Why Sustainable Floral Design?

I founded Sustainable Floral Design out of a desire to help make our industry better.

Hi!  I’m Tobey, and I’m a flower junkie.  I have been a florist for close to 10 years, focused on eco-friendly for most of that time.  I am the child of hippie artist parents, who shopped at the Food Coop and the Tofu Store (we brought our own containers and bags, of course) back in the ‘70s.  I grew up eating carob and alfalfa sprouts, and eventually went on to get a Landscape Horticulture degree.  I was a passionate organic gardener for more than 20 years.  So it is only natural that when I came to flowers, I brought these values with me.

Floristry is a dirty business.  In the pursuit of helping our customers connect with the beauty of flowers and the natural world, we instead are trashing the planet.  At every touchpoint of the floral cycle there are issues.  We manufacture and discard tons of horticultural plastics every year.  We spray pesticides and herbicides that poison the air, water, soil, farmworkers and eventually us!  We create mountains of trash with the excessive packaging of flowers.  We leave a pretty heavy carbon footprint when we transport flowers across the globe.  We pollute the ocean with the microplastics from floral foam.

Our industry is not alone in its ability to pollute the planet, but since it is MY industry, I want to make a positive impact.  There IS another way to do this floristry thing.  I have hope!  If each of us makes small changes, it will add up to big impacts.  The goal of Sustainable Floral Design, and of my educating and advocacy, is to help spread the knowledge that will help us all make these meaningful changes.

Will you join me to clean up the floral industry?!

My Sustainable Floral Design Values

Every florist has a unique business, and a unique set of circumstances and conditions.  Each person and each business will therefore have a different set of values – and that is okay!  If all of us focus on doing what we can, and doing it well, we will help to improve our industry.

Beauty Matters
Humans benefit from connecting with the beauty of nature – you’ve heard about Flower power, right?!  Any day or occasion is enriched by the addition of flowers or plants.  By connecting others with beauty, we can speak volumes – and we can influence the message!

Business as a Force for Good
Just as you can vote with your dollars as a consumer, you can “do good” by being strategic about your business choices.   By being transparent about your business choices, you can educate others.

Origin Matters
How and where you source your flowers can impact lives, economies, and the health of ecosystems.  Buying locally minimizes the carbon footprint of shipping.  Buy from farms that grow sustainably – whether that is in or out of our nation, this can make a big difference in worker treatment as well as the economics & ecosystem health where the flowers are grown.

Sustainability Matters
Attempt to employ eco-friendly methods whenever possible.  Endeavor to be as low waste as possible.  When your clients hire you, let them know they are making a difference!

Run an Economically Viable Business
Make sure that you know your market, your costs, etc.  Charge your worth.  Pay yourself.  Pay your employees a living wage.

Downloadable Sustainable Floristry Tips
Would you like a handy guide to Sustainable Floristry Tips to help you in your business?  I wrote one with my pal Becky from Prairie Girl Flowers, and you can download it by clicking on this icon of the cover:

Sustainable Floristry Best Practices

Looking For a Wedding or Event Flower Designer?
Contact Tobey about creating beautiful sustainable floral designs for your wedding or event. Visit Tobey’s wedding and events website or Contact page.


Gratitude to the talented team at Fusionspark Media for this beautiful piece!

Big Huge Thanks to WhidbeyTV (a division of Whidbey Telecom) for including me in their Artistic Expressions series.  Watch and learn more about my business and flower philosophy:

Whidbey Island Florist Tobey Nelson was featured on Whidbey TV Artistic Energy Series