You’ve heard of birthstones, but have you heard of birth flowers? If this concept interests you, check out illustrator Chelsea Conrad’s online shop Garden Party Press. In this charming project, the MICA graduate digitally fuses her love of flower shops with her passion for design. Enter the month of your choosing, and Conrad will design a fully personalized flower portrait for you. The vast array of pairing options make this an especially unique way to celebrate your loved ones, and they’re beautiful to boot.
|For MICA graduate Chelsea Conrad ’20 (Illustration MA), Garden Party Press started as a way to create gifts for her family one year for Christmas — she combined her illustration skills with knowledge gained from working in a flower shop during her undergrad at Tennessee. But what started as a small production of creating personal gifts for family and friends has become a full scale company following Conrad’s time at MICA and her experience going through the UP/Start Venture Competition in 2021. |
Most people are familiar with birthstones, but many might not know that every month has a designated flower, too. Garden Party Press creates custom floral portraits with each person represented by their birth month flower — a portrait might represent a family, a couple, a group of friends or any other important relationship.
All the flowers are drawn by hand digitally, then incorporated into a print builder so that customers can co-create a unique print that represents their most cherished relationships. “I really believe that personal relationships are the most valuable part of our lives, so they should be prioritized and celebrated,” Conrad said. “I’ve had people order prints to celebrate new babies, remember someone they lost or to remind them of friends and family who live far away. It’s an honor to be able to create something meaningful for them.”
Heading into last Mother’s Day, after the UP/Start finale where she won $15,000 in funding plus $5,000 from the People’s Choice Award, Conrad’s Etsy shop saw over 500 orders in one week. Just one year later, her business continues to grow, with a new website, a popup at the MICA Store, participation in local craft fairs and also in an upcoming Mother’s Day market. And it’s because of that time in UP/Start, that Conrad’s business continues to flourish.
“Being a part of the UP/Start Competition is just the beginning of the entrepreneurial evolution of the work. So often there is a focus on winning the competition, but the true spirit of the hustle and rigor comes after,” Stacy Stube, MICA’s associate director for creative entrepreneurship said. “The prize money is just the seed fund the entrepreneur nourishes and brings forth growth with time and courage.
Fellows receive one-on-one check-ins and consultations to ensure they stay inspired and connected to the creative venture path. I’m glad to see that Chelsea is able to share her creative garden with the world.”