To be the very best you have to be a strong dreamer, achiever and industry inspiration and the wonderful Joseph Massie embodies everything that the floral industry is and should always hope to be. As one of the best designers the world has produced you can always count on being amazed by the execution, design and humility that Joe has to offer to the floral industry.
Joe is a triple threat owner of Joseph Massie, Joseph Massie Flowers & The UK School of Floristry where he serves you education, demonstrations, cutting edge designs and industry awareness throughout his three businesses at the young age of 26 years old. Joseph Massie is where Joe works as himself sharing his art of speaking, writing and photography and is the base of where the businesses bloom from. Joseph Massie Flowers is Joe’s floral studio where you find the very best special events, couture weddings and one of a kind corporate flowers. Joe told us “The core aesthetics of Joseph Massie Flowers most definitely find their roots within my artwork.” and from the amazing designs you can find on the Joseph Massie Flowers page we would agree. The UK School of Floristry has to be one of the most exciting announcements to be coming from camp Massie of late. As one of the UK’s leading private floral educators the industry is super excited for it’s relaunch coming October 1st, 2014. Watch for all the excitement across all the Joseph social media pages to stay in the loop.
When joe isn’t rocking our floral world you can find him taking time for friends and family, meditating to keep himself grounded and running to keep his body mind and body healthy. With all his crazy schedule and jetting around the world, Floral.today is more than happy that Joe was able to find time for us and all our viewers.
J. I started my career aged thirteen, when I applied for a weekend job on the local flower stall, in my hometown of Liverpool, UK. I was one of those self-initiated teenagers who really wanted quote/unquote independence and to earn my own money … so off I went around all the shops in my hometown, asking for a job. Every single place said no, everywhere said I was too young, and the last place I tried, the last stall on the way back home, was the local florist. For some reason, she agreed, and the week after I began scrubbing buckets for £2.50 an hour, for six hours, every Saturday. The rest is ancient history.
J. I’ve been very lucky to have a rewarding and in my own humble opinion, a relatively big career for someone my age, but I guess I’ve never been afraid of putting myself out there, of giving things a try. Without a doubt, in my earlier career especially, it was taking part in competitions, and winning competitions that really helped me take steps forward. I’ve never said this publicly before, but when I was fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, I remember reading about all these girls in the industry press, winning competitions, winning medals … but after a year or so, you’d never hear their names again. It used to boggle my mind. It was like someone would be hot property for a year, and then you’d never hear from them ever again. And the one thing I knew very early on was that I wanted longevity in my career, I wanted to really contribute and give as much as I was capable of, so I figured that to get noticed, to make a name for myself, I wouldn’t have to just win a floral design competition or two, I’d have a win, and win, and win again. And so that’s what I set about doing. Since I started competing aged 16, I’ve won seventeen national competitions outright, and finished with a top three placement internationally three times.
J. I think it’s about consistency ~ consistency is the key. Anyone can win something once, anyone can be ‘hot’ for a year ~ but to last, to still be relevant in five years, ten years, to still be booking work, to be booking commissions ~ I think that takes a different kind of determination. That’s what I’m striving for.
What are some of the struggles and rewards of being a young business owner and international demonstrator?
J. Thats a really interesting question! I was asked just the other day by someone who I hadn’t seen in a while, you know, I was at a show or something, and this person was asking me how I was doing, how things were going etc. And it was only at that moment that I realized just how good things are right now. I love my life. Frankly, I couldn’t love it anymore. I’m creating art, putting meaning into the world. I’m creating good design, providing a service. I’m teaching, and we’re giving back. Life is good.
J. Sure, there are challenges, and not every single day is a walk in the park ~ I’m a business owner and we live in a world of tax returns, and 24 hour negative news broadcasts, flat tires and all the other fun things ~ we face challenges like anyone else ~ but personally, I’m in a really good place.
J. I have the freedom and the opportunities to pursue the projects that feed my soul, and we have a profitable multifaceted business that both provides a useful service and contributes whilst doing so. I’m in a very good place.
Of all your achievements to date what are some of the most memorable?
J. The most memorable moments have been the ones that meant the most. For sure, taking the Bronze Medal at WorldSkills Calgary in 2009 ~ when I look at that medal on my wall it reminds me of all the hard work and dedication it took to get it ~ it’s a great reminder of the rewards of perseverance. My first Gold Medal and Best in Show at RHS Chelsea was such a monumental moment for me, and I’ll never forget the feeling of absolute shock and amazement. The idea of actually winning was so beyond my comprehension, it makes it so sweet. And, actually … I’d have to say my installation, ‘Coming Home’ at the Singapore Garden Festival this year. We were awarded a Bronze Medal by the judging panel, but we approached the installation truly, honestly without the medals in mind. I wanted to create an art installation with meaning and purpose, and judging from the response we got on social media, and the letters I’ve received, we certainly achieved that. Every time I look at the pictures of that installation, I just grin. I’m very proud of that piece of work.
Are there any exciting projects or shows we should be looking forward to for the rest of 2014 and coming 2015?
J. This year has been amazing ~ I’ve been lucky enough to work on projects throughout the UK, the United States, China (twice!),
Where did you get your start in the industry and what have been some of the most instrumental experiences that have helped you with your successful career so far?
What are some of your favorite flowers or materials to work with right now? Do you have a philosophy when it comes to designing?
J. I have a very fickle heart ~ my tastes and favorites change week to week, season to season. At the moment in the UK we’re just on the cusp of Autumn and I’m especially loving the horse chestnut trees I drive past on my way to the studio. Their leaves literally disintegrate as soon as theres the slightest hint of Autumn around ~ from broad, thick green to a bright, acidic yellow, tinged with brown almost overnight ~ it’s a joy to see.
