Art manifests itself in many forms, and for artist, florist and business owner Amanda Madlambayan, her artwork goes beyond the canvas and into her thoughtfully crafted flower arrangements and event designs. A couple of years ago, the Las Vegas native took her fine arts training and years of experience working at various floral shops to start her own homegrown business, Opal Floral, and hasn't looked back since.
When she decided to branch out on her own to start Opal Floral, Amanda knew she wanted to approach her new venture as more than just a floral designer. By taking on more of a creative planner role, Amanda plays an integral part in taking the bride's vision and helping to bring it to life from beginning to end.
We recently caught up with Amanda in her lovely Las Vegas home to talk flowers, design, inspiration and the current landscape in the Las Vegas small-business & creative community.
Read on to get to know more about the ever-evolving and creative woman behind Opal Floral.
What initially attracted you to the world of floral design?
A: I’ve always been interested in art and design. I was always drawing, got my first sewing machine at age 9, took photography in high school. While pursing a degree in fine arts at UNLV, I quit my office job and started hunting for something a little more creative. It happened to be around Valentine’s Day, so I found a flower shop that needed help and was willing to give me a shot at designing. I quickly learned that the same elements and principles of design I was studying could be applied to floral design.
Why did you decide branch off and start Opal Floral?
A: After having a baby in 2012, I knew I needed a creative outlet and tried to go back to work at a flower shop, but I wanted to be a mom first and needed a very flexible schedule. At this point, I had worked at five different flower shops around town and felt like I knew the industry well enough to at least try it out on my own. I had managed many aspects of the floral business, but the most rewarding parts for me were working with brides and helping conceptualize design for events. I knew I wanted weddings and events to be the focus of my own business.
As a Las Vegas native, what is it about this city that has influenced all the creative avenues you’ve taken in your life?
A: Las Vegas promotes risk taking. It’s a city built around gambling and making brash decisions. I think that there is also that element of risk in the art world. You have to be willing to put yourself out there to the possibility of maybe making a mistake, but in this city, you’re taught that you can simply implode your errors and rebuild something better.
I think that’s comforting when you’re navigating your way through the world, creating art and seeking unconventional options.
I am guilty of growing up resenting this town for its lack of “culture” and had a hard time finding my place in such a transient city. But because of this, we as artists and small business owners have a unique opportunity to build without insurmountable levels of competition. We can become big fish in this newly developing pond.
How do you stay inspired despite your busy schedule as a mom, wife and business owner?
A: Traveling and being immersed in a new environment always gives my mind a positive boost.
What does the future hold for you and Opal Floral?
A: I’d love to work in more collaborative situations, and broaden what it means to be creative in my own scope of work. I am currently helping some friends design a coffee shop and the process has been super challenging but is getting my brain working in ways I am excited about. It’s a bit out of my comfort zone, but I love that! The future of my business is definitely not set in stone.
If you could give an aspiring florist or event designer one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: Be kind to people, as it’s often the people you meet along the way who will point you in the direction of new and interesting opportunities.
Working with so many different types of gorgeous flowers, do you have a personal favorite?
A: It’s constantly changing, but I always go back to scabiosa. It has an unattractive name but is as delicate as lace. If you let it go to seed, it turns into this really unique little pod that lasts forever.
Visit Opal Floral to see more of Amanda Madlambayan's beautiful floral and wedding designs!