be designed and put on tables without having to be in water, so there is no extra waste in that regard. I’ve also had a lot of brides out of state interested in the dried flowers for multiple beneficial reasons: 1) Because they can order it all in advance and not worry about the set up the day of, and in addition, 2) for hot areas like Vegas or Arizona, or even hot summer weddings here in California, brides don’t have to worry about wilting. Dried flowers keep their shape regardless of the weather on your wedding day, and that eliminates a LOT of stress for brides and grooms. With dried flowers there aren’t really substitutes for the day of. I know the crop availability a year in advance and can plan appropriately.

What is the process of drying flowers?

I actually purchase my dried flowers from a farm that dries them for me. They are of the same high quality as the fresh flowers people would use for their weddings ordinarily.

In celebration of Earth Day this week, what are your favorite earthly, organic-tone palettes?

I really love creams and greens. I love them separately as a monochromatic theme, and I love them together where greens can give a little pop of color to the ivory tones. If I were to add another color in there it would be a blush tone. When it comes to earthy, organic palettes, I think greens, creams, and blush tones have such a natural aesthetic appeal and they are very romantic and elegant.

We are obsessed with your beeswax candles, the colors and their rustic look. How long does a hand-made candle take?

I make them in batches. The time it takes to make them depends on the size and type I’m working with. I cut the sheets of wax myself, warm up the wax to soften it so that it is pliable to roll, and I cut the wick to fit each candle, since the sizes vary per cut. With the poured wax candles I have to pour the wax in two stages, so that takes about 2 days to complete, and then you need to wait at least a day before you can burn it in order to get an even melt in the wax when burned, so 3 days total from start to finish for those.
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What are the benefits in using hand-made wax candles in your home or event?

100% beeswax candles actually help clean the air when you burn them, which is one good reason to burn them in your home or at your event. They not only don’t contribute pollution in the air like other candles, but they help clean it by removing negative ions from the air, which is great for people who suffer from allergies, asthma, and much more. Another great fact about the hand rolled beeswax candles is that they don’t drip! The way they burn it sort of caves inward rather than spilling outward like other taper candles, which is great if you don’t want them spilling wax all over tables…that’s not to say that if someone bumped the table that wax wouldn’t spill a little. But up on a mantle or in a fire place where they can’t get bumped, they are great options.

What types of beeswax candle wedding favors do you offer? Are different colors available?

I offer both hand rolled beeswax candles and poured beeswax and soy candles, both scented or unscented, in jars and tins. I can do them in large batches for wedding favors, bridal showers, baby showers, or to add to bridesmaid gift bags. The hand rolled candles can be purchased in a variety of colors. I only keep certain colors in stock on a regular basis, but if a bride has a specific color scheme she is wanting to request, I can usually find a color match that works for her upon request that can be custom ordered. I’ve found most people love the natural beeswax color best, so that is what I try to always stay stocked up on.

Lastly, what do you love most about what you do?

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I love how creative I get to be in working with nature. And I love working with brides and being a part of their wedding process. I think when the flowers show up and the candles are lit on the wedding day, it all sort of feels complete for the bride and groom and brings together their full vision, and it’s so lovely to be able to do that for couples. I remember on our own wedding day when my husband and I saw everything in its right place, we started to cry because our vision finally came together and it felt real in that moment. Nature has so much natural beauty, and a certain magical quality that sets the mood for everyone. With my job, I get to carry that energy into the room for people, and that is really special. I love working with fresh flowers and making arrangements in my yard when I work so I feel connected to their original life source. But I also love offering dried flowers to extend their lives and beauty even longer than nature could sustain it. And I’ve always loved candles. They offer a calm, a romance, a solace, and a lot of symbolism and tradition. I originally started making them because I didn’t want the wax from my bees to go to waste after I extract honey from my hive each year, but they really are so much more than that.



 

Contributing Editor: Amy Hadrys / Photo Credits: Justin Lucarelli & BE In Love Photography