FACES OF BERLIN: Getting to Know Autumn Graves
A new series is coming to Our Small Town Big Life – Faces of Berlin. In this series you will be introduced to some of the people that help make Berlin, MD such a special place and learn the stories behind their lives in Berlin. We are kicking off the series with an interview with one very energetic and creative, Autumn Graves of Bleached Butterfly. So join me and learn about how Autumn came to be a part of our town.
Autumn has been working in the floral world since her first job 22 years ago That job was in a small florist shop in Baltimore. Having always been an artsy type of girl with a love of nature, her job at the floral shop gave her a first shot at designing with plants and it’s been in her blood ever since. She grew into working at large event companies in Baltimore. She has many years of experience creating floral decorations for corporate events, hotel lobbies, weddings, special events and homes of the rich and famous. In fact, while I was in the shop talking to her, Johnny Unitas’ wife stopped in to discuss her holiday order. She’s created tablescapes for magazine shoots too, which sounds really exciting to me!
About seven years ago, the recession hit and Autumn was downsized and her dream of her own place started to form; A place where she could bring her own vision to life. Autumn dreamed of a mom and pop floral shop with an edge. The edge being her personal design style. With the help of Josh, her significant other, she began developing a business plan, distinguishing a brand and determining what the inventory of her shop would look like. The name Bleached Butterfly came to her in a dream. Bleached reflects a clean canvas and the butterfly, evolving beauty.
As is often the case when you are good at what you do, someone from another large event company came looking for Autumn. As many of you will likely understand, the pull of a nice steady salary and health benefits along with a lack of funding for her dream business, lured her back into working for someone else. But the dream never died, it was just a seed that grew inside of her. She started setting some money aside and continued to develop her plans for Bleached Butterfly. As she worked away at her new job, her desire for control over designing events also grew.
Autumn’s family has played a big role in helping her dreams come true. As people with a dream tend to do, she talked about it a lot, so her family was more than a little familiar with the path she was looking to travel. When her grandfather died, he asked that some of the money he left be used to help Autumn in her quest. Autumn began to search for a location. She looked many places among them Annapolis and Federal Hill and many other places that were looking pretty expensive. Then one day she went to Ocean City with her mom, who was in the market for a beach house. They decide to check out Berlin and there she saw the building that she had always imagined, a cool old building with big storefront windows. It was love at first sight! It’s obvious when you walk by the store, that one of Autumn’s favorite things to do is to decorate those big display windows. It’s also obvious that she has done exactly what she set out to do. She has created a mom and pop shop with an edge!
So who else is behind this edgy mom and pop shop? Autumn’s mom and partner, Josh have been all hands on deck for the full year Bleached Butterfly has been in business, in fact they started working well before the business opened. They did most of the building renovation work themselves with the exception of removing some walls, electrical work and installing the specialty cork wall covering. They continue to work on a daily help running the business. Josh runs a lot of the behind the scenes business and Autumn’s mother is frequently behind the counter. Autumn swears that she could never do it without them and worries that she will never be able to repay their kindness or fully express her gratitude to them.
Autumn was eager to hit the ground running and really wanted the people of Berlin and other business owners know that she was here to stay, to grow her roots and be part of the town. She has been very involved in Second Friday and other town activities, one of her most recent activities….decorating the town Christmas Tree. Be sure to check it out!
What’s next for Bleached Butterfly? Autumn hopes to grow her business by decorating hotel lobbies, commercial spaces and doing local whole home floral decorations. Find out more at shop.bleachedbutterfly.com
This Christmas season, stop in the store and get yourself a custom made wreath or garland. You can have yours made with either fresh or silk materials. Bleached Butterfly is also offering custom gift wrapping. Bring in a gift you bought anywhere to have it wrapped for a small charge!
It is amazing to me the talent found in our small town. Who do you know in Berlin with amazing talent? If you know someone that you think would be great to interview for a blog post, drop me a comment.