because the world needs beauty


I am feeling rather nostalgic this week thinking back to exactly one year ago when I spent a week in Charleston learning from Ariella Chezar. The time I spent with Ariella felt magical and completely inspiring in every way. I’ve been meaning to blog about our time together for a year now, so what better time than the anniversary of this trip.

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My friend Erin of Floret Flowers encouraged me to attend Ariella’s workshop and assured me it would be life changing. I was at a point in my career where I needed a change. I felt uninspired and bored and as a result I felt unhappy and dissatisfied with the work I was producing. I knew I needed to do something, but I was so hesitant to sign up for a workshop with Ariella. I had admired Ariella for years, and have always been so inspired by her work. Her name is synonymous with the beauty she creates. Most of what I do is self taught, and I had never received any formal training for floral design. As a result, I was scared she would look at my work and tell me I was untalented. I literally had a dream that she denounced me as a designer, labeled me a fraud, and put it out on social media that I didn’t know what I was doing. It’s funny how our own insecurities can weigh so heavily on our hearts and scare us from taking big steps and trying new things.

I pushed through my insecurities, fearfully signed up for the workshop, bought a few new bow ties to help boost my confidence and headed to Charleston with my wife.

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Jamie took a photo of me as I headed out to class that first day. I felt like I was in kindergarten again, wondering if I would make any friends and if the teacher would be nice. I rarely get nervous for anything, but the closer I got to the workshop, the faster my heart started beating. I opened the door to discover what seemed like a sea of ladies looking at me, shocked to see a man walking through the door. But then I heard a warm, welcoming, lovely and soothing voice declare “Steve! Welcome!” It was Ariella. At that moment every fear dissipated and I felt safe.

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Ariella might be the most gentle and kind person I have ever met. She truly has a beautiful soul and is lovely in every way. She is gracious and humble and so down to earth. No matter what skill level each student entered with, she treated everyone the same, and encouraged the talent she saw within. She gave tips, shared trade secrets, directed us to new resources and opened our eyes to her world. She listened to our stories, asked us about our dreams and made us feel like we could accomplish anything. She believed in each of us, which helped us to in turn believe in ourselves. I came to realize that the reason why her work is truly so amazing and beautiful, is because it is simply an extension of who she is as a person, and her designs flow from within.

Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 6 Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 7Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 8 Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 9Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 10 Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 11Those few days I spent with Ariella were in fact life changing. It was the exact reboot I needed and I left feeling inspired and ready to conquer my dreams. As I went through wedding season, I often found myself referring back to the techniques I learned. Ariella’s influence ran deep and the impact she had on me elevated the weddings I designed to a whole new level. As a result we produced some of my favorite weddings I have ever been part of.

Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 12 Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 13 Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 14 Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 15 Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 16Beyond strengthening my skills as a designer, I think the greatest thing I left with after our time together, was a sense of value for what I do for a living. Sometimes I wonder if at the end of my life I will question what the point of everything was. It is easy to lose sight of why we do what we do when we are inundated with hundreds of e-mails daily and caught up in so many details. I have even questioned the value of spending so many resources on creating something for just one day, only to have our work torn down at the end of the night when the party is over. I’ve even had friends ask me how I feel about helping people squander their money on just a one day celebration. It can all feel meaningless and frivolous, especially with so much of the world in need. That mindset can be de-habilitating and discouraging and leave me wondering if I should do something more meaningful with my life.  Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 17 Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 18 Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 19 Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 20

Ariella spoke a truth into our lives on our final evening together, and I will never forget it. She gave us a memento written in Latin that read “hominibus opus decoris” Those words sat in front of us all evening during our dinner until Ariella translated them for us… “The world needs beauty”

Sinclair & Moore Ariella Chezar 21Those of us who are designers, creators, and artists have meaningful jobs. We live in what can be a dark, scary and lonely world. What we do is create beauty that softens the world. We create celebrations that are remembered for a lifetime. So when I start to question the point of it all… I remind myself that I do what I do… because the world needs beauty.

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In a few short weeks we will hold our own workshops  in our Seattle design studio.  My hope and prayer is that I can encourage, support and instill the same passion for design as Ariella did with me. I hope our attendees  walk away feeling like they can conquer any dream.  Mostly I hope they will leave with the understanding that their role in this life as a designer has great value… and that they will go with confidence and create the beauty that this world needs.

photos:  Corbin Gurkin 

  1. Cori Cook Floral Design says:

    Wow. I feel like this post is so relatable…I often feel the same way about if our work is valuable or if I should feel shame about how frivolous caring so deeply about details is…but you (and Ariella—my all time biggest flower hero) are so right. The world needs beauty. I would even go as far as saying it is a reflection of Jesus in us and the world desperately needs that. Thanks for the inspiring post, Steve! We (myself and the girls at my studio) are so inspired by you and your wife and hope to know you both more someday! Your post finally put me over the edge about signing up for one of Ariella’s workshops. I have wanted to for years but have always wrestled with the investment (after all being a florist is not about the money!)…this post reminded me of how worth it the investment is! Thank you for being inspiring!!!

    • Steven Moore says:

      Thank you Cori! You are always so encouraging and thoughtful. You should absolutely take a workshop with Ariella! So very worth every penny of the investment. I don’t think I have ever been so inspired or encouraged as I was with Ariella’s class!

  2. Angel Swanson says:

    Beautifully written! Excited for you as you host your own workshops; I know your sincerity and passion will bless many!

    • Steven Moore says:

      Thank you Angel! So excited to have the opportunity to teach and encourage people and give back in the same way I have been given to!

  3. Erin -Floret says:

    Absolutely beautiful Steve. I couldn’t agree more with what you shared about your experience at the class and about Ariella. She’s one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. We are so lucky to have had time with her.

    Your students, they have no idea what kind of magic they are in for attending your workshop! They too will leave transformed, inspired and refilled. I’m so excited for you all!

    • Steven Moore says:

      Erin, I am so glad you encouraged me to go to that workshop. I likely would never have done that without your push!
      Thank you for your encouragement about our workshop. I see the impact you make on your students as well, and I hope ours will feel the same way at the end. Super excited to be using product from your farm for both of these workshops too!

  4. Robin Wood says:

    So well said Steve. I was also at the workshop and will never forget it. Not only is Ariella a wonderful, talented, inspirational teacher, but sharing the time with other florists was pretty magical too. I learned nearly as much by listening to the other students, sharing ideas and watching as everyone’s creations took on a life of their own. Thanks for this beautiful trip down memory lane!

  5. Melene says:

    My Mom, June Sweeny was at this workshop as well and she loved meeting you and your wife. I’ve enjoyed your work through your blog and Instagram very much after my Mom told me about you. You are very blessed.

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