There are not many things we love more than personalized jewelry, but entrepreneurs and sweet flowers surely make the list.
Because strong leading ladies and pretty petals make us smile, we asked Melanie Fernandez (mom, wife and owner of house of lilac, a Miami-based company dedicated to effortless florals and curated gifts) to answer 10 hard-hitting questions.
Read on to learn how she got started, how best to take care of your own precious blooms and more!
Tell us about your switch from working as an attorney and how you came up with the name, house of lilac.
Oh wow! I practiced for three years as a real estate attorney at a big firm in Downtown Miami. I was good at it. I've always been good at school-related things. But I was miserable. I'd be lying if I said it was a difficult switch. It wasn't. I've always been someone who can't stay in situations when I'm unhappy, relationships and colleges included. I speak my mind when I'm uncomfortable and hate feeling inadequate. I felt totally wrong where I was. I also credit a pretty good intuition I've always been great at listening to. I just knew it wasn't for me anymore.
Funny enough, I had already started houseoflilac.com when I left, but it was nowhere near where it is now. At the time, it was purely a blog where I vented about god knows what (embarrassing!) as a personal creative outlet. However, it was the beginning of a pretty transformational journey for me, both personally and professionally. The company very much organically developed into where it is today. How? Well, via trial and error, screw ups (haha!) and me finding my purpose, little by little.
And the name? It honestly just came to me! And believe it or not, I didn't intend to have a flower company at first. I know that sounds CRAZY because the name is so wildly appropriate. I just knew I wanted something with "house of" because I felt it offered a certain level of sophistication, and then "lilac" just sounded right. And so, house of lilac was born. Today, while based in Miami, where we hand deliver flowers and gifts, we ship dried flower bundles nationwide.
Absolute favorite flower and why?
I've thought of this before and it's such a hard question! I absolutely love all flowers and it's difficult to pick one, but I can share that I love working with these more than anything: lilac (duh!), dogwood, cafe au lait roses, butterfly ranunculus, foxglove, spirea, and daffodils. All of my favorites are spring flowers! I also love incorporating herbs (mint!) and greenery into my arrangements.
Favorite care-for-flower tips most don't know?
Here are my top five tips! 1. Cut your stems every two days, this will allow your flowers to drink water more efficiently. 2. Refill your vase with fresh water every few days. 3. Use flower food (lots of good options on amazon!). 4. Pick out dead flowers, this will help the other ones last longer. 5. Don't leave leaves inside the water, as this is where bacteria sits.
Ice cubes in flowers. Does this work?
No! Ice water will actually shorten their life! Room temperature water is always best.
Best flowers for an office space? (More florescent than natural light. Sigh.)
Opt for more sturdy flowers like roses and ranunculus (they last forever). And use lots of greenery as filler.
Best flowers for a home? (Natural sunlight. Yay!)
The sky's the limit here! Naturally sunlit rooms provide the best environments for flowers, but try to avoid the room getting too hot, which is totally common in Florida! Keep the AC pumping but don't EVER put your flowers near an AC vent. The direct air kills.
Taking a centerpiece home from an event. Tacky or genius?
Ha! Well, this one is terrible for florists because the vessels are typically rented to the client. So, taking the flowers is definitely genius because they go to waste otherwise. But leave the vases!
Tips for making a budget-friendly bouquet?
Buy from house of lilac, obviously (ha!). Our "petite bouquets" start at just $25! Overall, our bouquets feature mixes of flowers but also include a ton of greenery, which I personally love and it lasts the longest! At HOL, we often joke about this but in all honesty, if you need greenery, just go outside! Go out into your yard (or that of a kind neighbor!) or into the streets and pick your greens. And if you live in South Florida, collect that bougainvillea!
What flowers are in season for summer?
Lucky for all, spring flowers are still around! This is mainly because the cold weather lasted a little too long this year. Peonies are in season for a bit longer, as are dahlias, yarrow, foxglove, and viburnum.
Favorite taudrey piece and why?
The Jump Through Hoops hoop earrings because I LOVE classic jewelry staples and they're all I wear!