Imagine gathering an intoxicating array of spectacular, dew encrusted blossoms from your garden all the while jazzing on their breathtaking perfection, mood altering aromas and bursting hues. Then visualize immortalizing these jewels of nature with carefully handcrafted pieces of silk, velvet and satin, with sprinkles of twinkling Swarovski crystals.
Sound like an impossible fantasy?
Not if you're the Uber talented designer, Michelle Roy. With the help of her self-described "flower fairies", Michelle is constantly capturing the miraculous beauty of real blooms while carefully weaving them into her famous flower accessories.
Calling in a favor from my own accessory fairies, I managed to connect with Michelle after a rousing round of email and phone tag.
I was delighted to discover that the wonderfully warm and funny Michelle, spoke in the turbo talk dialect, which is my own favored phone speak. The successful accessory designer has a fierce passion for life and is just plain fun.
Although it seemed like we chatted for only for a few minutes, when the conversation ended, I had 20 pages of notes brimming with fascinating tidbits detailing her passion for accessories, flowers and fashion designing.
I was also determined to capture some of Michelle's beautiful designs for my HairBoutique.com Marketplace and my favorite accessory customers.
Flowers Make Memories
For many people, flowers evoke a cornucopia of feelings woven from a lifetime of memorable events, encompassing all manner of life's joys and sorrows. Michelle Roy, who grew up surrounded by a garden of beautiful flowers, understands this special connection to the floral kingdom better than anyone.
The effervescently friendly Michelle, who has been "doodling flower designs" since she was old enough to derive inspiration from her "seamstress mom's beloved rose garden", never really planned to be "creating flowers" as a living. Although she loved attaching floral designs to many of her fashions while growing up, the Minnesota born accessory wunderkind, started "doing flower designs as a business venture purely by accident".
Growing up in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Michelle was drawn to fashion and design. After working extremely hard to put herself through college, Michelle realized that to have a career in her desired career world, she would have to move to the fashion capitols of either New York or California.
Los Angeles beckoned and Michelle followed her dreams to the West Coast. Arriving in bustling Tinsel town with virtually no close friends or family ties, she set about working hard to create her new career.
Accepting an assignment with the world famous California based fashion trend forecasting company, Trends West, Michelle immediately adored her job, her "turbo talking" boss Barbara, and all the challenges associated with detecting new fashion trends. When Barbara had a baby girl, Michelle became the doting godmother.
Wanting to create a unique and special heartfelt gift for her beloved godchild, Michelle embossed a cap with a gorgeous silk flower. To her "absolute dismay", the flower embossed cap that she "designed as a loving present for her godchild" caused such a ridiculous stir from complete strangers who spied the cap on the street", that Michelle "spontaneously launched her first flower design business."
One thing led to another, until Michelle found herself "working long hard hours gluing tons of flowers to very cute caps" for sale to others.
While Michelle was working full time to pump out tons of her flowered caps, she watched her business grow as rapidly as a speeding bullet. Maybe a little too rapidly for the design wizard, who stopped and did some serious soul searching regarding her flower strewn path.
A series of personal life changing events combined with mini-business burnout convinced Michelle to hang up her floral encrusted hats for a series of different life experiences.
Even though Michelle closed up shop, she continued to work for Barbara at Trends West. She also didn't throw away her bits of silk, satin and fabric. In her off-hours she continued to indulge her creative energies by stitching flowers onto all her favorite items of clothing including old vintage denim jeans.
Tiny Floating Flower Designs
During this same downtime period she was busy inventing handcrafted tiny "floating" flower accessories for her hair. Her sparkly floral hair beauties, when bobbing and twinkling in her own tresses, caught the eye of complete strangers on the street. Just like with the previous decorated baseball caps, people would attempt to buy the sparkly little baubles right out of Michelle's hair.
She laughed and explained to me that "out of necessity she would make new sets of the tiny gems at home every night" and then "carry lots of prepackaged spares around in her purse to sell to the many strangers that approached her to buy the beauties".
Just like in the case of the flower strewn baseball caps, her tiny flowered hair accessories skyrocketed in popularity and were quickly picked up by ultra chic accessory boutiques like Fred Segal and Saks 5th Avenue.
Paris Hilton & Trista Rehn
Confirming that the current craze for her silk hair flowers was fueled by public appearances of Paris Hilton wearing her flowers on a daily basis, Michelle confided "Paris discovered and then bought the flowers at a store in New York".
Indeed, even without the gracious nudge from Paris who popularized the floral gems, the designs have taken on a life all their own.
I mentioned to Michelle that I had spotted her flowers, which are sold at Hollywood's famous boutiques such as Fred Segal, Intuition, Kitsons, Lisa Klein & Prive Salon (home of the famous celebrity hairdresser, Laurent D), in a previous issue of Star Magazine.
She confirmed that all the media has been writing about the flowers including The New York Post and several other media outlets and publications. The Michelle Roy creations were recently featured on The Today Show and had been on The View.
