Meet Gretchen Horton of Sunkissed Blooms
Our Roses and Rose event with Allison Murray of West of Felicity was such a gorgeous gathering, that we can't help but continue to think back on it and the beautiful people that helped make it happen! Today, we want to introduce you to Gretchen Horton of Sunkissed Blooms! Sunkissed Blooms is a full service floral design and event styling studio that Gretchen started as a creative outlet for her dreams that began in her undergrad. Today, she is both a full-time therapist and owner of this sweet floral company! Talk about girl boss status. Take a look below at her beautiful work and get to know her and her company a little better! We know you'll be inspired.
1.What sparked your interest in floral design? Have you always been a creative?
In undergrad I had to take an arts/humanities course for a general education requirement and I felt that painting, pottery, etc. would prove too difficult. The University of Kentucky has fantastic fine art courses, so I knew that even those beginner level general education courses would be rigorous. Floral Design seemed like the only “doable” option so I signed up thinking it would be an easy ‘A.’ Consequently—I was wrong. Floral Design was challenging, but was also insanely fun. After that fall semester, I signed up for Advanced floral design in the Spring. One whole year later, I knew this was something I could do as a hobby for the rest of my life. However, graduate school put that on hold. After finishing my Masters degree and becoming a therapist full-time, I launched Sunkissed Blooms as a “side-hustle” business. Little did I know it would turn into what it has become today. I have always been a creative with things like singing, dancing and writing. However, I’d never been good at drawing, painting or pottery. So I felt that floral design bridged the gap I’d been missing in a more hands-on creative outlet.
2. What's your favorite thing about your city, and how has it inspired you creatively?
I love Lexington, Kentucky! Woohoo! My favorite thing about Lexington is that it has a great mixture of two worlds— The open field/farm scene and the city/shopping scene. If you want to drive down an old country road to watch a gorgeous sunset, you can do that! Or if you want to hit the town with your girls to grab a drink, you can do that as well. However, artistically, I’m more inspired by nature. Thus, I gravitate towards the open fields, flower farms, and hidden trails. I like to incorporate foraged foliage, blooms and greenery into my work, so it’s a must to “shop” from nature. What I find most inspiring about nature is the pace. There is no rush. The trees sway side to side, butterflies float from flower to flower and water runs calmly down the creek. This peaceful and effortless scenery allows me to create with ease, rather than haste. My aesthetic is an organic garden-style, so I like to mimic what things would appear like in nature. I find that I delight most in my creations when they are whimsical, free flowing, and not polished. To me, this best mirrors the magic in nature!
3. What are some lessons you've learned since setting out on your journey as a florist?
Lesson 1: Don’t forget the business/administrative portions of the job! I absolutely hate math and menial tasks. However, they are necessary parts of small business ownership as a florist. If I am not promptly documenting everything, some pieces get lost in the mix and that has bit me a time or two. Especially when I’ve ordered too much for a wedding and had to pay some out of pocket.
Lesson 2: Delight in the work in front of you instead of constantly dreaming up the next “big” thing. In trying to cast vision for my business and think about bigger picture strategy, I’ve often lost focused of the joy in designing florals for smaller weddings. This has made some moments feel like I’m designing out of obligation rather than delight. I never want my heart to gravitate toward that regard when it comes to flowers. So, I must ground myself and remember my “why” in order to truly be able to soak up each design opportunity and give my whole heart.
4. What are 3 pieces in your closet that you couldn't live without?
Birkenstock sandals, my comfy bathrobe and over-sized night gown!! I’m a sucker for comfort
5. How did you come up with the idea for Sunkissed Blooms?
After deciding that playing with flowers could be more than a hobby, I explored what it would look like to own a business. I sought counsel from friends who owned small business to understand what all it takes (financing, taxes, accounting, management) and what my best approach would be in terms of marketing. After I felt like I had a solid foundation, and a supportive team, I launched Sunkissed Blooms as a floral design studio servicing events and weddings. Now Sunkissed Blooms hosts workshops and provides coordination services in addition to floral design. However, much more is on the horizon as Sunkissed Blooms continues to grow!
