Makers and shakers: Amaranthus Paper & Flora

The mother daughter duo behind Amaranthus Paper & Flora stole my heart on instagram when I was preparing for my trip to Nashville in the spring. I stumbled across these stunning paper flower creations via the #amaranthus hashtag (mine eventually grew feet taller than me!) and I immediately emailed to see about hanging out in Nashville and purchasing flowers for my derby hat.

I sat down with the daughter part of the duo, Meredith, in Nashville and she told me about their budding business. Her mom, Cherie, developed an affinity for live flowers over the years. As a member of her church’s flower guild in Atlanta and adventurer on floral tours in Europe, Cherie offered up help with doing flowers for a gala benefiting an oncology camp for kids. Since live flowers were not in the budget, she explored paper flowers and experimented with what would become Amaranthus’ most stunning blooms.

Globe amaranth, the company’s namesake, means immortal flower in Victorian terms. In my Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking book, it’s one of my top choices of flowers to purchase (or grow!) because it gives you the most bang for your buck since even after it’s dead you still have a stunning dried bloom to decorate with.

Amaranthus Paper Flora launched in the spring of 2014. They offer two new floral collections each year, launching in spring and fall. Their new lines include new combos, colors and often new botanicals; spring’s additions included eucalyptus and calla lily. Their just-announced fall collection introduces dahlias, David Austin roses, and hellebores, among others. The flowers are all created by hand one at a time, petals cut individually with scissors and secured with good old fashioned glue. It takes approximately a half hour to create one bloom.

Cherie & Meredith split the work, co-making blooms based on the type and each artisan’s skill sets/patience levels. Cherie works out of her home and Meredith’s childhood home in Atlanta. Meredith has since moved to Lexington, KY and works out of her home there, speaking of which she described the den looking like a floral bomb went off. Beyond affording Cherie & Meredith time to hang out together one or two times a month and making stuff in tandem, the business is really a labor of love for the entire family. Meredith’s dad makes the backdrops for Amaranthus’ design and trade booths, he paints bottles, and assists in the shipping component from the UPS store he owns in Atlanta. Meredith’s sister helps with cutting petals and painting. Meredith’s husband offers up muscle for all the schlepping and setting up constantly happening in the paper flower biz.

Here’s a little note from Meredith about a charitable initiative, “FLORA Good cause” they are launching in partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Atlanta:

Typically, we are delighted that our flowers can add a splash of color to a workspace, make a special conversation piece in the home, or serve as a meaningful gift for a loved one. But we also hear touching stories of the hope and happiness our lasting blooms bring to friends suffering from cancer and other illnesses — especially those immunosuppressed patients who cannot receive live flowers or plants due to infection risk.

So, we have developed a monthly charitable initiative in which we will donate a bouquet (for each one sold through our Etsy shop, website and direct sales) to those who are facing serious battles for their health and wellness. Due to privacy reasons, we knew we couldn’t easily find and reach out to this audience directly, so we will partner with organizations that already serve them. To begin this initiative, we are partnering with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Atlanta, and they will distribute the donation bouquets to their resident families.

Future plans for Amaranthus Paper Flora include growing into storefront and studio space. Shop their flowers or stalk them on the internet, whatever strikes your fancy. Use the widget below for a few chances to win one of the new bouquets from the fall collection, Jackie!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note, shipping restrictions: Amaranthus Paper & Flora can ship to a winner at any residential or business address in the U.S. No hospitals, as they sometimes turn away box packages.