Philosophy? Thats a good question. I don’t really have a philosophy as such with design ~ it’s not something I could some up succinctly in a sentence or two. However if you asked me what my USP was, in both my art practice and my floral design work, it would have to be meaning. I try to put as much meaning into everything I do. You know, for the longest time, and especially with my competition work, I was often making things I didn’t really like ~ that didn’t fit me so well. Thats the name of the game ~ they tell you what to make, and if you make it well enough you win the prize.
J. But after competing so much, that got a little boring, and ever since I’ve started my practice I’ve been conscious of making sure everything we create is something I will happily stand behind and can resonate with.
J. I was asked recently would I consider throwing my name in the hat for the upcoming World Cup in Berlin, 2015, and frankly, I just couldn’t think of anything worse for me right now. Note the ‘for me’. I’m just not interested in being told what to make by a panel of judges any more. I’m not saying I’ll never compete again, or that I’ll never attempt the World Cup, but for me, right now, it’s just not the space I’m in.
With our ever-changing industry, where do you see it changing and where do you see it heading in the next 10-15 years?
J. That is such a big question. I think that floral design will continue to be relevant to society in the next 10-15 years, but I’d expect a lot of changes to happen. I think we need to be very focused on the consumer, on our clients and really put them first in our work ~ how do they buy, what are they interested in, and how can we make our work relevant to society and culture today. I’m not one for doom and gloom. I think the future is bright.
What inspires you and your design?
J. The easy answer? Everything. I’m quite lucky in the way that I never struggle for creativity or inspiration ~ it’s always there ~ I just sometimes need to find a connection, or a key, to link it to the project I’m working on.J. When I started in business eighteen months ago, I had to take some time to really sit down and decide what it was that I wanted to do. Did I want to specialize in weddings and events? Did I want to open a retail store? Did I want to teach? To travel? What. Did. I. Want. And after sometime, after testing some things out, I realized that actually, art sets me on fire. But art is not floral design, and art is not design. They’re cousins ~ connected but certainly not the same. So I took the decision to split my work ~ Joseph Massie for my art practice, and later, to launch Joseph Massie Flowers for my floral design practice. It was bold, and different, but we’re certainly reaping the benefits now.
J. I think it comes down to your intention ~ what it is that you want to do, what is it that you want to put out into the world. When I leave this world in another 70/80 years (hopefully!), I want to leave a legacy, a body of work. I want to contribute as much as I possibly can during
Singapore, Holland and in a few weeks I’ll be creating an installation at FleurAmour in Belgium.
J. Plus, we’ve only this week we launched Joseph Massie Flowers (www.josephmassieflowers.com), our floral design studio, with a focus on weddings, events and corporate flowers. It’s a really exciting development for us, as for the past eighteen months, we’ve been continually approached, at first by friends, an later by brides and local businesses to supply flowers for weddings and events etc. What has started off small already has a good little client base, so I’m excited to see how we will grow.
J. Not one to sit still for long, I’ve also just acquired the UK School of Floristry to our portfolio. We’re relaunching the UKSOF (www.ukschooloffloristry.com) in Liverpool on October 1st, and we’ve got a really exciting schedule of classes for next year. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
J. As for the rest of 2015 … let’s just say there is are a good few trips planned for 2015 already. I’m back in the United States for a few projects, and I’m booked in a few other countries for projects that I can’t talk about just yet… it’s going to be a great year.
With all that you’re up to nowadays, what are some of your personal goals that you’re working on?
J. My personal goal at the moment is to maintain a sense of balance as much as I possibly can. Our business is threefold, my art practice, our design studio, and the school, so at times there can be a LOT on my to do list. I’m learning to juggle projects better. I’ve always worked hard, and I’ve never been afraid of hard work, but my days can be so varied now, I’m learning to delegate and I’m learning to compartmentalize projects more. It’s a challenge, but a good one.
When preparing for competitions or demonstrations, do you have any tricks or rituals to get yourself ready? What advice would you give to those looking to start competitions or industry speaking?
J. The preparation depends very much on the project ~ how much time we’ll need to set aside to prepare, how many assistants etc. But whenever I’m nervous, or feeling a little unsteady, I always repeat to myself that awesome Maya Angelou quote ~ “I might come as one, but I stand as ten thousand.” It always sends a shiver down my spine and lets me know that I’ve got this.
J. Advice to those starting out in the industry in competitions, speaking or demonstrating? Be very clear on your intention and purpose for doing what you’re doing. Are you competing to learn? To win? To socialize and have fun? To express yourself artistically? What is your intention. Figure that out early on, and you’ll have a focused route to achieve your goals.
J. There are other gems too that spring to mind ~ never take no for an answer, be confident in yourself and your skills and never be afraid to speak your mind. This industry needs fresh blood, new eyes and innovative ways of doing things. I’ve always had a bit of a reputation as an enfant terrible throughout my career, but don’t ever be afraid to disrupt the status quo. That is where innovation begins.
Make sure to join us all week as we show you more pictures of some of these wonderful collections and designs. Floral.today wishes Joe all the success in the world as he takes the industry on his journey of changing the world and building a strong industry. Check out all the links throughout the article to go show Joe support and be inspired by all his designs and ventures.
See you on wednesday for more Joseph Massie,
my time here. I truly feel that stepping out into art was the first step on that path.
If you could have lunch with anybody through time, who would you want to sit with and what would you be eating?
J. Let’s host a big dinner party instead ~ it’d be more fun. I’d invite Oprah, Constance Spry, Alexander McQueen, Martin Luther King, Pharrell, Picasso, Maya Angelou and Steve Jobs. I like innovators, people who aren’t afraid to break the mold. Oh, and Kelly Osbourne too! I just think we’d make really, really good friends.