Floral designer Stacey Halstead enjoys creating designs that accurately and beautifully represent the personality of his clients.
When Stacey Halstead was hired by a floral shop nearly 25 years ago, he was instantly mesmerized by the whole process. Halstead started out processing flowers as they came in from around the world for Walter Knoll Florist in St. Louis. While he worked, he observed the shop’s floral designers effortlessly transforming those alluring flowers into one-of-a-kind creations.
“I was completely enthralled,” Halstead says. “It was like watching a magic trick. I wanted to learn how to design. Then I learned something about design that has always stuck with me. Floral design is part photography, part painting and part architecture.”
Halstead learned the art of design from the ground up by working with seasoned floral designers. As a neophyte designer, he was tasked with crafting small bouquets for hospital coolers but quickly moved on to creating huge elaborate floral arrangements for hotels. These experiences helped him pinpoint what truly inspired him.
“I learned that I like doing design work that shows a client’s personality,” Halstead says. “It’s a lot more gratifying than creating something for someone’s birthday who you have never met. I like to get to know who I’m working for.”
After working in floral shops around the country, Halstead, a St. Louis native, eventually landed in Jefferson City. Almost two years ago, he and Jamey Essig opened Florissimo, a Jefferson City-based floral business focusing on weddings and special events, holiday and seasonal decorating and decorative consulting. Ironically, he still purchases flowers from Walter Knoll Florist.
“It’s fun to buy flowers from them for my events,” Halstead says. “They raised me up in the business.”
This year alone, Halstead and Florissimo designer Lisa Suits have worked on almost 25 events of varying sizes and created everything from bridal bouquets and boutonnières to centerpieces and other wedding décor.
“When you’re making a bridal bouquet, you’re making something a woman is going to hold in her hands on her wedding day,” Halstead says. “This bouquet should represent how she feels on the inside. This is very personal to me.”
Halstead prides himself on adding an original flair to each job. For example, every holiday decorating job begins with an initial consultation in a client’s home, where Halstead can look at the space and sort through existing holiday decorations.
“I find out what they still love, what they’re unsure about, and I give them the language to tell me what they like,” Halstead says. “I want to know what they want their holiday décor to say about them.”
Like last year’s holiday season, Halstead says this year’s holiday decorating trends are natural, rustic and primitive and notably lacking bright colors. The look is what Halstead refers to as the Norman Rockwell Christmas.
“It’s a natural, nostalgic sort of feel,” Halstead says. “One thing I’ve noticed is that during times of economic uncertainty, trends seem to go back. People look back to what Christmas was like in their childhood because it is comforting.”
Trends this year also include muted metal tones such as tarnished silver and muted gold and copper. Whether paired with a pop of color or a simple white or ivory, Halstead says the look feels rich without being too glitzy or ostentatious.
“When you use a more natural look on trees, in ornaments or other objects, it is beautiful and stunning, but it looks like you didn’t try too hard,” Halstead says. “It looks like it just happened.”
Although the first year of holiday decorating tends to require more time and expense for clients, Halstead says every season gets easier as they move closer to achieving a desired holiday look. Whether helping a family pull together a varied collection of ornaments or creating a completely custom centerpiece made especially for the space, Halstead loves creating an environment where clients can make special memories.
“It’s really fun,” Halstead says. “There are times when I’ll start during the day, and the family will leave, and when they come back, it is like the elves came. I really like making people happy in their home environment. It makes me feel like it is work worth doing.”