Even more interesting is the fact that the gorgeous gems were included in Trista Rehn's reality wedding gift bags. In pink, natch. Through a prominent LA connection Michelle was selected to have her creations be part of The Reality Wedding Of The Century.
I quizzed Michelle about where she drew inspiration for her breathtakingly beautiful floral designs. "From the actual flowers themselves" she explained "and lots of doodling and drawing".
Obsessed with creating silk flowers that look amazingly like the real thing, Michelle told me she purchases flowers and installs them in her home where they act as real life models for her ultimate creations.
Whenever Michelle is inspired to add another flower type to her ever-expanding collection, she will make a trip to her favorite florist and scoop up a new family of flowers to sketch and ultimately sculpt into little works of art. Michelle's obsession with translating nature's works of arts into silken wonders is wildly successful as evidenced by the fact that she can't produce her designs fast enough.
So what would a designer obviously obsessed with flowers say was her favorite variety? Because her mom loved her rose garden so much, she confessed that roses always hold a special place in her design heart. Image above - Michelle Roy - Large Silk Rose Clips - Red W/ Swarovski Crystal Accents - all rights reserved).
Michelle noted that "pansies are my current favorite" with a special fondness for Fuchsia, bright yellow and orange hues.
While she is a self professed turquoise gem and color fan, she doesn't create turquoise flowers per se. She may sprinkle one of her blossoms with turquoise beads but that is the limit that she currently extends to her own personal preferences.
Besides her love for "anything floral", she is definitely a vintage fan loving many fashions from eras past.
While describing her own personal favorites she was quick to point out her "favorites change with the wind". The colors she is enchanted with "also change with the seasons, as do the fabrics she uses".
One thing never changes. Each flower is completely hand crafted in the USA with the finest silks, satins, velvets or other materials and are sprinkled with authentic Swarovski gems. She is extremely proud that her finished products are 100% USA made.
For Michelle, who laughed as she described her boutique-bound SUV "bulging with her latest designs", the challenge is making the flowers fast enough to supply all the demands. Even with daily SUV fueled pilgrimages to LA shops, the demand for her designs are continuing to spiral completely out of control.
So where are all the mountains of flowers made? Michelle laughed and said "right in my home". The so-called "flower fairies" hand cut, sew, glue and sprinkle in Michelle's abode. Since the business is growing by leaps and bounds, Michelle is currently looking for studio space in the Los Angeles area to move all the fairy production and reclaim her personal space. (Image above - Michelle Roy - Medium Silk Orchid Clip - White w/Swarovski Crystal Accents - all rights reserved).
Pondering the ways of supply and demand, Michelle has seriously investigated ways of making her flowers faster. Even though she literally has a house full of the nimble seamstresses, she won't consider any production options that would impact the incredible individuality of each flower.
Because each and every single flower is painstakingly hand made from scratch, they are very unique creations. As she pointed out, no two Michelle Roy flowers are ever alike.
Addictive Hair Gems
At the current time Michelle has "over 144 different flower designs" that are available for purchase. "Depending on the fashion trends, the seasons and what captures her imagination", Michelle might use " a wide array of hues, materials and crystals to produce a brand new season of designs". (Image above - Michelle Roy - Mini Daisy Clip - Pink w/Swarovski Crystal Accents - all rights reserved).
Which is another reason they are so wildly popular with her many buyers.
The intense admiration that her flowers trigger possibly explains the absolute addiction that many of her customers express about her creations. (Image above - Michelle Roy - Mini Daisy Clip - Deep Pink w/Swarovski Crystal Accents - all rights reserved).
Michelle confided that "some of her customers own every single one of her current designs". She reported that many have told her they are passionately driven to collect each and every design that she introduces.
Stopping To Smell The Roses
Although Michelle works extremely hard, especially when she is preparing to show her designs at major fashion Markets, like she did recently, she still likes to stop and smell life's roses. (Image above Michelle Roy - Mini Daisy Clip - Yellow w/Swarovski Crystal Accents - all rights reserved).
She told me that it is always important for her to make time for herself and relax with friends and loved ones. Taking some time away from her high pressure manufacturing schedule also allows her to clear her mind and let her creative side run free. Which ultimately fuels more Michelle Roy designs and creations.
Although Michelle is famous for constantly reinventing her flower designs to the constant awe and admiration from her buyers and customers, this also generates a lot of pressure on the brilliant designer to constantly come up with new things. Michelle confided that she is constantly asked "so what is next for Michelle Roy?" (Image above - Michelle Roy - Mini Daisy Clip - Orange w/Swarovski Crystal Accents all rights reserved).
Michelle herself pointed out that "I don't have a clue what is next. I go totally with the flow and design based on the latest flowers she has purchased".
OK. So now that she mentioned it, what is next for Michelle? She confided that she often considers moving into jewelry design and away from her flowers. Practicality ultimately reigns because Michelle understands that she is famous for her flowers. Her gorgeous blossoms are her bread and butter and she'll probably never really totally leave them behind. Image above - Michelle Roy - Mini Daisy Clip - Purple w/Swarovski Crystal Accents - all rights reserved).
And that's very lucky for all of us.
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