“Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do.” This Toni Morrison quote, featured on Whit McClure’s website, encapsulates her floral design ethos. Whit McClure is the owner and lead designer of Whit Hazen, a boutique floral design studio that specializes in producing whimsical, unique flower arrangements inspired by the seasons. In 2015, Whit moved from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles and used this change as the catalyst for creating her dream career. Now, her namesake studio has been featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, The New York Times, The L.A. Times and more.
If you’ve seen our Give Joy holiday collection campaign, you’ve seen Whit’s design talents at work. Whit is the creative powerhouse behind the bareMinerals Give Joy wreath this year, featured in our campaign imagery. We caught up with Whit to hear more about how she created this wreath, as well as a simple perennial wreath you can make at home. Read on to discover her at-home floral tips, design inspiration, skincare routine and more.
How did you get interested in floral design?
My previous work experience working on a farm in Maine and teaching folks how to grow food in community gardens in Washington D.C. made me realize I love a physically active job where I get to create with plants. When I came across floral design, I realized it was a perfect way I could blend my passion for plants with my desire to make a creative career for myself.
How did working on farms shape your career?
Working on farms led me to have an immense respect for this vital occupation that is seldomly given the respect that it deserves. It made me feel connected to nature in visceral way that I hadn’t experienced before.
What inspires you creatively and how would you describe your aesthetic?
I am inspired by being outside, delicious food experiences, traveling, reading about the lives of fellow artists I love and so many forms of design — everything from architecture to nail art. I would describe my aesthetic as a remix of stylish, bold and playful.
Can you tell us a bit about your approach to creating the wreath for the bareMinerals Give Joy collection?
bareMinerals reached out and showed me the illustration that was the main inspiration for the collection. Then, I went to the flower market to source materials that played with the different colors and textures in the illustration. I used olive and cypress for the greenery and silver brunia, pink pepperberry and a preserved red brunia to achieve the desired look.
When people look at the wreath in our holiday collection, what did you want them to feel?
I want them to think of the particular kind of freshness that cold winter air had.
Is there an easy DIY “wreath” recipe that you could share that our community could do at home?
Buy a grapevine wreath vase — the grapevine wreath allows you to add ingredients in without having to wire things in place. Then, you can source preserved/dry materials from a local craft store.
What’s one way you like to spread joy to family and friends?
I love cooking and enjoying food with the people I love. This past year really made me realize how important it is to prioritize quality time. As a busy small business owner, it can be so easy to work all the time because there is always something to do. Not being able to see my family and friends for a long time due to the pandemic reminded me that tomorrow isn’t promised.
Outside of your work, do you embrace sustainability and clean living in your personal life?
Yes, while I don’t think that stopping climate change solely relies on an individual’s choices (corporations have the biggest stake in our current crisis), I do think that it’s important that we all consistently practice how we can be less wasteful.
What’s the most beautiful natural place you’ve ever traveled to?
My sister lived in South Africa for years, so I went to visit a couple of times. It was by far the most beautiful place I ever travelled. There are 6 main flora kingdoms in the world. The Cape Flora kingdom region, which is found in South Africa, is incredibly unique and contains so many of my favorite flowers to work with, such as protea and other varieties of fynbos. It was breathtaking to visit the place where these flora grow abundantly in their natural habitat.
What’s your favorite flower and why?
My favorite flowers are dahlias. I love all the different varieties in shape and color, and I’ve been interested in seeing how growers are breeding interesting new varieties.
What’s a helpful/little known tip for caring for flowers?
Giving your stems a fresh cut and changing the water consistently is the best way to make your flowers last.
Can you share a bit about your daily beauty routine?
In the morning, I wash my face with a gentle cleanser followed by rosewater toner, facial serum, a light moisturizer and then topped off with SPF. At night, I wash my face with an exfoliating cleanser to get off the grime, a swipe of micellar water, rosewater toner, a vitamin C serum and a light moisturizer.
Do you have a favorite bareMinerals product? Which and why?
I tried the GEN NUDE Blonzer in the shade Kiss of Rose at Sephora recently and really liked it. I love wearing blush and a highlight to wake up my face and this combines those two products into one.
What would you say to people who aspire to be floral designers?
Practice a lot on your own. Freelancing is a great way to gain experience — you can learn from different designers and can get a real feel for how this job works. It’s a production job, so it often requires long hours and lots of schlepping heavy things around. Be prepared to deal with the gritty part first before expecting to get to the pretty part.
What kind of impact do you want to make with your work?
Flowers are a consistent and beautiful reminder to remain in the present moment as much as possible. Their ephemeral beauty is a particular expression of time and place. We live in a world where being present requires a practice, and I aim for my work to help people stop in their tracks and be reminded of the beauty that surrounds them.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.