6. Do you have a morning routine? What is it?
I love to read! Devotionals, The Bible (Passion Translation) and anything really inspiring. I love to start my day feeling inspired. I will also read daily affirmations and intentions to center myself! I love stretching and doing light yoga. After that I will talk my dog Ollie for a walk. Next, I’ll make breakfast, get ready for therapy appointments, and grab coffee at Starbucks. Then off to work
7. Best trip/vacation you've ever been on?
Maui, Hawaii has been my favorite vacation thus far. I’ve been on many cruises and vacations, but there was just something magical about Hawaii. From the naturally growing plants and trees, to the music, to the food, to the teal ocean, or the white sand—it’s just pure glory all around.
8. A favorite quote of yours?
“His grace gave us a seat at the table. And it’s our seat forevermore. His grace was so wild He put on flesh to make us His. Undone by His delight that still offends the minds of men today. Sitting in my seat at His family table today, looking around at you beside me and Him across from me and her on the other side... it’s all a bundle of ‘too good to be true.’ But it is true and His grace is totally good. And no rule or regulation, no law or code, no pointed finger or desperate attempt to disqualify can render His love and grace powerless. So here we are. Seated with Him and awash in His grace that speaks an eternal word: ‘You belong here.’ *choosing to settle in*…Thank you, Jesus.”
9. Has there ever been a season, moment, or form of disappointment or waiting, that you viewed as a failure or setback at the time, but that you see now as a helpful and necessary stepping stone to positivity in your life today? What was it?
Oh absolutely! There have been many. However, the most shaping and transformative setback was being hit by a car and almost dying! 4 years ago, during my senior year of undergrad, I was jogging on campus across the crosswalk (with the right of way) when an oncoming vehicle hit me. I flew from the crosswalk to the sidewalk due to the impact and landed on my head (Of all things to land on, I know). This landed me in the ICU for a while with broken skull bones, traumatic brain injury, hemorrhaging, etc. After I was stabilized and moved to progressive neurology, my care team discovered that I had lost my sense of smell and 70 percent of the hearing in my right ear permanently. I was also diagnosed with a mild neuro-cognitive disorder—which is a nice way of saying I have memory issues, attention issues and spatial awareness issues. My care team told my parents to withdraw me from school. I was devastated and didn’t want to give up—how could I come this far and not graduate?
Jesus truly performed a miracle in my body, and I healed well enough to try school despite being 2 months behind. My professors made sure I knew that I’d be responsible to make up the missing coursework while simultaneously learning the current material. This was a tough pill to swallow when learning and processing information was already harder due to the cognitive issues. But—I pulled up my boots and buckled in ready to fight. Reading was hard, and it took longer than it used to…like 4 hours longer to read a chapter. Writing papers and getting the thoughts in my head onto the paper was nearly impossible. I kept pushing and trying and crying.
I would sit in self-pity and reminisce on times when I remember being able to read and write quickly. I felt so much more competent in the “good ol’ days.” However, I did graduate and went on to pursue my master’s degree. My neurology team was shocked and said they’d never seen recover and prognosis like this before after the severity of the injuries I sustained.
Here I am 4 years later and I can truly say that I wouldn’t be able to relate to the suffering of the patients I see as a therapist, had I not personally experienced the mental suffering I did after my accident. Empathy is one of the most wonderful gifts we can give someone, and I truly believe I am better able to empathize, comfort and listen to patients because of my experience with trauma, anxiety, and stress all surrounding my accident.
Additionally, I am also way more positive and joyful due to having the sobering realization every day that I could technically not be alive. I learned a very real understanding of the phrase “we aren’t promised tomorrow.” No one wakes up thinking they are going to die...but it’s a possibility. Knowing that convicts me to live with intention and to truly practice gratitude moment by moment.
10. Who would you want to play you in the movie of your life?
Sandra Bullock all the way!!
11. Biggest pet peeve?
12. One word to describe the current season of life you're in?
Discipline –it’s so hard! I’m working hard and denying earthly comforts/satisfactions in order to reach my goals.
Wow- you're amazing Gretchen! Thank you SO much for sharing your story with us and for partnering in this gorgeous event!